RAE History



  • Joshua Reickert (PEW Charitable Trust) envisions an initiative that ties together existing regional coastal conservation organizations, and works on the national level to empower them at the local level. Organizations needed to be local, deep-rooted, have networks and connections at the state level, and be strong and solid.


  • Sarah Clark is hired by Tom Wathen (PEW Marin & Forest Conservation portfolio) to help Josh identify and convene meeting of local coastal organizations.


  • PEW convenes a meeting of invited organizations in Philadelphia. The group meets again several times before deciding to create a national organization focused on conducting coastal habitat restoration.

Aug 1995

Restore America’s Estuaries is established. Naki Stevens hired as first executive director; First meeting held and name, mission, structure established. Mark Davis (CRCL) elected as first Board chair.

May 1997

  • Steven Kinberg becomes the new executive director.

Apr 1999

  • Estuary Restoration Act (ERA) introduced in Senate [S. 835].

Nov 1999

  • Mark Wolf-Armstrong hired as executive director.

Dec 1999

  • RAE is incorporated in Virginia.

Feb 2000

  • Mark Wolf-Armstrong transitions to become president & CEO.

Mar 2000

  • Principles of Estuarine Habitat Restoration is published in partnership with the Estuarine Research Federation.

May 2000

  • First NOAA/RAE partnership agreement signed.

Jun 2000

  • RAE becomes a certified 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

Nov 2000

  • Estuary Restoration Act signed into law.

Jan 2002

  • Seattle office opens.

Apr 2002

  • Release of National Strategy to Restore Coastal and Estuarine Habitat

Apr 2003

  • Inaugural Conference on Coastal and Estuarine Habitat Restoration held in Baltimore, Maryland.

Sep 2004

  • 2nd National Conference held in Seattle, Washington.

Dec 2006

  • 3rd National Conference held in New Orleans, LA.

Aug 2007

  • Jeff Benoit hired as President and CEO.

Nov 2007

  • ERA authorized in WRDA.

Apr 2008

  • “The Economic and Market Value of Coasts and Estuaries: What’s at Stake” is published.

Oct 2008

  • 4th National Conference is held in Providence, R.I.

Feb 2010

  • “Hope for Habitats” is published.

Aug 2010

  • “Action Plan for the Development of a National Greenhouse Gas Offset Protocol for Tidal Wetlands Restoration and Management” is published.

Nov 2010

  • 5th National Conference is held in Galveston, T.X.

May 2012

  • “Climate-Adapt-Mitigate” is published.

Oct 2012

  • 6th National Conference is held in Tampa, F.L.

Mar 2014

  • EarthCorps replaces People for Puget Sound in the RAE alliance.

Nov 2014

  • 7th National Summit is held in partnership with The Coastal Society in Washington, D.C.

May 2015

  • RAE convenes the first meeting of the Blue Carbon National Working Group.

Nov 2015

  • RAE leads the development and approval of the first globally applicable Methodology for Tidal Wetland and Seagrass Restoration, allow restoration projects to earn carbon offsets. 

Dec 2016

  • 8th National Summit held in New Orleans, L.A.

Dec 2017

  • RAE is selected by the EPA to manage the Southeast New England Grant Program. 

Mar 2018

  • RAE launches partnership with the Clean Foundation, a Canadian NGO, to support coastal restoration along the Bay of Fundly and Northumberland Strait.

Sep 2018

  • 30th anniversary of National Estuaries Week.

Dec 2018

  • 9th National Summit held in Long Beach, C.A. 


  • Restore America’s Estuaries celebrates 25 years.

May 2020

  • Jeff Benoit retires and Daniel Hayden hired as President and CEO