Since it was established in 1994, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Coastal Program has forged partnerships with more than 5,000 willing partners and organizations.  These collaborations have produced numerous restoration and conservation successes, and here we highlight several recent examples. For more information on how to work with the Coastal Program, visit our interactive map to find a Coastal Program office near you.


Reef BallsBrazoria National Wildlife Refuge, located along West Galveston Bay, Texas, is teeming with diverse coastal wildlife including over 400 species of birds, nearly 100 species of reptiles, and 130 species of butterflies. Severe coastal erosion along the Refuge boundaries had caused the land to narrow to just 20 feet.  To prevent a breach of the shoreline, which could lead to the loss of Refuge land, the Galveston Bay Foundation partnered with the Coastal Program to stabilize and rebuild the shoreline.  The project included the construction of two oyster “reef ball” breakwaters to reduce wave energy and provide habitat for oysters.  Galveston Bay Foundation also planted nearly an acre of wetlands behind the breakwater, helping to rebuild the extent and elevation of the land.  This project not only ensures that the 60 acres of Refuge land that were threatened by erosion are protected, but also restores more than 14 acres of intertidal wetlands supporting the vast diversity of wildlife that rely on the Refuge.

Picoides borealis USMC2005729133853B


Dismal Swamp State Park in Camden County, North Carolina protects the largest remaining area of forested peatland habitat in the country, which is home to black bears, migratory birds, and the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker. Historically, much of the area was ditched and drained for timber harvest and agriculture, leading to changes in plant communities, polluted runoff, and intense wildfires that threatened nearby communities. In 2014, North Carolina State Parks, along with the Coastal Program and state university researchers, installed water control structures to restore the area’s natural hydrology, returning more than 1,800 acres to their original flooded state.  This highly successful restoration has improved water quality and allowed native plant communities to recover.  Restored hydrology also reduces the probability of dangerous wildfires and allows park managers to use prescribed burns to support the recovery of fire-dependent peatland communities.


terp6aDiamondback terrapins are the only species of aquatic turtle to make their home entirely in bays and lagoons.  In Tampa Bay, Florida, shoreline erosion and the Brazilian pepper, an invasive shrub, threatened the sandy beaches where terrapins lay their eggs. In 2011, Tampa Bay Watch, a local non-profit organization, partnered with the Coastal Program to restore this critical habitat at Tarpon Key in Tampa Bay.  With funding from the Coastal Program and the help of nearly 500 summer camp participants and local volunteers, Tampa Bay Watch removed the invasive shrubs and planted over half an acre of native marsh grasses to help stabilize the shoreline. Offshore, a 620 foot oyster reef breakwater was constructed to dampen wave energy, protecting vulnerable shorelines from further erosion.  Since the project’s completion, the native plants are thriving, the shoreline is stable, and there is no sign of the invasive Brazilian pepper, signaling the successful restoration of quality nesting habitat for diamondback terrapins in Tampa Bay.