Year in review – A look back at 2023

As we reflect on the remarkable accomplishments of the past year, it is with immense pride and gratitude that we present the highlights of our journey together. In 2023, Restore America’s Estuaries (RAE) continued to advance our mission to preserve and protect our nation’s precious estuarinea bag of oysters ecosystems for all.

RAE proudly launched two innovative programs, made possible through collaboration and support from RAE members and key federal agencies and backed by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act and the Inflation Reduction Act.

The Gulf Region Oyster Network, funded by NOAA, creates a strong, diverse network of organizations with skills and experience in oyster shell recycling and reef restoration and provides a learning network that can serve to expand this critical work throughout the Gulf and the US with an emphasis on regional learning, impact and inclusive growth.

Our second new program is the Long Island Sound Community Impact Fund (LISCIF) is a partnership between Restore America’s Estuaries, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the  Long Island Sound Study (LISS). This program helps achieve the goals of the  Justice40 initiative which calls for 40% of certain Federal investments to flow to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved, and overburdened by pollution. LISCIF will help to build capacity for organizations located in communities affected by disproportionate environmental and human health risks and fund project proposals which improve access to the Long Island Sound, while reducing overall environmental health risks.

This October, our commitment to knowledge-sharing and collaboration reached new heights at the 2023 Living Shorelines Workshop in Galveston,

two men in front of a banner
Left: Daniel Hayden. Right: Dr. Rick Spinrad

TX. With the support of the FWS and NOAA, this pivotal event saw record attendance with more than 250 coastal restoration professionals, policy makers, and practitioners coming together to foster an environment of innovation and shared expertise that will undoubtedly shape the future of nature-based shoreline stabilization.

A few weeks prior to the Workshop, we celebrated National Estuaries Week (NEW), an annual recognition of the role healthy coasts play in protecting and providing for our nation. In recognition of Congress passing an overwhelmingly bipartisan Resolution recognizing the week, we hosted our first NEW Celebration in Washington, DC. Attended by Congressional staff, federal agencies, and partner organizations, dozens of old and new friends shared local seafood and stories from our shores. Capping off the night, Dr. Rick Spinrad, NOAA Administrator, addressed the crowd, contributing valuable insights that bolstered our collective commitment to safeguarding our nation’s estuaries.

As we celebrate these achievements, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to all those who have been instrumental in making these initiatives a reality. Your unwavering support has been the catalyst for our success, and we look forward to deepening these collaborations in the years to come. Looking ahead to 2024, we are excited about the positive impact we can achieve together. As we forge ahead, let us continue to stand united in our shared commitment to the environment and the communities that depend on the vitality of our coastal ecosystems.

Thank you for your unwavering support,

Daniel Hayden
President & CEO
Restore America’s Estuaries

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