On March 7, the U.S. Department of the Interior announced a more than $120 million investment to rebuild and restore portions of the National Wildlife Refuge System that have been affected by adverse weather events, which includes a $27.25 million investment for the Albemarle-Pamlico Sound region.
The investment stems from the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), and prioritizes projects that promote coastal resilience and climate adaptation, address invasive species threats, and provide for additional data collection needed to support successful natural resource resilience.
“The [Albemarle-Pamlico Sound] estuary is home to some of the most ecologically diverse and vulnerable counties in the nation and is particularly susceptible to shoreline erosion, storm damage, saltwater intrusion, habitat conversion, and wildfires.,” stated Leslie Hull-Ryde, Public Affairs Specialist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
“The watershed-scale project will center on nature-based infrastructure solutions such as living shorelines, substrate for oyster reefs, drainage canal improvement, submerged aquatic vegetation restoration, shoreline and reef ecosystem restoration, and salt-water intrusion reduction.”
The grant is the largest ever for the Albemarle-Pamlico refuges, which includes the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge on Hatteras Island.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service received a total of $120.75 million, which is available until Sept. 30, 2026. With this portion of IRA funding, the Fish & Wildlife Service will work with local partners to complete geographically diverse, large-scale projects in these conservation areas.
The projects, locations, and funding from the $120.75 million investment are listed below.
- Albemarle-Pamlico Sound restoration, North Carolina ($27.25M)
- Working together on a landscape conservation approach for a climate-resilient Northern Forest, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Wisconsin ($25M)
- Prairie Pothole Region – landscape conservation and restoration, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota ($23M)
- Lower Mississippi River Valley nature-based resiliency, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee ($20M)
- Upper Mississippi and Illinois River nature-based resiliency and restoration, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Minnesota, Wisconsin ($10M)
- Bison management and grasslands habitat improvements across several Service refuges ($7.5M)
- Nature-based solutions to support the endangered Yaqui fish species on San Bernadino National Wildlife Refuge, Arizona ($7M)
- Acquisition of LiDAR Data over National Wildlife Refuge System lands in partnership with the 3D Elevation Program (3DEP), Nationwide ($1M)