National Fish Habitat Partnership Releases "Our Story" Video Reflecting on 10 Years of Habitat Protection

The National Fish Habitat Action Plan was established in 2006 and has supported 679 projects benefiting fish habitat in all 50 states. The partnership leverages federal, state, tribal, and private funding resources to achieve the greatest impact on fish populations meeting the priorities of our 20 regionally-based Fish Habitat Partnerships.

NOAA Funds 2017 National Fish Habitat Partnership Priorities And Projects

In 2017, NOAA has provided a total of over $100,000 across four Fish Habitat Partnerships to support prioritization, monitoring, and data analysis projects. These projects support the goals of the National Fish Habitat Action Plan and align with NOAA’s efforts to protect, restore, and promote stewardship of coastal and marine habitat to support our nation's fisheries for future generations.

Atlantic Coastal Fish Habitat Partners Initiate Black Sea Bass Habitat Research Project in the Mid-Atlantic

The Atlantic Coastal Fish Habitat Partnership (ACFHP) has established a new collaborative project with the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES), Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council), and National Fish Habitat Fund (Fund) to study black sea bass habitat characteristics, fish abundance, and fish diets in the Mid-Atlantic. The project, led by Dr. Brad Stevens of UMES, is titled ‘Hab in the MAB: Characterizing black sea bass habitat in the Mid-Atlantic Bight.’ The new study will combine SCUBA, photography, videography, controlled angling, and stable isotope analysis techniques to better understand the importance of habitat and prey community structure on black sea bass feeding ecology.

“ACFHP and our collaborative partners are excited about the unique opportunity to work together over the next few years to collect data that will inform both science and management, and support healthy fisheries in the Mid-Atlantic region,” stated Kent Smith, ACFHP Steering Committee Chair.

In the summer of 2015, ACFHP applied for and received funding from the Council to manage a short-term research project focusing on Mid-Atlantic habitat (natural and/or artificial reef) and fisheries productivity. Black sea bass was chosen as a focal species because it is managed by both the Council and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC), and because the species is structure oriented. ACFHP formed a subcommittee of representatives from the ACFHP Steering Committee, Council, and ASMFC Artificial Reef Committee to develop a request for proposals dedicated to black sea bass habitat research and/or restoration in the Mid-Atlantic region.  

After careful review of several strong proposals, the ACFHP subcommittee chose to provide a $216,000 award to Dr. Stevens and his PhD student, Cara Schweitzer. Their study will determine if there are differences resulting in the use of artificial vs. natural habitats.

In particular, study objectives include:

  1. Determining the preference of black sea bass for particular habitats by assessing their abundance, size structure, and feeding ecology within natural and artificial reefs;
  2. Improving the understanding of benthic habitat structure by quantitatively assessing biodiversity, rugosity (e.g., surface roughness measurements routinely used by reef biologists), and other habitat characteristics of natural and artificial reefs; and
  3. Determining if increased connectivity of habitat type increases fish recruitment, by experimentally manipulating connecting areas between isolated habitat patches.

“I’m glad that the Mid-Atlantic Council was able to work with the NFHP Board to support this important research,” said Chris Moore, Executive Director of the Council. “The outcomes of this project will significantly improve our understanding of black sea bass habitat and productivity.”

ACFHP is the first of the 19 Fish Habitat Partnerships (FHPs) throughout the U.S. to support a habitat research project using the NFHP Beyond the Pond Fund. The Fund is a 501(c)3 entity created in 2015 to provide the FHPs an opportunity to connect with the private sector and maximize funding and collaboration opportunities. It supports the leveraging of resources and grassroots actions to achieve maximum impact in protecting and restoring fish habitat from the local to national levels.

Since 2006, NFHP has been a partner in 599 projects in 50 states benefiting fish habitat. The National Fish Habitat Partnership works to conserve fish habitat nationwide, leveraging federal, state, tribal, and private funding resources to achieve the greatest impact on fish populations through priority conservation projects. NFHP implements the National Fish Habitat Action Plan and supports 20 regional grassroots partner organizations. For more information visit:

Please send your general questions or comments to LHavel@asmfc.org.

To view the press release as a PDF, please click here.

NOAA seeks applications for $9 million in community-based habitat restoration

As part of its efforts to promote healthy ecosystems and resilient coastal communities, NOAA is seeking proposals for habitat restoration projects that will improve the recovery and conservation of protected resources, and help promote productive fisheries. 

Request for Proposals: Black Sea Bass Habitat Research Needs in the Mid-Atlantic (Atlantic Coastal Fish Habitat Partnership)

The Atlantic Coastal Fish Habitat Partnership is seeking research and/or restoration proposals to address black sea bass habitat issues in the Mid-Atlantic region, with an emphasis on the use of natural and/or artificial reefs and their ability to maintain and enhance fishery productivity. Proposal are due by February 1, 2016.

NOAA selects two areas in the North Atlantic for targeted habitat conservation efforts

NOAA has announced the selection of two sites in NOAA’s North Atlantic Region as the next Habitat Focus Areas under NOAA’s Habitat Blueprint. In the Mid-Atlantic, the agency will focus its habitat  conservation and restoration efforts on the Choptank River complex in Maryland and Delaware.