Earlier this month, Representative Pallone (NJ-06) and Senators Harris (CA) and Murphy (CT) introduced the Living Shorelines Act. This Act would create a federal grant program through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to assist states, localities, and non-governmental organizations in constructing living shorelines. The National Audubon Society is working to protect and restore coastal habitat through natural infrastructure policies and projects to reverse the declines in shorebird populations and to protect coastal communities from the impacts of a changing climate. Natural infrastructure, including wetlands, oyster reefs, and barrier islands, or infrastructure projects built to mimic those habitats, serve as the first line of defense for coastal communities facing stronger, more frequent storms and sea level rise.
The Living Shorelines Act is an important piece of legislation that would invest in natural infrastructure in the face of a changing climate. It would authorize $50 million per year for these grants to implement climate resilient living shoreline projects and prioritize areas that have received a Stafford Act disaster declaration or areas that have a documented history of coastal inundation or erosion. Audubon thanks these members of Congress for their leadership in introducing this legislation that will protect birds and coastal communities.