Posted on January 10, 2024
PORTSMOUTH, N.H. – Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Martha Williams today wrapped a two-day trip to New Hampshire to highlight how investments from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda and the America the Beautiful initiative are restoring our lands and waters and cultivating core salt marsh areas.
Secretary Haaland and Director Williams toured the Fair Hill Marsh site outside Portsmouth, where a $2 million investment from the America the Beautiful Challenge is working to restore New Hampshire salt marshes to benefit at-risk species and increase coastal resilience. During the visit, Secretary Haaland announced the Department’s salt marsh restoration initiative, a new effort to support Atlantic coastal communities and protect important wildlife habitat in salt marsh ecosystems. This initiative is part of the Department’s restoration and resilience framework, which guides the over $2 billion investment from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to restore our nation’s lands and waters.
America the Beautiful Challenge grant awards in 2023, including the grant award for the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, total $140 million to support 74 landscape-scale conservation projects across 46 states, three U.S. Territories, and 21 Tribal Nations. The grants will generate at least $13 million in matching contributions for a total conservation impact of more than $150 million.
Launched in 2021, the President’s America the Beautiful initiative set the nation’s first-ever goal to conserve 30 percent of U.S. lands and waters by 2030. The locally led and nationally scaled initiative lifts up efforts to conserve, connect and restore the lands, waters, and wildlife upon which we all depend. Through the America the Beautiful Challenge – a public-private partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation that is made possible with funding in part from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law – the Biden-Harris administration has committed $1 billion towards this work.
During her trip, Secretary Haaland and Director Williams also participated in a skill-building workshop with the New Hampshire Becoming an Outdoors Woman (BOW) Program, which is offered in 38 states and six Canadian provinces to build skills in basic fishing, kayaking, archery and other activities. BOW, with funding support from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, supports the Department’s interest in increasing equitable opportunities to access and experience the outdoors for all communities.
Secretary Haaland and Director Williams also visited Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge, an important site for outdoor recreation, at-risks species management and coastal resilience. She toured a dam removal project at the refuge that will support fish habitat connectivity and advances the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Fish Passage Program, which is getting a significant funding boost through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. She also held a roundtable with youth conservationists at the University of New Hampshire to discuss outdoor recreation and conservation efforts and met with students and faculty from Dartmouth College’s Native American Program and Native American Studies Department.