NOAA recently selected the Middle Peninsula in Virginia as the next Habitat Focus Area. The Middle Peninsula Habitat Focus Area includes the tidal watershed of the York River, Piankatank River, and Mobjack Bay in Virginia.
Working with partners in the area at the federal, state, local and tribal levels, NOAA will restore habitats for important fish and shellfish species and improve coastal community resiliency.
The Middle Peninsula was selected because it presents excellent opportunities to restore oyster reefs, fish habitat, and shorelines. The area faces significant challenges from sea level rise.
NOAA and several local, federal, state, and nongovernmental organizations have identified the Middle Peninsula as an area that needs help with habitat conservation.
Through the Middle Peninsula Habitat Focus Area, NOAA will work to conserve fish habitat and build the region’s ability to bounce back in the face of climate change.
In the Middle Peninsula, NOAA and its partners will focus on building support for wetlands and oyster restoration projects, fish habitat assessments, and a State of the York Report to review the health of the region and steps to improve it annually.
Scientists will also research and model how restored and natural oyster reefs, submerged aquatic vegetation, marshes, and living shorelines contribute to the economy of the Middle Peninsula.
Investments in the first ten NOAA Habitat Focus Areas improved ecosystems, benefited communities, and advanced science for management and decision-making.
Previous Habitat Focus Area projects included oyster reef construction, removing barriers to fish passage in rivers, protecting corals from pollution, water quality improvements, and other work. Habitat Focus Areas are one part of NOAA’s Habitat Blueprint effort.
source: NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office