Press Release

May 18, 2010
Half the U.S. Population Lives in Coastal Counties Threatened by Wetlands Loss




U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), chairman of the Environment and Public Works Water and Wildlife Subcommittee introduced the

Coastal Habitat Conservation Act
today that would authorize U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Coastal Program, which integrates all Service activities in coastal ecosystems to identify the most important natural resource problems and solutions.
Congressman Frank Kratovil (MD-1), a member of the House Natural Resources Committee, is the lead sponsor in the House of Representatives of a bill to authorize the program. Coastal wetlands have become vulnerable to rising sea levels as well as to land development, land fragmentation, and pollution stemming from the half of the


population that resides in coastal counties. 


“Coastal wetlands contribute hundreds of billions of dollars to our economy and their loss threatens our homes, our jobs, treasured memories and cherished traditions, possessions that are priceless,”
said Senator Cardin.
  “Rising sea levels, land development, and pollution are taking aim at our coastal ecosystems, increasing the need to invest in and strengthen successful efforts, like the Coastal Program, that work to protect and preserve these critical resources.
  I’m pleased to join with Congressman Kratovil in moving forward the

Coastal Habitat Conservation Act
that demonstrates Congress’ commitment to this essential program.”


“We need to protect our coastal wetlands not only to preserve the beauty of places like



Eastern Shore

, but because they are critical components of our economy and major sources of employment,”
said Rep. Kratovil.  “Investing in their preservation means preserving the ecosystem, the tourism industry, jobs for fisherman and waterman, and much of our heritage.  I’m glad to be associated with this program and thankful for Senator Cardin’s leadership.”


Coastal wetlands are those wetlands along the sea coast,

Great Lakes

, and coastal drainage waterways.  These wetlands comprise 38 percent of the estimated 107.7 million acres of wetlands in the mainland

United States

.  Coastal wetlands provide essential nutrients, food, and shelter for plants, shellfish, waterfowl, migratory birds, more than half of commercial fish, and 45 percent of endangered and threatened species.  In addition, coastal wetlands protect coastal areas from storm damage, help stabilize shorelines, and improve surface water quality by filtering urban, suburban, and agricultural wastes. 


Chesapeake Bay Coastal Program was the very first FWS Coastal program established to conserve coastal resources.  Since 2000, the Coastal Program has completed over 200 projects in


to protect 66,000 acres of


‘s coastal wetlands.  These conservation projects have invested over $6 million from the Coastal Program and nearly $20 million from state, local, private and other federal partners for habitat restoration, enhancement, and protection of coastal wetlands.  In addition, the Coastal Program has provided technical assistance to many of its partners. 


The Coastal Program projects are located in the following counties in




, Wicomico, Dorchester, Talbot, Queen Anne’s,


, Cecil, Harford,


, Carroll,






, Howard, Anne Arundel,

Prince George

‘s, Charles, Calvert, and St. Mary’s.