To address declines in the health of the Gulf of Mexico’s marine ecosystems, NFWF partnered with the Shell Oil Company in 1998 to establish the Shell Marine Habitat Program (SMHP).
Through this program, grants are awarded to support conservation and restoration activities that benefit key species and their habitats along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. In addition to the Gulf of Mexico, SMHP supports projects in the North Slope and North Aleutian Basin in Alaska through the Alaska Fish and Wildlife Fund.
Funding priorities for this program include:
- Restoring oyster reefs to protect coastal marsh and wetlands, and increasing oyster and associated fish and wildlife populations;
- Protecting, restoring and creating critical coastal wetland habitat for shorebirds, waterbirds and waterfowl;
- Monitoring key habitat and implementing priority protection strategies;
- Conducting applied research in targeted geographies of coastal Alaska to enhance understanding of important coastal ecosystems and improve management strategies; and
- Providing information and hands-on restoration opportunities to expand awareness and appreciation for the natural resources of the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska.
Since 1998, 219 grants from the partnership have helped approximately 130 organizations protect and restore coastal and marine species and the habitat upon which they depend. Nearly $12 million of Shell Oil funds has been invested through the Shell Marine Habitat Program. NFWF has leveraged these non-federal funds with an additional $3.2 million in federal and non-federal funds, as well as over $48 million in grantee match, to generate more than $63 million for on-the-ground conservation.