WaterSMART Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration Projects
The U.S. Department of the Interior’s (Department) Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration Projects (AERP) NOFO provides a framework for Federal leadership and assistance to restore and protect aquatic ecosystems in support of the Department’s priorities. Through AERP, the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) leverages Federal and non-Federal funding to work cooperatively with states, Tribes, and other entities as they study, design and construct aquatic ecosystem restoration projects that are
- collaboratively developed,
- have widespread regional benefits, and
- result in the improvement of the health of fisheries, wildlife, and aquatic habitat through restoration and improved fish passage.
Restoring and protecting aquatic ecosystems offers wide-ranging benefits for people and wildlife. Functioning aquatic ecosystems provide habitat for fish and wildlife, improve water quality, and store excess carbon, mitigate the impacts of drought and flood events, and support multiple water uses.
The Bureau of Reclamation’s Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration Projects funding opportunity provides support for priorities identified in Presidential Executive Order (E.O.) 14008: Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad and is aligned with other priorities, such as those identified in E.O. 13985: Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government. Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration Projects also support the goals of the Interagency Drought Relief Working Group established in March 2021 and the National Drought Resilience Partnership.