Ecosystem Services in Working Lands: US Northeast

4.4.3 Review of Funding/Program Organizations In the fisheries, aquaculture, and shellfish operations category, public programs for producers and supporting institutions were dominant over both partnership and private programs at the state level. At the national level, however, private programs dominate, while at the regional level, partnerships dominate. Similar trends were evident in the other categories, as well.

Partnerships at the regional scale included a number of programs geared towards producers. Among these, a few programs seem to stand out.

• The Division of Agriculture at the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, for example, administers the Local Agriculture and Seafood Act Grants program with the goal to support the growth, development, and marketing of local food and seafood in Rhode Island. Funding for this program comes from the State of Rhode Island and is matched by funds from the Henry P. Kendall Foundation, the van Beuren Charitable Foundation, and the Rhode Island Foundation. This type of public-private partnership is unique, providing grants to directly benefit and strengthen the food system in Rhode Island. • Other partnership programs, like the Mid-Atlantic Coast Fish Habitat Partnership (ACFHP) , New England Fishery Management Council , Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council , and Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission , represent similar efforts to address aquatic habitat and sustainability issues across larger, regional areas that often include several states on the Eastern seaboard.

At the national level, there are a number of noteworthy public and federal programs.

• The Mussels for Clean Water Initiative (MuCWI) is part of the multifaceted Freshwater Mussel Recovery Program (FMRP) that aims to restore native species of freshwater mussels to streams, rivers, and lakes. This program is particularly focused on the Delaware River Basin but includes areas across the upper mid-Atlantic region. Like many other programs across the United States, the FMRP strives to restore mussels because they are one of the most imperiled animal groups. The MuCWI, however, is different because it aims to directly restore or enhance the ecosystem services that are provided by healthy beds of mussels. The larger goal of MuCWI, therefore, is not just to promote mussel populations but to promote cleaner water and healthier aquatic ecosystems.

Aquaculture programs, including public and private and partnership programs, also offer a number of opportunities to residents, with a number of initiatives aimed at homeowners and landowners.

• The Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, for example, offers an Oyster Shell Recycling program.

• Peconic Estuary Partnership offers a Homeowner Rewards program as part of their work with the Association of National Estuary Programs (ANEP).

• In Delaware, the Youth Fishing program from The Division of Fish and Wildlife offers free fishing lessons for children and young teens.

• The Chesapeake Bay Foundation offers an Oyster Gardening program for homeowners and landowners, providing education about and technical guidance for revitalizing oyster populations along private docks and waterfronts.

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