Restoration for Fish, Wildlife, and Communities Coming to Seven Polluted Waterways


Good news for a new year! In 2023, NOAA and partners helped to recover over $92.8 million from polluters to restore seven waterways in six states following oil spill and industrial pollution incidents. These restoration efforts will benefit fish, wildlife, and disadvantaged communities disproportionately impacted by pollution.

NOAA and partners worked to assess the impacts of these incidents and reach legal settlements with those responsible to fund restoration. In the past 30+ years, NOAA and co-trustees have helped recover $10.7 billion for restoration across the country.

Restoration of an Urban Waterway to Benefit Underserved Communities in New Jersey

The Lower Passaic River has a long history of industrial contamination. Over time, more than 70 facilities released dioxins and other pollutants into this urban waterway.

But progress continues to be made in the Lower Passaic. A recent $81 million settlement will be used to assess and restore injured natural resources and recreational losses to benefit disadvantaged communities that have been disproportionately impacted by pollution.

Reversing Decades of Pollution Along a Historic Working Waterfront in Massachusetts

Much of the Gloucester Harbor dredging area is shown above (Credit: NOAA)
Gloucester Harbor, Massachusetts was polluted by tars, sludges, and oils from a manufactured gas plant that operated along the waterfront between 1854 and 1952. These long-lasting pollutants are harmful to fish, wildlife, and sediment-dwelling species that depend upon this area for habitat. Cleanup of the contamination concluded in 2017.

Funds from a $5.3 million settlement will be used to further accelerate the recovery of natural resources in this historic working waterfront. Trustees will work with the local community to identify and select potential restoration projects, such as the enhancement of nearby degraded wetlands. A restoration plan will be drafted and released for public comment in late 2024.