Contact Us:

  Habitat Conservation Division
  263 13th Avenue South 
  Saint Petersburg, FL  33701

  Phone: (727) 824-5317
  Fax: (727) 824-5300


The goal of the Habitat Conservation Division is to protect, conserve, restore, and create habitats and ecosystems vital to self sustaining populations of living marine resources under NOAA Fisheries’ stewardship.

The Division seeks to minimize habitat losses and the successful enhancement, restoration, and creation of fishery habitats, accommodating sustainable development while seeking no-net-loss of wetlands and other aquatic sites.

The review, advisory, and consultative services provided by the Division to effect conservation and enhancement of fishery habitat largely uses laws such as:

  • Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act
  • Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act
  • Clean Water Act
  • Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection, and Restoration Act
  • Federal Power Act
  • National Environmental Policy Act
  • Coral Reef Conservation Act

NOAA Fisheries has delineated "essential fish habitat" (EFH) for Federally-managed species. Within the area encompassed by the Southeast Region, EFH has been identified for hundreds of marine species covered by fishery management plans, under the auspices of the Gulf of Mexico, South Atlantic, or Caribbean Fishery Management Councils, and for highly migratory species.  Federal action agencies which fund, permit, or carry out activities in the Southeast Region that may adversely affect EFH are required to consult with the Habitat Conservation Division regarding the potential impacts of their actions on EFH.

Regulatory programs do not address the full spectrum of conservation challenges nor do they provide all the tools needed for comprehensive habitat conservation.  Thus, partnerships are an important mechanism for protecting and conserving aquatic habitat, while continuing to provide ecological and economic benefits.  Increased demands on capabilities and new conservation challenges (e.g., climate change, prolonged droughts, and population growth) require engagement from the broader stewardship community.  The Division works with a variety of partnership entities comprising various federal, state, local, private, and non-profit groups.  The Division strives to accommodate those partnerships that possess the greatest potential to protect coastal fishery habitats.