Restore America's Estuaries


Mission Statement

Restore America’s Estuaries is dedicated to the protection and restoration of bays and estuaries as essential resources for our nation.


About Us
Founded in 1995, Restore America’s Estuaries is a national alliance of 10 coastal conservation groups dedicated to restoring and preserving America’s estuaries and coasts. Restore America’s Estuaries (RAE) is a powerful voice for coastal habitat restoration in the nation’s capital.
RAE member organizations restore coastal habitats in 11 estuaries and 16 states nationwide. Stretching from Maine to California, we have unmatched national reach and effectiveness; our local projects restore coastal wetlands, open fish passages, remove invasive species, build living shorelines, transplant seagrasses, replant salt marshes, and restore shellfish habitat.
As the leader of a national alliance, we are a powerful force for coastal habitat restoration in the nation’s capital. We provide a unified voice for coastal conservation in Washington D.C. and advance the science and practice of habitat restoration through on-the-ground projects, groundbreaking science, high-level meetings, and our biennial National Coastal and Estuarine Summit.

Accomplishments and Future Goals

Through extensive projects and community events, Restore America’s Estuaries has effectively changed the future course of our nation’s estuaries. We have advanced, funded, and implemented on-the-ground restoration projects on a national basis and addressed emerging issues, including climate change and estuary economics. Together with our partners we have united the coastal restoration community, key government decision-makers, and citizens behind coastal and estuarine habitat restoration issues. In the future, we hope to continue these widespread conservation efforts in order to preserve our nation’s estuarine habitats for the enjoyment of future generations to come.

Message from the President

As if to grasp the coastline, the ocean reaches out for the land, with estuaries as its fingers and hands. In this unique nexus — characterized by the dynamic mixing of salt and freshwater in tidal cycles — abundant life is created and nurtured.
They are renowned for the young fish and shellfish that they rear, but it is also our own youthful spirit that is nourished by sailing, fishing, swimming, or relaxing in a placid marsh or rocky shore. We are from the sea, and are continually lured back to its edge, unable to defy the kinship we share with this place.
And yet, no place on earth more directly embodies the challenge of balancing our own lives with the lives of our fellow species than estuaries. By 2075, 75% of our nation will live within 50 miles of the coast. Without delay, we must solve the conundrum of developing coastlines while also protecting and restoring the very habitat that draws us there.
It’s time to devote ourselves to our coasts — which are increasingly OUR primary habitat. This will require no less than redefining our relationship with these special places. We hope you enjoy your journey into the amazing world of estuaries — our coastal sanctuaries.

Program Details

RAE’s strategic plan outlines our programmatic priorities, which include: Community-Based Restoration, Blue Carbon, Living Shorelines, National Estuaries Week, Water Quality, and our biennial National Summit. By focusing our efforts in these areas, RAE is creating significant impacts at both the local and national levels. Community-Based Restoration Program RAE believes that restoration of our nation’s estuaries is best accomplished at the local level, by the people and organizations who have the strongest connection to them. We therefore work through our member groups and other partner organizations to support restoration projects that are community-based from design to execution. RAE supports impactful projects such as salt marsh planting, dam removal, oyster and scallop restoration, invasive species removal, and living shoreline creation. Further, these projects are conducted with the assistance of tens of thousands of volunteers from local communities, including groups or representatives from schools, scouts, houses of worship, corporations, neighborhood associations, and other community organizations. We therefore through these efforts are not only able to bring about meaningful on-the-ground results in vital coastal areas, but also to engage community members in the protection of their local natural resources.  Blue Carbon – RAE seeks to continue advancing the science and practice of "blue carbon." Blue Carbon is the ability of tidal wetlands and seagrass habitats to sequester and store carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, helping to mitigate the effects of climate change. Blue Carbon ecosystems – seagrass beds, mangroves, salt marshes, and other tidal wetlands – capture atmospheric carbon and store it in the ground at rates 10 times greater than forests on a per area basis. Unlike forests, wetlands' primary carbon storage is in the soils (rather than in the above-ground plant materials) where it can remain stored for centuries or more. When these ecosystems are drained or degraded, the stored carbon can be rapidly released back into the atmosphere - sometimes releasing centuries’ worth of stored carbon in only a few decades. Protecting our remaining coastal wetland ecosystems therefore not only protects the ecosystem services provided by these habitats (improved water quality, storm protection, key marine habitat, etc.), but can also be a way to mitigate climate change. Living Shorelines – RAE is a national leader in promoting the effectiveness and use of living shorelines, which are a series of approaches that allow for natural coastal processes to remain through the strategic placement of plants, stone, sand fill, and other structural and organic materials. The goal is to retain much of the wind, tide, and storm-related wave protection of a hard structure, while maintaining some of the features of natural shorelines. National Estuaries Week – RAE leads the organization, planning, and promotion of National Estuaries Week, an annual campaign to help protect and restore many of America’s most iconic and important bodies of water. RAE leverages National Estuaries Week to build support and awareness among key decision makers and the general public nationwide regarding the importance of estuaries to local communities, as well as to the nation and the world; the urgent threats faced by these priceless areas and the natural resources they contain and protect; and the ways that these threats can be countered. National Estuaries Week occurs each year during the third week of September. Through support of, communications with, and coordination with our member groups and a host of other partner organizations, RAE looks to continue and build upon the impressive track record of on-the-ground, community engagement, and awareness-building impact we have consistently brought about through National Estuaries Week.  Water Quality – RAE supports efforts to improve water quality in important estuaries nationwide. Examples of water quality projects include efforts to: remove and/or prevent the introduction of tens of thousands of feet of monofilament from the waters and coasts of bird sanctuaries and colonial nesting areas around Tampa Bay; remove marine debris contaminated with the highly toxic chemical creosote from areas of Puget Sound that are vital feeding and breeding areas for killer whales, salmon, and many other fish and wildlife species; and engage hundreds of community volunteers to remove abandoned crab traps and other marine debris from the waters and coasts of Galveston Bay.  National Summit – The National Coastal and Estuarine Summit is the largest international gathering of coastal professionals. The Summit brings together 1,000+ people, including those involved in policy, science, strategy, business, and on-the-ground restoration and management, for a week of networking, learning, and hands-on opportunities. There are more than 100 sessions designed to engage and inspire, poster sessions, an award-winning exhibition hall, receptions, and more.
Primary Issue
Secondary Issue
Climate Change
2300 Clarendon Blvd Ste. 603
Arlington, VA 22201
United States
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