Assistant Secretary Estenoz Celebrates National Park Week, Highlights Investing in America Agenda Investments Across the South

Last edited 04/26/2024

Date: Friday, April 26, 2024

WASHINGTON — Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks Shannon Estenoz wrapped a weeklong tour of national parks throughout Florida, Georgia and South Carolina to celebrate National Park Week and highlight how investments from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda are bolstering nature-based infrastructure to protect communities and habitats. 

In Florida, Assistant Secretary Estenoz visited Biscayne National Park and the Mote Marine Lab at Key Largo to highlight transformational investments through the Inflation Reduction Act to restore corals along the coast. The National Park Service has committed $195 million for climate restoration and resilience projects over the next decade, protecting America’s national parks for generations to come. National parks across the United States will use this funding to prepare for the impacts of climate change, protect species, restore ecosystems and invest in conservation jobs. Many of these projects support restoration and resilience efforts in national parks located in small and rural communities, bringing much-needed investments and jobs that support local American economies. 

In Biscayne National Park, supported by funding from the Inflation Reduction Act, teams of scientists are at work on projects to save coral reefs and are working to build their capacity to protect the millions of species that live primarily on or exclusively in association with them. Coral habitat is significant natural infrastructure, providing shelter, food and breeding and nursery grounds for thousands of marine plants and animals. Coral reefs also protect coastal shorelines and communities from storms. 

Assistant Secretary Estenoz also hosted a roundtable in Orlando, as part of a nationwide tour to hear directly from local stakeholders on the need to connect communities with access to the outdoors and provide information on the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership (ORLP) program and other federal grant opportunities to support locally led recreation, preservation and community development. The ORLP program, established in 2014, enables urban communities to create new outdoor recreation spaces, reinvigorate existing parks, and form connections between people and the outdoors in economically underserved communities. During the visit, Assistant Secretary Estenoz also attended the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force meeting. She is the chair of the intergovernmental body, which was created by Congress to bring together federal, state, Tribal and local governments to help protect and restore the Everglades. 

Assistant Secretary Estenoz also traveled to South Carolina, where she visited the Reconstruction Era National Historical Park in Beaufort County. The park honors the significance of the Reconstruction era, the historic period from 1861-1900 in which the United States grappled with the question of how to integrate millions of newly freed African Americans into social, political, economic, and labor systems. In February, the Department announced five additions to the Reconstruction Era National Historic Network, to recognize and amplify sites and programs throughout the country that share stories of freedom, struggle, education and self-determination associated with this period. 

She also toured Fort Pulaski National Monument in Savannah, Georgia, and Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie National Historical Park in Charleston County, South Carolina.  


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