The waters that stretch from the coast to several miles offshore in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean Sea harbor some of the most essential habitats on Earth. Seagrass meadows, kelp forests, mangroves, salt marshes, and coral and oyster reefs provide food and shelter for countless species of fish, seabirds, and marine mammals while safeguarding coastal communities for storms, flooding, and erosion.
But these diverse habitats face existential threats, including coastal development, storms, and sea-level rise, which are growing more extreme because of climate change. From 2018 to 2023, The Pew Charitable Trusts’ conserving marine life in the U.S. project worked to expand or advance federal and state laws and regulations aimed at protecting these assets and the benefits they provide to humans and marine life. By engaging policymakers and stakeholders, supporting and integrating science-based decision-making, and strengthening public education and outreach, Pew and its partners helped to protect these valuable nearshore resources for today and into the future.
Much of the project’s work continues as part of Pew’s U.S. conservation's project.