NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program is awarding more than $10.5 million in grants to support coral conservation projects and scientific studies in seven U.S. states and territories, as well as international projects in the Caribbean, Micronesia and the western and south Pacific.
Grant and cooperative agreement recipients are also providing more than $6.5 million in matching support — a total of $17 million for these critical projects.
These projects and studies will help address the three primary threats to coral reefs: a changing global climate, land-based sources of pollution, and unsustainable fishing practices. The awards will also fund activities to heal and restore damaged coral reefs.
“Americans are intrinsically connected to the nation’s coral reefs through tourism and recreation, coastal flood and storm protection, and seafood production,” said Jennifer Koss, director of the NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program. “We are proud to support the nation’s blue economy by funding research and activities that help sustain coral reef ecosystems by reducing local threats and advancing conservation strategies.”
Among other projects, the studies focus on the loss of coral reef from disease, and how water quality and environmental change can affect reefs. All of the proposals submitted for funding underwent extensive and rigorous technical review.
Nearly half the funds will support projects led by state and territorial resource management agencies, while other projects will be run by non-governmental organizations, community groups and academic partners. A limited number of international projects will also support work in Micronesia, the south Pacific, the Coral Triangle region in the western Pacific, and the wider Caribbean region. The awards will also build on long-term project partnerships with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and The Nature Conservancy.
The NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program’s mission is to protect, conserve, and restore coral reef resources by maintaining healthy ecosystem function.
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