Over $8.3 Million Awarded for Coral Reef Projects and Studies
NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program Grants and Cooperative Agreements will address coral reef threats and restoration
The NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program has awarded over $8.3 million in grants and cooperative agreements this year to support conservation projects and scientific studies that benefit coral reef ecosystem management in seven U.S. states and territories, the international Caribbean and Micronesia.
Healthy coral reefs provide billions of dollars in food, jobs, recreational opportunities, coastal protection, and other important goods and services to people around the world. The NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program is leading efforts to study and conserve these precious resources for current and future generations.
The new NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program Strategic Plan will guide the agency's future coral reef research and conservation efforts. It outlines refined strategies to increase resilience to climate change, improve fisheries' sustainability and reduce land-based sources of pollution, while adding a new focus of work—restore viable coral populations. Addressing the top three recognized threats to coral reefs and supporting coral reef restoration are now the four "pillars" of the NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program.
All of the awarded projects support research to address impacts from the three primary threats to coral reefs: global climate change, land-based sources of pollution and unsustainable fishing practices. Additionally, the awards fund direct intervention strategies, like coral reef restoration.
The funds were awarded to state and territorial resource management agencies, non-governmental organizations, community groups, and academic partners. A limited number of international projects focused in Micronesia, Mesoamerica, and the wider Caribbean region were also supported. The awards also build upon long-term partnerships with National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and The Nature Conservancy to cooperatively fund priority coral conservation projects.
The NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program was established in 2000 by the Coral Reef Conservation Act. Headquartered in Silver Spring, Maryland, the program is part of NOAA's Office for Coastal Management.