Nearly $21.4 Million Awarded for Coral Reef Projects and Studies

NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program Grants and Cooperative Agreements will address coral reef threats and restoration

Elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata) is an important reef building coral, particularly in Florida and the Caribbean.
Elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata) is an important reef building coral, particularly in Florida and the Caribbean. Photo credit: NOAA/George Cathcart

The NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program has awarded nearly $21.4 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, and internationally in the Caribbean, the Coral Triangle, the South Pacific, and Micronesia. Awards were also provided for conferences, fellowship programs, and special projects focused on coral reef conservation.

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. A U.S. Geological Survey study determined that U.S. coral reefs annually provide flood protection to over 18,000 Americans and $1.8 billion worth of coastal infrastructure. The NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program is leading efforts to study and conserve these precious resources for current and future generations.

All of the awarded projects support research to address impacts from the three primary threats to coral reefs: global environmental change, land-based sources of pollution, and unsustainable fishing practices. Additionally, the awards fund direct intervention strategies, such as coral reef restoration.

As the world focuses the next decade on ecosystem restoration and ocean science for sustainable development, NOAA will continue to fund, research, and conduct the latest coral restoration techniques to maintain viable coral reef ecosystems.

The funds were awarded to state and territorial resource management agencies, non-governmental organizations, community groups, and academic partners. These awards also build upon long-term partnerships with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and The Nature Conservancy to cooperatively fund priority coral conservation projects.

View the 2021 grant awards here: