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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has awarded three grants totaling $310,822; $4.6 million; and $967,073 to the Seward Association for the Advancement of Marine Science. NOAA is an agency of the Commerce Department.

The funds from these grants will be used in support of the Marine Mammal Data Program. This research will enable Federal managers and the public to have access to current information about harbor seals in various Alaskan habitats. In addition these grants will fund marine mammal rescue operations.

“NOAA and the Bush Administration are working to improve the understanding of our environment to strengthen local and regional initiatives such as the Seward Association for the Advancement of Marine Science,” said retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “This grant to the Seward Association will help advance knowledge critical to those efforts in Alaska to research and protect marine mammals.”

The first grant, totaling $310,822, will be used to support the use of remote video cameras to observe harbor seals at Aialik Bay and evaluate such things as population and demographic changes that have occurred since 1979 baseline studies and changes in the frequency of and response of seals to vessel traffic in upper Aialik Bay associated with visitation of the Kenai Fjords National Park. In addition, this grant will fund collaborative research with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to develop techniques for multi-year monitoring of population vital rates and to obtain tissue and serum samples from free-ranging seals in declining, stable and increasing populations.

The second grant, totaling more than $4.6 million will enable the Seward Association for the Advancement of Marine Science to become increasingly involved in providing sounds data that will enable the Federal managers to have fair and realistic management options for the future of this species.

The final grant, totaling $967,073, will fund a program through which the Alaska SeaLife Center rescues, treats and releases stranded marine mammals. The study of these stranded animals provide insight into the physiology and ecology of their species. Through outreach and educational programs made possible by this grant, the Association increases public knowledge of the marine environment and public awareness of its importance to Alaska’s ecosystem.

The Alaska SeaLife Center is a non-profit marine science facility dedicated to understanding and maintaining the integrity of the marine ecosystem of Alaska through research, rehabilitation and public education.

Each year, NOAA awards approximately $900 million in grants to members of the academic, scientific and business communities to assist the agency in fulfilling its mission to study the Earth’s natural systems in order to predict environmental change, manage ocean resources, protect life and property and provide decision makers with reliable scientific information. NOAA goals and programs reflect a commitment to these basic responsibilities of science and service to the nation for the past 33 years.

The Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources. To learn more about NOAA, please visit

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NOAA Administrator, Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D.: