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Contact: Aja Sae-Kung
News Releases 2003
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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has awarded $212,253 to California Coastkeeper Alliance to help the group restore portions of southern California’s underwater giant kelp forests. NOAA is an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department.
Funds will be used to continue the Alliance’s Southern California Regional Kelp Restoration Project that relies on highly motivated volunteers from the local community to help restore the kelp forests. Volunteer divers, students, scientists, government, private donors and individual supporters all play a crucial role.
“This type of local initiative is the backbone of NOAA’s marine habitat restoration program,” said retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “This partnership award helps the California Coastkeeper Alliance and members of the community restore a resource that plays such a vital role to the sea life in the area.”
The award marks the final year of a three-year cooperative partnership between the California Coastkeeper Alliance and the NOAA Restoration Center to implement kelp habitat restoration projects to benefit a wide variety of marine resources in southern California. California Coastkeeper Alliance and its member organizations will continue to work with NOAA Fisheries under its Community-based Restoration Program to identify appropriate sites, and implement and monitor kelp habitat restoration projects under the partnership
“As we begin to come to terms with the pressures our growing global population places on the oceans resources, we have not only an opportunity, but also a responsibility to protect and restore our invaluable marine ecosystems,” said Chantal Collier, biologist and kelp project manager for the California Coastkeeper Alliance.“ Our partnership with NOAA makes it possible to promote stewardship of the marine environment in local communities through our kelp forest ecology education programs and hands-on participation in kelp restoration.”
Urban runoff, layers of toxic sediment and overfishing have caused many kelp forests to disappear along the Southern California coast over last three decades. Between 1967 and 1999, kelp forests decreased in Southern California by 80 percent, with some areas reaching near destruction. Human impacts make it difficult for kelp forests to recover after pressure from natural events such as large storms and warm water El Niño events.
The California Coastkeeper Alliance was formed in 1999 and is a coalition of local waterkeepers dedicated to protecting and restoring the quality of California’s aquatic ecosystems. The California Coastkeeper Alliance provides a network of support among southern California waterkeepers and presents a unified voice on regional issues. Members include San Diego Baykeeper, Orange County Coastkeeper, Santa Monica Baykeeper, Ventura Coastkeeper and Santa Barbara Channelkeeper. To learn more about the California Coastkeeper Alliance, please visit http://www.cacoastkeeper.org.
The NOAA Fisheries Community-based Restoration Program (CRP), a financial and technical assistance program within the NOAA Fisheries Office of Habitat Conservation, promotes strong partnerships at the national, regional and local level to fund grassroots, community-based activities. The NOAA-funded projects provide strong on-the-ground habitat restoration components that offer educational and social benefits for people and their communities in addition to long-term ecological benefits for fishery resources. More information about the CRP can be found at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/habitat/restoration.
In fiscal year 2003, NOAA has awarded more than 618 grants totaling more than $303 million 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.
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