NOAA 2004-R102
Contact: Connie Barclay

NOAA News Releases 2004
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Funding Will Benefit Conservation and Research

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) will award more than $900,000 to six Atlantic coast states and two territories to conserve and protect threatened and endangered marine species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). For the first time in the history of the ESA, Congress provided funding to NOAA Fisheries specifically for the implementation of a program, under section 6 of the Act, to foster state cooperation in national conservation efforts. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The funds, which will be matched in a 3:1 cost-share (state to federal funding) for positive water borne conservation and research efforts on ESA-listed marine species along the Atlantic coast and U.S. Caribbean Territories. Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland, Massachusetts, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands will receive funding for work on shortnose and Atlantic sturgeon, smalltooth sawfish, as well as leatherback, loggerhead, Kemp’s ridley and green sea turtles.

Projects range from gathering information on habitat use, tracking movements and distribution of sturgeon and sawfish to determining habitat preference, identifying interactions with gillnet fisheries, and tracking sea turtles. Education of the public about species conservation is a primary component of many projects.

“NOAA Fisheries is very pleased to be a part of this new cooperative program that will help marine species,” said Bill Hogarth, assistant administrator for NOAA Fisheries. “Anytime the states and the federal government can work together to conserve and protect our nation’s marine life, we all win.”

Section 6 of the act is a mechanism for the federal government to encourage states to further national goals of conserving and protecting marine species. Currently, seven states and two territories are eligible for Section 6 grants.

To submit a grant proposal, a state must enter into a cooperative agreement with NOAA Fisheries that demonstrates a commitment to conservation and an ability to implement and monitor such programs. The funding of these projects was conducted through a competitive proposal process. NOAA Fisheries plans to continue and expand the Section 6 program in the future, and welcomes agreements with any state interested in conserving their marine species.

This first year of funding for state grants serves as a reminder of the importance of local as well as national conservation efforts. The projects receiving funding this year will be completed by researchers familiar with conservation issues in their state. Locally-based, grassroots conservation efforts are an integral part of conserving threatened and endangered species under the ESA.

NOAA Fisheries is dedicated to protecting and preserving our nation’s living marine resources, and the habitat on which they depend, through scientific research, management and enforcement. Our stewardship of these resources benefits the nation by supporting coastal communities that depend upon them, while helping to provide safe and healthy seafood to consumers and recreational opportunities for the American public.

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.

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