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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is awarding a grant of $964,713 to the National Coral Reef Institute of Nova Southeastern University to conduct a variety of scientific research programs and projects that protect and preserve coral reefs around the nation. NOAA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.
NCRI works to protect and preserve coral reefs through applied and basic research on coral reef diversity, assessment, monitoring and restoration. Its research projects on coral reef assessment monitoring and restoration meet the goals and objectives of the Coral Reef Conservation Act of 2000 and enhance efforts of the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force to enable better stewardship of the nation's coral reefs.
“Coral reefs are important indicators of environmental health and this grant funds research and efforts that will help us learn more about this valuable resource,” said retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., undersecretary of commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “NOAA and the Bush administration are working to improve the understanding of our environment through research and collaborative funding. Our NOAA grants program allows us to support and strengthen regional initiatives like coral reef protection and preservation.”
NCRI undertakes and facilitates scientific research in emerging reef issues and technologies.
“NCRI provides a solid science focus, documented results, and innovative approaches to facilitate understanding and management of the unprecedented stresses on coral reefs over local to global scales,” said NCRI Executive Director, Dr. Richard Dodge.
These include the study of minimally impacted, stressed and imminently endangered reefs. Priorities include assessing and monitoring biodiversity (especially as it affects and interacts with ecological processes), overall reef function, reef recovery and restoration.
“NCRI is grateful to NOAA and Florida’s congressional delegation especially, Congressman Clay Shaw and Florida’s two U.S. senators, for their continued support of this important mission,” said Dr. Dodge. “Coral reefs are truly a national treasure and scientific research is essential to the continued stewardship of this incredibly valuable resource. A recent estimate indicates reef-related expenditures on Southeast Florida’s coral reefs alone generated over $4.4 billion annually from recreational diving, fishing, boating and tourism.”
Having just celebrated its fifth anniversary, NCRI was originally established by Congressional mandate in 1998. NCRI collaborates with various branches of NOAA (the National Marine Fisheries Service, the World Data Center for Paleoclimatology, and the National Oceanographic Data Center); U.S. Navy Office of Naval Research; Broward County Department of Planning and Environmental Protection; National Fish and Wildlife Foundation; U.S. Geological Survey; the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources; the State of Florida; the National Park Service; the South Florida Ocean Measurement Center; U.S. Navy Carderock Division; Florida Atlantic University; University of South Florida; and the University of Miami. The research programs are conducted and coordinated by the NCRI, a division within NSU’s Oceanographic Center. The Center for Sponsored Coastal Ocean Research, part of NOAA's National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science within the National Ocean Service, administers and supports the award.
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’s goals and programs reflect a commitment to these basic responsibilities of science and service to the nation for the past 34 years.
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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