NOAA 2004-R480
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Ben Sherman
9/15/04

NOAA News Releases 2004
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NOAA CORAL PROGRAM AWARDS $9 MILLION IN REEF CONSERVATION GRANTS

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association’s Coral Reef Conservation Program announced today it will award almost $9 million in grants to partners for coral reef conservation and research activities in fiscal year 2004. NOAA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Funds will support a range of activities in the public, private and non-profit sectors, from community conservation projects to large-scale coral reef observation systems, and include support for three coral reef research institutes funded by NOAA in Hawaii, Florida and Puerto Rico. The awards reflect NOAA’s strong support for coral reef conservation efforts outside the agency, and represent over thirty percent of the CRCP’s budget of $28 million in 2004.

“Coral reefs are spectacular marine ecosystems in terms of their diversity, productivity, and economic value. Unfortunately, reefs have deteriorated significantly worldwide over the last several decades, and it is critical that we understand the underlying factors that regulate reef ecosystems in order to protect remaining healthy reefs and reverse further decline in degraded reefs,” said retired Navy vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “NOAA and the Bush Administration are working to improve the understanding of this critical environmental ecosystem through the Coral Reef Conservation Program.”

“Coral reefs are some of our most economically valuable and biologically diverse marine ecosystems, but they are severely threatened in the U.S. and globally,” said Tim Keeney, deputy assistant secretary for oceans and atmosphere. “NOAA recognizes the importance of supporting research and management activities with our partners to better understand and reverse coral reef decline, and build resilient reef ecosystems for the future.”

In Florida the CRCP will invest more than $3.2 million through external grant awards and NOAA programs including mapping and monitoring of coral reef ecosystems, scientific and socio-economic research, support for effective management and enforcement in marine reserves, reef restoration and educational outreach efforts. Funding for the National Coral Reef Institute, based in Florida at Nova Southeastern University, was announced in July at almost $1 million.

The Coral Reef Conservation Program is a partnership of NOAA’s line offices working on coral reef issues, including the National Ocean Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research and the National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service. The program supports effective management and sound science to preserve, sustain and restore valuable coral reef ecosystems.

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.

On the web:

NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program: http://www.coralreef.noaa.gov

NOAA: http://www.noaa.gov