FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Connie Barclay
News Releases 2005
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The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced today the funding of 31 grants – with a total value of more than $3 million – through the jointly managed Coral Reef Conservation Fund. The grants will go to conservation organizations and local governments in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea to help restore damaged coral reef ecosystems and to prevent further negative impacts to reefs.
Coral Fund projects build public-private partnerships, increase community awareness and provide solutions to localized threats to coral reefs and associated habitats. Special emphasis is placed on projects demonstrating a hands-on, measurable approach to reducing land-based pollution, improving the management of coral reef protected areas or installing mooring buoys to protect reefs from anchor damage.
The 31 grants are awarded to projects in 12 countries, one U.S. territory, and two freely associated states. The awards include $1.1 million in federal funds leveraged by an additional $2.1 million in matching contributions for a total of $3.2 million in on-the-ground projects. New funding partners in 2005 include the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Hawai’i Coastal Restoration Fund, a mitigation fund partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
“From the Florida Keys to the western Pacific Islands, these projects will help local communities protect their valuable coral reefs and the economies that depend on them,” said retired Navy Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Jr., Ph.D., under secretary of commerce and NOAA administrator. “NOAA is pleased to continue this partnership with the Foundation, federal agencies, and many other partners to advance cooperative conservation of coral reefs in the U.S. and internationally.”
“We’re pleased to support projects that address coral reef conservation across the globe for a fifth year,” said Foundation Executive Director John Berry. “These grants are designed to identify and address the greatest threats to these very important and fragile marine habitats. Working at the community level, such as through Hawaii “makai watch” volunteers, local citizens will be monitoring reefs to reduce degradation along the state’s coastlines.”
The Coral Reef Conservation Fund was created to assist NOAA in implementing the Coral Reef Conservation Act of 2000 and is managed by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation in partnership with the NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program. To date, the Foundation has awarded more than $12 million in federal and non-federal matching funds for 140 coral conservation projects in 28 countries, seven U.S. trusts or territories, and four U.S. states.
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation will be accepting Coral Reef Conservation Fund proposals for 2006 beginning in November 2005. The three priorities identified for 2006 funding include: supporting hands-on, measurable watershed approaches to reducing land-based pollution and sedimentation to adjacent coral reefs and associated habitats; funding efforts to measure and improve the management of coral reef protected areas; and establishing mooring buoys as part of the “Anchors Away!” partnership, a project of the White Water to Blue Water Initiative. Coral Reef Conservation Fund application directions and forms will be available online at: www.nfwf.org/programs/coral.cfm. For more information about the program, contact Leslie Ricketts via e-mail at email@example.com.
NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program is a partnership between the NOAA line offices working on coral reef issues, including the National Ocean Service, the National Marine Fisheries Service, the 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.
Each year NOAA, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, 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 35 years.
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is a nonprofit organization established by Congress in 1984 and dedicated to the conservation of fish, wildlife and plants, and the habitat on which they depend. The Foundation creates partnerships between the public and private sectors to strategically invest in conservation and the sustainable use of natural resources. The Foundation distributed 709 grants in 2004 and has leveraged over $300 million in federal funds since its establishment, for a total of more than $1 billion in on-the-ground and in-the-water conservation.
2005 grant recipients:
GULF OF MEXICO/CARIBBEAN SEA