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 Coral Reef Conservation Fund 2013 Awards Announced

​Nine Projects to be Supported by NOAA and NFWF

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 20, 2013 -- Conservation of coral reefs, which are disappearing from oceans across the planet, will get new support with nearly $1 million in funding announced today by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Coral reefs are some of the most biologically diverse ecosystems in the world. Over the last two decades, they have declined rapidly in the face of unprecedented threats from human activities.  An estimated 19 percent of the world’s reefs have been lost in the last 30 years, and projections put up to 40 percent of remaining reefs at risk over the next 50 years. 

Human-induced impacts from fishing, runoff from land-based activities, and direct demolition are decimating corals faster than they can adapt for survival. But research shows that when these human threats are alleviated, coral reefs are better poised to grow, recover and adapt to changing global conditions.

The nine grants announced today are distributed through the Coral Reef Conservation Fund (Coral Fund), managed jointly by NFWF and NOAA. The grants will go to conservation organizations in the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea to mitigate negative impacts to coral reefs and improve management effectiveness. They were awarded to projects in Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and six countries. The awards include over $400,000 in federal funds leveraged by close to $550,000 in matching contributions for a total of nearly $1 million for on-the-ground projects.

The Coral Fund awards grants to projects that reduce land-based sources of pollution, advance coral reef fisheries management and improve watershed management planning for domestic coral reefs. Non-profit organizations and universities will collaborate with managers and local community members to implement the awards.  

The projects chosen will empower local community groups to manage their coral reefs, put skills learned in workshops to use on the ground, and fill gaps in management in Caribbean coral reef protected areas. In both the Pacific and Caribbean, these awards are intended to increase the local on-the-ground capacity for long-term coral reef conservation. Through this grant, we will be better able to understand the land-based sources of pollution that are impacting corals in Cabo Rojo,”  said Paul Sturm of Puerto Rico’s Ridge to Reefs. “This also means we will be able to continue working with Protectores de Cuencas, Sociedad Ambiente Marino (SAM), local community organizations and stakeholders from Cabo Rojo to begin to mitigate the impacts.”

“Coral ecosystems are valuable resources that face serious threats,” said John Christensen, program manager for NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program. “They provide food, medicines, recreation, marine habitat, coastal protection and cultural value. They sustain livelihoods and economic development. Protecting and conserving coral ecosystems is an urgent issue that is directly addressed by the projects being funded though these grants.”

“We’re proud to support the twelfth year of projects that help conserve coral reefs across the globe,” said NFWF executive director and CEO Jeff Trandahl. “These grants bring managers the resources they need to address the greatest threats to these important and fragile marine ecosystems and help to change the trajectory of decline that reefs are seeing world-wide.”

The Coral Reef Conservation Fund was created to assist NOAA in implementing the Coral Reef Conservation Act of 2000, and is managed by NFWF in partnership with the NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program. To date, the Foundation has awarded close to $14 million in federal and non-federal funds and leveraged over $18 million in matching funds for more than 300 coral conservation projects in seven U.S. states and territories and 36 countries.

About National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources.

About National Fish and Wildlife Foundation  

A nonprofit established by Congress in 1984, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation sustains, restores and enhances the nation's fish, wildlife, plants and habitats.  Through leadership conservation investments with public and private partners, NFWF is dedicated to achieving maximum conservation impact by developing and applying best practices and innovative methods for measurable outcomes.  Since its establishment, NFWF has awarded grants to over 4,000 organizations in the United States and abroad and leveraged – with its partners – more than $618 million in federal funds into more than $2.1 billion for on-the-ground conservation.  For more information, visit www.nfwf.org.

2013 Coral Fund grant recipients

University of San Diego, “Quantifying Watershed Erosion Control Impacts on Coral Reefs (USVI)

U.S. Virgin Islands

Award: $18,055 Match: $18,102

Assess the effectiveness of watershed erosion control best management practices through marine and terrestrial monitoring in Coral Bay, USVI.

Ridges to Reefs,Develop a Watershed Action Plan for Cabo Rojo (PR)

Puerto Rico

Award: $75,000 Match: $75,000

Develop a watershed management plan to identify goals for coral reef health in Cabo Rojo and priority projects and actions to meet these goals.

Napili Bay and Beach Foundation, Inc., “Storm Runoff Remediation in Napili Bay - II (HI)

Hawaii

Award: $28,000 Match: $28,000

Finalize streambed remediation to complete planned flora restoration, and expand Napili Bay health monitoring efforts to include assessment of nutrient pollutants in runoff.

Rare, “Rare's Program for Island Resilience in Micronesia

Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands

Award: $50,000 Match: $50,000

Work to address threats to marine resources at 11 sites in Micronesia by promoting management area effectiveness and directly addressing threats to local reefs and fisheries.

Conservation International (CI), “Building Networks for Coral Conservation in New Guinea

Papua New Guinea

Award: $50,000 Match: $56,000

Strengthen and establish a successful coral reef conservation area covering 140,000 square hectares  and test a low-cost model for a self-propagating community-based conservation network for the Papua New Guinea region.

Indonesia Locally Managed Marine Area Foundation, “Conserving Coral Reefs in Indonesia through Resilient Managed Areas

Indonesia

Award: $41,000 Match: $82,000

Design and implementation of resilient protected area zoning and regulatory practices  for over 70,000 square hectares of coral reef and associated habitats in three  Indonesian focal areas.

OceansWatch, “Implementing Locally Managed Marine Area practices in the Solomon Islands

Solomon Islands

Award: $40,000 Match: $40,000

Implement a network of local community stewards of coral reefs to monitor and manage resources. The project will incorporate customary fishing rights.

Sustainable Grenadines Inc., “Strengthening Reef Management in the Grenada Bank - II

Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Award: $72,200 Match: $76,000

Build reef management capacity in the Grenada Bank by strengthening  coral reef area networks through monitoring & evaluation, education outreach & decision-making for sustained marine and coastal conservation.

Toledo Institute for Development and Environment, “Financial Sustainability of the Port Honduras Marine Reserve

Belize

Award: $28,800 Match: $100,660

Develop a paying volunteer program to provide sustainable financing for the Port Honduras Marine Reserve and human resources for biodiversity monitoring and coral reef conservation.

On the Web:

Coral Reef Conservation Fund

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation

NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program