The 2016 coral reef grants and cooperative agreements issued by the NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program include work to monitor the condition of reefs, promote reef resilience in the face of a changing climate, and enhance sustainable fisheries. (Credit: NOAA)
The NOAA Coral Reef Conservation program is awarding more than $9.3 million in grants and cooperative agreements to support conservation projects and studies to benefit coral reef ecosystem management in seven U.S. states and territories, the Caribbean and Micronesia. Recipients will provide nearly $6 million in additional support.
All projects focus on the three primary threats to coral reefs: global climate change, land-based sources of pollution and unsustainable fishing practices, and highly threatened coral regions and watersheds.
“We’ve funded projects that are going to help coral scientists and managers move the conservation needle by doing the kinds of research and on-the-ground activities that it takes to reduce a diverse set of threats,” said Jennifer Koss, director of the NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program. “Taking steps today to build and keep coral reefs healthy and resilient directly affects the overall health of the ocean and all of us who depend on it.”
Examples of funded projects include studies to investigate the genetic makeup of disease resistant and thermal tolerant corals, efforts in the Pacific and U.S. Caribbean to aid management strategies in the face of a changing climate, and the development of strategies to support marine protected area management and sustainable fisheries.
The awards also build upon long-term partnerships with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and The Nature Conservancy to fund priority coral conservation projects.
Nearly half of the funds awarded this year directly support coral reef conservation projects led by state and territorial resource management agencies. Other conservation projects are led by non-governmental organizations, community groups, and academic partners. A limited number of international projects in Micronesia, Central America and the wider Caribbean region are also supported.
NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program has awarded more than $112 million of federal funding through competitive opportunities since 2002. All proposals underwent extensive and rigorous technical review by a team of NOAA scientists.