East Hawaii News

$1.5M in NOAA Coral Reef Support Announced

December 11, 2015, 4:11 PM HST
* Updated December 11, 4:12 PM
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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has awarded $1,485,007 in grant money in support of coral reef conservation and coastal management through Hawai’i and the Pacific.

United States Senators Brian Schatz and Mazie Hirono, along with United States Representative Tulsi Gabbard, made the announcement of the funds Friday.

Funding will provide support to a variety of groups for conservation efforts, including the Department of Land and Natural Resources, the University of Hawai‘i, The Nature Conservancy of Hawai‘i, and the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council.

The Congressional delegation also says a portion of the funds will go to the UH Sea Grant Program as it continues its work to supply science and technical expertise to support resilient coastal communities.

According to Senator Schatz, communities in coastal areas live by the health of the ocean, reefs, and beaches.

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“The variety of Hawai‘i institutions that have received funding demonstrates our state’s deep commitment and understanding that coastal management and conservation depends on all of us,” said Senator Schatz. “I hope that grantees use this opportunity to make real progress for a better environment, and to help grow public understanding and commitment to our oceans and beaches.”

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Representative Gabbard noted that the reefs in Hawai’i are an important factor in the protection of coastline, marine lines, ecosystem and the state’s economy.

“Warmer than normal ocean temperatures have put the survival of our reefs at serious risk, especially following a major coral bleaching event just last year,” Representative Gabbard said. “While there is much more that must be done to address the causes of this destruction, this funding will support projects in Hawaiʻi and in many of our other coastal states and territories that work to protect and conserve our precious reefs.”

Funds will support improvements to water quality, fisheries management, and to mitigate the impacts of climate change.

“Climate change and other manmade threats pose a serious risk to Hawaii’s coral reefs and fisheries, vital parts of our state’s ecosystem and economy,” said Senator Hirono. “The federal investments announced today will support efforts by the Hawa’ii Department of Land and Natural Resources, Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council, Conservation International Hawai’i, the Nature Conservancy in Hawai’i, and the University of Hawai’i to search for solutions to protect and responsibly manage our ocean environment.”

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