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Sunday, July 21, 2024


Aug. 5, 2002 – The environment came up a winner locally, thanks to $369,000 worth of grants from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and a $100,000 grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The Nature Conservancy tops the list of foundation grant recipients, with $162,000 for a program to locate and characterize important sites where fish spawn in both the U.S. and British Virgin Islands.
"Beyond the political boundaries, they are the same system," said Stephanie Wear, a protected areas specialist at The Nature Conservancy. She said once the spawning sites are determined, the information will be forwarded to decision makers for use in development of natural resource management plans.
The Friends of the V.I. National Park on St. John will receive $127,000 foundation grant to help install hurricane and other moorings at the Coral Reef National Monument. Joe Kessler, Friends president, was out of the office Monday but recently said the group needed $130,000 to finish funding the project. It already has received a $58,000 grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for the work.
The plan calls for the installation of hurricane moorings in Hurricane Hole's Princess Bay and in Borck, Otter and Water Creeks. The mooring system will hold about 100 boats up to 75 feet long. Ten or more overnight moorings also would be installed for use at non-hurricane times. The plan also includes up to 10 fishing moorings in an area that runs from Ram's Head to Cabrite Point on St. John's South Side and two dive moorings at Eagle Shoals off the Coral Bay area and at Booby Rock outside of Salt Pond.
The V.I. office of The Ocean Conservancy, located on St. John, will get a $60,000 foundation grant to produce a 50-page "State of the Reef" publication. It will report on the state of the reefs in the Virgin Islands, including current threats to coral reefs, current research and monitoring activities, and information about various coral reef conservation efforts. Nick Drayton, who heads Ocean Conservancy activities in the territory, could not be reached for further details.
The University of the Virgin Islands will get a $20,000 foundation grant for its Linking Children with the Sea program. The funding will be used to create interactive and critical thinking activities for elementary students to educate them about the marine environment and their role in it. Further information was not available.
Congress created the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation in 1984 to benefit the conservation of fish, wildlife, plants and the habitats on which they depend. It awards funds to projects that benefit conservation education, habitat protection and restoration, and natural resource management.
The $100,000 NOAA grant goes to the Planning and Natural Resources Department to study, identify and assess grouper and snapper breeding aggregations and spawning habits in the Virgin Islands. No once could be reached at the department's Fish and Wildlife Division for further information.
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