Interior Provides $1.3 Million in Funding to Protect Coral Reefs in Insular Areas

Elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata), one of the Caribbean’s most important reef-building species. (Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
Elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata), one of the Caribbean’s most important reef-building species. (Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

Insular and International Affairs has approved $1,345,256 in fiscal year 2018 grant funding under the Coral Reef and Natural Resources initiative to the U.S. territories and the freely associated states, according to a press release issued by Doug Domenech, assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Office of Insular Affairs (OIA) Director Nik Pula was in American Samoa this week to co-chair the 40th U.S. Coral Reef Task Force meeting where he announced the funding.

“The Assistant Secretary and I are pleased to provide these grants to the U.S. territories and the freely associated states and help protect coral reefs and marine resources,” said Director Pula. “From rehabilitation of corals, to outreach, restoration, and removal of invasive species and pests, these projects support an important aspect [of] economies and livelihood for people in the islands.”

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U.S. Virgin Islands Division of Coastal Zone Management is allocated $122,791 to support coral restoration and coral nursery operations, and 2) participation in the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force meetings.

Earlier this year, $200,000 was provided to support the 2018-2020 National Coral Reef Management Fellowship Program in American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Funds are made available through the Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs’ Coral Reef and Natural Resources Initiative. Applications are generally submitted from October through May 1 each year.

Funds are awarded once OIA receives appropriations from the U.S. Congress until they are exhausted.

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