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Schatz, Hirono, Gabbard Announce Nearly $1.5 Million for Coral Reef Conservation

Washington, D.C – Today, U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), U.S. Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawai‘i), and U.S. Representative Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) announced that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) awarded $1,485,007 in various grants to support coral reef conservation and coastal management in Hawai‘i and throughout the Pacific.

“Coastal communities live by the health of the ocean, reefs, and beaches,” said Senator Brian Schatz.  “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.  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.”

“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 Mazie K. Hirono. “The federal investments announced today will support efforts by the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council, Conservation International Hawaii, the Nature Conservancy in Hawaii, and the University of Hawaii to search for solutions to protect and responsibly manage our ocean environment.”

“Hawai?i’s coral reefs are vital to protecting our coastline, marine life, ecosystem, and local economy,”
said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.  “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. While there is much more that must be done to address the causes of this destruction, this funding will support projects in Hawai?i and in many of our other coastal states and territories that work to protect and conserve our precious reefs.”

The funding includes grants to 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, and will support efforts to improve water quality, fisheries management, and mitigate the impacts of climate change.  Funds will also support the UH Sea Grant Program, as it continues its work to supply science and technical expertise to support resilient coastal communities.