WASHINGTON (Press Release) — The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs  has announced $2,772,443 in Coral Reef and Natural Resources Initiative grant funds to protect coral reef resources in the U.S. territories and the freely associated states. The funding includes $1,541,421 that will support efforts to control and eradicate invasive species in the insular areas.

“Supporting healthy coral reefs and protecting natural resources from invasive species are essential components to confront climate change effectively,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary Keone Nakoa. “Due to their island geographies and the increasing frequency and severity of natural disasters, families in the U.S. territories and the freely associated states are particularly vulnerable to the existential threat of climate change. I am pleased to announce these FY 2021 funding awards, which help to address this priority for the Biden-Harris administration.”

Coral Reef and Natural Resources Initiative awards totaling $1,231,022 for fiscal year 2021 have been awarded as follows: 

o          Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands  Government’s Coral Reef Initiative - $113,290

o          Ridge to Reefs, non-governmental organization, for decreasing land-based sources of pollution impacting the coral reef in American Samoa - $115,879

o          Nova Southeastern University Coral Reef Fellowship Program for the benefit of American Samoa, Guam, the CNMI, and the U.S. Virgin Islands - $210,000

o          Coral Reef Research Foundation, a Palau-based non-governmental organization, for mapping Palau’s lagoon and reefs - $212,329

o          U.S. VI coral restoration from Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease - $279,977

o          Guam Government’s Coral Reef Initiative - $299,547

Grants totaling $1,541,421 for fiscal year 2021 to combat invasive species have been awarded as follows:

o University of Guam for research and related efforts to counter the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle - $866,423

o          Micronesia Conservation Trust, a regional non-governmental organization, for the eradication, control, and management of invasive species in Kosrae, Chuuk, and Yap - $300,000

o          Island Conservation, a non-profit organization, for the removal of invasive rats in Mili Atoll, Marshall Islands - $299,838

o          CNMI government for Sabana Pandanus Forest control and native trees restoration project - $75,160

For more information about the Coral Reef and Natural Resources Program Initiative visit the OIA website at https://www.doi.gov/oia/financial-assistance

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