Hawaii News

National Marine Sanctuary Foundation announces $2M in coral restoration grants throughout U.S. Pacific islands

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Coral reef. (Photo Credit: Damaris Torres-Pulliz)

The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation has awarded seven grants totaling more than $2 million to support coral restoration in the four U.S. Pacific Island jurisdictions of American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam and Hawai’i.

The grants are funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The grants will support projects that directly contribute to coral restoration progression in the U.S. Pacific Islands by providing the means for capacity building and/or restoration implementation.

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The four U.S. Pacific Island jurisdictions started a coral restoration planning process in 2020 that led to the development of a draft action plan for each jurisdiction for one priority restoration goal. Now, additional investment and capacity is needed to meet the U.S. Pacific Islands coral restoration goals and implement the draft restoration action plans.

Grant recipients in Hawai‘i include:

  • Hawai’i Department of Land and Natural Resources
    • In support of the Makai Restoration Action Plans, the project will (1) engage fishers in drafting the Goal 3: Fisheries Habitat Action Plan, (2) coordinate site-specific planning in Waikīkī for Goal 1: Bleaching, and (3) support the Special Activity Permitting process and environmental review for coral reef restoration projects statewide.
  • University of Hawai’i at Hilo (Hawai’i Cooperative Fishery Research Unit); University of Hawai’I at Manoa (Hawai’i Institute of Marine Biology); and The Nature Conservancy of Hawai’i
    • Leverage multi-sector collaborations to provide turbidity and sedimentation thresholds of reef-building coral species at Olowalu Reef on Maui. Project will provide information vital to mitigate drivers of reef degradation and to plan the location and timing of coral planting at this priority restoration and beyond. It will also improve the selection of coral taxa and morphologies that are resilient to both sediment and climate stressors.

The projects funded will help transition the U.S. Pacific Island jurisdictions’ local prioritized reef sites identified in the draft restoration action plans from restoration planning into implementation, which will ultimately restore their ecological function and the benefits they provide to local communities.

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The projects will take place through the Summer of 2025.

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