The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has awarded two grants totaling more than $2.8 million to the state of Hawaii in an effort to help protect the 50th state’s coral reefs, shorelines and water quality. Democratic Senator Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii said, “The Hawaiian archipelago is home to rare species of marine life and delicate coral reef ecosystems that must be maintained and protected. Our beaches and coastal zones are used by residents and visitors from around the world, and it is important that we continue to invest in conservation and coastal management efforts. I would like to thank the administration for nearly four decades of helping Hawaii preserve our coral reefs and shorelines.”
The awards mark the 38th year that NOAA has continued funding to the state so Hawaii can continue its federally approved coastal management program. The breakdown includes $2.1 million that will be disbursed for such projects as public education and outreach, policy analysis, participation in the Hawaii Coral Reef Initiative and a coastal nonpoint pollution control program. The balance of the grant money will go to fund long-term coral reef monitoring, scientific research, restoration efforts, an invasive species action plan, support for critical program staffing, action plans to address land-based pollution threats to the state’s reef systems and community action initiatives.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in 2011 put a dollar amount on the value of Hawaii’s coral reefs, stating that the reefs were worth more than $30 billion. This figure was based on a peer-reviewed report commissioned by NOAA that asked 3,200 U.S. households in June 2009 to October 2009, “How much money would you devote to improve and preserve Hawaii’s coral reefs every year?”