Florida’s Coral Restoration Foundation is among the recipients of $10.4 million from NOAA Community-based Restoration Program

To restore habitat for coastal and marine species, NOAA’s Restoration Center is recommending $10.4 million in funding to 19 partners through their Community-based Restoration Program Coastal and Marine Habitat Restoration Grants for 19 new habitat restoration projects and two ongoing restoration awards. These investments will restore habitat in 11 states and territories, leading to lasting results for communities, the economy, and the environment.

The Florida-based Coral Restoration Foundation has been recommended to receive a grant of $835,016 in funding for the first year of a three-year project that will see 84,000 nursery-grown corals returned to the reefs of the Florida Keys. Of these, 24,000 corals will be out-planted in the first year of the project. The corals will come from existing nurseries and will be secured to the reef using best practices for coral restoration.

Coral Restoration Foundation, which currently manages the world’s largest reef restoration effort, is coming to the end of a previous three-year funding cycle of a total of just over two million dollars from NOAA that began in 2016.

We are thrilled to be recommended for this funding opportunity. It is a testament to what we were able to accomplish with previous support from NOAA which allowed us to expand our reach and our restoration efforts dramatically. Not only have these opportunities put more corals on the reef, but they’ve also allowed us to build critical relationships within the restoration community and work with NOAA’s Restoration Center to better our practices in the Florida Keys,” says Coral Restoration Foundation restoration program manager, Jessica Levy.

Confirmation of funding approval is expected to be announced before the end of the year. Coral Restoration Foundation CEO, R. Scott Winters explains what it would mean for the organization if this grant is approved, “This funding would allow us to demonstrate a paradigm shift in the restoration world. We are now looking at restoring coral at densities that exceed recommendations in NOAA’s Acropora Recovery Plan. This funding would support the inclusion of additional species and the development of revolutionary new techniques; it would allow us to make progress on a scale at which we can talk about habitat recovery in terms of acres of reef restored.”

NOAA’s Restoration Center, housed within the Office of Habitat Conservation in NOAA Fisheries, invests in restoration work that helps recover threatened and endangered species, support sustainably managed fisheries, and strengthen the resilience of coastal communities.

Photos courtesy of Coral Restoration Foundation.

See Coral Restoration Foundation website.

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