Fourteen grants totaling nearly $300,000 were awarded today by the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation under its Earnest F. Hollings Ocean Awareness Trust Fund, it was announced by Jason Patlis, President and CEO, NMSF.
The grants, chosen from among 127 applicants, will support projects at eight National Marine Sanctuaries and three supporting potential future sanctuaries at different stages of the public nominations process.
For the first time in its 11-year history, NMSF introduced a more strategic structure with three overarching categories. Track 1 emphasizes conservation action that benefits sanctuaries; Track 2 focuses on sustainable fisheries and protected species projects connected to sanctuaries; and Track 3 is in partnership with President Obama’s Every Kid in a Park initiative, connecting fourth-graders and their families to America’s public lands and waters.
This year, NMSF was also able to triple its projected grant funding through additional support from NOAA Fisheries as well as federal settlement funds awarded to NMSF to support conservation work at specific sanctuary sites.
“As NMSF continues to grow in capacity and size, this year we are able to leverage funds from our Ernest F. Hollings Ocean Awareness Trust Fund in unprecedented ways,” said Patlis. “It is very gratifying to increase funding for worthwhile projects in support of existing and nominated national marine sanctuaries.”
The Fund was established in 2005 as a way to increase ocean awareness and stewardship through innovative programs, partnerships and initiatives. To date, nearly $1.5 Million has been awarded to more than 60 groups for research, conservation, education and outreach projects supporting the system and a healthy ocean. It honors Ernest “Fritz” Hollings, US Senator (D-SC) and South Carolina Governor, a lifelong ocean advocate.