National Marine Sanctuary Foundation Announces Funding to Upscale Coral Restoration in the U.S. Virgin Islands
Silver Spring, Md. – April 11, 2022 – The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation announced a new funding opportunity in collaboration with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to support coral restoration and capacity building in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands through the Scaling Up Coral Restoration at Priority Sites in St. Thomas Grant Program.
The Foundation anticipates collectively awarding more than $800,000 over the next two years. This funding will help restoration partner organizations bridge the gap in their coral restoration capacity and build partnerships with NOAA and affiliated partners to continually upscale reef restoration efforts at priority sites in St. Thomas.
Coral reefs are the most biodiverse marine ecosystems on our planet and are home to a vibrant array of marine life. Reefs provide critical services, not just for ocean ecosystems, but also for coastal communities. They protect coastlines and critical infrastructure from storm surge and support local economies by generating billions of dollars each year from tourism and fishing activities.
Conservation of critical habitats such as coral reefs is a key pillar of the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation’s mission to conserve special places and support a healthy ocean. Through programs like this new grants program in USVI and Mission: Iconic Reefs in Florida, the Foundation works with NOAA and other partners to plan and coordinate restoration activities, support research into reef restoration, and engage local communities in stewardship activities that contribute to the success of restoration efforts.
Although much work has been completed to prepare for restoration at these sites, coral restoration in St. Thomas and the USVI is still in its early stages. To achieve the intended outcomes of the USVI coral restoration plan, additional investment and capacity is needed to scale up efforts.
This program will contribute to the USVI’s coral reef restoration goals by supporting the upcoming USVI Coral Reef Restoration Plan, anticipated to be released at the end of this year. This plan aims to reestablish the ecological function of priority coral reef restoration sites across the territory over the next decade, and combat coral reef degradation caused by both environmental changes and human impacts.
Funding is intended for organizations who have demonstrated expertise in coral reef restoration and are either already actively engaged or plan to be actively engaged in restoration at one or more of the priority sites. The Foundation and NOAA want to ensure that participating restoration organizations have a firm foundation and are well-equipped to compete for future larger-scale restoration funding opportunities.
Proposals should be submitted by 11:59 PM EST on Friday, May 27, 2022. For more information and to apply, please visit marinesanctuary.org/USVI_corals_2022
The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, established in 2000, is the official non-profit partner of the National Marine Sanctuary System. The Foundation directly supports America’s national marine sanctuaries through our mission to protect species, conserve ecosystems and preserve cultural and maritime heritage. We accomplish our mission through community stewardship and engagement programs, on-the-water conservation projects, public education and outreach programs, and scientific research and exploration. The Foundation fosters innovative projects that are solution-oriented, scalable and transferable, and develop strategic partnerships that promote the conservation and recovery of species and their habitats. Learn more at marinesanctuary.org.
Contact: Chip Weiskotten
Director of Strategic Communications