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$715K Secured for Hawai‘i Coral Reef Protection

US Senator Mazie K. Hirono announced today that Hawaiʻi will receive $715,000 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to fund activities critical to the effective management and protection of Hawaiʻi’s coral reefs.

Coral bleaching. PC: Hawai‘i DLNR.

“Coral reefs are an important part of Hawaiʻi’s marine environment and generate hundreds of millions of dollars to our economy every year,” said Senator Hirono.

Hirono criticized the Trump Administration’s attention to climate change saying “it is critically important that we invest in the science that will help us respond to the very real threat of climate change, maintain a healthy coral reef ecosystem, and recover from recent serious bleaching events.”

The federal funding announced today will help improve management of coral reef ecosystems, support greater capacity to enforce coral reef protections, promote increased understanding of the key threats to reef ecosystems at priority sites, and continue progress toward implementing the objectives of the Hawaiʻi Coral Reef Strategy.

The grant funding is part of a cooperative agreement between NOAA and the State of Hawaiʻi Division of Aquatic Resources to support the protection of coral reefs across the state, with a focus on the priority areas of West Maui and South Kōhala.

Earlier this year, Senator Hirono co-introduced legislation with Representative Colleen Hanabusa to address increasing threats to coral reef ecosystems due to climate change.