Bill To Restore And Conserve Hawai‘i’s Coral Reefs Passes Key Committee

November 14, 2019, 2:12 PM HST · Updated November 14, 11:23 AM
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A bill that would help to restore Hawai‘i’s coral reefs, was approved by the Senate Commerce Committee.  The measure was introduced by US Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), who is a member of the committee.

“With the widespread threats to coral reefs across Hawai‘i growing, we need to do more to help states and communities fight back,” said Senator Schatz. “My bill will make federal funding available so that more local governments and organizations have the resources they need to save their reefs.”

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A new report found widespread coral reef bleaching across the state, including more than 75 percent of corals off West Maui and 80 percent of corals off Ka‘ū on Hawai‘i Island.

  • The legislation would increase federal funding for corals by nearly $10 million, bringing the total amount to $35 million over five years. The increased funding would support the following new initiatives:New Coral Block Grants which would allow states like Hawai‘i to apply for funding to meet the priorities they have set for restoration and management of their own coral reefs.
  • Coral Reef Stewardship Partnerships. This program would allow communities to partner with a state or territorial resource management agency like the Department of Land and Natural Resources to develop a customized management plan, and compete for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) funding.
  • Pacific and Atlantic Coral Reef Institutes. NOAA would allow universities and state governments to team up and compete to become one of two Coral Reef Institutes—one for the Pacific, and one for the Atlantic.

    2019 Coral Bleaching. PC: DLNR.

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