Coral Heroes: The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
Throughout the Coral Reef Conservation Program’s 20th Anniversary, we are highlighting Coral Heroes — individuals and organizations that have worked with the program and are making a real difference in coral reef conservation.
Natural resource conservation, at the end of the day, requires funding. Grants and cooperative agreements allow all organizations to access the best resources and conduct high-quality research and studies.
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation was created by Congress in 1984 and works with the public and private sectors to protect and restore the nation’s natural resources for current and future generations. In particular, the foundation focuses on bringing different groups together to work on shared goals of protecting at-risk species, healthy oceans and estuaries, and more.
Since 2000, the foundation has conducted a Coral Reefs Program to address the rapid decline of coral ecosystems worldwide. To date, the program has awarded nearly $22 million in grants to develop new assessment and monitoring techniques, create new fishery management models, produce watershed management plans, and support capacity building.
“The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is also celebrating our 20th year in coral reef conservation,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. “As we look to the next 20 years we are excited to continue working with NOAA and our grantees to build on the capacity and relationships we have established within the coral research and conservation community in order to help restore and rebuild resilient reefs at the scale needed to protect and recover these amazing ecosystems.”
In particular, the foundation manages the Coral Reef Conservation Fund in collaboration with the NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program with additional support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service and ARAMCO. The foundation also provides support for coral reefs through national programs like the Fisheries Innovation Fund to increase reef fish stock data and the National Coastal Resilience Fund, which supports reef restoration at scale. Grant recipients match the awarded funds at a minimum one-to-one ratio.
“Our approach is to work locally and benefit globally,” said Holly A. Bamford, Ph.D., chief conservation officer of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. “As we work to reduce the impacts of threats and increase reef resilience through the projects we fund, we target common research gaps and management questions, pilot new innovations and create tools to benefit the broader community.”
We are proud of the 20 years of conservation work that both the NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation have engaged in, and we look forward to working together for many years to come.
Follow the celebration on our Facebook and Twitter pages and the National Ocean Service Instagram page all year using the hashtag #NOAACoral20th.
The NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program was established in 2000 by the Coral Reef Conservation Act. Headquartered in Silver Spring, Maryland, the program is part of NOAA's Office for Coastal Management.