noaa.gov

Coral Reef Conservation Financial Assistance

The Coral Reef Conservation Program provides financial awards (grants and cooperative agreements) to support conservation projects and scientific studies that benefit coral reef management across seven U.S. states and territories, the Caribbean, and the Pacific.

Each year, we strive to award at least $8 million in grants and cooperative agreements, which are matched by nonprofit organizations, academic institutions, regional fishery management councils, commercial entities, community groups, and state and territorial natural resource management agencies. All projects focus on the reduction of primary threats to coral reefs—global climate change, land-based sources of pollution, and unsustainable fishing practices— and coral reef restoration as outlined in the Coral Reef Conservation Program’s Strategic Plan. Funded projects also focus on priority coral reef regions and watersheds.


Program Highlight

NOAA Launches Coral Emergency Response Fund

Coral Treatment
A reef manager treats a diseased coral in the Dry Tortugas. Funding for this effort was provided through the Coral Emergency Response Fund. Credit: Sydney Gallagher.

The new Coral Emergency Response Fund, a partnership between NOAA and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), provides grants to rapidly respond to damage, disease, and stressors to corals and coral reefs that could not otherwise have been reasonably anticipated or avoided. This funding program is the first of its kind and allows NOAA and NFWF to respond to emergency events far more quickly than a traditional grant program can, enabling prompt damage assessment, triage, and initial response actions.

Two grants of this kind were issued in Fiscal Year 2021, both focusing on the spread of Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease in the Caribbean. One of the grants went to Nova Southeastern University and Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute to treat diseased corals in the Dry Tortugas. The combined teams conducted a total of 265 dives covering an area larger than 146 football fields. A total of 6,038 corals were treated — more than doubling the total number of treated corals throughout the whole of Florida’s coral reef since intervention began in late 2018. A third grant is nearly in place for Fiscal Year 2022, also focusing on Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease.