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.
Globally, coral reefs are rapidly declining in health. While some coral restoration efforts have been successful at a local level, the development of innovative interventions are needed to improve the efficiency and long-term effectiveness of coral restoration activities in order to restore resilient, genetically diverse, and reproductively viable coral populations at a larger scale.
This competition is a tribute to the work and life of Dr. Ruth Gates, Director of the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology and a renowned coral researcher, and aims to build on her efforts to address the decline in coral reefs through innovative science and research.
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.