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NOAA and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Announce Five Grants to Benefit National System of Marine Protected Areas

MPA Center Also Announces Inclusion of 29 Existing Sites to the National System

June 8, 2010

Today, NOAA and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation awarded five grants totaling $188,000, to fund stewardship projects and improve coordination efforts at various sites within the National System of Marine Protected Areas. These grants will help protect and conserve many coastal and marine places of significant ecological and economical value.

A curious Hawaiian green sea turtle in protected waters near Puako Island, Hawaii.

A curious Hawaiian green sea turtle in protected waters near Puako Island, Hawaii.

High resolution (Credit: NOAA)

“We are very pleased to support the collaborative stewardship efforts of these Marine Protected Areas,” said Anthony Chatwin, Ph.D., director of marine and coastal conservation at the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. “Both NFWF and NOAA are committed to conserving our nation’s coastal and marine resources, and supporting our nation’s MPAs is an extremely effective way to get the job done.”

The funds will support the following projects:

  • Strengthening Marine Protection in Puako Island, Hawaii – The Nature Conservancy will coordinate a community-based planning and implementation process to increase protection and enforcement capacity at an existing MPA within the West Hawaii Regional Fisheries Management Area. TNC will work with the community to develop a draft management and implementation plan to minimize priority threats to Puako’s coral reef, which will serve as a model for other community-based MPA plans.
  • Applying LiDAR Data to Support MPA Management – Rutgers University will pilot an innovative approach to examine impacts of projected sea level rise on salt marsh and barrier island habitat using high horizontal and vertical resolution Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) imagery. The project will quantify the change in potential critical habitats based on likely sea level rise scenarios. A regional workshop will be conducted with other MPAs in the region to translate the results of the study, and discuss the utility of using LiDAR technology elsewhere.
  • Developing a Regional MPA Plan for the Southeast – The non-profit corporation Friends of Rookery Bay, Inc. will work with the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in Florida to survey regional MPAs about issues, priorities and coordination strategies. They will also organize a workshop of MPA stakeholders including all federal and state MPAs in the region, to discuss and reach consensus on establishing an effective MPA network for the Southeast U.S. and produce a framework for MPA coordination.
  • Developing a Management Plan for Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument – The Marine Conservation Biology Institute will support the development of a management plan for the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, designated in 2008. MCBI will work with NOAA and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to identify and refine management needs and subsequent implementation strategies. The plan will serve as an international model for large-scale protection and be an essential part of our nation’s efforts to monitor climate change effects on marine ecosystems.
  • Designing and Installing California MPA Interpretive Panel – The California Department of Parks and Recreation will initiate a public education program and create signage for newly established MPAs along the shores of Central and Northern California state parks. Interpretive panels and maps will explain the goals and objective of the California Marine Life Protection Act Initiative, the designation system of California MPAs, and will educate the public on marine ecosystem management.
One grant will help fund the installation of educational signs and maps at MPAs throughout California, to include Point Lobos State Marine Reserve.

One grant will help fund the installation of educational signs and maps at MPAs throughout California, to include Point Lobos State Marine Reserve.

High resolution (Credit: NOAA)

Today also marks the announcement of 29 existing MPAs joining the national system of MPAs.  Now with 254 sites in the national system spanning across 31 states and territories, members benefit from coordinated regional planning and influence conservation and management initiatives. Being a member of the national system does not restrict or change the management of an MPA. For a list of new additions to the national system, visit

“Joining the national system benefits MPAs by providing a mechanism for them to work together on issues of common concern,” said Joseph Uravitch, NOAA Director of National Marine Protected Areas Center. “With this new MPA Fund, we can now provide additional resources to help address these priority issues cooperatively.” 

The grants were announced today at a reception at Capitol Hill Ocean Week in Washington, D.C. All projects are funded for one year and funds must be spent by May 2011. The MPA Center and NFWF are planning on continuing the MPA Fund next year. For more information on the MPA Fund and the grantees, visit

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is an independent 501(c)(3) charity established by Congress in 1984 to restore and enhance the nation's fish, wildlife, plants and habitats. Through the many conservation partnerships that connect it with potentially every federal and state agency, key industry leaders, concerned private citizens and nonprofit at home and abroad, the Foundation has leveraged more than $600 million in federal and private funds into more than $1.5 billion for on-the-ground conservation.

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