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09/11/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/11/2019 18:11

Amata Welcomes Over $1 Million in NOAA Coral Reef Grants

Washington, D.C. - Wednesday, Congresswoman Aumua Amata welcomed more than $1 million in federal funds for coral reef conservation in American Samoa over the next two years.

These federal funds through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), an agency within the U.S. Commerce Department, are designated to the Territory of American Samoa for the Coral Reef Conservation Program, as part of the Coral Reef Conservation Cooperative Agreement. The funding is for the period of October 1, 2019, through September 30, 2021, the next two fiscal years: $536,964 in year one, and $497,021 in the second year.

'We love American Samoa's beautiful shoreline and waters, and the coral reefs are part of this vital ecosystem,' said Aumua Amata. 'These reefs include southern hemisphere species that are different from any other U.S. state or territory. I appreciate this federal support from NOAA for education, monitoring, analysis and protection of these reefs for everyone's long term benefit.'

'A special congratulations to Director Va'amua Henry Sesepasara, and the American Samoa Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources for their work on these projects,' continued Congresswoman Amata.

Congresswoman Amata with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross

Broadly, these funds will support jobs and maintain American Samoa's coral reef conservation program. These efforts include coral reef education and outreach programs; a Territorial Marine Protected Areas network; coordination of any climate change-related efforts and activities; long-term coral reef monitoring to collect, analyze and report on the condition of coral reef; and conservation projects that are clearly linked to NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program or established coral reef management priorities or initiatives.

Specifically, projects include a scholarship program to increase local capacity in marine science; a comprehensive effort to map, measure, photograph, and document the health and status of the exceptionally large Porites coral colonies, and their associated fish populations; community efforts to mark storm drains to increase public awareness of runoff and its impacts on coastal resources; and an internship program to provide American Samoan undergraduates with professional work experiences.

NOAA is led by Dr. Neil Jacobs, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Environmental Observation and Prediction.

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