$500,000 Available for Coral Restoration Projects in Honor of Dr. Ruth Gates

January 16, 2020

This is the first funding opportunity under NOAA’s new Ruth Gates Coral Restoration Innovation Grants competition.

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Coral restoration in the Florida Keys.

As part of our efforts to restore resilient coral ecosystems, NOAA is announcing the availability of approximately $500,000 in funding for coral restoration in 2020. The competition is in direct response to the recently completed National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine study on Interventions to Increase the Resilience of Coral Reefs. This is the first competition under the new Ruth Gates Coral Restoration Innovation Grants.

We are seeking project proposals from non-federal partners to enhance coral resilience and improve the long-term success and efficiency of shallow-water coral reef restoration in a changing climate.

Globally, coral reefs are rapidly declining in health. 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. This will allow us to restore resilient, genetically diverse, and reproductively viable coral populations at a larger scale.

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A scuba diver surveys bleached corals in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

"By collaborating with partners to develop new and creative methods to restore resilient coral ecosystems, NOAA can help address the complex threats facing coral reefs," said Pat Montanio, Director of the Office of Habitat Conservation in NOAA Fisheries. "This opportunity supports innovative science and research that will enhance future restoration efforts for this important habitat during this urgent time."

Projects funded through this opportunity will support:

  • Research and development of interventions to improve coral resilience to environmental stressors.

  • Research, development, and field-testing of novel techniques to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of coral population enhancement.

The deadline for proposals is March 20, 2020. Award amounts will range from $100,000 to $1 million over a three-year project period.

This competition is a tribute to the work and life of Dr. Ruth Gates, former Director of the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology and renowned coral researcher. It aims to build on her efforts to address the decline in coral reefs through innovative science and research.

"An investment in coral reef ecosystems is an investment in our natural resources, our economy, and ultimately our future," said Jennifer Koss, Director of NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program. "NOAA is proud to honor the role Ruth played by creating a fund for the next generation of innovative research and development to support successful coral restoration." 

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Dr. Ruth Gates explains the benefits of using an advanced microscope to image corals.

Last updated by Office of Habitat Conservation on February 04, 2020