Interior Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas Esther Kia’aina today announced about $200-thousand dollars in grant assistance for fiscal year 2015 for Guam to help with the Coral Reef Initiative Program.
Guam – Guam is on its way to better preserving our coral reef and wildlife.
Thanks to the U.S. Department of Interior, Guam will be receiving nearly $200-thousand in grant assistance that will go towards a variety of projects and initiatives designed to improve the health and management of our coral reefs.
About $73-thousand dollars will go to the Guam Museum Foundation to support a graduate-level internship program to curate the Richard Randall Coral Collection, which consists of more than 30,000 specimens of coral from around the Pacific.
The remainder of about $132-thousand dollars will go to the Guam Bureau of Statistics and Plans for their Coral Reef Initiative.
Office of the Governor Special Assistant William Castro says, “One of the staples for the Coral Reef Initiative Grant is to sustain the education outreach component. We’re very privileged now to be able to hopefully bring some finalization to a coral reef resilient strategy and the third piece would allow the governor and his representatives to network with other jurisdictions including CNMI, Puerto Rico and Florida.”
Castro explains why it’s important to protect our coral reefs. “The coral reefs serve as an important part of our community, both from the environmental perspective. The coral reefs are an important ecosystem, the coral reefs and the fish are a big component of our fisheries, so you have the ecosystem component but you also have it from a safety component. A healthy coral reef is a foundation for a barrier that allows us to be protected from damaging waves,” he says.
Not only will this grand benefit the Guam Museum Foundation and the Bureau of Statistics and Plans, but tourism as well.
Guam Visitors Bureau PIO Josh Tyquiengco says, “Right here, we’re at Tumon Bay and this is one of the Marine Preserves that Guam currently protects. This is one of the main reasons why people come to Guam, they want to see Guam’s natural beauty, they want to go into the ocean to see our fish and our wildlife and the different species of coral that we have here. There’s no place in the world like Guam, when we protect our natural resources, it gives us more of a reason to come to paradise and connect with our local community. Not only visitors love this but our local community. We think it’s great that DOI has awarded all this grant funding to improve the health and management of our coral reefs.”
Alongside Guam, the grant will also benefit American Samoa, the CNMI, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the freely associated states of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Palau and the Republic of the Marshall Islands.