NOAA Fisheries announced the award of 35 grants to partner organizations in 18 states totaling $2.7 million to respond to and rehabilitate stranded marine mammals and collect data on their health.
The John H. Prescott Marine Mammal Rescue Assistance Grant Program allows funding for academic institutions, nonprofit organizations and state agencies that are members of the National Marine Mammal Stranding Network and that apply for assistance. (A detailed list of the 2014 round of annual grants awarded follows.)
“These Prescott Grants help provide humane care for marine mammals that are sick, injured, or in danger,” said Dr. Teri Rowles, NOAA Fisheries lead marine mammal veterinarian and coordinator of the Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program. “The money also supports vital research of top-level predators and indicator species that eat many of the same fish that we do and often live in coastal areas we use. Monitoring their health and signs of illness is one way to take the pulse of the planet, helping us understand the signals of a changing marine environment.”
“Our core mission at NOAA Fisheries includes the conservation, protection and recovery of protected resources, including whales, dolphins, seals, and sea turtles,” said Eileen Sobeck, assistant NOAA administrator for NOAA Fisheries. “These grants tie directly to that mission and help our stranding partners do their jobs on the front lines of response and rehabilitation.”
The Stranding Network is comprised of trained professionals and volunteers from more than 100 organizations that partner with NOAA Fisheries to investigate marine mammal strandings, rehabilitate animals, and assist with research on marine mammal health issues. NOAA Fisheries relies on its long-standing partnership with Stranding Network members to obtain the vital information about marine mammal health needed to develop effective conservation programs for marine mammal populations in the wild.
Since the Prescott Grant Program’s inception, NOAA Fisheries has awarded 483 Prescott grants to members of the marine mammal Stranding Network, totaling more than $42.8 million. Over the years, Prescott grants have enabled Stranding Network members to improve operations, such as: expanding response coverage; enhancing response capabilities and data collection; and improving rehabilitation of marine mammals.
Prescott Grants are made under Title IV of the Marine Mammal Protection Act, which authorizes NOAA Fisheries to fund eligible members of the National Stranding Network through grants and cooperative agreements.
NOAA, September 17, 2014; Image: NOAA