$3.8 Million to Support Hawai‘i Coastal Management, Research

Federal funds for Hawaii coastal programs awarded

US Senator Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaiʻi) announced today that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration awarded more than $3.8 million in federal funding to projects that support ongoing coastal and marine research, extension, and educational outreach in Hawaiʻi.

Photo courtesy: Hawaii Sea Grant Center for Coastal and Climate Science and Resilience

NOAA awarded funding through two separate programs – the Sea Grant College Program, which provides funding to the University of Hawaiʻi’s Sea Grant Program (Hawaiʻi Sea Grant), and the National Coastal Zone Management Program, which provides funding to the Hawaiʻi Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.

“As an island state, Hawaiʻi’s livelihood is reliant on the health and resilience of our coastal and marine ecosystems. As we continue to face the serious threat of climate change, we need to rely on new, innovative research and technologies to mitigate the harmful effects a warming planet has on our environment and our communities while also providing education on the importance of responsibly managing our coastal resources,” Senator Hirono said. “Funding from both of these NOAA programs provides critical resources for managing and preserving coastal areas in Hawaiʻi now and for generations to come.”

Hawaiʻi Sea Grant received $1,363,782 in funding from NOAA to support UH’s broad proposal, which includes addressing ecological needs ranging from upland watersheds to the waters and reefs offshore. The program also integrates innovative social research to help Hawaiʻi more sustainably support tourism, a major source of economic activity in the state. The Sea Grant College Program operates through partnerships between NOAA and university-based systems in 33 coastal states throughout the country.

The State of Hawaiʻi also received $2,459,651 in funding through NOAA’s National Coastal Zone Management Program, a voluntary federal-state partnership that protects, restores, and responsibly develops coastal communities and resources by balancing economic development, coastal uses, and natural resource protection. These funds, authorized by the Coastal Zone Management Act, will support jobs and provide continued assistance to the state’s federally-approved coastal management program to address coastal hazards, climate change, and natural resource management. The award also supports new initiatives in the state’s Ocean Resources Management Plan.

In March 2017, upon hearing that the Trump Administration was contemplating zeroing out the Sea Grant Program Senator Hirono sent a letter to then-Director of the Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney urging him to reconsider. In her letter, Senator Hirono emphasized that cuts to the program would disproportionately hurt Hawaiʻi and other coastal states. In February 2018, Senator Hirono sent a letter to President Trump that urged him to maintain funding levels for the Sea Grant Program for Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 at no less than FY 2018 levels.