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Monday, September 09, 2013

$1 Million to Partners in 10 States to Rescue Stranded Marine Mammals and Investigate Health Problems

NOAA’s Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) announced today the award of 12 grants to partner organizations totaling more than $1 million to respond to and rehabilitate stranded marine mammals and collect data on their health.

The federal John H. Prescott Marine Mammal Rescue Assistance Grant Program allows funding to be given to 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 2013 round of annual grants awarded is found below.

“The Prescott grant program helps support our stranding network partners and their life-saving rescue work to help provide humane care to whales, dolphins, seals or sea lions that are sick, injured or in peril,” said Dr. Teri Rowles, NOAA Fisheries’ lead marine mammal veterinarian and coordinator of the Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program.  “Marine mammals are important indicator species of ocean health since they are top-level predators that eat many of the same fish that we do, and several species live in coastal areas utilized by people.  When marine mammals show signs of illness, they may be signaling changes in the marine environment that might have significant implications for the overall health of our ocean ecosystems, so monitoring the health of marine mammals provides vital information on the impacts of, and to, humans.”

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 program’s inception, NOAA Fisheries has awarded 471 Prescott grants to 93 recipients in 25 states and 2 U.S. territories, totaling more than $41.8 million. Over the years, Prescott grants have enabled network members to make improvements to their 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.

For more information about the Prescott Grant Program, details on each 2013 grant, eligibility requirements, and funding opportunities, please go to: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/health/prescott/

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