Public Release: 

NOAA awards $2.75 million for marine mammal rescue efforts

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IMAGE: The Marine Mammal Center and Channel Islands Marine & Wildlife Institute release a Guadalupe fur seal. (NMFS Permit No. 932-1905) view more

Credit: The Marine Mammal Center and Channel Islands Marine & Wildlife Institute

Today, NOAA Fisheries announced the award of $2.75 million in grant funding to partner organizations in 16 states to respond to and rehabilitate stranded marine mammals and collect data on their health. The John H. Prescott Marine Mammal Rescue Assistance Grant Program provides funding to non-profit and for-profit organizations, academic institutions, and state agencies that are members of the National Marine Mammal Stranding Network.

"Prescott grants help our national marine stranding response teams continue to improve their techniques, and supports our efforts to establish links between the health of marine mammals, coastal communities and our coastal ecosystems," said Dr. Teri Rowles, NOAA Fisheries lead marine mammal veterinarian and coordinator of the Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program. "The money supports vital information needed to protect and conserve whales, dolphins, seals and sea lions."

"Prescott grants tie directly to NOAA Fisheries' core mission, which includes the conservation, protection and recovery of protected marine resources, including whales, dolphins, seals and sea lions," said Eileen Sobeck, assistant NOAA administrator for fisheries. "Helping our stranding partners do their jobs on the front lines of response and rehabilitation fits in perfectly with our goals."

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 research about marine mammal health needed to develop effective conservation programs for marine mammal populations in the wild.

Since the Prescott Grant Program's inception in 2001, NOAA Fisheries has awarded 518 Prescott grants to members of the National Marine Mammal Stranding Network, totaling more than $45.5 million. Over the years, Prescott grants have enabled 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 Marine Mammal Stranding Network through grants and cooperative agreements.

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For more information about the Prescott Grant Program, details on each 2015 grant, eligibility requirements, and funding opportunities, please go to http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/health/prescott/

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