The Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument is set to receive a matched funding award of US$1.3 million for a total of $2.6 million from NOAA, the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the bipartisan infrastructure Law.
The main goal of the funding is to tackle the issue of marine debris, and the funds should go a long way toward tackling the major problem of debris that is threatening the monument’s, wildlife, and natural beauty. The funding will improve efforts by allowing the deployment of uncrewed aircraft and satellites to help locate debris before it is removed.
Commenting on the funding package, US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said:
“Healthy habitats are vital for addressing the climate crisis and strengthening the resilience of coastal communities…The public-private partnership between NFWF, NOAA, and Marc and Lynne Benioff, leveraged with Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding, is a transformational opportunity to invest in and help protect this sacred Native Hawaiian landscape.”
While NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad said:
“Marine debris is a global issue that poses immense challenges to nature, human health and the economy…Working with NFWF and Marc and Lynne Benioff to leverage the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds for marine debris removal is an important step in helping these habitats recover and stay healthy.”
Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWS, also added:
“The low-lying atolls of Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument are extremely susceptible to sea-level rise, reducing available nesting and haul out areas for endangered seabirds, sea turtles and monk seals…But what people might find more surprising is the threats that come from around the Pacific Ocean in the form of lost fishing nets and other marine debris that entangle these animals and damage these fragile habitats.”