KEY LARGO (CBSMiami / AP) – Part of a grant from the United Arab Emirates was awarded to two coral restoration organizations based in Florida.
The Coral Restoration Foundation will get more than $ 1.9 million to work at Carysfort Reef off North Key Largo, and Reef Renewal USA will receive over $ 176,000 for coral improvement at Sombrero Reef off Marathon, a announced Thursday Centraide. Both reefs are in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.
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The funding is part of a $ 10 million allocation the United Arab Emirates pledged to help Florida in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in 2017, said United Way Florida Keys President Leah Stockton.
In February 2020, United Way announced a donation of $ 3.5 million from UAE funds for reef restoration and education projects.
The funding, awarded through a competitive grant process, is an investment in restoration work focused on two of the seven reefs identified as part of the Sanctuary’s Mission: Iconic Reefs program. The program was announced in 2019 with the hope of raising $ 100 million for reef restoration.
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The two organizations must guarantee an individual match for the funds awarded, which represents approximately $ 4.2 million for restoration efforts.
Stockton said the balance of the UAE’s $ 3.5 million contribution was to be allocated to marine science education projects in the Keys.
Last month, the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, in partnership with Mote Marine Laboratory and Coral Restoration Foundation, received a $ 5 million grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to restore dry rock from the east off Key West.
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(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)