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OIA announces $1.2M funds to combat invasive species in insular areas

The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs has announced $1.2 million in fiscal year 2023 Coral Reef and Natural Resources Program grant funding that will go toward combatting invasive species in the territories and the freely associated states.

This amount supplements the $1.4 million recently announced for coral reef management and protection.

“Invasive species are disruptive and destabilizing to eco-systems in the islands in ways that threaten food sources and the livelihoods of people in these areas,” said Assistant Secretary for Insular and International Affairs Carmen G. Cantor. “Combatting invasive species and mitigating their threat is a priority throughout the Insular Areas. We are pleased to provide this support.”

Projects and programs directed towards combatting invasive species in the Insular Areas through the Coral Reef and Natural Resources program in fiscal year 2023 include:  

American Samoa - $486,628

  • The Government Biodiversity Conservation Office will use the funds for the Protecting American Samoa's Wildlife and Paleotropical Rainforest Habitats by Managing Invasive Bird Populations project on Tutuila.

Marshall Islands - $299,978

  • Funds will be used for the Eradication of Invasive Rats project to protect biodiversity and food security. Managed and coordinated by Island Conservation in partnership with the RMI Ministry for Natural Resources and Commerce and the Marshall Islands Conservation Society, the project will benefit the terrestrial ecosystems, biodiversity, and natural resources of Jemo Island and multiple islets within Wotje Atoll, as well as the Wotje and Likiep Atoll communities who rely on these islands for food.

Micronesia Regional Invasive Species Council - $235,020

  • Funds will be used to help the RISC coordinate with and assist the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Republic of Palau, and all four states of the Federated States of Micronesia in establishing national and regional biosecurity strategies for their proclaimed 2030 alien species management goals called for under the Micronesia Challenge. The funding recipient and grant coordinator will be Island Conservation.

Northern Mariana Islands - $218,785

  • Funds the CNMI Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Invasive Species Coordinator who works within the territory and in the region to prevent the introduction of new invasive species and support ongoing work to manage and minimize the impacts of existing invasive species such as the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle, the Little Fire Ant, and the Mucuna Pruriens.

CRNR is a discretionary program and may only provide funding for needs and training related to coral reef resource management and combatting invasive species in the Insular Areas. Other similar discretionary programs funded by OIA are the recently announced Maintenance Assistance Program and the Technical Assistance Program, portions of which were announced by Secretary Haaland on her recent trip to the Pacific. Funds under the discretionary programs described above are distributed following a competitive grant application process that is open for applications each year in October on under CFDA 15.875. (DOI)

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