WASHINGTON, D.C.—Interior Acting Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas Nikolao Pula made available $94,906 for natural and cultural resource protection in American Samoa.
“We are pleased to support Gov. Lolo Moliga and the Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources team in their efforts to preserve natural ecosystems vital to American Samoa’s environment and the people’s livelihood,” said Pula. “American Samoa’s natural resources are highly vulnerable to the impacts of land-based pollution, illegal near-shore fishing and changes in climate for which this funding is greatly needed.”
The American Samoa Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources will use $94,906 to:
• Coordinate efforts in the Faga’alu, Vatia, and Nu’uuli Watersheds, each prioritized by either the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force or the territory. Overfishing, climate change, land-based pollution, and population pressure have been identified as the four primary threats to natural resources in these areas.
• Continue development of rain gardens and other best practices to manage storm water runoff in the territory by collaborating heavily with federal, territorial, and academics as well as village councils.
• Provide GIS mapping training and certification to better inform management of priorities across watersheds, raingardens, and marine-protected areas, as well as other managed and unmanaged areas on the island.
• Set up integrated radar systems to monitor and deter poaching in the Tutuila Marine Protected Areas.
All funding for cultural and natural resources protection and management was provided for under what was formerly called the Coral Reef Initiative and is available under CFDA# 15.875 at https://www.grants.gov/. All four U.S. territories of the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, and the CNMI, as well as the three freely associated states of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, and Palau are eligible to apply.
Discretionary funding provided by the Office of Insular Affairs in the Department of the Interior is appropriated annually by the U.S. Congress to help address needs in the U.S. Insular Areas. (DOI)