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NOAA awards $2.7 million to rescue stranded marine mammals and investigate health problems

Jennie  Lyons
(301) 427-8013
(202) 603-9372 (Cell)
September 15, 2014

NOAA Fisheries announced today the award of 35 grants to partner organizations in 18 states totaling $2.7 million to respond to and rehabilitate stranded marine mammals and collect data on their health.

The John H. Prescott Marine Mammal Rescue Assistance Grant Program allows funding for academic institutions, nonprofit organizations and state agencies that are members of the National Marine Mammal Stranding Network and that apply for assistance. (A detailed list of the 2014 round of annual grants awarded follows.)

"These Prescott Grants help provide humane care for marine mammals that are sick, injured, or in danger,” said Dr. Teri Rowles, NOAA Fisheries lead marine mammal veterinarian and coordinator of the Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program. “The money also supports vital research of top-level predators and indicator species that eat many of the same fish that we do and often live in coastal areas we use. Monitoring their health and signs of illness is one way to take the pulse of the planet, helping us understand the signals of a changing marine environment.”

“Our core mission at NOAA Fisheries includes the conservation, protection and recovery of protected resources, including whales, dolphins, seals, and sea turtles,” said Eileen Sobeck, assistant NOAA administrator for NOAA Fisheries. “These grants tie directly to that mission and help our stranding partners do their jobs on the front lines of response and rehabilitation.”

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

Since the Prescott Grant Program’s inception, NOAA Fisheries has awarded 483 Prescott grants to members of the marine mammal Stranding Network, totaling more than $42.8 million. Over the years, Prescott grants have enabled Stranding Network 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 Stranding Network through grants and cooperative agreements.

For more information about the Prescott Grant Program, details on each 2014 grant, eligibility requirements, and funding opportunities, please go to:

Prescott Grant Awarded in FY14



Project Title

Federal Funding

Greater Atlantic Region


Sea Research Foundation, Inc. Support and Enhancement for the Marine Mammal Stranding Program at Sea Research Foundation's Mystic Aquarium



Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Support comprehensive stranding response, data collection and analysis, and health assessment for stranded marine mammals in Delaware



National Marine Life Center, Inc. Expansion and Enhancements of Seal Rehabilitation in Massachusetts



Maryland Department of Natural Resources Maryland DNR Marine Mammal Stranding Program - Response, Diagnostic Sample Analysis and Scientific Publication of the Twenty-Year Summary



College of the Atlantic Maintenance and Enhancement of the Marine Mammal Stranding Response Program (MMSRP) for the Mid-Coast/Downeast Region of Maine, 2013-2014



Marine Mammals of Maine Project On-Call: To provide proven timely support for operations, educational outreach, data collection and data sharing regarding stranded marine mammals in Mid-coast and Southern, Maine



Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation Support Facility Operation to Maintain Response, Treatment and Data Collection of Live and Dead Marine Mammals in New York State



Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center Foundation, Inc. Support Expert Stranding Response, Rehabilitation, and Data Collection for Marine Mammals in Virginia


Southeast Region


Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission Northeast Florida Marine Mammal Stranding Network Response Enhancement



Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Florida Marine Mammal Stranding Network Coordination and Response in Southwest Florida



Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute Supporting marine mammal stranding response along the east coast of central Florida and enhancing first response throughout the southeastern United States



Mote Marine Laboratory Rapid detection, response, upgraded radiograph capabilities, and disentanglement efforts for stranded cetaceans in central west Florida



Georgia Aquarium, Inc. Provide for Specimen Preservation for Marine Mammal Stranding Cases within the Southeast United States region (SEUS)



Chicago Zoological Society Post-Release Monitoring of Injured or Stranded Cetaceans in the Southeastern U.S.



Audubon Nature Institute, Inc./Audubon Commission Louisiana Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Rescue Program (LMMSTRP): continued operations and response for live and dead marine mammal strandings



Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enhanced operations and rapid response for marine mammal strandings and rescues along the Louisiana Coast



North Carolina Department of Environment & Natural Resources Marine Mammal Stranding Response in Central Coastal and Northern North Carolina



University of North Carolina Wilmington Response to and Coordination of Marine Mammals Strandings in North Carolina



Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network Support for basic operational needs of the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network for the recovery and investigation of live and deceased marine mammal strandings


West Coast Region


California Academy of Sciences Enhancing response and data collection from dead stranded marine mammals in northern California through complete necropsies including CT scans of Odontocetes



California Wildlife Center Marine Mammal Rehabilitation Facility Upgrades and Consistent Program Coverage



Channel Islands Cetacean Research Unit Establishment of a Cetacean Bio-Surveillance Program in Central and Southern California



MAR3INE (on behalf of the Marine Mammal Care Center at Fort MacArthur) Husbandry Enhancements at the Marine Mammal Care Center at Fort MacArthur



Southern California Coastal Water Research Project Enhanced cataloguing of bioaccumulative chemicals in stranded marine mammals to assess health impacts



The Regents of the University of California, Davis Diagnostic Testing Support for the Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Network and Unusual Mortality Events



The Regents of the University of California, Santa Cruz Enhanced Stranding Response and A New Response Partnership Between The Long Marine Lab and Moss Landing Stranding Networks



Oregon State University Supporting and enhancing the Oregon Marine Mammal Stranding Network



Portland State University Restoring Comprehensive Response for the Northern Oregon/Southern Washington Marine Mammal Stranding Program (NOSWSP



Progressive Animal Welfare Society, Inc. Advancement in Rehabilitative Care of Live Stranded Pinnipeds in the Southern Salish Sea: Treatment-Data Collection and Compilation, Water Quality, and Facility Upgrade



The Whale Museum Stranding Response, Disease Surveillance and Spatial Analysis of Strandings in San Juan County, WA



Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Investigating causes of mortality and providing response to stranded marine mammals in Washington State



Wolf Hollow Wildlife Rehabilitation Center Stranded Pinniped Rehabilitation Program in Washington State: treatment, facility improvements, training, diagnostic screening & data collection


Alaska Region


Seward Association for the Advancement of Marine Science Live Marine Mammal Response in Alaska: Rehabilitation & Readiness for Unusual Events 2014-2015


Pacific Islands Region


Hawaii Pacific University Trouble in Paradise: Investigating Emerging Disease While Conducting Stranding Response in Hawaii and the Greater Pacific



The Marine Mammal Center Support for a Hawaiian monk seal rehabilitation program: an essential tool to enhance survival of critically endangered seals