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Marine Mammal Unusual Mortality Event Contingency Fund

Congress established the Marine Mammal Unusual Mortality Event (UME) Contingency Fund in 1992, and provided special authority for the Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program (MMHSRP) to solicit for and receive private donations to support marine mammal UME responses and investigations. 

Contribute to the UME Fund

You can donate to the fund online through

Donate Now

Or by sending a check or money order to:

Marine Mammal Unusual Mortality Event Contingency Fund
c/o Office of Protected Resources
NOAA/National Marine Fisheries Service
1315 East-West Highway
Silver Spring, MD  20910
Tel: (301) 427-8400

Your contributions are greatly appreciated, and will be used exclusively to cover the costs incurred by our stranding network partners during UME responses and investigations. All donations to the UME Contingency Fund will only be used by members of the marine mammal stranding network and their partners and analytical laboratories.  

You can also support your local stranding network members by contributing directly to their organizations.

Use of the UME Contingency Fund   

The UME Contingency Fund is used exclusively to reimburse stranding network partners who respond to stranded marine mammals during a declared UME. These funds are only used to reimburse stranding network partners who incur costs for:

  • caring for and treating live animals that strand as part of the UME
  • collecting (including necropsy), preparing, and sending samples to the National Marine Mammal Tissue Bank and other diagnostic laboratories to investigate the cause(s) of the UME, and
  • collecting important marine mammal health data to inform and improve future UME responses and marine conservation.

Stranding network partners submit requests for reimbursement from the UME Contingency Fund, which are reviewed and approved by the Working Group and NOAA staff in the MMHSRP.

Note: The UME Contingency Fund is separate from the  John H. Prescott Marine Mammal Rescue Assistance Grant Program.

Why We Respond to Marine Mammal UMEs  

Marine mammals are important indicator species of ocean health.  When marine mammals show signs of illness, they may be signaling changes in the marine environment that might have significant implications for human health and the overall health of our ocean ecosystems. Monitoring the health of marine mammals, especially during an UME, provides important information on emerging threats to marine mammals, the potential impacts of human activities, and the effectiveness of management actions

Updated: August 18, 2015