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Sunday, December 9 , 2018, 4:03 pm | Fair 66º


Capps Announces Restoration of Funding for Ocean Health Program

Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, on Monday applauded the decision from NOAA Fisheries to fund the John H. Prescott Marine Mammal Rescue Assistance Grant Program with a grant for $82,150.

Capps has been a longtime supporter of the program and co-authored letters in support of the program in recent years, including the most recent budget cycle.

The grant restores funding for the program, which was originally eliminated due to across the board budget cuts known as the sequester. It will support the establishment of a Cetacean Bio-Surveillance Program in Central and Southern California.

Bio-surveillance refers to the study of key ecosystem species as indicators for ocean health. The project includes funds for responding to marine mammals that strand on land, researching the causes of stranding and educating the public. It covers Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Ventura counties.

“I am pleased that federal funding will restore this important program, which directly supports the protection and conservation of marine species off our coast,” Capps said. “The health of our oceans is vital to not only the ecosystems that they support, but also the Central Coast economy and others who rely on it every day.”

“The Prescott Stranding Grant has been providing funds for the Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program for over a decade,” said Michelle Berman Kowalewski, lead researcher of Channel Islands Cetacean Research Unit. “The health of whales and dolphins is a direct reflection of the health of the ocean. We are able to determine diseases and contaminant concentrations in whales and dolphins that live and feed in and around the Santa Barbara Channel, the same ocean we utilize for so many resources.”

The grant was one of 35 grants awarded in 18 states totaling $2.7 million in funding.

Chris Meagher is the press secretary for Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara.


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