ACTION: Our Marine Mammal Rescue team needs your help today
4.11.13 BREAKING UPDATE: FEDERAL GRANT MONEY REMOVED FROM PROPOSED BUDGET
Just as we feared, the proposed U.S. budget for fiscal year 2014 eliminates the only federal grant support for marine mammal stranding response.
The John H. Prescott Stranding Grant Program is a very small part of the overall NOAA budget ($4 million), but has a HUGE impact on the ability of the many small stranding response organizations around the coast of the U.S. to do their jobs.
IFAW Marine Mammal Rescue and Research is one of these teams of rescuers and researchers.
Our team of six biologists, our veterinarian and over 200 trained volunteers worked tirelessly to respond to live and dead stranded dolphins, whales, porpoises and seals.
Along with other networks, we collect important data about the health of the animals in our waters, emerging diseases, and causes of mortalities.
Not only do we gain an understanding of the threats to these protected species, but we help to monitor the health of our coastal ecosystems- identifying emerging diseases and toxins that may affect commercially valuable species, discovering zoonotic diseases that can be transmitted between animals and humans, and documenting environmental changes that can have cascading effects on our health and our economy.
This work is important- not just to the marine mammals- but to all of us.
Help us to preserve the only federal support for this work.
Click now on this link to submit a letter to your Congressional representatives demanding re-instatement of the Prescott Grant Program.
We need your help.
The team was just notified that the new U.S. federal budget proposals will be submitted on April 10th.
This means support for the vitally important John H. Prescott Marine Mammal Stranding Grant Program is once again on the line.
Obviously, we are all faced with financial challenges - individually and as a nation. We need to be frugal and make smart decisions.
And Although the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is required under federal law by the Marine Mammal Protection Act to respond to stranded animals and collect data, they do not have the resources or personnel to do so.
As a result, private organizations have taken on this responsibility - fulfilling NOAA’s legal mandate with no guarantee of federal financial support.
The Prescott grant program is a competitive program - meaning all interested networks (mostly non-profits, universities, and some aquaria) must apply to the program each year.
Usually there about twice as many proposals as there is funding to support them.
The Prescott grant program ($4 million USD) is a small part of the NOAA budget of roughly $4.9 billion USD, yet it has a huge impact on the work that can be accomplished by the network of response organizations and is directly invested in the communities in which each are based.
Additionally, every institution that receives a grant must provide matching funds in the amount of about 1/3 of the federal support.
This means we are leveraging the public federal grant funds to generate private support for the program as well, to the tune of over $12 million in additional support since the program began.
Stranding response is important.
Our work is important for animal welfare - many animals strand alive in need of medical care.
Our work is important for conservation - marine mammals are federally protected and are very important parts of the marine ecosystem.
Moreover, the data generated from strandings aids in the development of sound conservation and management policies.
Ironically, our work is important for human health - marine mammals serve as sentinel species for the ocean environment upon which we as humans rely.
Through stranding response we monitor the health of the ecosystem, threats to human health and possible effects on commercially important species.
Lend your voice in support of our marine mammal rescue efforts. It takes just a few moments to send a letter to your senators and representatives- I’ve written the letter for you.
ACTION: Just follow this link and enter your info to let the policy makers know that this is important to you , and to the marine mammal stranding networks around the coasts of the US.
Thank you for doing your part to make sure this important work continues.