Palau received $414,795 fund from the United States government which will be used to conduct a detailed underwater mapping of the reef slope of the main island group of the country and also to rehabilitate the UNESCO-heritage site in the Rock Island Southern Lagoon.

Out of this fund, $170,039 will go to the Coral Reef Research Foundation (CRRF) to help it complete a detailed bathymetric mapping of up to 300 meters depth of the outer reef slope of the main island group, a press statement from the US Department of Interior (DOI) revealed. This project is said to be used as an education and technology

The remaining $244,756 will then be used for the rehabilitation and restoration project in the Rock Island Southern Lagoon, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The said project will focus more on controlling invasive species on Ngemelis Island and also to promote recovery of the seabird populations.

U.S. Interior Assistant Secretary for Insular and International Affairs Doug Domenech first broke the announcement during the 42nd annual U.S. Coral Reef Task Force meeting in Palau that he co-chaired.

The funds to support Palau’s projects were part of the $5-million that the US announced it will provide to support several projects to protect coral reefs and other natural resources in other Pacific islands such as the American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI), the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI). (By Rhealyn C. Pojas)