UNCW receives more than $1 million for marine research center

Posted by Debra Worley - email

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - The University of North Carolina Wilmington has received a grant of $1.25 million from the U.S. Department of Interior.

Funds will support the proposed $54 million Salt River Bay Marine Research and Education Center (MREC) on St. Croix in the United States Virgin Islands.

The MREC will support coral reef exploration, research and conservation, K-12 education, and residential learning experiences for college students.

"This grant is another major step in our long march to establish a marine research and educational facility and program on St. Croix," said Bob Wicklund, UNCW's director of federal programs. "UNCW has been in the forefront of this project for 10 years, and it is personally rewarding to see our efforts showing real progress."

The MREC is a partnership among:

  • Joint Institute for Caribbean Marine Sciences
  • National Park Service
  • Office of Insular Affairs
  • Government of the Virgin Islands
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Partner universities in the JICMS are UNCW, the University of the Virgin Islands, Rutgers and the University of South Carolina.

Combined with earlier grants, the Office of Insular Affairs has contributed more than $2 million toward this initiative.

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