NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program
Fiscal Year 2007 Accomplishments
In fiscal year (FY) 2007, the National Oceanic andAtmospheric Ad-
ministration (NOAA) Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP) re-
ceivedjust over$27 million to support activities to conserve, manage,
and understand coral reef ecosystems in the U.S. and around the
world. The funding allowed NOAA to implement over 150 projects ari ne Prot eed, Ares
within the agency, fund three coral reef research institutes, and pro- .
vide just over $6.4 million in grants for additional projects. Below are
lust afew of the many accomplishments of the NOAA CRCP and its
partners in FY2007.
NOAA CRCP Convenes an Expert Panel to Conduct a Five-
Year External Program Review. As the culmination of
months of planning by NOAA's CRCP, a seven-member panel
of distinguished experts came together in September. The The CRCP released thefirst two documents in its new
panel meeting included presentations from the CRCP and input technical memorandum series.
from a variety of CRCP customers and stakeholders. The panel
is charged with assessing CRCP effectiveness over a five-year period (FY2002-2006). The CRCP provided the panel
with a comprehensive "self-assessment" of activities, outputs, impacts and challenges during FY2002-2006. The panel
will provide its findings and recommendations in a final report in November; the report will be used to help guide CRCP
planning for FY2009-2013.
Administration Releases Proposal for Reauthorization of the Coral Reef Conservation Act. On May 8, the Depart-
ment of Commerce transmitted to Congress an Administration proposal, the Coral Reef Ecosystem Conservation
Amendments Act of 2007 (CRECAA), which strengthens the protection and restoration of our nation's coral reefs by
providing expanded authorities to the Secretaries of Commerce and the Interior. The proposed legislation, which reautho-
rizes the Coral Reef Conservation Act of 2000, directs NOAA's CRCP to address emerging issues such as coral bleach-
ing, disease, and climate change. The proposal also provides the authority to seek damages from those responsible for
physical damage to coral reefs from such causes as vessel groundings, anchors, towlines, and lost cargo. The proposal
mandates that the recovered damages be used to fund coral reef restoration. As of late October 2007, the House of Repre-
sentatives passed HR 1205 and the Senate Commerce Committee is working to refer S 1580 to the Senate floor for a
vote. Both incorporate some features of the CRECAA.
NOAA Releases First Agency-wide Coral Reef Ecosystem Research Plan. NOAA's first agency-wide coral reef eco-
system research plan was released on March 1 by NOAA's CRCP. The document, entitled NOAA Coral ReefEcosystem
Research Plan for Fiscal Years 2007 to 2011 is designed to guide priority-setting for coral reef ecosystem research
through FY2011. The Coral Reef Research Plan provides coastal and ocean managers, scientists, and policy makers with
an up-to-date scientific assessment of the threats facing coral reef ecosystems, and identifies priority research needed to
advance management action. Covering all coral reef ecosystems under the jurisdiction of the U.S. and Pacific Freely As-
sociated States, the plan provides a national perspective on the research needed to address the range of stresses affecting
the health of coral reef ecosystems, summarizes the management and other issues that will drive research at the regional
level, and focuses on the use of research to guide effective implementation of ecosystem-based management strategies.
First Status Report Issued on U.S. Coral Reef Protected Areas. On March 1, the first-ever inventory and assessment
of U.S. marine protected areas (MPAs) managed by State and Territory governments was released by NOAA's CRCP, as
called for by the National Action Plan of the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force. The publication, Report on the Status ofMa
rine Protected Areas in Coral ReefEcosystems of the United States Volume 1: Marine Protected Areas Managed by US.
States, Territories, and Commonwealths, was funded by the CRCP and coordinated by the Coastal Programs Division,
both housed in NOAA's Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management. The report utilizes data collected in the Na-
tional Marine Managed Inventory as well as the expertise of NOAA and state and territory co-authors to explore the
management status of 207 MPAs located across the seven U.S. jurisdictions containing coral reefs. The report also identi-
fies major challenges to effective MPA management and offers a series of recommendations both at the national and lo-
cal levels to improve MPA success.
NOAA and USDA Pilot New Partnership to Address Land-Based Impacts to Coral Reefs. The U.S. Department of
Agriculture (USDA) and NOAA's CRCP partnered to launch a new Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP),
located in the Jobos Bay Watershed in Puerto Rico. CEAP is an effort by the USDA to quantify environmental effects
and benefits of conservation practices, highlighting interactions between upland and coastal ecosystems. This project es-
tablished a CEAP Special Emphasis Watershed (SEW) co-located at the Jobos Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
in Puerto Rico. SEWs are strategically located watersheds with ongoing research and demonstration activities addressing
specific resource concerns such as water quality. The Jobos Bay project will be the first SEW in the tropics, and initiates
a collaborative partnership between USDA and NOAA to address natural resource issues in the coastal environments of
U.S. coral reef areas.
NOAA and GBRMPA Develop Training Program to Help Managers Ad-
dress Coral Bleaching. NOAA's CRCP and Australia's Great Barrier Reef Ma-
rine Park Authority (GBRMPA) have developed a four-day "Bleaching Tools
Workshop" for an intensive hands-on training on the recently published Reef
Manager's Guide to Coral Bleaching (Guide). The workshop is designed for ma-
rine park managers, reserve managers, coral scientists, and other interested
stakeholders involved in coral reef monitoring and bleaching response. The train-
ing includes formal instruction on the Guide, hands-on experience with satellite
tools, practice in the field, and informal discussion to exchange ideas and foster
.. ... collaborations that help increase managerial capacity to manage coastal re-
sources. The first two workshops were conducted this summer: the first in Aus-
A bleaching tools workshop participant tralia with participants from five nations, and the second in American Samoa
conducts a resilience survey of an with participants from the U.S. Pacific Islands and Fiji.
American Samoan reef Credit: NOAA
Coral Reef Watch NOAA Awards $9 Million in Coral Reef Conservation Grants. In FY2007,
NOAA's CRCP awarded almost $9 million in grants to external partners in sup-
port of coral reef research, education, management, and conservation. Representing over 34 percent of the CRCP budget
for FY2007, these awards reflect NOAA's strong support for cooperative partnerships and conservation efforts outside
the agency. Funds supported a range of activities, from community conservation projects to large-scale coral reef obser-
vation systems, and included support for three coral reef research institutes one each in Hawai'i, Florida and Puerto
Rico. Grants were awarded through both NOAA's six category Coral Reef Conservation Grants Program and the jointly
managed NOAA-National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Coral Reef Conservation Fund. To date, this fund has awarded
$19 million in federal and non-federal matching funds to support over 190 on-the-ground coral reef conservation projects
in 35 countries.
NOAA Assumes Coordination of the Global Socioeconomic Monitoring Initiative. The Global Socioeconomic
Monitoring Initiative (SocMon) facilitates community-based monitoring of coastal areas, increasing coastal managers'
capacity to assess and manage the human communities that use and depend on coastal resources. In FY2007, NOAA's
CRCP began coordinating the program, which is currently active in six global regions with over 30 active sites. NOAA's
leadership facilitated the first two domestic applications of the SocMon protocols through training held in the U.S. Vir-
gin Islands (USVI) and Puerto Rico. The workshop for the USVI Coastal Zone Management Program, held in coopera-
tion with The Ocean Conservancy, The Nature Conservancy, and USVI government, trained local resource managers in
socioeconomic monitoring methodologies. A similar workshop was held in Puerto Rico, where 30 protected area manag-
ers were trained in the SocMon methodology. On the international front, SocMon continued to expand its geographic
scope and depth of coverage, training regional trainers and monitors from nine countries. All of these efforts further the
goal of improving and expanding socioeconomic monitoring of coral reef areas in terms of site coverage, use of standard-
ized comparative methods, and developing a global picture of the social health of coral reef areas.
www. coralreef noaa.gov