Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Table of Contents
 List of acronyms
 Executive summary
 Mapping U.S. coral reefs
 Monitoring coral reef health
 Supporting strategic research
 Understanding social and economic...
 Improving the use of marine protected...
 Reducing the adverse impacts of...
 Reducing the impacts of coastal...
 Reducing pollution
 Restoring damaged reefs
 Improving outreach and educati...
 Reducing threats to reefs...
 Reducing impacts from international...
 Improving coordination and...
 Federal expenditures for U.S. Coral...
 Photo credits
 Back Cover

Title: Implementation of the National Coral Reef Action Strategy : report to Congress
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/CA01300943/00001
 Material Information
Title: Implementation of the National Coral Reef Action Strategy : report to Congress
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Publisher: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Place of Publication: Silver Spring, Md.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: CA01300943
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of the Virgin Islands
Holding Location: University of the Virgin Islands
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.


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Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page i
    Front Matter
        Page ii
        Page iii
    Table of Contents
        Page iv
    List of acronyms
        Page v
        Page vi
    Executive summary
        Page vii
        Page viii
        Page ix
        Page x
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
    Mapping U.S. coral reefs
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
    Monitoring coral reef health
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
    Supporting strategic research
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
    Understanding social and economic factors
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
    Improving the use of marine protected areas
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
    Reducing the adverse impacts of fishing
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
    Reducing the impacts of coastal uses
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
    Reducing pollution
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
    Restoring damaged reefs
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
    Improving outreach and education
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
    Reducing threats to reefs internationally
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
    Reducing impacts from international trade
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
    Improving coordination and accountability
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
    Federal expenditures for U.S. Coral Reef Task Force conservation activities (2002-2004)
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
    Photo credits
        Page 115
    Back Cover
        Page 116
Full Text

oII I Im 1 1E U I1

of the


1 L

Coral Re<

ion Strateg


U.S. Coral
Task Force Ag
2002 to

.. ..



This document was produced by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration (NOAA), U.S. Department of Commerce, in cooperation with
the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force, to fulfill requirements of the Coral Reef
Conservation Act of 2000 (P.L. 106-562; 16 U.S.C. 6401 et seq.).



National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
2005. Implementation of the National Coral Reef
Action Strategy: Report on U.S. Coral Reef Task Force
Agency Activities From 2002 to 2003. Silver Spring,
MD. 124 pp.

July 2005



For information or copies, please contact:
NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program
Office of Response and Restoration
National Ocean Service
1305 East West Highway
Silver Spring, Maryland 20910
Phone: 301 713-2989
http://www. coralreef.noaa.gov
U.S. Coral Reef Task Force
http://www. coralreef.gov

OF )L I^1 r
fttr" c


i !h I1J itional Ocea
1), I Iment of Cor
i.ii- i territory, anc
i,,!. (USCRTF) fc
ihp,/',- nentation o0
................... !! ng, assessir
UbR f F, which in
associated states. P
the USCRTF Work
time to drafting an
assistance and col]

In addition to all c
other federal, state
zations; academic
ino thp hPl1th nf ci


: and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S.
erce, wishes to thank the members and staff of the fec
)mmonwealth organizations of the U.S. Coral Reef Tas
heir support and cooperation in producing this report
e National Coral Reef Action Strategy. This report inv
and presenting information on coral reef activities fro
ides 12 federal agencies, 7 states and territories, and 3
AA thanks the USCRTF, the USCRTF Steering Commi
, Groups, and all of the individuals who committed th
assemblingg the individual chapters of this report for tl
Duration in producing this document.

ie members and staff of the USCRTF, NOAA wishes t(
*rritory, and local agency partners; nongovernmental c

Table of Contents

List of Acronyms ............ .................... .......... v

Executive Sum m ary ................................... ............. vii

Introduction .......................................... ........... 1

Chapter 1: Mapping U.S. Coral Reefs................................. 5

Chapter 2: Monitoring Coral Reef Health ............................... 13

Chapter 6: Reducing the Adverse Impac

Chapter 7: Reducing the Impacts of Co;

Chapter 8: Reducing Pollution .......

Chapter 9: Restoring Damaged Reefs..

Chapter 10: Improving Outreach and E(

Chapter 11: Reducing Threats to Reefs

Chapter 12: Reducing Impacts From Int

References ..

(The following

Appendix B: P

of Fishing. . . . . . . . . . . 43
of Fishing ..................... 43

al Uses .................. .... . 53

............................ 63

. . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . 7 1

:ation ......... .............. 79

arnationally ................... .87

national Trade ................... 93

appendix is available at http://ww.co

Iditional Coral Reef Task Force Activity

List of Acronyms











Aquatic Invasive Species
American Samoa
Atlantic and Gulf Rapid Reef
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
Buck Island Reef National Monument
Convention on Biological Diversity
Coral Disease and Health Consortium
Colored Dissolved Organic Matter
Caribbean Fishery Management
Cooperative Institute for Research in
Environmental Sciences
Convention on International Trade in
Endangered Species of
Wild Fauna and Flora
Commonwealth of the Northern
Mariana Islands
Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Coral Reef Information System
Coral Reef Conservation Act of 2000
Coral Reef Ecosystem Division
Coral Reef Evaluation and Monitoring
Coral Reef Ecosystem Studies
Coral Reef Early Warning System
Coral Reef Outreach Network
Coral Reef Watch
Clean Water Act
Coastal Zone Management Program
Guam Division of Aquatic and
Wildlife Resources
U.S. Department of Homeland

Implementation of the National Coral Reef Action Strategy I v

DNER Department of Natural and
Environmental Resources
DOC U.S. Department of Commerce
DoD U.S. Department of Defense
DOI U.S. Department of the Interior
DOJ U.S. Department of Justice
DOS U.S. Department of State
DOT U.S. Department of Transportation
EFH Essential Fish Habitats
EIMS Environmental Information
Management System
EIS Environmental Impact Statement
EPA U.S. Environmental Protection
EEZ Exclusive Economic Zone
FGBNMS Flower Garden Banks National Marine
FKNMS Florida Keys National Marine
FAS Freely Associated States (Republic of
Palau, Republic of the Marshall
Islands, Federated States of
FEMA Federal Emergency Management
FMP Fisheries Management Plan
FMRI Florida Marine Research Institute
FRA Fisheries Replenishment Area
FWC Fish and Wildlife Conservation
Commission (Florida)
FWRI Fish and Wildlife Research Institute
FY Fiscal Year
GCRMN Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network
GIS Geographic Information System
GPS Geographic Positioning System
GU Guam








Hazard Analysis and Critical Control
Hawai'i Coral Reef Initiative
Hawai'i Interagency Coral Reef
Mitigation Working Group
Hawai'i Ocean Safety Team
International Coral Reef Initiative
International Maritime Organization
Local Action Strategy
Light Intensity Detection and Ranging
Mobile Irrigation Lab
Marine Managed Area
Minerals Management Service
Memorandum of Intent
Marine Protected Area
Marine Pollution Control Device
National Aeronautics and Space
National Coral Reef Initiative
National Environmental Policy Act
Nongovernmental Organization
National Park Service
National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Reef
Assessment and Monitoring Program
Natural Resources Conservation
National Science Foundation
Northwestern Hawaiian Islands

NWR National Wildlife Refuge
PR Puerto Rico
PRDENR Puerto Rico Department of the
Environment and Natural Resources
PSSA Particularly Sensitive Sea Area
RACE Restoration and Assessment of Coral
ROV Remotely Operated Vehicle
SeaWiFS Sea-Viewing Wide Field-of-View
SHARQ Submersible Habitat for Analyzing
Reef Quality
SST Sea Surface Temperature
SPAW Special Protected Areas Wildlife
TNC The Nature Conservancy
UNEP United Nations Environment
UNESCO United Nations Educational, Scientific
and Cultural Organization
USAID U.S. Agency for International
USCG U.S. Coast Guard
USCRTF U.S. Coral Reef Task Force
USDA U.S. Department of Agriculture
USFWS U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
USGS U.S. Geological Survey
USVI U.S. Virgin Islands
VIIS Virgin Islands National Park
WRP Wetland Reserve Program


Executive Summary

S. I i eefs, often called the "rainforests of the sea," are among the oldest and most
SI, c !-,* ecosystems on the planet. They provide resources and services worth bil
!i ll- -' f dollars each year to the United States and worldwide economies, a surprise
il ,iilount considering that these ecosystems cover less than 1 percent of the
I .II II, i surface. With 10.5 million people living adjacent to a U.S. coral reef in
i i ,ili ind coastal communities or on islands (U.S. Census 2002), coral reefs have
become an integral part of the culture, heritage, and economies of these regions.

Millions of people across the United States depend on coral reefs for food, protect
tion from storms, and jobs. For example, South Florida's coral reef ecosystems have
a nonmarket value of $228 million and support more than 44,500 jobs (Turgeon et
al. 2002). U.S. coral reef fisheries alone support an ex-vessel landing (value of catch
paid to fishermen) of more than $137.1 million (Turgeon et al. 2002).

However, U.S. coral reef ecosystems and worldwide reefs are in danger. They are
continuously damaged or destroyed by anthropogenic impacts such as pollution,
overfishing, and coastal development, and by natural impacts such as tropical
storms. The Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN) estimates 20 percent
of the world's coral reefs have been destroyed and predicts 24 percent are under
pending destruction from adverse human impacts (Wilkinson 2004). In addition,
GCRMN estimates another 26 percent of reefs are under a long-term decline
(Wilkinson 2004). Compounding this problem is the lack of public awareness
regarding the value and condition of U.S. coral reefs and the impact people
upstream have on reef health.

Implementation of the National Coral Reef Action Sil ii, .- highlights the activities
of the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force (USCRTF) in 2002-2003 to promote understand
ing of coral reefs and to reduce the threats to these valuable marine ecosystems.
The report provides summaries and examples of many of the activities conducted
by USCRTF members and their extramural partners to fulfill the goals and objec
tives of the National Action Plan 7T C. ,,i C, ,i f I fR,-,.r (?2nnn) ( i!, PI! i!,,1 II.
U.S. National Coral Reef Action 11 r.,i i't li ,111 1r,, IIs I. i .. 'I :- I. lI
intended to be a comprehensive 1-1 ..- i 'Il ii' l1 ~' l I \ '
indirectly affecting coral reefs. M ,!'. 1 ..I. I!' I Il I i 1,i r is i '.
accomplishments and future chall, i iii Ibic I i.: 1 i I .
(http://www.coralreef.gov) or by c !i i_ !.- I, ii I iIls II,

Implementation of the National Coral I



I I report follows the 13 goals of the Plan and the Strategy to reduce threats to
SI iI reef ecosystems worldwide:

SI i eate comprehensive maps of all U.S. coral reef habitats.

* I nduct long-term monitoring and assessments of reef ecosystem conditions.

* 'u.ipport strategic research to address the major threats to reef ecosystems.

* I1 crease understanding of the social and economic factors of conserving coral

* improve the use of marine protected areas to reduce threats.

* i-.. duce adverse impacts of fishing and other extractive uses.

* i-. duce impacts of coastal uses.

* Reduce pollution.

* Restore damaged reefs.

* Improve education and outreach.

* Reduce threats to coral reef ecosystems internationally.

* Reduce impacts from international trade in coral reef species.

* Improve coordination and accountability.

As called for by the Coral Reef Conservation Act of 2000 (Pub. L. No. 106-562; 16
U.S.C. 6401 et seq.), the report addresses each goal and charts annual funding by
federal agencies for activities directly related to the Strategy. It also presents a brief
analysis of the future challenges facing coral reef ecosystems and the communities
that depend on them. Appendix A lists federal obligations totaling $177.29 million
for coral reef conservation in 2002, $163.59 million in 2003, and $200.50 million in
2004. Appendix B (only available online at http://www.coralreef.gov) provides a
more comprehensive list of USCRTF activity highlights.

Due to partnerships among USCRTF members and the involvement of nongovern
mental organizations, much progress has been made to meet the Strategy's goals
and objectives. These partnerships have been successful at leveraging funding and
resources to better understand and address threats to coral reef ecosystems, and
thus partnerships are a major focus of this report and are included as highlights
wherever possible.

Some highlights of USCRTF member activities in 2002-2003 include:

Mapping all shallow coral reefs. The USCRTF's goal is to produce comprehensive
digital maps of all U.S. shallow coral reefs (<30 m) by 2009. Between 2002 and
2004, the percentage of mapped areas increased from 35 to 66 percent. In addition,


Executive Summary

new tools, including the Draft Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI) Atlas, are
being created to give managers much needed habitat information for improved

Monitoring coral reef health. In 2002-2003, more than 50 monitoring activities
were supported by USCRTF organizations and significant advances were made
toward a national coral reef monitoring system. The National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) partnered with other federal agencies to
expand its Pacific coral reef ecosystem monitoring to American Samoa, Guam, and
the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). The first State of
Coral Reef Ecosystems of the United States and Pacific Freely Associated States
(Turgeon et al. 2002) assessed the condition of U.S. coral reefs, ranked threats in 13
geographic areas, detailed ongoing conservation actions taken by USCRTF agencies,
and provided recommendations from coral reef managers to fill information gaps.
The second biennial report, scheduled for publication in summer 2005, will reflect
more quantitative data obtained through collaborative monitoring programs.

Research. USCRTF agencies and their partners have significantly expanded the
understanding of processes affecting the structure, function, and health of coral reef
ecosystems, which has improved coral reef ecosystem threat response and reduc
tion. This increased understanding has improved the ability to respond to and
reduce threats to coral reef ecosystems in some areas. For example, the Coral
Disease and Health Consortium is coordinating scientific resources to investigate
coral health, coral bleaching, and factors affecting the emergence, transmission, and
impact of coral diseases.

Improving the use of coral reef-protected areas. New coral reef protected areas
were established or proposed in federal waters and several jurisdictions, including
the U.S. Virgin Islands, Hawai'i, Puerto Rico, Florida, American Samoa, and the
CNMI. In addition, management plan completion, regulation updates, and an
increase in the capacity to implement enforcement and education efforts improved
the effectiveness of existing coral reef-protected areas. NOAA, working with state
and territory partners, is leading the first comprehensive, nationwide inventory
and assessment of all U.S. coral reef-protected areas to identify key needs.

Reducing the adverse impacts of fishing. Since 2002, five of the seven U.S. states
or territories with coral reefs have instituted new or revised fishery regulations to
help restore and/or sustain coral reef fisheries. Actions were also taken to strength
en the management of coral reef fisheries in federal waters, including the imple
mentation of the first Fishery Management Plan for Coral Reef Ecosystems of the
Western Pacific Region and initiation of the process for establishing a new mn t
jurisdictional fishery management plan in Biscayne Bay.

Reducing the impacts of coastal uses. Ship groundings and anchor dam
tinue to affect coral reef health throughout U.S. waters. USCRTF ageniS
improved planning for and response to grounding events and implemented .

Implementation of the National Cort

S...i ares to avoid vessel impacts by improving navigational aids and installing
I" inment moorings that obviate the need to anchor on coral reefs. For example, in
'i 11I and 2003, NOAA, the U.S. Coast Guard, and state and territory agencies comr
!.'' .1 an inventory of existing grounded vessels on U.S. coral reefs to help man
,., i identify and prioritize vessels for removal.

Reducing the impacts of pollution on reefs. Land, sea, and air pollution continue
1.. i lously affect coral reef ecosystems. Many actions have been taken to reduce
ii impacts, including removing more than 220 tons of fishing nets and other
'I I : from the NWHI coral reef ecosystem and designating all state waters within
II I .)undary of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary as a no-discharge
/, ,i for vessel sewage.

Reducing the impacts from international trade. Since 2001, the United States has
!. 11.. d many countries address the adverse impacts of international trade on their
cui dl reef ecosystems by assisting in identifying strategies to mitigate overfishing
and destructive fishing and by collecting rare, threatened, or endangered species.
These programs have strengthened implementation of sustainable management
plans, enforcement of relevant laws and regulations, development of environment
tally sound collection practices and alternatives, and implementation of other
measures that protect and conserve the coral reef ecosystems outside U.S. control.

Improving coordination and accountability. State and territory members of the
USCRTF, with assistance from federal agency members, developed 3-year local
action strategies to identify and implement priority actions to reduce land-based
sources of pollution, overfishing, recreational misuse and overuse, lack of public
awareness, disease, and coral bleaching and climate change-six key threats to
coral reefs. To improve coordination in the Pacific, the USCRTF invited the
Republic of Palau, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Federated States of
Micronesia to be observers on the Task Force. These efforts have increased collabo
ration and cooperation among partners at all levels, resulting in improved local
action to protect valuable coral reefs.

The activities summarized in this report represent significant achievements by gov
ernment and nongovernmental partners to reduce threats to reefs and conserve
healthy, resilient coral reef ecosystems and the human communities that depend
on them. However, these accomplishments represent only intermediate steps
toward achieving the goals of the Strategy. Much remains to be done to halt the
degradation of coral reefs and to sustain these valuable marine ecosystems and the
economies that depend on them. Building on this foundation of achievement and
collaboration, NOAA and the USCRTF are committed to continuing efforts to pro
tect the Nation's valuable coral reefs and working with international partners to
protect coral reefs worldwide.




II I I, United States, cora
S Il urces provide econon
I... ,lntal benefits to mill
1, i!i the form of food, jo
I- I .cts, pharmaceutical
Sll p protection. They hely
ties prevent coastal erosic
fish species they sustain
source of revenue for the
ermen. The intrinsic beau
reefs and their spectacular
ty, attract thousands of to
year, which makes tourism
industry in many coral re
Perhaps most important, 1
sity found in the Nation's
ecosystems may hold the
icant medical discoveries

Coral reef ecosystems hav
for millions of years desp
dance of natural disturbai
ever, natural stressors are
compounded by impacts
including pollution, over]
physical damage, and cor
to climate change. A com
stressors has caused a rap
the health of many coral I
teams globally, and, left ur
this decline could lead to
social, economic, and enm

id shore efforts to protect, restore, and sustain
7nmuni coral reef ecosystems. The USCRTF
id the composed of 12 federal agencies, 7
critical state and territory partners, and 3 non
on's fish voting Freely Associated States-is
f coral directed to oversee implementation of
)diversi the policy and federal agency response
s each abilities set forth in the Executive Order
e top and to guide and support activities
teas. under the U.S. Coral Reef Initiative.
)iodiver USCRTF duties range from planning
al reef and priority setting to assisting and
to signif coordinating member activities.

Since its inception, the USCRTF has
rvived been an important catalyst for federal,
n abun state, territory, and local action. By
. How increasing collaboration among feder
/ being al, state, territory, and local agencies;
1 people nongovernmental institutes and organ
ng, izations; and international partners,
utions the USCRTF has maximized limited
tion of funding and resources through joint
decline in planning and priority setting, leading
ecosys to many of the activities that have ben
cked, pfitpd cnr-l r'PfQ n,-pr thP p-et feA,'
lifican t ., \\ iil ii 11.1i i ..ii , .. I i 1 .i! I,
im mental -!.i I .. l. I l i. i -.s I 1 I | i
II,,- 1I .1 I % 11 11, I l Illil I, ", IlI I I,

The U.S. National Coral Reef Action
Strategys 13 Goals for Addressing Threats to
Coral Reefs Worldwide

Theme 1: Understand Coral Reef Ecosystems-
Better understanding of complex coral reef ecosys-
tems will improve management and conservation of
these valuable resources. The Strategy outlines the
following major goals to increase understanding of
coral reef ecosystems:
Goal 1: Create comprehensive maps of all U.S. coral
reef habitat.
Goal 2: Conduct long-term monitoring and assess-
ments of reef ecosystem conditions.
Goal 3: Support strategic research to address the
major threats to reef ecosystems.
Goal 4: Increase understanding of the social and eco-
nomic factors of conserving coral reefs.

Theme 2: Reduce the Adverse Impacts of Human
Activities-Reducing the impacts of human activities
is essential to conserving coral reef ecosystems. The

to U.S. coral reef ecosystems (see table 1) and
to develop local and national action strategies
addressing these threats. USCRTF member agencies
and their partners have, in turn, coordinated efforts
to carry out these actions.

USCRTF developed the National Action Plan
To Conserve Coral Reefs (2000) in response to
Executive Order 13089. The Plan serves as a blue
print to counteract the continued destruction of
coral reef ecosystems and identifies 2 overarching
themes and 13 goals with related objectives outlin
ing the main threats to coral reef ecosystems and
key actions to help reduce these threats. NOAA,
in cooperation with the USCRTF, published A
National Coral Reef Action Strategy (2002), as
required by the Coral Reef Conservation Act

Strategy outlines the
following major goals -
to reduce the adverse
impacts of human activities:
Goal 5: Improve the use of marine protected areas to
reduce threats.
Goal 6: Reduce adverse impacts of fishing and other
extractive uses.
Goal 7: Reduce impacts of coastal uses.
Goal 8: Reduce pollution.
Goal 9: Restore damaged reefs.
Goal 10: Improve education and outreach.
Goal 11: Reduce threats to coral reef ecosystems
Goal 12: Reduce impacts from international trade in
coral reef species.
Goal 13: Improve coordination and accountability

(CRCA), Pub. L. No. 106-562; 16 U.S.C. 6401 et
seq. The Strategy is based on the framework pre
sented in the Plan and provides information on the
major threats and needs in each jurisdiction, tracks
progress in achieving USCRTF goals and objectives,
and identifies priority actions needed to achieve
the goals and objectives.

Starting two years after the publication of the
Strategy and every 2 years thereafter, CRCA
requires NOAA to submit a report describing all
activities undertaken to implement the Strategy,
including a description of the funds obligated each
fiscal year to advance coral reef conservation. This
report, Implementation of the National Coral Reef
Action Strategy, fulfills this requirement and
includes highlights of the full range of USCRTF



Table 1: Ranking of Major Threats to Coral Reef Ecosystems by Region

This table is a general summary of the relative impact of natural and human-related threats to coral reef ecosystems in
the United States and Freely Associated States in 2002 and 2004, based on expert opinion of coastal managers within
thejurisdictions. These threat levels may vary over time to reflect changes in natural and anthropogenic impacts or to
incorporate new information about impacts.

I I .,t n. "-I rIl
l:,I j_ ,: iiirm ,71


Tropical storms

and runoff

Coastal pollution

Tourism and M


Trade in coral and L L
live reef species

Ships, boats, and

Marine debris






- S



CMJ ^ CMJ ^ NM ^ M ^ C M ^ C

I I M IM HI rvI'v I







Aquatic invasive LL L L L NA L M M M r

Security training

Offshore oil and
gas exploration






rl L L L







I 1

s s
N.. N







Other L LI LNAI L IL L ~ L A L L L L I M L I M L


= High priority threat

1.1 = Medium priority threat

Source: Waddell 2005: State of Coral Reef Ecosystems of the United States and tle Pacifi

Implementation of the National Coral Reef Action Strategy I ::

Low priority thre.,r



I I i I I I l l I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I

I H I HrIl







-ij ...,i iii iieIt Idr, 'i nd iir lii threats to coral
W i .' ., m*

W i 4 .n $ o I 1 .i ii,.l I,', i I ; Strategy's 13 goals

tri. ,lt, i, I,,II,,' Ii ,iiew ork:

I -
SRI aionale for Action-. I. -, ribes the justification
. ,** .r- ,,' I! 1 ," !

W Sluiar\ of in pleinenitation-provides an
.,\ -i- '* .I I 1 I. I, ... I 'ivities conducted
I,, i 1 i. I i 1iii ii.'l' d i i. I partners during
'illi iI .: in ,1. 1 . Ii goal.

Highlights of Task Force Member Activities-
I"i1- i iN i- 1: in, 1 !- 111 j I or accomplishments
by goal objectives. Many of the activities high
lighted represent activities conducted in con
junction with other agencies at the federal, state,
territory, and local levels; academic institutions;
nongovernmental organizations; and others.

Future Challenges-describes obstacles that need
to be addressed and future activities required to
better address the goals.

This report was produced in collaboration with
members of the USCRTF and its partners to provide
a summary of activities implemented in 2002-2003
that helped fulfill the goals and objectives of the
Strategy. This report is not intended to be a compare
hensive list of agency programs and activities
directly or indirectly affecting coral reefs. More
comprehensive information on USCRTF accom
plishments and future challenges can be found on
the USCRTF website (http://www.coralreef.gov) or
by contacting USCRTF members directly. The vast
majority of the activities outlined in this report have
been accomplished through partnerships and have
resulted in on-the-ground achievements in key
issues such as capacity building, effective use of
marine protected areas, and education and outreach.

Coral reef ecosystems face increasing pressures.
However, as this report demonstrates, the USCRTF
and its partners remain committed to identifying
and reducing the threats to coral reefs and conserve
ing healthy and resilient coral reef ecosystems for
current and future generations.



Mapping U.S.

oral Reefs

GOAL: Produce comprehensive digital maps of all
shallow coral reef ecosystems in the United States
and characterize priority moderate-depth reef
systems by 2009.

Rationale for Action

Accurate geo-referenced information
on the location of specific natural
resources and habitat types is impor
tant for effectively managing marine
habitats. This need is particularly
acute for coral reef ecosystems because
the consequences of misinformed
management decisions can have signif-
icant and lasting socioeconomic and
ecological consequences. The USCRTF
made mapping U.S. shallow-water

OBJECTIVE 1: Develop high-resolution benthic maps of
local and regional coral reef ecosystems using imagery from
satellites and aircraft and in situ surveys. The mapping activi
ties include MPAs, reefs at risk of degradation due to human
activities, and other priority sites identified by the U.S.
Islands representatives.
OBJECTIVE 2: Develop large-scale, low resolution maps
of broad coral reef ecosystems throughout U.S. waters
using satellites and other remote sensing assets for use in
characterizing habitats, designing monitoring programs, and
planning such regional conservation measures as MPAs.

reefs a high priority, with a goal of
producing comprehensive, digital
maps of all U.S. shallow-water coral
reefs by 2009. However, many coral
reef ecosystems in U.S. waters, par
ticularly in the Pacific Ocean and
moderate-depth water (30-200 meters),
still need to be accurately mapped
and characterized using modern tech
niques at a scale useful to managers
and the public addressing conserve
tion issues. Current, accurate, and con
sistent maps will greatly enhance

OBJECTIVE 3: Develop and adapt new technologies and
data sources to increase mapping efficiency while maih tr
ing accuracy; enhance coral reef ecosystem mapping, sur
and assessment capabilities; and, if possible, deti1
tant ecological changes and trends.
OBJECTIVE 4: Characterize priority deep-w
(moderate-depth reefs, 30-200 meters) and

t j,' Il reef ecosys

S l ii i. Ili i i i ii !!iii, assist

i 1 illh II il I, !! Ssist
".. .. .-I i l .. i I 1

...II. I 1. ii- ii i ,'IdI e- bd d con
=" i i' 'll!!! 1 I. -'.!i i. ,- i 1 I!!!!i I protected areas
i r Ii ,,i ,, I

* l .1!, I i ii i i i ,, i i !, 1.1 1. !, i standing of the
S.g -, I! ...' i lgi pl r i.ii I l i logical process-
es affecting the health of reef ecosystems.

Comprehensive maps can also be used to illustrate
trends in coral reef health over time by providing a
geo-referenced tool to track disease and invasive
species and documenting loss of habitat and reef
dependent species.

The USCRTF has committed to the production of
comprehensive digital maps of all U.S. shallow (less
than 30 meters) coral reefs and to the characterize
tion of priority moderate-depth reef systems by
2009. Coral reef mapping efforts are coordinated
through the USCRTF Mapping and Information
Synthesis Working Group, which consists of repre
sentatives from NOAA, the U.S. Geological Survey
(USGS), the National Aeronautics and Space

Table 2. Status of Shallow-Water Coral Reef Ecosystem Mapping Activities
in Tropical and Subtropical U.S. Waters

Puerto Rico

U.S. Virgin Islands

Southern Florida

Hawai'i (main islands)
Northwestern Hawaiian Islands

American Samoa


Northern Mariana Islands

U.S. Flag Islands (e.g., Palmyra, Navassa)

Republic of Palau

Federated States of Micronesia

Republic of the Marshall Islands

















































a Mapping activity refers to the transformation of data or imagery into a shallow-water benthic habitat map depicting geomorphology, zonation, bio-
logical cover, and associated assessments of the thematic accuracy of the map.
b Depth-curve information derived from NOAA nautical charts. In clear water, seafloor features can be mapped in water up to 15 fm deep. Because of
water quality, clouds, cloud shadows, and other factors, seafloor features in water less than 10 fm deep cannot always be mapped (10 fm is equivalent
to 18.3 meters).
c Percentage equals the area mapped divided by the sum of area mapped plus the unmapped area inside the 10-fm depth curve (10 fm = 18.3 m).


Tota ara Ara mpped Are maped nmaped ercetag
mapd otie 0f nie 0f rainie o oa

Mapping U.S. Coral Reefs

Administration (NASA), other federal and state
agencies, and academic and nongovernmental
organizations. Also, federal, state, and local agen
cies; universities; and the private sector continue to
play an integral role in the production of both high
and low-resolution maps to meet management

Summary of Implementation

The comprehensive mapping program led by NOAA
has used aerial photography and satellite images to
create accurate benthic habitat maps that character
ize more than 66 percent of the habitats of U.S.
coral reef ecosystems in water less than 30 meters
deep (see table 2 and figure 1). For some areas,
shoreline maps, in addition to fine-scale maps

Figure 1. Shallow-Water Coral Ree

This graph shows the U.S. shallow-water coral reefs (1k
depth) mapped since 2000. Currently, 9,598 square kil.
reefs in shallow water have been mapped. Of this are
have been classified in habitat maps. The remainder i,
various reasons.

Cumulative Area Mapp(



I 4,000


throughout the U.S. Pacific waters in 2002-2003. In
southern Florida, more than 1,800 scuba dives have
been performed along the reef tract. Examples of
these classification schemes can be found online at

Each map product is
rea Mapped: provided to the user
community for evalu
ation and accuracy
than 30 meters in assessment. Inde
eters of U.S. coral pendent contractors,
i,338 square kilometers such as the University
ossified as unknown for of Hawai'i, evaluate
the accuracy of the
maps, while individu
als from academia,
state and territory
management agencies,
federal partners, and
appropriate non
governmental groups
conduct user evalua
tions of the mapping
products. Map prod
1-uceall 80

Implementation of the National Acti

/ I I si Ill' I, r coral
I I i I I. \ C ', i, I, I. 'I, I. partners
I 1 H I Ic-I iY I w i i ,i I. il l coral reef

i- 1 !! ll!," l I!!' i i II' I II II I i!ii I Ii iln e rc iale
Il,, _, ,. ," ,, _,, [. 1 '1,q ,_, ,~1' nI h i I ,reefs
ril, l t" < -,' i i _l'-~ I I ll.lll ... .. 1, technolo
11 .li..i 1 v*.. ,' ,' ,,_, I i I .. .. i-h ip are
I i I 'Ipin ill, illI.... i i .i 1. ii. I Irm action
11 i 111, Ili- I, l l, 111 Il, ,, ,, I,, -, ,ll, o r. A
i,, i l!' III,,I l .! ii. .,I l ,| ,I b e e n
, !1I.i ii .I l i i I,,- ,I l" ,,I i ii l i)d erate-
,I, 4I ,i ,.' _i l 1 iiI i ,,i ll. 1 1. 1. l em p h a-
sis on the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI),
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
(CNMI), and American Samoa (see table 3).
Bathymetry data have also been collected around
Florida in the U.S. Caribbean, but a similar invento
ry has not been completed for these regions. The
collection of data for seafloor characterization
requires ships capable of launching remotely oper
ated vehicles (ROVs) and other advanced underwa
ter technologies in combination with still and video

imagery. Due to specialized equipment require
ments, the extent of seafloor characterization at
these depths lags far behind bathymetry data collec
tion. NOAA and USGS have generated benthic
habitat maps of portions of the West Florida Shelf,
the NWHI, Moloka'i, and O'ahu. NOAA and USGS
are also undertaking an inventory of the distribu
tion and status of known deep-water coral (cold
water coral) ecosystems occurring throughout the
U.S. economic exclusive zone.

The shallow-water benthic habitat maps and their
associated imagery and metadata are available to
researchers and management agencies on CD-ROM
and on the Internet at http://biogeo.nos.noaa.gov
and http://www.coris.noaa.gov. These products are
being used in a variety of ways to support coral reef
management. For example, completed map atlases
for Puerto Rico are helping researchers and
resource managers study habitat suitability and
MPA placement in southwestern Puerto Rico. Map
atlases for the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) are being
used to assess the impact of an expansion of the

Table 3. Status of Pacific Moderate-Depth Data Collection Efforts Using
Ship-Based Technologies

Are wher Poeta0oa oetaoa

Hawai'i (main islands) 0 1,231 6,666
Northwestern Hawaiian Islands 70,019 1,595 13,771
American Samoa 271 55 464
Guam 26 108 276
Northern Mariana Islands 218 124 476
U.S. Pacific Flag Islands 0 252 436

a Multibeam data provide important information about seafloor features. These data, in combination with such optical information as video or other imagery
are used to develop benthic habitat maps.
b Depth-curve information derived from NOAA nautical charts. Estimated coral ecosystem area for the Republic of Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia,
and the Republic of the Marshall Islands derived from Landsat satellite imagery.


Mapping U.S. Coral Reefs

Buck Island Reef National Monument, assess the
creation of the Virgin Islands Coral Reef National
Monument and the Salt River National Park in St.
Croix, and characterize the status of coral ecosys
teams and associated fisheries in the Virgin Islands
National Park in St. John.

The map atlas covering 60 percent of the Main
Hawaiian Islands is being used to assess the spatial
characteristics and location of Marine Life
Conservation Districts in Hawai'i and identify gaps
in coral reef management areas. Moreover, USGS is
using satellite imagery to map and study transport
patterns of sediment in reef systems of some
Hawaiian islands and to study potential impacts of
these sediments on coral reef health.

Highlights of Task Force
Member Activities

OBJECTIVES 1 & 2: Develop high-resolution
benthic maps of local and regional coral reef
ecosystems using imagery from satellites and air-
craft and in situ surveys. The mapping activities
include MPAs, reefs at risk of degradation due to
human activities, and other priority sites identified
by the U.S. Islands representatives. Develop large-
scale, low-resolution maps of broad coral reef
ecosystems throughout U.S. waters using satellites
and other remote sensing assets for use in charac-
terizing habitats, designing monitoring programs,
and planning such regional conservation measures
as MPAs.

Draft NWHI Atlas Is New Tool for

In 2003, NOAA released the Atlas of the Shallow
Water Benthic Habitats of the Northwestern
Hawaiian Islands-Draft, which provided baseline

Map products depict water depths and seafloor features in nearshore
areas around the island of Ofu in American Samoa. Black areas indi-
cate data "holidays" or areas for which no information was collected.

information on the locations and distributions of
approximately 2,365 square kilometers of shallow
water reefs and other seabed features of the NWHI.
The atlas is an integral tool in designing further
research and management plans. The atlas and
associated satellite imagery are being used to track
marine debris deposition and removal, develop
research mission plans, track the distribution of
and gaps in tow-board data collection activities,
monitor the impact of recent coral bleaching events,
and provide an archive for future research and
related activities. The benthic habitat maps and
satellite imagery are being used to track and moni
tor the distribution and habitat use patterns of such
protected species as the endangered Hawaiian
monk seal and threatened sea turtles.

Revolutionary Map Helps
Understanding of Global Coral

Through the joint efforts of NASA and NOAA, the
first global map of tropical shallow water was create
ed from nea!i. I!, I II II \\ li I I .... 11, \\ 1.
Field-of Vie-. !- !I , .. r \. i 'ie',rl i . 1 ni Y ;
to work with 11, i ii 1.I 1I ,t .II I
Programme \\'i I -i i

Implementation of the National

.e 1 on\tite h rthe ReefBase
tr intpe are now available
t al htph/ iww.reefbase org
tae o ea i ttw er p ierstand the spatial
4 iiB o0i(on o c i systems around the
lobe. Th e 01t11i appear in publications
Sg al i ti tion of coral ecosystems.

e Key Component of
eas Florida Maps

The 0ti ,CroRi Reef Institute has produced
de ailed a tri c data for a portion of southeast
Florida reefs (up to 30.5 meters in depth) to serve
as the base map for overlaying the results of biology
ical and geological inventories, assessments, and
monitoring. The maps integrate several available
datasets, including aerial photography, LIDAR, and
multibeam sonar, and will provide Florida with
critical information to help it manage sensitive
coral reef areas.

OBJECTIVE 3: Develop and adapt new technolo-
gies and data sources to increase mapping efficien-
cy while maintaining accuracy; enhance coral reef
ecosystem mapping, survey, and assessment capa-
bilities; and, if possible, detect important ecologi-
cal changes and trends.

New Airborne LIDAR Significantly
Improves Capabilities

In September 2003, USGS tested a new underwater
video system designed for rapid ground truthing of
habitat maps derived from remote sensing data.
Using this new technology, USGS created fine scale
preliminary topographic maps for coral reefs in
Biscayne National Park and portions of the north
ern Florida Keys. USGS scientists in collaboration
with NASA are also mapping coral reef ecosystems
using the Experimental Advanced Airborne
Research LIDAR (EAARL). EAARL is a new

airborne LIDAR that provides unprecedented capa
abilities to survey coral reefs in water 10 meters or
less in depth, nearshore benthic habitats, coastal
vegetation, and sandy beaches.

New Index Provides Critical Habitat

NOAA has established an Acoustic Complexity
Index for identifying essential fish habitats. When
areas of Florida's reef tract were mapped using an
advanced seabed classification system, results
showed that areas with a moderate to high abun
dance of grouper were acoustically complex (i.e.,
they returned highly variable acoustic waveforms
over short spatial scales). Few to no grouper were
found in areas with low acoustic complexity; how
ever, grouper were found in greater numbers in
areas with high acoustic complexity. This "Acoustic
Complexity Index" will help identify essential
grouper habitats that need to be protected and
conserved to address overfishing.

OBJECTIVE 4: Characterize priority deep-water
reefs (moderate-depth reefs, 30-200 meters) and
associated habitats.

Discovery in Florida Leads to New

During a recent USGS/NOAA/University of South
Florida multibeam cruise, scientists discovered and
mapped approximately 16 square kilometers cov
ered with 50 to 90 percent live coral in 70 to 80
meters of water on Pulley Ridge, an area on the
southwest Florida shelf. Such extensive coral cover
at these depths is unprecedented for hermatypic
(reef building) coral growth. (In comparison,
Florida's shallow reefs typically have less than 10
percent live coral.) These moderate-depth corals
may be key habitats for certain commercial fisheries
and may seed the shallower reefs in the Florida


Mapping U.S. Coral Reefs

Keys. Sixty six fish species have
been identified, including deep
water and commercial species and
those typical of shallow-water coral
reefs. DNA testing is underway to
determine the relationship between
these moderate-depth corals and
shallower corals of the Florida Keys.
Initial results were presented to the
Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management
Council during July 2003. As a
result, the 4,828-square-kilometer
study area encompassing Pulley
Ridge is being considered for desig
nation as a fisheries Habitat Area of
Particular Concern.

Study Offers New
Information on Biology
and Habitat in USVI Waters

In March 2004, the National Park
Service (NPS), NOAA, USGS, the USVI, and non
governmental organizations conducted moderate
depth biological and bathymetric characterizations
of the Coral Reef National Monuments at Buck
Island, St. Croix, and off the south shore of St.
John. The study used ship-based multibeam and
backscatter (a mapping technique that analyzes the
strength of the echo once a sound wave hits a bot
tom surface) sonar technologies to identify benthic
habitats. The associated biological resources were
characterized using scuba-based visual census tech
niques and by trapping reef fish. The biological
resource information will be combined with the
seafloor characterization data to better understand
the habitat use patterns and requirements of fish
and other organisms found in these areas. A better
understanding of these relationships will improve
management and conservation efforts.

- -

Several acoustic-based instruments mounted on NOAA vessels collect information about
nearshore seafloor features and habitats.

Cruise of the NWHI Contributes to

NOAA and its partners, including Hawai'i and
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), have
released a plan to comprehensively map the
moderate-depth coral reef ecosystems of the U.S.
Pacific Ocean starting with the NWHI. In 2002, a
25-day cruise mapped critical boundaries in the
area. Data collected were incorporated into the
Bathymetric Atlas of the Northwestern Hawaiian
Islands: A Planning Document for Benthic Habitat
Mapping and are available online at http://crei.
nmfs.hawaii.edu/BathyAtlas. Additional seafloor
characterization imagery will be collected using
various technologies, such as drop cameras, towed
video cam ,- Rn\'- i!,,, ,! .1 i.- ,! i 1 .! 11.1. I
w ater techni 1 i I I i .i I ..I J II i.i 1.i l
imagery wi II I ... I l. I 1 'r.' -H'.'t l. a
that will tlh. I ii. I ii ii r l s
ment plans "' '

Implementation of the National C

ted seafloor feature within the Midshelf Reef
John, USVI was detected by a multibeam sonar
collaborative mapping expedition in early 2004.

Future Challenges

Shallow-water benthic habitat mapping. Over the
next several years, USCRTF agencies plan to com-
plete shallow-water maps of coral reef ecosystems
in the United States, its territories and flag islands,
and, possibly, the Freely Associated States (i.e., the
Republic of Palau, the Republic of the Marshall
Islands, and the Federated States of Micronesia)
in the Pacific. Final benthic habitat maps for
American Samoa, Guam, and the CNMI were com-
pleted in 2004. The Main Hawaiian Islands map
ping project produced draft maps of 60 percent of

nearshore areas in 2003 and is expected to produce
more complete draft habitat maps in 2006. In 2004,
NOAA and its partners initiated a project to remap
the coral reef ecosystems of southern Florida. The
original maps were compiled using imagery collect
ed in 1991-1992 and contain significant gaps. In
2005, NOAA and its partners plan to create a map
ping implementation plan for southern Florida. In
addition, a mapping effort may be initiated in the
Freely Associated States. NOAA and its partners
plan to map 40 percent of Palau and create a map
ping implementation plan for the other Freely
Associated States in 2005, contingent on funding.

Moderate-depth coral reef ecosystem mapping. The
USCRTF has also set the goal of characterizing pri
ority U.S. moderate-depth coral reef ecosystems by
2009. Mapping these ecosystems, especially those
in remote locations, poses future challenges. New
techniques will need to be developed to combine
the moderate-depth bathymetry with moderate
depth seafloor characterization data to produce
maps. The development of new technologies may
help close gaps and provide managers with current,
integrated data. At present, NOAA and its partners
are working to map the moderate-depth reefs in the
USVI National Monuments.



Monitoring Coral

Reef Health

GOAL: Establish a nationally coordinated, long-
term monitoring program to assess the condition
of U.S. coral reef ecosystems by linking new efforts
to successful, ongoing programs.

Rationale for Action

Successful coral reef ecosystem con
servation calls for management that is
responsive to changes in environment
tal, economic, and social conditions.
Such management requires implemen
station of monitoring programs capable
of measuring and tracking indicators
of ecosystem conditions over time.
Integrated monitoring programs will
also help assess the efficacy of man
agement actions (e.g., no-take reserves,
fishing gear restrictions, habitat
restoration efforts) and provide

comparable data sets and products that
can be used to adapt these measures.

The USCRTF's National Action Plan
To Conserve Coral Reefs (2000) recom-
mended establishing a nationally coor
dinated, long-term monitoring program
for all U.S. coral reef ecosystems and
developing mechanisms to dissemi-
nate the information to all users. The
USCRTF considered this a priority
action because no such coordinated
monitoring program existed at the
time. Since 2000, many USCRTF mem
bers have been working to realize this

~Ea =1='!k

OBJECTIVE 1: Working closely with partners and stakehold
ers, develop and implement a nationally coordinated, long
term program to inventory, assess, and monitor U.S. coral
reef ecosystems.

data mapping with user friendly GIS-based mapping ,,, I
querying capability to present complex information irn i i.
formats to all potential users while ensuring the secu il
sensitive place-based biological or cultural resource data.

OBJECTIVE 2: Develop a web-enabled data management OBJECTIVE 3: Develop and produce a biennial report on the
and information system for U.S. reef monitoring and state of U.S. coral reef ecosystems.

S 1Mn will allow the

* As he( curre. it.'. s of ecologically and eco
omiall imnprtantyef species and habitats;

S s t I( o spcis and habitats in response
nien strIessors and human activities;

effe tiveness of specific manage-
mIe les amid

* Forecast Ie conditions in a consistent manner
to help design and evaluate effective manage
m1'ent actions.

Summary of Implementation

USCRTF member organizations and their extramu-
ral partners have made progress in developing and

implementing a nationally coordinated, long-term
monitoring program with emphasis on in situ moni
touring conducted by the states and territories. The
program aims to assist each jurisdiction in monitor
ing key parameters of water quality for benthic habi
tats and organisms (e.g., coral and algal cover), and
associated biological communities (e.g., reef fish)
identified as necessary for understanding the health
of reef ecosystems (see table 4). Increasingly, these
jurisdictions are also incorporating monitoring of
meteorological and oceanographic variables. State
agencies and academic partners have refined their
monitoring approaches and increased the substan
tive and geographic coverage of these activities with
grant and technical support from NOAA and the
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Developed
to meet the needs of local managers, these long-term
monitoring efforts generally focus on populated
coastlines where management is needed, and are

Table 4. Summary of Coral Reef Conservation Program State and Territory
Coral Reef Ecosystem Monitoring Activities: 2000-2003

Overall program goals include support of water quality, benthic habitat, and associated biological community monitor-
ing in all regions.

American Samoa X X X X X X X
Northern Mariana Islands X X X X X X X X
Guam X X X X X X X
Hawai'i X X X X X X X X
Florida X X X X
Puerto Rico X X X X X X X X
U.S. Virgin Islands X X X X X X X X
Freely Associated States X X X X


Monitoring Coral Reef Health

increasingly being refined to allow comparisons on
a national level.

This baseline monitoring is complemented by a
variety of other efforts including in situ monitoring
in national parks, national wildlife refuges, and
national marine sanctuaries by the U.S. Department
of the Interior (DOI), NOAA, and their partners.
These protected marine areas often provide key
opportunities for more intensive monitoring and for
investigating the results of management measures.
For example, some of the longest coral reef monitor
ing data sets are from the Virgin Islands National
Park. Recently, the National Park Service and
NOAA have collaborated on expanding these moni
touring efforts. The Florida Keys National Marine
Sanctuary (FKNMS) Program, in partnership with
EPA, NPS, the State of Florida, and numerous aca
demic and nongovernmental partners, has perhaps
the most intensive coral reef monitoring program in
the United States. U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
monitoring of reef resources within its jurisdiction
provides an additional complement that can be inte
grated into the national system.

NOAA, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
(USFWS), and states and territories have partnered
to develop robust monitoring of remote reef areas.
In the Pacific, NOAA leads annual monitoring cruis
es to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI)
and biennial cruises to the Commonwealth of the
Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) and Guam (first
cruise in 2003), American Samoa, the U.S. Line and
Phoenix Islands (2002 and 2004), and Johnston
Island (2004). In the Caribbean, NOAA and USFWS
have collaborated on research and monitoring cruis
es to Navassa Island.

In 2002-2003, these collaborations covered a spec
trum of monitoring and assessment activities rang
ing from the collection of large-scale, remotely
sensed, near real-time measurements of oceano
graphic conditions to in situ monitoring of corals,

Scientists at work conducting multibeam mapping in the U.S. Virgin
Islands in the dry lab of NOAA Ship Nancy Foster.

their associated biological communities, and the
surrounding water quality. In 2002-2003, more than
50 complementary monitoring activities were sup
ported by USCRTF organizations, including NOAA,
DOI, DoD, EPA, states, territories, commonwealths,
and the Freely Associated States. Furthermore, con
siderable support to monitor the Nation's coral reefs
was made through contributions from nongovern
mental organizations and private foundations (e.g.,
the Atlantic and Gulf Rapid Reef Assessment, Reef
Environmental Education Foundation, and Reef
Check Programs).

USCRTF satellite data collection monitoring is
another source of critical information to coral
reef managers in the United States and around
the world. As part of the U.S. Integrated Earth
Observation System, satellite remote-sensing tech
nologies monitor sea surface temperatures and can
therefore be used to help predict coral bleaching
events on a global scale. These technologies are
essential for monitoring on large spatial scales and
for locations too remote to visit in a cost-effective
m anner. NOAA has par!i, i.1 .1 ill!. i 1.!. I ii..., i/.,
tions to develop the Patl! Il I, i I I .. I i. .
Temperature project, a l !!! i-', 1.1 I ..i' i 1 It

Implementation of the National Coral Reef Action Strategy I 1 5

l. I1d I -I, ace temper
h. 1.1 l i 1 i( Ii i in ocean

il I i i Id [I I i i I \\ i i mI (CR EW S)
SI i l I. ... nt arrays in
I (,r i, [ lit 1 111 1, i. 1/. I Ihy long term
h ,, ,l !,. .... I ,, 1 !!,1,!!, ,, i ,,n C R EW S
11 1, II 1i0 il reef areas
I'4 li imln l ii !111, i| | i ill II ,II !- ata cover-
I ii .11 I I I l iII I I Il.il ii .1 d robust
i i-.: \\ i i .-i. !! I1 Ii I. i Im databases
1 II, I I1 I I II! II ,!, l,, ,,I Ii I I nagers can
-. .- I 1 1- i ! .i i l. ~, I ...iI I m ore, data
II 1 !'i i -i i !!!-.i !! I- i i i I 11. 1.1 1. a lidate
ii !!l. -i -. iii i li ii I ii I.I... i .l is used for
predicting coral bleaching.

Providing access to data is a key component of
effective monitoring systems. To assist in delivery
of this information, NOAA created the Coral Reef
Information System (CoRIS), a web-enabled data
and information access system for U.S. coral reef
mapping, monitoring, and assessment. It will
become the primary portal for NOAA coral reef
information, and all programs that seek funding
from NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program are
obligated to provide data to CoRIS. CoRIS and the
report on The State of Coral Reef Ecosystems of the
United States and Pacific Freely Associated States
are, for the first time, providing a comprehensive
outlook on U.S. coral reef ecosystems based on
increasingly sophisticated monitoring programs.

Highlights of Task Force
Member Activities

OBJECTIVE 1: Working closely with partners and
stakeholders, develop and implement a nationally
coordinated, long-term program to inventory,
assess, and monitor U.S. coral reef ecosystems.

Long-Term Monitoring at the East and
West Flower Garden Banks

In 1988, DOI's Minerals Management Service
(MMS) initiated a monitoring program at the
Flower Garden Banks, a coral reef area located
approximately 100 miles southeast of Galveston,
Texas. The monitoring program was designed to
monitor the long-term general health of the banks
and possible effects of offshore natural gas and oil
operations. The Banks were designated a National
Marine Sanctuary in 1992, and since then MMS has
continued this monitoring as a cooperative effort
with NOAA. To date, results show the reefs are
healthy and growing. In 2002, the monitoring pro
gram was extended to deeper reefs, down to 130
feet, with results showing living coral cover average
ing 70 percent. MMS uses the results of this moni
touring for lease stipulations, protecting the coral
from possible adverse impacts of nearby oil and gas

Reef Assessment and Monitoring
Program Links Efforts throughout the
U.S. Pacific

Scientists from NOAA and USFWS have collaborat
ed with other federal, state, and territory agencies;
universities; and nongovernmental organizations to
initiate a long-term, comprehensive program to
assess and monitor the coral reef ecosystems of the


Monitoring Coral Reef Health U

U.S. Pacific. Annual or biennial
NOAA cruises have studied coral
reef ecosystems of 42 islands, atolls,
and reefs in the NWHI, American
Samoa, Guam, the CNMI, and the An examph
remote National Wildlife Refuges in to convey F
the Pacific, including sites explored region is a I
for the first time, making this col
laboration the most comprehensive,
large-scale reef monitoring program
in the world. Multidisciplinary
monitoring efforts include detailed
assessments of corals, other inverte- I
brates, fish, and algae using a vari
ety of methods. ,A

Integration of concurrent observa
tions of marine resources and their benthic and
oceanographic habitats allows improved under
standing of the spatial and temporal variability and
complex biophysical linkages controlling these
ecosystems. The program has greatly expanded the
inventory of species known from these islands and
discovered invertebrate and algae species new to
science. Recent publications from the monitoring in
the NWHI have quantified, for the first time, the
high natural abundance of apex predators (and con
trasted this with the depauperate state in the Main
Hawaiian Islands) and their effects on prey fish; the
importance of shallow, wave-protected microhabi
tats as nurseries for the juveniles of many species;
and the relative importance of the three northern
most atolls as centers of endemism and recruitment
sinks within the archipelago.

Over the past 4 years, these monitoring efforts have
yielded 20 published manuscripts, 7 manuscripts
in review, 13 manuscripts in preparation, 12 techni
cal reports, and 61 oral presentations at scientific
and resource management workshops and confer
ences. In October 2003, the USCRTF passed a reso
lution commending the Pacific monitoring program


a sea surface temperature anomaly product used
itial bleaching events. This map of the Pacific Island
A 50-kilometer HotSpot product for September 2002.

Near Real-Time Information Directs
Field Monitoring Activities and Predicts
Bleaching in the NWHI

In July 2002, NOAA's Coral Reef Watch (CRW)
satellite and in situ sensors detected a sea surface
temperature anomaly building in the central North
Pacific Ocean (see figure 2). The anomaly grew as
temperatures passed the threshold for coral bleach
ing at Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge on
August 1 and remained above the threshold for
more than a month. Based on the accumulated heat
stress observed, CRW issued a coral bleaching
warning on August 7. On September 8, NOAA,
DOI, the State of Hawai'i, and other partners
embarked on the fourth NWHI Reef Assessment anc
Monitoring Cruise. Although the CRW bleaching
report did not instigate the cruise, the cruise plan
was altered to focus attention on shallow reef habi
tats based on the reports. The fieldwork took place
just 2 weeks after the thermal stress abated, and the
scientists found evidence of extensive fresh coral
bleaching at several atolls at the northwestern end

Implementation of the Nati

i11I ln .I6 i1 .1 the likeli-
t. I i l t I I ,ni inid ..I I Ills bleaching
I !!I [ i I (. it .1 "i. 1!i. ,' 1'-,. I the resistance
.. I ll_ I , ,I .101. 1. i, ,..I d ." s and reef
H-, N\\ IIi. I, .1 I, ,...l i! makingg m an
oeii -J, I i i I .. .. I li ,- need increased

S- Zone Monitoring Program
Completes Ecosystem Assessment

complete an integrated
assessment of the
Florida Keys coral reef
ecosystem in March
2003. This report press .,
ents results from 7
years of monitoring
under EPA's Water
Quality Protection Program and 4 years of data
from the FKNMS Zone Monitoring Program. The
assessment addressed large scale oceanographic
processes, water quality trends, and the abundance,
distribution, and community structure of coral, reef
fish, and invertebrates. Additionally, the assess
ment included an analysis of long term monitoring
data collected in associated seagrass and other habi
tats. EPA and NOAA have also been collecting data
on bleaching and disease through this program
since 1997.

Much of the data was collected to assess the effects
of zoning along the Florida Keys reef tract. For
example, data collected on the density of yellow
tail snapper showed that mean density of snapper
was significantly higher in fully protected zones.
This document stands as a model for collaborative
integrated monitoring and its results will be used
to compile the next biennial report on the state of

coral reef ecosystems. To view the full report, visit
the FKNMS website at http://www.fknms.nos.
noaa.gov/research monitoring/welcome.html.

National Coral Reef Institute Expands
Annual Monitoring in Florida

The National Coral Reef Institute, with funding
from NOAA, is partnering with the State of Florida
to conduct yearly monitoring at 10 permanent sites
in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach
Counties. The monitoring follows the formal proto
cols developed by the Fish and Wildlife Research
Institute (FWRI, formerly the Florida Marine
Resource Institute) for the Coral Reef Evaluation
and Monitoring Program (CREMP). The Florida
Keys CREMP began in 1996 and is a cooperative
program among NOAA, EPA, and FWRI. The
expansion of CREMP to southeast Florida is closing
monitoring gaps in Florida's coral reef ecosystems.
NOAA has also expanded fish surveys to include
these southeast Florida reefs. Data from the south
east CREMP will be incorporated into the current
CREMP database, enabling reef researchers and
state and county managers to better understand sta
tus and trends in Florida's coral reef system from
the Dry Tortugas up to and including Palm Beach

OBJECTIVE 2: Develop a web-enabled data man-
agement and information system for U.S. reef
monitoring and data mapping with user-friendly
GIS-based mapping and querying capability to
present complex information in usable formats to
all potential users while ensuring the security of
sensitive place-based biological or cultural resource

NOAA Unveils Comprehensive,
Consolidated Website for Coral Reefs

In 2002, NOAA unveiled the Coral Reef Information
System (CoRIS), a new data management system


Monitoring Coral Reef Health

States and Pacific Freely Associated States, the first
national assessment of the condition of U.S. coral
reefs. The report identified increasing risks to reefs,
particularly in certain hot spots located near popu-
lation centers. In addition, the report indicated that
every U.S. reef system suffers from both human and
natural disturbances. Developed by 38 coral reef
experts and 79 expert contributors, the report
assessed the health of reef resources by ranking
threats in 13 geographic areas and identifying ongo-
ing management efforts. It established a baseline for
subsequent biennial reports on the status of U.S.
coral reefs, and the second biennial report is under
development for release in summer 2005.

Future Challenges

Although implementing the Strategy has resulted in
a wide range of monitoring activities conducive to
integration (e.g., CoRIS, The State of Coral Reef
Ecosystems), the degree to which these activities
are unified is still relatively low. The many partners
involved in coral monitoring are systematically
working on remedies, including a measured and
deliberate drive toward standardizing minimum
parameters being measured by all programs in all

Establish common monitoring parameters and
indicators. To understand the status of coral reef
resources on large spatial scales, track reef condi-
tions over time and between sites and regions, and
accurately forecast future conditions at an integrat-
ed nationwide level (e.g., U.S. coral reef ecosys-
tems), it is necessary to conduct field monitoring
in a consistent and comprehensive manner. This
requires the use of monitoring protocols, parame-
ters, and indicator species structured around meth-
ods that can be linked togcth'r t, ri-nitribuiitr tn-
regional and global r I- -!i k,- I!, i '!",. ., 'vl!!!
information needed il ell. I !' .. .., i i.., ,-i
local levels. The actual prc ... ..- m. I ..I i ... I-. =.
depend on the information .1. .1 l l, 1. -" ". l

and Internet site designed as a single access point
for data and information on coral reefs. In the past,
users faced a confusing array of more than 50
NOAA websites regarding coral reefs. Now all of
the information is available on a single site. Backed
by powerful search engines and keyword browse
lists, CoRIS uses a GIS-enhanced information sys-
tem to provide users with a single, easily accessible
web portal to NOAA's coral reef resources. By cata-
loging and indexing metadata and summarizing
data holdings, CoRIS guides users to the desired
data and information and ensures the data will be
available in the future.

The website
provides access -. 2 L 1--. .-
to more than
4,000 aerial -- --
photos of coral "
regions, bathy-
.7 7.. -
metric products, .
benthic habitat "_ .t' ,' i -
maps, fish cen- .-
sus data, tide .
stations, paleo-
climatological studies, photo mosaics, coral reef
monitoring data, bleaching reports, and more,
including links to non-NOAA information. Since
CoRIS went online in late 2002, it has become a
featured website in Science and was chosen as one
of the December 2003 "Digital Dozen" (a list of 12
exemplary websites for educators selected by the
Eisenhower National Clearinghouse). CoRIS can be
accessed at http://www.coris.noaa.gov.

OBJECTIVE 3: Develop and produce a biennial
report on the state of U.S. coral reef ecosystems.

First National Assessment of U.S. Coral
Reefs Released: Report Highlights Key
Actions and Ranks Threats to Reefs

In 2002, NOAA and its USCRTF partners released
The State of Coral Reef Ecosystems of the United

Implementation of the National Coral Reef Action Strategy 1 1 -


6 i i I T.I .'.'()I1 1 ... 1. I and available
i, l .i I I.,i iII J i lii I i, ,ver, the proto
I, 'I luuld ii u . 1. hi .41i 1. l ..|. .,, physical,

ii i .' II .i. o IhI, ,, i I, t y- ,I l I, .alnstandards
,t Il io -i' Ial I Infor matio ..I n a)rted in an

Si I I I I i i i l -I.- -I .
H orb., a l. it a, ,a ,! .! ,,, 1 ,,I i. !an. It is im por-

,,! 11i ,- :., I. !! I, I I i- panded to
include the full range of monitoring data and is
linked to other data systems, including USGS's
National Biological Information Infrastructure and
the international ReefBase.

Integrate monitoring tools. Using available tech
nologies is essential to integrating monitoring data

into a robust assessment of systemwide conditions.
For example, NOAA, through its Coral Reef
Ecosystem Integrated Observing System (CREIOS),
which encompasses the CRW and CREWS initial
tives, has developed software that links data from
in situ platforms and satellites to provide inform
tion to coral reef management and research commu
nities. CREIOS is working to integrate data from
these instruments and field-based biological moni
touring activities into an environmental decision
support system. This collective monitoring network
could be expanded beyond U.S. coral reefs to
include stations in other countries, thereby making
use of available cooperative instruments (e.g.,
World Bank/Global Environment Facility).
Recognizing that the interconnectivity of reefs
extends beyond mere political boundaries is an
important step toward understanding the dynamics
of coral systems and implementing effective man
agement actions in the future.



Supporting Strategic


GOAL: Provide coastal and ocean managers with
scientific information and tools to help conserve,
protect, restore, and sustain coral reef ecosystems.

Rationale for Action

In general, coral reef and other natural
resource managers are responsible for
reducing or mitigating impacts of
ecosystem stressors while balancing
environmental, social, and economic
goals. Achieving this balance requires
an understanding of the stressors to
coral reef ecosystems, the ability to
predict how these systems will
respond to natural and anthropogenic
changes, the identification of possible
management strategies to mitigate neg
ative impacts, and an evaluation of the
effectiveness of these strategies after

implementation. USCRTF research
partners are committed to providing
resource managers with science that is
credible, relevant, and timely.

Strategic research enhances national,
regional, and local capabilities to means
ure, understand, analyze, and forecast
ecological change in response to natu
ral and anthropogenic stressors. The
goal of this research is to provide man
agers with tools to improve the integri
ty and sustainable use of the Nation's
coral reef ecosystems. Such research
requires a basic understanding of
ecosystem structure, function,

OBJECTIVE 1: Conduct a long-term regional and ecosys OBJECTIVE 3: Develop and transfer .. i. I I i I
tern-based research program to improve understanding of and more accurate mapping, assess, i .... i.
the processes that govern the structure, function, and health restoration. "
of coral reef ecosystems.
OBJECTIVE 2: Build capabilities to address such ecosystem-
scale threats as disease, bleaching, and other sources of
mass mortalities.

31 *ir.

ition. It is also essential to
r cnitribuLing to declines in
(EPA)h National AerI social, ecoSnomp
a< 1IFN 1 1r0aI elated o specific coral

dminiraion Im lementationt

(hihrs nidii partners, including NOAA,
h(tjS. (lo l Survey (USGS), the National
IPk e th S \ Ilie Environmental Protection
c\ (I EPA), the National Aeronautics and Space
Administration (NASA), the U.S. Department of
Defense (DoD), the National Science Foundation
(NSF), and many partners at academic and private
institutions are conducting short-term strategic and
long-term ecosystem-based research to understand
coral reef community dynamics, the impacts of
anthropogenic and natural stressors, and effective
management actions. Short-term research answers
specific questions and provides coastal and resource
managers with the tools to enhance their ability to
effectively manage and protect local coral reef
resources. USCRTF short-term research has con
tribute to:

* Improved understanding of direct and indirect
causes of coral decline;

* Emphasis on process-oriented research to sepa
rate natural variation from anthropogenic

* Identification of specific physiological parame
ters indicative of nonstressed and stressed coral

* Development of tools to predict bleaching and
identify resilient sites; and

* Understanding of the genetic linkages among
species and populations and their relationships
with oceanographic processes.

Long-term studies enhance an understanding of
linkages among species and habitats within coral

reef ecosystems, changes to these ecosystems result
ing from natural and anthropogenic pressures, and
the effects of management actions. Current efforts
are providing the:

* Framework to determine the optimal placement,
distribution, and size of marine protected areas

* Better understanding of the relationships
between biodiversity and ecosystem func
tion, including resistance and resilience to

* Information on the processes affecting settlement
and recruitment, growth and survival, movement
patterns and ontogenetic shifts of ecologically
and economically important coral reef organisms,
and implications of management interventions;

* Models to predict the cascading effects of zoning
and other management measures on commercial
ly and ecologically important reef fish and their

Highlights of Task Force
Member Activities

OBJECTIVE 1: Conduct a long-term regional and
ecosystem-based research program to improve
understanding of the processes that govern the
structure, function, and health of coral reef

Coral Reef Ecosystem Studies

In 2002, NOAA awarded grants to support two long
term regional Coral Reef Ecosystem Studies
(CRES)-CRES Caribbean and CRES Micronesia.
CRES Caribbean has begun to examine the effective
ness of MPAs, assess sedimentation and water


Supporting Strategic Research

quality, and study reef demographics and
community flux. Information from these
studies will help local agencies develop
and revise management efforts. CRES
Micronesia (with a focus on Guam) is
determining the classes and concentra-
tions of coastal pollutants associated with
watershed discharge of greatest concern to
coral reef health. To develop integrated
management schemes, this study is also
collecting quantitative data on physical
and chemical characteristics of coastal
waters affected by watershed discharge.

USGS Tracks Sediment
Movement on Reefs
Students I
As part of the Land-Based Sources of coral disea
Pollution Local Action Strategy effort in
Hawai'i, USGS is currently conducting
studies to assess sediment movement from Maui
and Moloka'i watersheds onto the surrounding reefs
and to evaluate the impact this sediment has had on
reef habitat. For example, results from the monitor
ing studies have established baseline rates at which
sediment is transported during storm events. USGS
researchers have found wave resuspension of sedi
ment is a key process causing turbidity, which can
be damaging to the reefs. USGS is also employing
high-resolution mapping to provide baseline maps
from which change over small areas (approximately
1 meter) and time frames (approximately 1 season)
can be measured. Initial results suggest there is an
extremely long residence time for sediment on the
reefs. Even after implementation of conservation
practices on land has decreased sediment delivery
to surrounding reefs, reef recovery could take years.

Long-Term Studies on Ecosystem

In 2002 and 2003, NOAA funded several multiyear
research projects through its extramural partners

earn standardized approaches and techniques for laboratory studies on
ises at a molecular techniques workshop held in Hawai'i.

that focused on understanding coral ecosystem
dynamics and the impacts of stressors, optimizing
fish stocks, and designing and evaluating MPAs.
Using NOAA's Aquarius operated by the University
of North Carolina at Wilmington Undersea Research
Program Center and located in the Florida Keys
National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS), scientists con
ducted research to:

Determine whether recruitment and other demo
graphic variables can help predict viability of
coral populations;

Understand the impact of currents on water qual
ity and the degree to which nutrients and pollu
tants affect offshore coral reefs and seagrass beds;

Improve understanding of the effects of coral pre
dation, bleaching, and disease on the condition
of coral reef ecosystems.

In the w at ...i ii 111 i CI,! i111l .! i il
Research C li I ii i I ,.
s* -i 1
scien tists c ,iil. I, i i," _r . .. .. .>i

I m t o e i .r R .. S t tgigi
i C~~.1 0.11i

Implementation of the National Coral Reef ActTon Strategy4-2 3 ""'
"'- 3. -.
.l.:. .... =... ._... ..

,_- -N1 It tihi. !r nmrmirially impor-
Tut Tbh. riti 'iiti.., I- l. i lived from
"rhi .is .lit thl Bah.ii. n..,' Department of
,i .. 1 1. iii, tl-he.l 4 N..'.., ,'i ciouper fishing
siu.' ,n, th, f t I 1i sII'Sll TI1 tlrh N..i..au grouper in

SF Intd s Long-Term Coral Reef
Ecosyslem Study in Moorea

NSE iiintiiinu. ti i.:'I:"'1t IIn i-r-t. ii studies of coral
! t i ..si 1st m 1 -1n" 1 .,--In ,1. -\ i ..i-long data set
tii 'l-i t II S V I !! i l.. ii-i.l li_i\ i which seeks to
I-I. ntiv__ t'h 'r. i l ..i 1' .in'' i \ ih in coral recruit-
mi t i m iipiti t.i . iii t hiri-tr m" ..li.ture anomalies in
affecting recruits and established coral colonies,
and a predictive model to forecast the composition
of future reef ecosystems. In 2004, NSF funded the
first Long-Term Ecological Research program

than 35 domestic and international partners. The
partnership was formed at the recommendation of
the USCRTF to organize and coordinate scientific
resources and address ecosystem-scale threats to
stony corals, such as disease and bleaching. NOAA
convened the first CDHC workshop in January 2002
bringing together multidisciplinary field and labo-
ratory scientists. At the workshop, scientists identi-
fied major gaps in the understanding of coral dis-
ease processes and identified and prioritized issue-
driven research objectives to fill these gaps.

CDHC's Coral Disease and Health: A National
Research Plan outlines strategic objectives,

* Creation of standardized terminology, methodol-
ogy, and protocols;

* Research to define baseline measures of coral


Supporting Strategic Research

Rapid Response to Coral Disease

A CDHC team, including ecologists and patholo
gists from DOI, EPA, NOAA, and the State of
Florida, was mobilized in May 2003 in response
to reports of a rapid die-off of Acropora cervicornis.
Researchers conducted studies on the distribution
and abundance of the event and its potential
impacts on coral populations, collected samples
for laboratory analysis, and recommended several
potential management responses. The site was tem-
porarily quarantined to reduce the potential for
spread, and additional research is underway to
understand the causes and consequences of the

Assessment of Acropora spp.
Populations in the Caribbean

Populations of elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata)
and staghorn coral (A. cervicornis) have declined
drastically throughout the Caribbean region. In
March 2005, these two species were proposed for
listing as threatened under the Endangered Species
Act. Ongoing monitoring efforts by USGS, NOAA,
NPS, and other partners have documented losses of
80 to 98 percent of these species from a 1970s base
line. For instance, the aerial extent of elkhorn coral
declined by 93 percent and staghorn coral declined
by 98 percent between 1983 and 2000 within Looe
Key National Marine Sanctuary, Florida. Although
some areas in the USVI have experienced limited
recovery since 2000 through sexual recruitment and
the growth of fragments, others continue to show
decline due to disease, predators, storms, and other
factors. Between February 2003 and 2004, in the
Virgin Islands National Park, 14 percent of moni
tored colonies died, 65 percent had disease, and 23
percent suffered broken branches. To assess poten
tial recovery and population structure, NOAA sci
entists are examining genotypic diversity among

elkhorn stands throughout the Caribbean, and
USGS and NOAA scientists and their partners con
tinue to monitor Acropora spp. populations in
Florida, Puerto Rico, and the USVI, with an empha
sis on prevalence of disease and its cause.

Understanding Coral Resistance to
Extreme Environmental Stress

USGS scientists are examining factors that enable
corals to resist extreme environmental stress (e.g.,
temperature changes, wide ranges of dissolved oxy
gen, intense ultraviolet [UV] radiation) in the U.S.
National Park in American Samoa. Examining
corals transplanted into different stress conditions
on the reef improves understanding of coral
acclimatization, adaptation, and susceptibility to
environmental stress, and the effects of water
motion, dissolved oxygen, and habitat characters
tics are being evaluated to help explain survival
rates. The results of these studies may play an
important role in designing coral reef protected
areas to mitigate the effects of climate change on
coral communities.

Statewide Resource Assessment and
Monitoring Program for Alien Algae

The Hawai'i Coral Reef Initiative Research Program
established a statewide resource assessment and
monitoring program, completed the first assess
ments of alien algae, trained managers to identify
problem species, and examined the relationship
between water quality and the health of coral reef
ecosystems. These efforts have resulted in an
improved understanding of how nutrients and her
bivorous fish affect the balance between algae and
corals. To reduce the degradation of reef ecosys
teams, further work is needed to evaluate manage
ment measures that control land-based sources of

Implementation of the Nati

aeitst Events Tied to
04 .DDisease

l ngQIi"l IAI 1 .ll 11i and col
~,. ,P l ~1 I! '1.r I,, 1 Ist .- Ihe relationship
T,- Ii c uI i lii, Ints and the out
I *i I '. -1. !i" in the Caribbean.
^. "pall;.4i' 11I ,ill ,!I I!, lul-IIC, known to cause
1 faT i- f ,. ,jf I .Vi i -'l i ribbean region has
I ii i-.Litrd fi5- i,, mildl elected in the
N is\ I ,lui. : in., \II I .,! 1 I..i .1-. les. The fungus has
II. I I i, i.l ,i., I1 i !. -I ,,! i n diseased sea fans
iI, ii, i i \ ii ,,I !i..ii -.. il ii, i Sahel, a region in
S.1 ii !11 I

USGS has also been conducting studies that would
ultimately enable researchers to hindcast global
dust events by analyzing past coral skeleton
growth. Overtime, seasonal fluctuations and specif
ic environmental conditions are recorded in a
coral's skeletal composition. USGS researchers have
used high-resolution laser ablation techniques to
measure up to 20 trace elements found in coral
skeletons. These elements will help researchers
determine past environmental events. USGS will
continue to develop this technology and environ
mental interpretation over the next few years.

New Technology To Improve Scientific
Modeling In Situ

The Submersible Habitat for Analyzing Reef
Quality (SHARQ), developed and patented by
USGS scientists, documents reef health. SHARQ
helps quantify changes in water chemistry resulting
from metabolism in the coral reef community.
Researchers can change the environmental condi
tions of the submersible habitat to observe the
response of the reef communities. Data from in situ
experiments, combined with remotely sensed map
data, are enabling scientists to model the effects of
global climate change, turbidity, nutrients, tempera
ture, and grazing on coral reefs.

Disease Prevalence Along South

Since 1997, EPA with NOAA and Florida's FKNMS
has surveyed coral bleaching and disease in the
Florida Keys and Dry Tortugas. The assessments
determine the frequency and distribution of coral
disease, loss, and bleaching in the Florida Keys
Reef Tract. Comparisons between different geo
graphic zones and reef types have shown that back
reef corals near Key West and the Lower Keys have
experienced the most serious declines. Since 2003,
disease monitoring has included an assessment of
coral size and the percent of partial mortality to
better understand the ecological effects of disease.
Continued assessments of coral health and prevail
ing physical, chemical, and biological parameters
will help efforts to increase coral recovery and

Understanding Coral Bleaching

EPA has initiated laboratory and field research to
quantify the effects of temperature and solar radia
tion on coral physiology. Various coral species and
coral symbionts are maintained in culture facilities
and exposed to varying temperatures and doses of
UV radiation. Research on coral symbionts demon
states reduced growth rates at higher temperatures
and an exacerbation of this effect by additional
exposure to environmental levels of UV-B. This
finding reveals an interactive effect of temperature
and UV-B on coral symbionts that may lead to a
bleaching response. UV-B attenuation in seawater
is measured at various depths near coral reefs in
the Florida Keys and has been found significantly
altered by the amount of colored dissolved organic
matter (CDOM) in the water column. This alteration
in attenuation creates an added degree of vulnera
ability for corals exposed to UV-B because CDOM
is derived from land (watershed) and seagrass
sources. Information from these studies may be


Supporting Strategic Research

used to justify management decisions to stop
shoreline alterations and other deleterious activities
that artificially modify the organic content in
waters over reefs.

Basic Science of Coral Reef Diseases
and Bleaching

NSF continues to fund a wide diversity of projects
related to coral reef health through its core pro-
grams. In 2004, some of the new projects funded

* A study of the dynamics of the symbiosis
between corals and their algal symbionts,
including how this symbiosis is altered
by stress;

* Biotic and abiotic factors influencing the estab-
lishment of fungal diseases of sea fans and sea

* Research on the fine-scale flow of water through
the branches of coral colonies;

* Emerging viral diseases in spiny lobsters on
Florida coral reefs; and

* Mechanisms of dispersal, recruitment, and re-
colonization of coral larvae and coral reef fish

OBJECTIVE 3: Develop and transfer technology
for faster and more accurate mapping, assessment,
monitoring, and restoration.

Developing New Techniques To Rapidly
Assess Coral Reef Health

DoD is developing advanced techniques to quickly
and safely assess the viability and health of coral
reef communities. DoD's Analysis of Biophysical,
Optical, and Genetic Diversity of DoD Coral Reef

Communities Using Advanced Fluorescence and
Molecular Biology Techniques project seeks to
assess coral reef health by identifying and quantify-
ing natural and anthropogenic stressors. It also
seeks to assess coral reef health by collecting a
library of baseline data on the physiological, bio-
physical, bio-optical, and genetic diversity of coral
reef ecosystems near DoD installations. The non-
destructive sampling technique will establish a
relationship between the color proteins of coral
and the physiological status of the reef to develop
a spectroscopic index. The index will then be used
to interpret spectral images collected by advanced
fluorescence instruments mounted at permanent
monitoring stations or adapted to remotely operated
vehicles. By applying advanced technology to
reduce the intrusiveness of data collection and
improve collection speed, the project will lead to
a better baseline understanding of coral reefs and
enhance reef management by DoD personnel.

Ground Water and Surface Water
Hydrologic and Circulation Models

Newly partnered multidisciplinary research teams
from NPS and USGS are conducting a rigorous
examination of environmental data. Using state-of-
the-art ground water and surface water hydrologic
and circulation models, the teams are documenting
and mapping current reef conditions and quantify-
ing and modeling threats to the reefs. These model-
ing tools will test hypotheses concerning the influ-
ence of pollutants on the health of Biscayne Bay,
and decision support systems will integrate infor-
mation from these models and ongoing experiments
to guide decisionmaking by park managers.

Future Challenges

Future res' .. i h th int i tI I I
effectivellb .p_-,!I-n [ ... l,,ul.tix, i!-p1 -.

Implementation of the National Coral Reef Action Stratgy.; '27
-. a -...... -

uI c 1, performing long term
Si(]val atingii socioeconomics
A (ma aii ent responses to
fiII i (I on needs. Research is
l minajor objectives:

in eten science and manage-
Iiseded to enhance national,
S alA ies to measure, under
ain f s stressors and related
Stims affecting the integrity and sus
ainabltf nation's coral reef ecosystems.
One aspet of this research should focus on ecosys
tem dynamics involving specific environmental and
socioeconomic causes and consequences, including
the development and testing of tools and approach
es to mitigate negative impacts. NOAA and USGS
are developing strategies to better guide research
efforts. These strategies will be completed in 2005.

Integrate research and monitoring. Integration of
research and monitoring is needed to conduct com-
prehensive assessments of coral reef ecosystem
resources and cause-and-effect relationships. This
approach is essential for differentiating between
actual and perceived environmental issues.

Integrate socioeconomic research with biophysical
science. Federal and state management agencies
often face a lack of information on social, cultural,
and economic issues. Research is needed to close
these critical information gaps.

Evaluate the impacts of coral reef management
decisions. Management can help sustain and
restore the health of coral reef ecosystems and
ensure their sustainable use. Research is needed on
the effectiveness of management actions to deter
mine their efficacy and to improve their benefits
through an adaptive management process.



SUnderstanding Social

4. F and Economic Factors

a ,r GOAL: Assess the human dimension of coral reef
S.. resources and incorporate social, economic, and
cultural values into conservation and management

Rationale for Action

Sustainable use and conservation of
coral reefs require understanding the
relationship between human behavior
and human impacts to reef ecosystems.
For effective management of human
impacts, managers need to understand
not only the natural science of coral
reefs, but also the characteristics of
the people who use the ecosystems.
These characteristics include socioeco
nomic and demographic attributes,
consumption and production patterns,
the value placed on coral reefs as a
usable resource (including passive

uses), and enthusiasm for alternative
reef management strategies.

To date, the availability of information
on the primary users of U.S. coral reefs
and the value people place on the
resources that reefs provide has lagged
behind other areas. This is particularly
true for such non-market-valued uses
as recreation, preservation/existence,
cultural, and spiritual uses. Because
market-based prices are not available
for these types of uses, assigning a
monetary value to them is difficult and,
consequently, little is known about the
affects on reefs of changes in these

OBJECTIVE 1: Assess the social and economic uses of coral
reef systems and monitor human communities that use or
depend on coral reef ecosystems.
OBJECTIVE 2: Assess the social and economic impacts of
reef management on human communities.

OBJECTIVE 3: Assess the social, ecc ..... ... i, ,i ,i
value of reef resources.

.C -li

* Better understand the econ

the Pacific territories;

* Determine the economic and cultural imuortanc

Highlights of Task Force
Member Activities

OBJECTIVE 1: Assess the social and economic
uses of coral reef systems and monitor communi-
ties that use or depend on coral reef ecosystems.

Native Hawaiian Involvement in
Managing the Northwestern Hawaiian
Islands (NWHI) Coral Reef Ecosystem

The NWHI Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve has taken
steps to include native Hawaiians in the advice and
decisionmaking processes for the Reserve and the
proposed NWHI National Marine Sanctuary. Three


Understanding Social and Economic Factors

collected socioeconomic information
on the U.S. Caribbean trap fishery to
support CFMC management and
conservation efforts. Designed to
complement ongoing coral reef bio
logical research on trap and coral
reef habitat interactions, information
from the studies will be used to
describe the socioeconomic condi
tion of the fishery, establish socioe
economic baselines, and develop
models to investigate the conse
quences of various management

Global Socioeconomic
Monitoring Guidelines

The Global Socioeconomic
Monitoring Initiative published region-specific
socioeconomic monitoring guidelines to complex
ment the Socioeconomic Manual for Coral Reef
Management (2000). SocMon Caribbean (October
2003) and SocMon Southeast Asia (March 2003)
(http://ipo.nos.noaa.gov/socioeconomic/) provide a
standardized process by which to conduct socio
economic monitoring specific to each region. They
also provide the priority indicators to assess, ques
tions to ask, and tables to analyze the data. The
Socioeconomic Manual for Coral Reef Management
explains how to implement the study. The manual
and its companion regional publications were
developed through substantial collaboration among
social scientists and coastal managers in each

Global Socioeconomic Monitoring
Initiative Training Opportunities

The Global Socioeconomic Monitoring Initiative has
supported regional and national training workshops
around the world to help reef managers incorporate

socioeconomic assessments and monitoring into
their reef management programs. Workshops have
been conducted in Barbados, the Philippines,
Kenya, and the Maldives. The initiative has
provided funds for individual sites to conduct
socioeconomic monitoring after the workshops,
including incorporating results into management

OBJECTIVE 2: Assess the social and economic
impacts of reef management on human

Economic Costs and Benefits of
Hawaii's Protected Areas

In 2003-2004, the Hawai'i Coral Reef Initiative
Research Program and the State of Hawai'i spon
scored research to measure the economic costs and
benefits of Hawaii's marine protected areas (MPAs)
In present net-value terms and without aditional

Implementation of the

nations, government agencies, and non-
nental organizations to propose fishing
ions and a monitoring plan for 2004.

stem Management of MPAs in
south Atlantic

ore the possible use of MPAs in the South
c (North Carolina to the east coast of
), NOAA and the University of Miami are
)ing an ecosystem-based model to assess the
-al, economic, and social consequences of
iplementation. The model will incorporate
and temporal information for both biological
inomic dimensions. First, a conceptualized
describing the linkages among the various
-al, fishery, and harvesting processes will be
cted. Then, stage-based biological models
integrated with economic models of the har
sector. The resulting model will be used to
e a number of MPA proposals being consid-
the South Atlantic Fishery Management
I to manage the snapper-grouper fishery. The
will help identify superior management
ives that meet conservation goals while
zing economic hardships.

OBJECTIVE 3: Assess the social, eco-
nomic, and cultural value of reef

Direct User Values for Hawai'i
Coral Reefs

The Hawai'i Coral Reef Initiative
Research Program sponsored an economic
valuation study of Hawaii's nearshore
coastal reefs in 2002-2003. Economists
found Hawaii's nearshore reefs annually
contribute nearly $1 billion in gross rev-
enues ($364 million in value added) to
the state's economy. The negative impacts

ini.. i e" -1i1.. 111. I .... of the M PAs organize
li!n, !i. -i tl,~ i i I. .! Diamond Head to $650 govern
( li 11 ii ,!l r- i i -, in no case did the cost regulate
I!. J< i II ,li I ,I Il i!! m any cases, the eco-
lril. I i,,n .-I I i ,ii .. ., high. To evaluate a Ecosy
,1I I.s. i .1. I!i,, ii i I1 benefit-cost ratios were the S4

To expl
li'i Community-Based Atlantic
igement Planning Initiated Florida
i, NPS initiated c.. !i11.....I! ily-based marine biologic
ement planning at Kalaupapa National MPA in
cal Park, Hawai'i, which includes 2,000 spatial
3 km2) of coral reefs in an adjacent marine and ecc
meetingss were held in coordination with the model (
apa community to identify and prioritize biologic
; for a community-based approach to the constru
marine management programs. These options will be
e community participation in selecting moni- vesting
programs, establishing special management evaluate,
i the park, and developing a legislative pro- ered by
or incorporating, in perpetuity, the fishing Counci
)r residents into Hawai'i state law. NPS is model
rating with the local community and a alternate
disciplinary technical committee of partner minimi

.- - . --

.;. "-J:' .

Understanding Social and Economic Factors

of algal blooms of invasive aquatic species-includ
ing significant depressions in property value and
economic losses to the tourism industry-have
prompted the private sector to play an active role in
algal removal.

Hawai'i National Coral Reef
Valuation Study

The Hawai'i National Coral Reef Valuation Study
examines at a national level how people value the
nonmarket resources (i.e., those that cannot be
bought or sold) provided by the coral reefs of
Hawai'i under alternative management approaches.
Results of this study will help resource managers
develop and implement policies that balance pro
tection with multiple uses of reef resources and the
value the public places on them. For example, total
nonmarket resource values can be used to estimate
the benefits and costs of alternative coral reef man
agement strategies. The study is designed to com-
plement recent studies of direct-user values for
Hawaii's coral reefs.

Local Coral Reef and Coastal Resource
Economic Valuation Initiative

In August 2002, NOAA held a Coral Reef Economic
Valuation Workshop in Honolulu, Hawai'i. The
workshop brought together more than 50 state and
territory coral reef and coastal managers, econo
mists, international experts, and federal agency rep
resentatives. Workshop goals included assessing
information on natural resource valuation in the
jurisdictions, identifying priority information and
study needs, and developing an implementation
plan for filling the identified needs in each jurisdic
tion. Representatives prioritized information gaps,
needs, and management applications for economic
valuation studies. NOAA is helping support studies
in each of these jurisdictions and is helping support
the development of a coral reef manager's guide to
economic valuation.

Determining the Value of Puerto
Rican Reefs

NOAA, in cooperation with the Puerto Rico
Department of the Environment and Natural
Resources (PRDENR), has begun a project to esti
mate the economic value of coral reefs to recreation
al users and the economic impacts of recreational
activities in and around Puerto Rico. During the first
phase of the project, NOAA compiled rough esti
mates from existing Marine Recreational Fisheries
Statistical Survey data, which are designed to esti
mate catch-per-unit effort and participation. The
results indicate the relative importance of the angler
fishing industry in Puerto Rico. During the second
phase, started in 2003, NOAA and PRDENR started
collecting more direct economic data from local
anglers. By 2005, the agencies plan to create a valua
tion and economic impact model that will help
evaluate costs and benefits of potential future

American Samoa Coral Reef Economic
Valuation Study

The Economic Valuation of Coral Reefs and
Adjacent Habitats in American Samoa final report
details the results of an economic valuation study
examining the current and potential values for
corals and mangroves. The report focuses on the
value of the reefs to artisanal and subsistence fish
series, shoreline protection and recreation/tourism
(ecotourism). The study estimates the territory's
coral reefs provide US$5 million in benefits to
American Samoa residents and visitors per year.
When potential nonuse benefits accruing to U.S.
citizens are included, the territorial reefs are
estimated to convey at least US$10 million per
year. The results of this study supplies local man
agers with the information needed to develop effec
tive resource use policies. This report can be found
online at http://doc.asg.as/cra/Proiects.htm.

Implementation of the

Future Challenges

Significant progress has been made on understand
ing the use and value of coral reef ecosystems in
the United States and abroad, but additional

socioeconomic data are needed. The following are
important components of future socioeconomic

Continuation of data collection. A continuous col
election of data is needed on the preferences and
perceived tradeoffs of those directly affected by
changes in proposed coral reef management state
gies. Increased collaboration among the USCRTF,
local organizations, and interest groups can help set
project priorities and improve the efficiency of proj
ect implementation by providing support, guidance,
and oversight.

Development of socioeconomic tools. An expanded
use of tools is needed to help improve the design
and implementation of socioeconomic data collec
tion, analyses, and interpretation (e.g., manuals,
seminars, workshops).




Improving the Use of

Marine Protected


GOAL: Improve management of coral reef
resources through a strengthened and expanded
network of coral reef marine protected areas.

Rationale for Action

Marine protected areas' (MPAs) can be
an important tool for protecting coral
reefs from harmful activities. MPAs
vary in size and can be designed to
manage a multitude of activities.

Creating a network of well managed
MPAs helps protect the biodiversity
and ecological integrity of coral reef
resources. MPAs can also serve
an integral role in an ecosystem
approach to coral reef management
and conservation.

Marine protected area is used as defined in the MPA Executive Order 13158 as "any area of the marine environment
that has been reserved by federal, state, territorial, tribal or local laws or regulations to provide lasting protection for
part or all of the natural or cultural resources therein."


OBJECTIVE 1: Conduct and support national, state, and ter
ritory assessments of the effectiveness and gaps in the exist
ing system of U.S. coral reef MPAs.
OBJECTIVE 2: Enhance the effectiveness of existing MPAs
and strengthen their capabilities to protect coral reef
resources through existing authorities, management plans,
programs, and the involvement of all constituencies.
OBJECTIVE 3: Establish additional coral reef MPAs where
needed, including the establishment of additional no-take
ecological reserves in a balanced suite of representative

U.S. coral reefs and associated habitats, with the goal of
protecting at least 5 percent of all coral reefs and associated
habitat types in each major island group and Florida by
2002, at least 10 percent by 2005, and at least 20 percent
by 2010.
OBJECTIVE 4: Strengthen and support cooper nwth
and among the Freely Associated States i
partners to establish networks of MPAs
serve reef ecosystems.

~A. ~

I i ii ii t. I -! ii 1 ii,_ !' i ts, M PAs can protect
, i ii l l I:i ii- il 1. I i i .i ii .1 species, enhance
[rI 11 i-i! !!,i I i eation, and serve important roles in
I'- '1.-.1 ri I .i!. and outreach on the social, eco
Iii .I ..i I o 1gical benefits of marine ecosystems
I, Iii' ii 1'i.1.. i i. By providing a framework for
tl! 'I'li.' iii i of adaptive management, MPAs can
-1 i1.li-.li ii I i i, ii I i,! feedback loops between sci
eir, u 1.!:. -, Multiple-use MPAs address the dif
f. I i! ,i, .I. ,, I, s of a wide variety of stakeholders,
thereby helping to resolve conflicts between users of
marine and coastal ecosystems, while providing
conservation benefits to coral reef ecosystems.

Recognizing the urgent need to protect reef habitats
from further decline, the USCRTF called for
strengthening and expanding the Nation's existing
network of coral reef MPAs (USCRTF 2000). Based
on a growing body of scientific information, the
USCRTF recognized the special value of one type of
MPAs-no-take ecological reserves2 (reserves)-as a
key tool to address the impacts of fishing on coral
reef ecosystems (see also chapter 6). The USCRTF
also called for designing coordinated networks of
coral reef MPAs in U.S. waters and other areas to
help ensure the long-term viability, ecological
integrity, and sustainable use of coral reefs.

Summary of Implementation

Successful implementation of MPAs requires a
science-based approach and the meaningful and
sustained participation of stakeholders in all phases
of system design, implementation, and evaluation.
Since 2002, USCRTF members have made progress
on many MPA-related objectives, underscoring the
value of these tools in management of coral reef

A variety of coral reef protected areas are managed
by federal agencies, such as NOAA's national
marine sanctuaries and fishery management zones

and the U.S. Department of the Interior's (DOI's)
national parks and national fish and wildlife
refuges. However, most shallow coral reefs occur
in state waters where significant strides have been
made in using protected areas as tools in reef man
agement. Since 2002, USCRTF member agencies
have worked to design and implement coral reef
protected areas. For example, new MPAs and
reserves were established in several jurisdictions,
including the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI), Hawai'i,
Puerto Rico, American Samoa, and the Common
wealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) (see
table 5).

In addition to establishing new coral reef protected
areas, USCRTF members have conducted a variety
of activities to strengthen effectiveness of existing
coral reef MPAs. Management plans and regulations
have been developed or completed for several coral
reef MPAs in Florida, Hawai'i, and Puerto Rico.
These plans and regulations are essential to

Table 5. State, Territory, and
Community Marine Protected Areas
Established Between 2000 and 2003

The following table shows the number of new state,
territory, and community marine protected areas (MPAs)
designated between 2000 and 2003. This table is com-
posed of preliminary data from the National Inventory
of Marine Managed Areas being completed by the
National MPA Center.

American Samoa 2 5
Commonwealth of
the Northern
Mariana Islands 3 2
Florida 2 3
Hawai'i 1
Puerto Rico 3 2 2
U.S. Virgin Islands 1 1

2 Reserve in this case is defined in the National Action Plan To Conserve Coral Reefs. Ecological reserves are no-take zones used for maintaining biodiversity,
productivity, and ecological integrity of coral reefs and other marine habitats.


Improving the Use of Marine Protected Areas

effective implementation of existing protected areas,
help agencies enforce and manage reef resources,
and provide mechanisms for public involvement
and evaluation of management efforts.

USCRTF members have mapped and monitored
habitats and fish assemblages in MPAs throughout
U.S. jurisdictions to gather critical baseline informa
tion. Through these efforts, managers tracked abun
dance and distribution of recreational and commer
cial fish species and, if populations were decrease
ing, identified when management action was need
ed. Florida, Puerto Rico, the USVI, and the CNMI
developed stronger management regimes for MPAs
through policies, legislation, and plans involving
broad public input and stakeholder involvement.
All of these actions enhanced the effectiveness of
existing sites and strengthened their capabilities to
protect coral reef resources.

USCRTF federal agencies also provided technical
assistance and funding to states and territories to
strengthen the management of MPAs. To enhance
state and territory capacity, the USCRTF held sever
al regional and local workshops that addressed the
role of MPAs and reserve management in recreation
al overuse, lack of awareness, fisheries management,
and climate change.

Highlights of Task Force
Member Activities

OBJECTIVE 1: Conduct and support national,
state, and territory assessments of the effective-
ness and gaps in the existing system of U.S. coral
reef MPAs.

National Inventory of MPAs Nearly

coral reef protected areas in U.S. waters as part of
a nationwide review of U.S. marine managed areas
(MMAs). Data on the location and characteristics
of federal, state, and territory coral reef protected
areas will be collected and posted on the National
Inventory's online database to help assess the cur
rent status of U.S. coral reef protected areas. Data
for coral reef protected areas in Puerto Rico, Florida,
Hawai'i, Guam, American Samoa, and the USVI
have been collected and are under review. The
CNMI has completed the data collection, and the
data are available on the website. For more informa
tion on the MMA inventory and the MPA initiative,
visit http://www.mpa.gov.

Recreational Use Study

The State of Hawai'i and the Hawai'i Institute of
Marine Biology conducted a study of human use in
four MPAs. Researchers found that despite high vis
itor numbers, diving and snorkeling activities have
only minor impacts. Study findings suggested that
boat-based snorkeling and diving tours with pre
dive briefings led to reduced impacts, so the report
concludes that mandatory pre-diving briefings
should be required for tours entering MPAs.

OBJECTIVE 2: Enhance the effectiveness of
existing MPAs and strengthen their capabilities
to protect coral reef resources through existing
authorities, management plans, programs, and
the involvement of all constituencies.

Biscayne National Park Embarks on
Resource Management Plans With

At Biscayne National Park, near Miami, Florida, the
effects of increased visits and fi-l ii! activities have
prom pted I i. I 1 '!i 11. -1 I i i i I. .i
the coral rI I in ll.i inclt it 't T.t -jT .e f i. i.....
(668 km 2) 1 i' I I ..111 i- I i, iii.. iiN c i i i,

Implementation of the National

Manap meant Plan (I P) and creating a joint
~i Nisheries Management Plan with the Florida State
h a Wildlife Conservation Commission. Each
planni process has benefited from extensive pub
lic inputi In fall 2003, the park released preliminary
draft alternatives for the GMP in which activities
I such boating, scuba diving, snorkeling, and fish
ing w uld be zoned to reduce conflicts, enhance
visitot experiences, and protect sensitive resources.

Northwestern Hawaiian Islands
(NWHI) Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve
Implementation and National Marine
Sanctuary Designation Process

Executive Order 13178 created the NWHI Coral
Reef Ecosystem Reserve, the second largest marine
conservation area in the world. The Order required
development of a Reserve Operations Plan and
mandated that a process be carried out to consider
whether to establish a National Marine Sanctuary
in the region. Reserve management efforts in close
cooperation with the State of Hawai'i and the
Hawaiian Islands Fish and Wildlife Refuge have
included extensive marine debris clean-up opera
tions (see chapter 8), research cruises (see chapter
2), and extensive outreach activities. The Draft
Final Reserve Operations Plan was completed in
early 2004.

In 2002, the Reserve held nine public meetings
across Hawai'i and one in Washington, D.C., to
solicit information and comments from stakehold
ers on the range and significance of issues related
to the designation and management of a NWHI
National Marine Sanctuary. More than 1,000 people
attended the meetings, and more than 14,000 com-
ments were received. Support for the conservation
of the area was overwhelming. The process of col
laborative input fostered the vision, mission, prin
ciples, goals, and objectives for the proposed sanc
tuary. Stakeholder comments and input will be

used to identify management issues for the pro
posed sanctuary management plan and environ
mental impact statement (EIS). NOAA is scheduled
to release the draft EIS, draft management plan and
proposed regulations for the proposed designation
by January 2006. For more updated information,
visit http://www.hawaiireef.noaa.gov.

Culebra Management Plan Moves

In 2003, Puerto Rico began a multistakeholder
process to develop a management plan for Luis
Pena Channel [Canal Luis Pena] No-Take Natural
Reserve. The management plan will address
enforcement, awareness and education, habitat
protection and restoration, pollution, and other
issues. The Authority for the Conservation and
Development of Culebra and the Puerto Rico
Department of Natural and Environmental
Resources (PRDNER) are developing the plan with
funding provided by NOAA and the National Fish
and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF). The planning
process, conducted with community stakeholders
and a multidisciplinary working group, will pro
vide a framework and action plan for managing
the reserve.

American Samoa Creates New
Territorywide MPA Program

American Samoa created a territory MPA program
and hired an MPA coordinator to develop an MPA
management plan. The plan seeks to protect 20 per
cent of the coral reef resources and coordinate all
MPA efforts throughout the territory. In recognition
that coral reef conservation issues extend beyond
territorial boundaries, the newly hired MPA coordi
nator will work to establish a precedent-setting
regional MPA program between American Samoa
and the countries of Samoa and Fiji.


Improving the Use of Marine Protected Areas

Community-Based Monitoring and
Reef Watch Programs in Hawaii's
Newest MPA

The Hawai'i Division of Aquatic Resources provide
ed technical assistance to help a local community
establish and develop a comprehensive monitoring
program in a coral reef protected area. This locally
driven program:

* Monitors coral reef resources, water quality, and
human use patterns;

* Educates the public about new MPA rules and
reports violations to the state; and

* Manages the removal of litter and marine debris
through the Kapoho Reef Watch program at the
Waiopae Tide Pools Marine Life Conservation

The Kapoho Reef Watch program is locally driven;
the community that lives adjacent to the MPA pro
vides all funding and staffing resources. Involving
the community in the management of the area
results in several benefits: The community mem-
bers develop a sense of pride and stewardship over
the resources; and they are more willing to call for
enforcement when they see a violation, work with
uninformed users to try to correct misuse, and edu
cate users visiting the area on proper etiquette.
These benefits lead to reduced violations and fewer
negative impacts from recreational misuse of the

Guam Continues as Leader in Use of
Ecological Reserves for Reef

Guam has been a leader in developing a network of
no-take ecological preserves3 to sustain coral reef
ecosystems, including three areas with very limited

SThe Government of Guam uses the term "preserves" to refer to no-take ecologica

take of seasonal and culturally important species that
still function biologically as no-take MPAs. In 1997,
Guam established five marine preserves around the
island, accounting for 11 percent of the shoreline
and an estimated 28 percent of Guam's reef area.
The Guam Department of Agriculture's Division of
Aquatic and Wildlife Resources established baseline
levels of fish populations in two preserve areas and
suitable control sites prior to full enforcement on
January 1, 2001. Data generated by continued moni
touring of the fish communities at these sites will be
compared with pre-implementation data to deter
mine the long term effectiveness of the preserve system.
Compared with nonpreserve areas, preserve areas
have shown increases in fish abundance, diversity,
and spawning mass within 2 years after

Mooring Buoys Improve Habitat
Protection in Puerto Rico Reserve

On holiday weekends, popular marine areas in
Puerto Rico can have hundreds of vessels anchoring
per day. In the areas of heaviest visitor use, PRDNER
partnered with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
(USFWS) to install low-impact mooring buoys that
reduce anchor damage to seagrass beds and coral
reefs. The first buoys were installed in Puerto
Rico's first no-take zone, the Luis Pena Channel
[Canal Luis Pena] Natural Reserve. Reduced
impacts because of significantly less anchor
damage to seagrass meadows are evident with
improved seagrass, coral, and associated hard
bottom habitats. In addition to protecting resources,
mooring buoys provide a popular service to the
boating community.

Moorings were also installed in areas adjacent to
refuge units around Culebra and Culebrita. Pro
tected species benefiting from the mooring program
include gre i - i ..il!. i 1 i [ ,.ii .. ii l, 1. H. 1 ,, 1

..... .. .. .." .. ...... ..
...... A .

Implementation of the National

~A. ~

i . i 1.11 I 1 r Ii i lr liin ii ibitats such as sponge,
, ..I ,i l II ii .- It is anticipated that,
S '. ill i, I, !I. !i- 1 I turtle habitat, species recov
Sery I'.!!l i'. ii! I .I.. The mooring buoy program
'11i1 I' 1!1, !-'Ii 1I I" een Puerto Rico and USFWS
Sill ii 1.1 lly install 270 mooring buoys through
out fr'l to Rico's high-traffic coastal waters.

OBJECTIVE 3: Establish additional coral reef
MPAs where needed, including the establishment
of additional no-take ecological reserves4 in a bal-
anced suite of representative U.S. coral reefs and
associated habitats, with the goal of protecting at
least 5 percent of all coral reefs and associated
habitat types in each major island group and
Florida by 2002, at least 10 percent by 2005, and
at least 20 percent by 2010.

East End Marine Park Established

In 2003, the USVI, with assistance from federal
agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and com
munity stakeholders, created the East End Marine
Park at St. Croix. The 97-square-kilometer marine
park contains beaches, mangroves, seagrass mead
ows, and coral reefs. A zoning plan protects the

park's sensitive resources while allowing for com-
patible recreational uses, including diving, snorkel
ing, boating, and swimming. Portions of the park
are designated as no-take ecological reserves, while
others are open to commercial and recreational
fishing. Oil and gas extraction and commercial
shipping are prohibited in the park.

U.S. Virgin Islands Monuments
No-Take Prohibitions Implemented

In 2003, DOI implemented regulations to protect
the new 12,708-acre (51-km2) U.S. Virgin Islands
Coral Reef National Monument and the newly
expanded 19,000-acre (77-km2) Buck Island Reef
National Monument. These no-take marine reserves
were created in 2001 to restore the coral reef
ecosystem and replenish fish and shellfish popular
tions. (Fishing for baitfish and blue runner is
allowed at designated locations in the U.S. Virgin
Islands Coral Reef National Monument.) The regu
nations had been delayed while the Government
Accountability Office reviewed ownership claims
to the area advanced by the territorial government.

The National Park Service (NPS) began developing
general management plans to determine long-range
(15-20 years) conservation efforts for the two
national monuments in collaboration with various
stakeholders, including local communities and the
USVI territory government. NPS and NOAA are col
elaborating on joint scientific surveys of fish and
invertebrates, benthic mapping, and habitat charac
terizations at these two monuments (see chapter 1).

DoD Evaluates Johnston Atoll's
Potential as a National Environmental
Research Park

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) funded a
study to evaluate whether Johnston Atoll has the
potential to be a national environmental research

SReserve in this case is defined in the National Action Plan To Conserve Coral Reefs. Ecological reserves are no-take zones that are used for maintaining
biodiversity, productivity, and ecological integrity of coral reefs and other marine habitats.


Improving the Use of Marine Protected Areas

park and designated for the study of the environ
mental impacts of industrial byproducts and other
human-related activities. As part of the base closure
process, USFWS is coordinating with DoD for the
contamination and hazardous waste cleanup activi
ties necessary after several decades of military use
and testing at Johnston Atoll.

Puerto Rico Designates Third No-Take

In January 2004, the Tres Palmas Marine Reserve
was designated as the third no-take reserve in
Puerto Rico following a multistakeholder planning
process. Long renowned for its beautiful beaches,
excellent surfing, and abundant sea life, Tres
Palmas also supports one of the best-preserved
elkhorn coral patches (Acropora palmata) around
the island; elkhorn coral is under consideration for
potential listing as threatened under the U.S.
Endangered Species Act. The reserve designation
law mandates the development of a management
plan and allows for the participation of stakehold
ers in its development and in the management of
the reserve.

OBJECTIVE 4: Strengthen and support coopera-
tion with and among the Freely Associated States
and international partners to establish networks of
MPAs to protect and conserve reef ecosystems.

USFWS Funds Studies of Endangered
Species in Palau

In 2002, USFWS funded surveys of Palau's endan
gered dugongs and saltwater crocodiles, both of
which are listed under the U.S. Endangered Species
Act. The goal was to provide the Palau government
with biological data needed to help expand an
established national network of MPAs. In 2003,
NOAA and USFWS co-funded a similar project to

gather information on nesting beaches for Palau's
green and hawksbill sea turtles for consideration in
enhancing the MPA network.

USFWS Leads Expedition-Results in
Republic of the Marshall Islands' First
National Park

In 2002, at the request of the people of Rongelap
Atoll, USFWS led a multi-institutional expedition
to assess conditions at the protected, uninhabited
reef of Ailinginae Atoll in the Republic of the
Marshall Islands and to evaluate its eligibility as a
World Heritage Site. Participants included the
College of the Marshall Islands, University of North
Queensland, and University of California at Santa
Cruz. State-of the-art, high-resolution Quickbird
satellite imagery assisted in the evaluation. Shortly
after the expedition, the Republic of the Marshall
Islands declared Ailinginae to be its first national
park. A full report was due in 2004, and the United
Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural
Organization's World Heritage Centre is now begin
ning its evaluation of the atoll.

Future Challenges

While the members of the USCRTF have made
progress towards strengthening and expanding the
Nation's existing coral reef protected areas, signifi
cant challenges remain to fulfill this goal.

Complete the inventory and assessment of existing
U.S. coral reef MPAs. Information on the location,
distribution, purpose, and effectiveness of existing
U.S. coral reef MPAs will allow coral reef managers,
stakeholders, and others to assess the strengths and
weaknesses of the current collection of sites. This
information will also allow them to develop appro
private responses to improve effectiveness. Much of
the information has been collect- a

Implementation of the Natii

~A. ~

ti !!! 'ii' !ii !', I i ,I ii--! -- ", !!l require contin-
i, I, ,iiiii r 1, 1 i 1 1 .. I.. i i p .1 by federal, state,
,ti l. I 'I jIll '. '-,, i ii .. iii r en cies.

Increasing the effect eness of current sites.
A\ 1!i i1.1-. some progress has been made in increase
ing thPe effectiveness of existing coral reef MPAs,
i iii, 1!i, i lack IIh. tools, resources, and capacity to
meet il1, i- iI- Addressing these needs and
i!i i'- 1 i! II effectiveness of all existing coral reef
MPAs are critical steps to improving the resilience
of coral reefs and the community economies that
depend on them.

Increase public awareness and participation
in coral reef MPAs. Public awareness and
participation in coral reef management are critical
to the long-term success of these efforts. This is
especially true with the use of MPAs as manage
ment tools. Increasing public awareness and partic
ipation in the design, creation, implementation,
and evaluation of coral reef MPAs is essential for
the effective management of these protected areas.

Conduct targeted research to design and imple-
ment coral reef MPA networks. Effective manage
ment of coral reef ecosystems includes understand
ing how reef habitats are connected to each other
across spatial scales and understanding how these
linkages may change over time. Targeted research is

needed in a number of areas to improve the design
and implementation of coral reef MPA networks.
This includes research on such questions as:

* What is the flow and distribution of larvae,
juveniles, and adults among reef systems (i.e.,

* How would this connectivity affect the possible
survival and recovery of reef habitats?

* Which reef habitats are most likely to survive
current and possible adverse future conditions?

* What combination and design of coral reef MPAs
would help provide the best possible chance for
long-term sustainability of the reef ecosystem?

Evaluate Increased use of MPAs as coral reef man-
agement tools. The implementation of coral reef
MPA networks can help sustain the Nation's valu
able reef ecosystems and the communities and
economies that depend on them. Every jurisdiction
has made progress in implementing ecological
reserves, but only the NWHI and Guam have met
(and exceeded) interim USCRTF goals. Open and
participatory processes involving all stakeholders
should be used in assessing gaps, needs, and possi
ble alternatives for use of protected areas for effec
tive sustainability of coral reef ecosystems.



Reducing the Adverse

Impacts of Fishing

GOAL: Reduce the adverse impacts of fishing and

other extractive uses to protect coral reef ecosys-

tems and ensure sustainable fisheries.

Rationale for Action

More than 4,000 species of fish (25
percent of all marine fish) inhabit
coral reefs and associated habitats

OBJECTIVE 1: i- ,, I monitor, and protect critically impor
tant U.S. coral reef fisheries habitats and spawning popular
tions through an expanded network of no-take ecological
reserves; ensure effective enforcement of existing no-take
fishery reserves; monitor reef fish stocks in no-take marine
reserves and reference sites to evaluate the effectiveness of
reserves; and identify and protect new areas necessary to
ensure the integrity of fisheries and ecosystems.
OBJECTIVE 2: Reduce overfishing by monitoring coral reef
fisheries, assessing the adequacy of current fishing regular
tions, revising regulations as needed (using existing statutory
processes in the case of federal regulations), and providing
enhanced enforcement and education.
OBJECTIVE 3: Enhance coordination on coral reef fishery
issues with the U.S. territories in the Caribbean and Western
OBJECTIVE 4: Reduce adverse environmental impacts of
fishing by assessing essential fish habitat; i- ,,,i -, I the
effects of fishing and fishing gear; implementing actions or
additional gear and fishing vessel anchoring restrictions to
reduce habitat damage; eliminating destructive fishing prac
tices; assessing and mapping deeper coral reefs, banks, and
beds; and developing strategies to conserve these deeper

(Spaulding et al. 2001). These habitats
support important commercial, arti
sanal, recreational, and subsistence
fisheries in the United States and
around the world. Coral reef fisheries

OBJECTIVE 5: Incorporate ecosystem scale considerations
into coral reef fishery management by performing targeted
research, including the development of models, to under
stand the ecosystem effects of fishing and the socioeconom
ic impacts of fishery management.
OBJECTIVE 6: Reduce the overexploitation of reef organ
isms for the aquarium trade by banning the domestic com-
mercial collection of coral and "live rock" and monitoring
the collection of other species, developing new management
measures or ecologically sound alternatives to wild collec
tion, evaluating the effectiveness of existing legal authorities
and policies governing the collection and importation of
coral and other .. I ii,, I species, and addressing incon
s is t e n c ie s a m o n g I I , I i I i, I ~ i, l 1 1 1 ,
collection and tra l. I 1 ,, ,, ,i i . ., i I i ..
OBJECTIVE 7: De I ii ,, .
sibly develop guid ..... i, i I i i',ln
conjunction with I .I i I I i ,, I i. I. ,i ~ i i 1..
g ro u p s, in clu d in g ., .'i ii II,, .... I I lI..
and the Invasive l* ii

e I an ply a central social
i i land communities; how
7 in it the emergence of
e I use eof more efficient fish
i pt ii 1 o fishing and degrada
o10ru hA ich these fish depend.

a its e ies has been docu
n e A 1 shore reefs and con
Sletions of key species.
crl e ices h s overfishing significantly
l i n ifi a lance and contributes to the
San i of i iaef ecosystems. In particular,
e ino rbivo ous fish has been linked to
h1e lifts i'om high diversity, coral dominated
systems to low productivity, algal dominated com-
munities (Bellwood et al. 2004). Also, some fishing
gear can damage reef habitats, and fishing pressure
on predatory fish may accelerate bio erosion of
corals by their invertebrate prey. Overfishing has
been identified as a major concern in all U.S. states
and territories with coral reefs, and it was chosen in
2002 by the USCRTF as one of six priority areas for
the development of local action strategies (LASs) to
reduce this threat.

Summary of Implementation

USCRTF members and their partners are working
together to implement programs that increase know
edge about coral reef fisheries and reduce the
adverse impacts of fishing. Because most coral reef
fisheries are located within state and territory
waters, many programs are collaborative efforts
among NOAA, the U.S. Department of the Interior
(DOI), state and territory government agencies, fish
ery management councils, and nongovernmental and
university partners. Since 2002, USCRTF agencies
supported more than 57 federal management and
research programs to understand and address coral
reef fisheries. The programs emphasize efforts to:

* Assess the effectiveness of established marine
protected areas (MPAs) in promoting the recov
ery of overfished stocks;

* Identify spawning aggregation sites and monitor
the health of these aggregations and associated
fishery resources;

* Understand habitat use patterns and linkages to
identify key habitats that should be included
within MPA networks; and

* Evaluate fishing efforts and the impacts of fish
ing gear on coral reef ecosystems.

This information is being provided to local, state,
and territory resource agencies and regional fishery
management councils to support ongoing evalua
tions of current regulations and the development of
new regulations to enhance the sustainability of
coral reef fisheries.

Successful efforts to reduce the impacts of fishing
must include an integrated effort to protect, under
stand, and rebuild important coral reef fish popular
tions. Assessments of fishery stocks are lacking for
the majority of coral reef species (see table 6), hin
during the establishment of a balance between
resource protection and exploitation through
ecosystem-based management approaches. To
address this gap, NOAA and its partners have
worked together to conduct detailed assessments of
fish size, abundance, and diversity of selected coral
reef fish populations throughout U.S. waters. These
assessments help researchers evaluate the health of
ecologically and economically important species
and understand species interactions and the effect
fishing has on these associations.

For example, comparative studies in the Hawaiian
Island Archipelago found a large number of apex
predators (primarily large jacks and reef sharks)
throughout the entire Northwestern Hawaiian
Islands (NWHI) chain. This is a stark contrast to the
near absence of apex predators in the Main
Hawaiian Islands. The difference in apex predator
populations is likely a result of greater fishing pres
sure in the Main Hawaiian Islands, which empha
sizes the need for better regulations to manage fish
ing and recover depleted populations (Friedlander
and DeMartini 2002). In addition, the USCRTF and


Reducing the Adverse Impacts of Fishing

Table 6. Overview of Coral Reef Species Stock Information Listed Under
Fishery Management Plans for Federal Waters

South Atlantic snapper-
grouper 60 8 11 2 41
South South Atlantic spiny lobster 2 1 0 1
Coral, coral reefs, and live/
hard bottom habitats in
the South Atlantic region 5 5 5
Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin
Islands reef fishery 140 2 2 138
Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin
Islands spiny lobster fishery 1 0 1 0 0
Caribbean Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin
Islands queen conch resources 13 1 0 12
Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin
Islands coral and reef
associated invertebrates 25 6 25
Gulf of Mexico reef fish
Gulf of resources 42 5 3 2 34
Mexico Gulf of Mexico spiny lobster 2 1 0 1
Gulf of Mexico corals and
coral reefs 5 5 5
Western Pacific bottom fish
and seamount groundfish 10 0 10
Western Western Pacific coral
Pacific reef ecosystem fishery
management plan 146, 0 146
Western Pacific crustacean 6 5b 6
Western Pacific region
precious corals fishery 12 12b 12
Highly Highly migratory species 3d 3 0 0 0

Information for this table was derived from the 2003 Status of U.S. Fisheries report /http_ tL'trv'.nmfs.
noaa.gov/sfa/reports.html. The table includes only those coral reef -associated spec s Wrat are listed on
fishery management plans and does not reflect all known coral reef species.

SThis figure was taken directly from the Western Pacific Coral Reef E ::sysr-rm Fish-iy Management Plan
http://www.wpcouncil.org/coralreef.htm, and includes only those spe:,-s i sr-: .:is cilrrentrvl harested co a toJ taxa
b The fishery is closed in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. 'T
Highly migratory species are not under thejurisdiction of any one Fs i- ,, y jiij- un "
d The three shark species include the Caribbean reef shark, tiger shark .1i: rut"l- I.fi k

Implementation of the National Coral



its partners are identifying spawning aggregations,
assessing temporal and spatial behaviors of
groupers and snappers associated with these aggre
gations, and devising strategies to protect these
aggregations in the Atlantic and Caribbean. Many
of these commercially important species are slow
growing and long lived, forming seasonal spawning
aggregations that are easy for fishers to find and
target, but that can be decimated within a few
years by heavy fishing. Research illustrates that
aggregations are vital to ensuring the successful
reproduction and recruitment of these fish and
their protection is critical to reef ecosystem health.

NOAA, DOI, state and territory agencies, and others
are evaluating the effectiveness of established MPAs
and developing new protected areas to enhance
fishery resources. Effectiveness studies have cen
tered on assessing changes in fish populations
within established protected areas, relative to non
protected areas, and on determining if these pro
tected areas act as sources or sinks for larvae and/or
adults. For example, studies in Florida demonstrate
ed the average size and density of exploitable (prey)
species increased in no-take reserves and some
spillover appeared to occur from reserves into the
surrounding fished areas. Riley's Hump in the
Tortugas South Ecological Reserve has shown sig
nificant increases in density of several snapper and
grouper species since additional protections were
implemented in 2001 (Burton et al. 2004), and sci
entists have observed an increase in spawning
aggregations within coral reef reserves in Guam and
other areas.

No-take ecological reserves (reserves) are increase
ingly important tools for coral reef fishery manage
ment (see also chapter 5). NOAA and its partners
have initiated efforts to help local resource man
agers understand the importance of marine reserves
and science-based decision making processes in the
effective design of MPAs. These efforts include:

* Workshops in Puerto Rico and the USVI for key
stakeholders to improve their understanding of
ecosystem impacts associated with overfishing
and destructive fishing and the benefits of
marine reserves in conserving biodiversity and
enhancing fisheries;

* Socioeconomic evaluations to determine fisher
men's perceptions and preferences about MPAs
in the Caribbean;


Reducing the Adverse Impacts of Fishing

* Development of models evaluating the effect of Highlights of Task Force
different management regimes on trophic
dynamics (i.e., different levels of organization er A t tie
within the food chain), which can predict the
rate of changes within a reserve, and assess its
ef anes n ets ,OBJECTIVE 1: Identify, monitor, and protect criti-
performance based on the types of habitats
selected, patns of se wth thes habitats, cally important U.S. coral reef fisheries habitats
selected, patterns of use within these habitats,
and fishing effort; and and spawning populations through an expanded
and fishing effort; and
network of no-take ecological reserves; ensure
* Research on connectivity and recruitment link effective enforcement of existing no-take fishery
ages between American marine reserves in reserves; monitor reef fish stocks in no-take marine
Meso American reef areas, the Dry Tortugas, and reserves and reference sites to evaluate the effec-
the Florida Keys. tiveness of reserves; and identify and protect new
areas necessary to ensure the integrity of fisheries
Key elements for reducing the impacts of fishing and ecosystems.
include improved regulations, enhanced enforce
ment, and outreach and education efforts to inform
stakeholders of new procedures and how to help Gag Grouper MPAs Extended
sustain reef resources. Since 2002, five jurisdictions Two MPAs were established in the northeastern
have instituted new or revised fishery regulations. Gulf of Mexico in 2000 to protect gag grouper
Gulf of Mexico in 2000 to protect gag grouper
In March 2004, Puerto Rico implemented compre-
In March 2004 Puerto Rico implemented compare (Mycteroperca microlepis) spawning grounds at the
hensive new fishing regulations, including ones edge of the continental shelf in an effort to increase
edge of the continental shelf in an effort to increase
compatible with federal regulations that established t s se ,
the stock biomass and, specifically, the percentage
recreational and commercial fishing licenses by of males while protecting other species. NOAA sup
of males while protecting other species. NOAA sup-
species. ported efforts to map, characterize habitats, and

For federal waters, final rules were published to evaluate changes in fish assemblages in the MPAs
implement the Fishery Management Plan for Coral and an adjacent area of similar depth and habitat
Reef Ecosystems of the Western Pacific Region. This that is open to fishing. Efforts targeted the Madison
plan establishes a coral reef ecosystem regulatory Swanson and Steamboat Lumps MPAs and the
area and complements four other fishery manage Twin Ridges control area. In all sites, reef fish abun
ment plans to regulate fishing. Additional manage dance and distribution increased between 2001 and
ment measures were implemented in federal waters 2002, but declined by 2003. The recent decline may
of the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic to help represent natural fluctuations; however, continued
reduce overfishing and rebuild reef fish stocks. In fishing activity in the MPAs aggravated the separa
Biscayne Bay, the National Park Service (NPS) estab tion of natural and fishing mortality. In 2003, the
lished regulations related to lobster take. Beginning Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council used
in 2003, USCRTF members initiated efforts to train the resulting data to extend the initial 4-year clo
local resource personnel in relevant laws, regular sure for an additional 6 years. NOAA proposed
tions, and related enforcement approaches. The continued studies during the 10-year closure to
USCRTF will continue to provide additional assis evaluate the efficacy o
tance in the area of enforcement. ment of gag gr r

Implementation of the National Coral Re

effective Implementation of
ves in Guam

i ..1 I II I i !i I-F.:, iisheries
.f r,,'i.4t iL ,, '.',, i,,,,,, I, ,,,ii ,, i,,, rease and
r i -.- ,t li i_ I -- i! ii- i m arine pre-
I- i .- ..1 i | Ii ... 1- !!. -irategy
.l ,',l 1., ii.. ii l l. l ii 11 ,d prosecu-

l i 1" .1! 1 ,,!,[!!! I, III! I ,II ,l a c h ,
iI1L 1111 p I .iI1 .l ii 1 I iti 1.. .. i n hikers and
i! l (,lr i l l gi' i l 1iI i' i I !il l I II Ila from the
.. i ill, ii .1 !lilii i ,i II" . 1 i I i.)w signifi-
I ii l I II ii I diversity

OBJECTIVE 2: Reduce overfishing by monitoring
coral reef fisheries, assessing the adequacy of cur-
rent fishing regulations, revising regulations as
needed (using existing statutory processes in the
case of federal regulations), and providing
enhanced enforcement and education.

Enhanced Fishery Management in
Biscayne National Park

A 2002 study of fish populations at Biscayne
National Park conducted by the University of
Miami and NOAA concluded that approximately
70 percent of commercial and recreational target
species are overfished by federal standards and the
number and size of key species are critically low.
These findings led NPS to begin development of a
groundbreaking Fisheries Management Plan (FMP)
with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation
Commission (FWC). The joint FMP is a model effort
to produce a management strategy transcending
jurisdictions and boundaries to sustain fish stocks
across their full range in and around Biscayne
National Park. Scheduled for completion in late
2004, the FMP will be based on quantifiable,

desired future conditions for size and abundance of
fishery populations to be met by reducing fishing
gear impacts on habitat and bycatch, among other
issues. NPS and FWC are incorporating input from
the public and key stakeholders, including com-
mercial and recreational fishers, divers, scientists,
and conservationists, through the Florida Keys
National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS) Advisory
Council to increase the effectiveness and facilitate
implementation of the plan.

Training for Law Enforcement Officers

In 2003, the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and
Environmental Resources selected eight rangers
from six different regions to serve as members of a
new Coral Reef Ranger Team in an effort to boost
enforcement of coral reef and fisheries regulations.
NOAA sponsored a training workshop for the
rangers on the biology and identification of coral
reef species, followed by a 2-week law enforcement
training at FKNMS that emphasized topics in law
enforcement, damage assessment, and coral and
seagrass restoration.

OBJECTIVE 3: Enhance coordination on coral reef
fishery issues with the U.S. territories in the
Caribbean and Western Pacific.

LAS Implementation for Overfishing

In 2002, under the auspices of the USCRTF, state
and territory partners began drafting LASs to
address overfishing (or coral reef fishery manage
ment). These plans highlight ongoing conservation
and management activities, identify gaps in local
coral reef fishery management, and prioritize
research and management needs for the next 3
years. Beginning in 2004, NOAA initiated support
for new activities identified within the fishery
management LASs, with an emphasis on support
ing enforcement personnel and equipment.


Reducing the Adverse Impacts of Fishing

OBJECTIVE 4: Reduce adverse environ-
mental impacts of fishing by assessing
essential fish habitat; identifying the
effects of fishing and fishing gear; imple-
menting actions or additional gear and
fishing vessel anchoring restrictions to
reduce habitat damage; eliminating
destructive fishing practices; assessing
and mapping deeper coral reefs, banks,
and beds; and developing strategies to
conserve these deeper ecosystems.

Understanding Trap Impacts

Certain types of fishing gear may damage
coral reefs and seagrass beds. Managers
need to understand the impacts of certain geE
the viable alternatives to those that are damal
For example, fishers in the Atlantic, Caribbea
Pacific commonly use traps to catch lobsters
fish, which have often been perceived as detr
tal to coral reefs. Therefore, NOAA initiated c
interdisciplinary effort in 2001 to analyze the
ment and seasonality differences of trap usag.
quantify damage to coral habitats, and examil
recovery rate of damaged organisms. Prelimir
results from studies in Puerto Rico, the USVI,
Florida indicate that trap damage is not as hil
anticipated because most fishers do not direc
get hard coral areas.

OBJECTIVE 5: Incorporate ecosystem-scale
siderations into coral reef fishery manageme
performing targeted research, including the i
opment of models, to understand the ecosys
effects of fishing and the socioeconomic imp
fishery management.


Antillean Z-trap dropped onto live coral in the Caribbean.

Western Pacific Coral Reef Ecosystem
Fishery Management Plan

Early in 2004, NOAA published the final rule to
implement the Western Pacific Region Fishery
Management Council's Coral Reef Ecosystem
Fishery Management Plan-the first U.S. coral reef
ecosystem-based management plan. The rule estab
lishes a coral reef ecosystem regulatory area, MPAs,
no-anchor zones, gear registrations, permitting and
reporting requirements, and a framework for the
regulatory process.

Hawai'i Marine Gap Program

The Hawai'i Marine Gap Program was established
by the State of Hawai'i with support from NOAA
to integrate available data on Hawaiian nearshore
waters into a spatial database to provide a compare
hensive ecosystem conservation and planning
framework. The project's primary objective is to
conduct an analysis of current use and protection
o f h ab il ,l i!i ,- ,I !,I1 "' ;' "- 1,l1. 1,,- i!i 1i..

,,,,cs.-i. JE,,

Implementation of the National Coral

I I|r",i li l i.i ii I I lypes that coM
lh IL b .1 iri I. I!I !i I protection. To the
,p1. I *I"! '! !, II !-r .- database and we
L .l4 l,,,!I ', 'i, !i, !.' I been devel ne,
f.,' .l'^ lji.1i .,-, .i! I I .;1. 1 i!i/, the vast are
l .T .i I !i. .1 II! -..11 I II of Haw aii's the
I Ii l 11' | 1.... i- central com po- del
f l.,,i,-. 1 i' I,, ..Ii [aw aii's m arine rec
.. sp
:TIVE 6: Reduce the overexploitation of use
ganisms for the aquarium trade by banning enl
mestic commercial collection of coral and of
ick" and monitoring the collection of other aqt
, developing new management measures or tec
ically sound alternatives to wild collection,
ting the effectiveness of existing legal
ities and policies governing the collection OE
portation of coral and other reef-dwelling issi
, and addressing inconsistencies among fed- cor
d state/territory regulations on collection ho
ide of ornamental coral reef species. th(

re of Live Rock Harvest in
ern Pacific Aq
the most significant actions within the Coral de;
systemm Fishery Management Plan prohibit cie
harvest of live rock in federal waters. The cif
fines live rock as "any natural, hard sub
including dead coral and rock, to which is Ini
d or which supports any living marine life Fa
isociated with coral reefs." Along with
:an Samoa's ban on live rock collection in
his prohibition closed the last loophole
to 1
ig the destructive collection of live rock in
waters. far
iging Aquarium Collection in tio
Hawai'i far
iwai'i Coral Reef Initiative Research Program far
ided annual monitoring of the West Hawai'i

and possibly develop guidance related to
)ef aquaculture in conjunction with stake-
; and relevant interagency groups, including
uatic Nuisance Species Task Force and the
e Species Council.

ilture in waters adjacent to reefs has
ed, and environmental issues have been
lith on a case-by-case basis. USCRTF agen
ve not yet developed national guidance spe
coral reefs and aquaculture.

ise in the Number of Aquaculture
s in the Hawaiian Islands

! and 2003, NOAA, through the University of
i Sea Grant College Program, has contributed
wounding and/or operation of 47 aquaculture
n the Hawaiian Islands. This includes signif
Dntributions to 8 pearl farms, 4 demonstra
d training pearl hatcheries, 15 giant clam
including the largest commercial giant clam
Iture venture in the Pacific), and 20 sponge
Overall, NOAA and its partners have helped

Reducing the Adverse Impacts of Fishing

increase the number of aquaculture
enterprises in the Hawaiian Islands
to 126 farms valued at $25.2 mil-
lion and supplying approximately
630 jobs.

Offshore Aquaculture
Technology Tested for

NOAA and its partners have tested
offshore aquaculture technology in
such tropical locations as Hawai'i
and Puerto Rico that have demon
strated the potential of this tech
nology for coral reef fisheries man
agement. This offshore aquaculture
technology allows for the produce

tion of commercial reef fishes with
out depleting the natural population in coral reef
ecosystems. For example, in Puerto Rico the cobia
offshore pen produced 15 tons of marketable prod
uct in an 8-month period without depleting natural
populations. Changes in benthic communities as a
result of nutrient inputs in the surrounding area
were found to be negligible.

Future Challenges

States, territories, and their federal partners have
taken multiple steps to address the impacts of fish
ing on coral reefs; however, resource extraction still
exceeds the limits of sustainability on most reefs
near populated coastlines. Further progress will
require a combination of enforcing existing regular
tions and exploring new alternatives for managing
coral reef fisheries.

Enhance enforcement capabilities of state and ter-
ritory agencies. The USCRTF's state and territory
members have identified lack of adequate enforce
ment as one of the major constraints to effectively


Example of traditional community fishing efforts using a non-selective seine net.

managing reef fisheries. In addition to environment
tal laws, officers in these regions are increasingly
called on to enforce a variety of regulations,
including customs efforts, drug interdiction, and
immigration. These regions often do not have
enough manpower, boats, or support to adequately
enforce environmental laws and prosecute environ
mental crimes committed on their coral reefs. To
address their pressing enforcement needs, DOI, the
U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the U.S. Environ
mental Protection Agency (EPA), and NOAA have
initiated a series of enforcement workshops to help
support the individual needs of each jurisdiction
and begin to provide additional training for both
enforcement officers and legal personnel.

Increasingly, states and territories are experiment
ing with community-based approaches and
enhanced education and outreach to improve coral
reef fisheries compliance. These novel approaches,
building on diverse mnd L
in West Hawai'i i ..
the most p
agement oo

Implementation of the National Co

4 1..

Nassau Grouper is a candidate species for listing under the
Endangered Species Act.

Continue support for inmplementing LASs. I !h
USCRTF's state and territory partners have devel
oped 3-year plans to address overfishing and coral
reef fishery management issues in their jurisdic
tions. Additional support is needed from federal
agencies and other partners to support the priority
actions listed within these LASs.

Continue developing networks of no-take reserves.
Combined with traditional fishery management
efforts, no-take reserves can be effective tools for
recovering and sustaining overfished species and
protecting the habitats that sustain them. The
USCRTF will continue to work with key stakehold
er groups, including resource managers, recreation
al and commercial user groups, nongovernmental

organizations, and the public, in all phases of
the design, implementation, and evaluation of
MPAs. These efforts need to consider appropriate
legislative and regulatory authorities; traditional,
community-based, and subsistence uses; and the
best available scientific data on the natural history
of coral reef species, species associations, and habi
tat considerations.

Research coral reef fisheries. Research is needed in
the area of ecosystem level, multispecies stock
assessments with an emphasis on nontraditional,
poorly known species of increasing commercial
importance (e.g., ornamentals, invertebrates, herbiv
orous fishes). Future research needs to examine the
natural history of representative species from differ
ent trophic groups, including species interactions
and the cascading effects of overfishing on target
and associated nontarget species.

Characterize and protect essential fish habitats.
Efforts need to focus on understanding the habitat
requirements of commercially and ecologically
important fish and invertebrates and the effects of
habitat degradation on these species. Under
standing the connectivity and linkages between
adjacent habitats and their role as essential fish
habitats (EFHs); the factors affecting recruitment,
migration, and movement within and among habi
tats; and how to ensure appropriate habitats are
delineated and protected as EFHs is also important.


'';S^.,. --..! .,.1 F..',.,i

a t, dd. nal d ei
,* ," ',

s g GOAL: Reduce the impact of human coastal
S-oO activities on coral reef ecosystems.

Rationale for Action boom in coastal tourism can lead to
additional direct (e.g., from diving,
Coral reef ecosystems are being contain snorkeling, and fishing) and indirect
ually and, in some cases, irreparably (e.g., through increasing demand for
damaged by a number of avoidable coastal development, sewage dis
human activities. Dredging for naviga charge, and vessel traffic) impacts on
tion or marinas, beach renourishment, coral reef resources, compounding the
sand mining, pipeline and cable instal adverse effects of coastal development.
nation, and coastal development and
modification projects can degrade As the number of people using and
water quality around reefs. Although transiting coral reef areas has
reefs contribute to tourism revenues, a increased, so has the frequency of

OBJECTIVE 1: Develop informal guidance, protocols, and OBJECTIVE 4: Develop standard vessel grounding response,
technical assistance programs to reduce the risks of damage enforcement, and injury assessment guidance and improve
to coral reefs resulting from federal agency activities, the ability to remove grounded and abandoned vessels and
restore damaged habitat.
OBJECTIVE 2: Strengthen federal and state permitting and
management programs for coastal development activities OBJECTIVE 5: Strengthen existing and develop new
affecting coral reef habitats to minimize or prevent adverse resource management programs and prtptrt~cf arqa to
impacts on coral reef ecosystems, address the broad range of coastal i.-i 1 I ,-
OBJECTIVE 3: Initiate actions at the national and internal OBJECTIVE 6: Develop mitigation I I, Ii. .... ., .. r I .
tional levels to prevent vessel groundings. development projects deemed ess. ~.I I '. .. ,
and territory agencies. *
-. -.^- -'-

- N ;

el g()iitundlings in these areas. Vessels striking
sh1fllw coral reef res(orces cause localized damage
toliiea'bitat by ucrlusing arid fracturing the coral
stru.tires and displacing resident fishes. In addi
tiom, propeller scarring, anchoring, and other physi
cal contacts cause damage to associated seagrass
beds. Some affected habitats cannot recover without
direct arid ofen expensive human intervention,
'including direct removal of debris or vessels, emer
agency triage of injured animals, and long-term
restoration of habitats and benthic communities.

Many of these growing pressures have resulted from
rapid growth in coastal populations and tourism
throughout the past few decades. One striking
example of this pressure is the increasing amount of
recreational boats registered in South Florida (see

figure 3). Resources for the programs responsible for
implementing and enforcing existing conservation
authorities have not kept pace with growth, imped
ing conservation efforts. Adequate planning and the
consistent and proactive application of existing fed
eral and state authorities and programs can reduce
the adverse impacts of coastal development, shore
line modification, and vessel groundings.

Summary of Implementation

The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), the U.S. Department
of the Interior (DOI), the U.S. Department of
Defense (DoD), and NOAA have been working
with state and territory governments to improve
navigation through coral reef resources, examine


Figure 3. Increasing Trend in Recreational Vessel Registration in
South Florida

The graph shows the increasing number of registered recreational vessels in South Florida (Broward, Collier,
Miami-Dade, Monroe, and Palm Beach counties) compared to registered commercial fishing vessels. As of
2002, more than 191,000 recreational vessels were registered in these counties. Greater boat traffic reflects
increased recreational fishing and increases the likelihood of groundings and other impacts on reefs.
180,000 -
- 140,000
'0 100,000
W 60,000
40,000 -
40,000 Commercial
0 WE IF i-WWO IF iIE 1 1
1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005
Data Source: Ault et al. 2002.

the effectiveness of mitigation efforts, addre:
coastal overuse and misuse, promote best pr
and protect important coastal areas. State an
tory governments have taken legal steps to r,
the impacts to coral reef resources from ovei
and misuse. For example, Puerto Rico passe'
Administrative Order (AO) 2003-25, which
lates recreational use in five natural reserves
AO establishes a carrying capacity for each ,
prohibits the anchoring of vessels in seagras
and the tying of vessels to mangrove trees, a
ulates other coastal activities. State and terri
partners are also zoning coral reef areas to r(
user conflicts and abuse and increasing outr
and education.

Ship groundings and anchor damage continue
affect coral reef health throughout U.S. watei
USCRTF agencies have concentrated on imp:
planning for and response to ship grounding
primary strategy has been to avoid vessel im]
by improving navigational aids and providing
manent moorings that obviate the need to an
coral reefs. Federal, state, and territory agency
collaborating to develop rapid-response mea:
when groundings occur to remove vessels be
irreparable harm is caused. Finally, NOAA al
USCG have developed an inventory of existil
grounded vessels to identify those that are ay
ate for removal and other actions.

In addition to the damage caused by ship grc
ings, coral reef ecosystems are threatened by
recreational overuse and misuse associated v
increased tourism. The USCRTF has identified
threat as one of six priority areas for action,
each state and territory, with assistance frorr
al agencies and nongovernmental partners, f
developed local action strategies to address
national impacts. Coastal zone management p
__niotn_ ink tin lno cto 7n-n \ Aono nomnt

development projects that avoid damaging s(
ces, habitats.
ce Many coastal activities that may impact coral
ecosystems, including construction and dred;
require U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit
S ronmental impact statements, and mitigation
is Federal agencies have begun analyzing past r
tion activities to improve the permitting proc
the success of mitigation efforts. Analysis cor
ed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USI
S has prompted the creation of interagency woi
e groups in the Pacific and Atlantic/Caribbean
S tasked with developing additional measures.

Highlights of Task Force

Member Activities

OBJECTIVES 1 & 2: Develop informal guic
r on protocols, and technical assistance programs
reduce the risks of damage to coral reefs res
from federal agency activities. Strengthen fe
and state permitting and management progi
for coastal development activities affecting (
reef habitats to minimize or prevent adverse
impacts on coral reef ecosystems.

Coral Damage and Enforcement S1

DoD sponsored a study to assess how enforce
tection around military assets at Vieques Islai
nis Culebra Island, Puerto Rico, affects nearshore
marine ecosystems. Preliminary results show
ler in former restricted military areas contain as
if not more, coral cover, coral diversity, incre
e fish abundance, and increased biomass as no
s stricted sites. This finding indicates the imut

Grounded vessel off American Samoa. The U.S. Coral Reef Task Force memb
and prioritize removal of such vessels.

DoD Educates Personnel on Coral Reef

DoD produced a brochure on coral reef protection
for the military. The Coral Reef Conservation Guide
provides an overview of DoD activities having the
potential to adversely affect coral reef ecosystems
and outlines DoD requirements and U.S. national
laws and policies regarding coral reef protection.
DoD continues to promote and distribute this
brochure and other outreach material on coral reef

Corps of Engineers Enhances
Protection of Corals Through Its
Regulatory Program

The Corps of Engineers has enhanced the protect
tion of coral reefs through decisions under its regu
latory program by stringently administering the
avoidance, minimization, and compensatory mitiga
tion provisions of its regulations in southeast
Florida. Through its evaluation of alternatives for

bringing natural gas pipelines
into southeast Florida from the
Bahamas, the pipeline compa
nies have changed from hori
zontal directional drilling (HDD)
under the three reef tracts off
the coast to using tunnel tech
nology that results in essentially
eliminating all impacts to the
Sh reef tracts in less than 120 feet
of water. The HDD approach
would have directly impacted
acres of coral and involved very
high risk for additional union
tended impacts during construct
tion. Those impacts and poten
tial impacts are eliminated. On
two beach projects, the Corps
ers work to locate review resulted in reducing
impacts to hard bottom
resources by more than half in each case, avoiding
the most ecologically valuable resources, including
coral resources. The permit decisions also require a
much higher degree of care when removing the
sand from offshore borrow areas by requiring
specific operational constraints on the dredges.
All unavoidable impacts will be fully offset by

OBJECTIVES 3 & 4: Initiate actions at the
national and international levels to prevent vessel
groundings. Develop standard vessel grounding
response, enforcement, and injury assessment
guidance and improve the ability to remove
grounded and abandoned vessels and restore
damaged habitat.

Florida Keys National Marine
Sanctuary Protected From Ship
Damage by International Designation

On March 8, 2002, the International Maritime
Organization (IMO) provided final approval for the


Reducing the Impacts of Coastal Uses

designation of the marine area around the Florida
Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS) as a
Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA) (the third
such area designated in the world), in part
through the efforts of USCG, NOAA, and the
U.S. Department of State. FKNMS is highly valu
able ecologically and economically. Since the
area is vulnerable to damage from ships colliding
and grounding on the reef, as well as damage
from anchors and the dragging and swinging of
anchor cables, IMO has designated four areas to
be avoided by ships and three mandatory no
anchoring areas. By being designated as a PSSA,
the marine area around the Florida Keys is one
of the most protected areas in the world.

Hurricane Anchor System Protects
Mangroves and Allows Boats To Take

The National Park Service (NPS) and the Friends of
the Virgin Islands National Park, with assistance
from NOAA, developed an anchoring system for
Hurricane Hole, St. John, which is part of the new
Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument.
Hurricane Hole is one of the most significant, intact
nursery areas in the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI).
NPS prohibits anchoring throughout the monu
ment; however, Hurricane Hole has traditionally
been an anchoring area during severe storm events.
To protect important nursery and mangrove habitats
and still allow the area to be used during emergen
cies, the park decided to install a hurricane anchor
system. The park held multiple stakeholder meet
ings and engaged a nautical engineering firm to
design an anchor system to protect vessels and the
fragile shoreline environment. Research and public
meetings led to a chain-system anchor design with
a strong holding capacity. The permanent anchor
system will be installed on the sea floor, preserving
the area's natural beauty, and can be accessed only
before a major storm.

Vessel Cited for Anchoring in the
Tortugas Reserve

Through a joint effort of USCG and NOAA, a com-
mercial vessel owner was cited in October 2002 for
anchoring in the Tortugas North Ecological Reserve.
For the first time, quick action identified the
responsible party and resulted in the establishment
of a restoration project. The citation put other ves
sel owners on notice that such activity will not be
tolerated. The restoration project that followed reat
tached more than 1,100 coral colonies and frag
ments to the affected coral reef site.

Workshops Promote Interagency
Response to Abandoned Vessels

NOAA, USCG, the U.S. Department of Justice, the
Pacific Basin Development Council, and state and
territory partners conducted two workshops on the
issues associated with vessel groundings and aban
doned vessels in the U.S. Flag Pacific Islands. The
workshops were held in 2002 in Honolulu, Hawai'i,
and in Tumon, Guam. More than 90 participants
representing 4 U.S. Flag Island jurisdictions, the
Federated States of Micronesia, and 5 federal agen
cies took part in the workshops. The workshops
focused on the following four topics associated
with vessel groundings:

* Magnitude of the issue;

* Legal frameworks;

* Response and enforcement; and

* Damage assessment and restoration.

Participants discussed how to further address and
monitor the magnitude of the issues in each juris
diction, including prevention measures, legal and
technical assistance, and funding mechanisms. As
a resu l" I, ", | i ii r i 'iiii ii i1 l! ,
. . .. , 1. .

_..' ..., ..j .'

Implementation of the Na
".*' ,: l~d ..w

Sv 7

. ii ..| i N ii i n I 1.I niana Islands
iC.. .. .I i . iiieeting that
SI i i- li. i ..i i i .. I ... ties, lim ita-
I!!L i' "I II i!! !i 1 I! .I i regarding
I. i i. i -I .. -, .1.1 ... .i1 hazardous
ill ..,.| --. II ... i i I .1 ef restoration.

Inventory of Abandoned Vessels
Assesses Risk and Prioritizes Removal

During 2002 and 2003, NOAA's Abandoned Vessels
Project, with the help of the USCG and local part
ners, conducted field surveys of 176 abandoned
vessels in Guam, the CNMI, the USVI, and Puerto
Rico. The surveys validate an online inventory
database of existing abandoned vessels and assess
the environmental, public safety, and navigational
risks of each vessel. The inventory helps resource
managers understand the threats posed by aban
doned vessels, prioritize their removal, and update
navigational charts. This effort has led to the
removal of several vessels and improvements
in capacity to prevent and respond to vessel

Navy Develops Operations Best
Management Practices

The U.S. Navy continued development of best man
agement practices for its installations and vessels
operating in proximity to coral reefs and training
protocols for personnel to implement such means
ures. This project will also develop checklists of
recommended best management practices for appli
cation during facility construction or vessel opera
tion to avoid potential degradation of coral reefs.

Impromptu Mapping in Saipan Harbor
Reveals Danger to Navigation

During a monitoring cruise to Saipan, NOAA scien
tists were asked by the CNMI Port Authority to map
the Saipan inner harbor area because of concerns
about possible shoal soundings in or near the main
shipping channel. After consulting with hydrogra
phers, a reconnaissance survey was run and NOAA

presented a preliminary report to the harbormaster.
The data were immediately sent for more detailed
and rigorous analysis. From these data, NOAA
issued a Danger to Navigation Report. As a result,
the Saipan harbor is now restricted to vessels with
less than 30 feet of draft until improvements to the
channel can be made. Although the harbor survey
was done primarily to define bathymetry and not
specifically to assess benthic habitats, the data have
aided in the protection of coral reefs around the
Saipan harbor by averting potential damage caused
by vessels grounding on shoals in the channel.

OBJECTIVE 5: Strengthen existing and develop
new resource management programs and protect-
ed areas to address the broad range of coastal

Easements Restore Coastal Wetlands
and Reduce Runoff

In 2002, USFWS Partners for Fish and Wildlife
Program provided technical assistance to the U.S.
Department of Agriculture Natural Resources
Conservation Service Wetland Reserve Program
(WRP) to purchase 15,396 acres of conservation
easements in coastal Martin County, Florida. In
2003, 12,936 acres of easements were purchased
and restored to functioning wetlands to reduce
land-based runoff in coastal lagoons containing
dense seagrasses and the sabellariid reef ecosystem.

This Allapattah Ranch WRP project will improve
and increase habitat coverage for a number of
aquatic and terrestrial organisms by reducing sedi
mentation in nearshore waters, benefiting hawks
bill, green, loggerhead, and leatherback sea turtles.
A large number of state-listed and federal-listed
species, including numerous migratory and wading
birds, will also benefit. Since 1998, approximately
135,000 acres in Florida were enrolled in this coop
erative agency program that highlights conservation
partnerships with private landowners while allow
ing some sustainable uses of private lands.


Reducing the Impacts of Coastal Uses

Multiagency Partnership
Results in Maui Land

USFWS provided technical assis
tance to the Maui Coastal Land
Trust, Ducks Unlimited, and the
Hawai'i Division of Forestry and
Wildlife in 2002 to help obtain
$2 million in federal assistance
to purchase and protect a
unique, 277-acre coastal ecosys
tem encompassing a wetland,
riparian habitats, 1.2 miles of
marine shoreline (including
8,000 feet fronting one of the
most extensive coral reef systems
on Maui), and one of the last
intact sand dune complexes in
the state. The funds, provided to Guam's replanting efforts to combat erosion are conducted by the Guam Department of

the State of Hawai'i through the Agriculture.
USFWS National Coastal Wetland Grant Program
and Section 6 Recovery Land Acquisition Grant
Program, were awarded to the Maui Coastal Land
Trust to purchase, hold, and manage the property
in perpetuity. In 2003, the USFWS Private
Stewardship Grant Program awarded $107,080
to the Maui Coastal Land Trust to initiate habitat
restoration activities that will benefit not only
the nearby coral reef system, but migratory bird
species, sea turtle nests, rare coastal plants, and
important archeological resources in the surround
ing dunes as well.

DoD Develops Tools To Avoid Sensitive
Marine Resources

DoD is collating environmental data in geographic
information systems (GISs) to help resource man
agers more readily identify and avoid sensitive
marine ecosystems. Coral reef assessment infor
mation is an integral part of the GIS tools. Using
this marine resource assessment data and other

available resources, the Environmental Information
Management System (EIMS) has been assembled
for marine areas in which the U.S. Navy routinely
operates. EIMS will raise the environmental aware
ness of facility planners and ship operators and
help ensure that training exercises can be better
planned and timed to avoid sensitive marine

Erosion Prevention on Offshore Islets
in Hawai'i

USFWS funded the protection of fragile coral reefs
from burial by rain-induced mudslides from the
slopes of highly eroded islets near Oahu. Alien
plants were removed and replaced with native
species to stabilize the soils. This project served as
a foundation to reach out to the local communities
by creating educational opportunities for schools
and fostering increased ciunicatioi \ stch
stakeholder grno en kaya e\ n
hikers. In add(]( N 0I

Implementation of th

a -
S -

coral reefs, this project benefited the habitat of bur
rowing seabirds. Ongoing work on other Hawai'i
islets will benefit multiple species of nesting birds
and endangered coastal plants and arthropods. The
State of Hawai'i, The Nature Conservancy, Bishop
Museum, University of Hawai'i, and NPS continue
their partnership with USFWS and work together to
monitor and restore these islets.

OBJECTIVE 6: Develop mitigation guidelines for
coastal development projects deemed essential by
federal, state, and territory agencies.

Results From Mitigation Reports
Trigger Federal Action

In 2002, USFWS, with additional funding from
the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA),
conducted an evaluation of compensatory mitiga
tion (i.e., the restoration, creation, or preservation
of coral reef resources as compensation for
unavoidable impacts) for federally funded or per-

mitted coastal construction
projects in the U.S. Pacific
pdfl. The review showed lim
ited implementation of such
policies, which resulted in
poor compensation for habi
tat loss. The reviewers exam
ined past files for document
ing the mitigation process,
assessed the relative effective
-t ness of mitigation activities,
and provided recommend
tions to improve future com-
pensatory activities. Of the
11 projects evaluated, 9
implemented some form of
compensatory mitigation. Of
those nine, only four effect
tively offset losses to the coral reef ecosystem.
Therefore, the mitigation record in the Pacific was
the successful mitigation of 116 acres and the loss
of 62 acres.

Building on the Pacific report described above,
USFWS released a draft report in 2003 of projects
in South Florida and the U.S. Caribbean that had
compensatory mitigation for impacts on coral reef
resources (http://www.fws.gov/southeast/es). The
review was completed in 2004. These Atlantic and
Caribbean projects removed 264 acres of coral reef
habitat with compensatory mitigation expected to
be a total of 118 acres. The record in the Atlantic
was similar to the results in the Pacific with suc
cessful mitigation of 5 acres and the loss of 76

Both studies pointed out large information gaps in
the existing compensatory mitigation process. Both
studies were also based on data over the last several
years, including early years of limited success in
mitigation. Mitigation approaches and mitigation
success has substantially improved in the past 5
years, though further improvement is needed.


Reducing the Impacts of Coastal Uses

Recommendations made to improve mitigation Future Challenges
activities include:
The pressures of rapid growth of coastal popular
* Developing regional Interagency Coral Reef tions and reef related tourism over the past few
Mitigation Strategies; decades have had a variety of adverse impacts on

" Identifying or creating a set of methodologies to coastal coral reef habitats. In many areas, damage
adequately assess project impacts and appropri incurred as a result of coastal development, shore
ate mitigation measures; line modification, and vessel groundings can be
prevented or mitigated through consistent and
" Developing a monitoring and tracking system for proactive application of existing federal and state
compensatory mitigation; authorities and programs. However, lack of
resources, information, and other tools have limited
" Identifying and assessing additional mitigation the ability of many programs to prevent impacts to
approaches and activities; and
valuable coral reef ecosystems.
" Prioritizing compensatory mitigation activities in
There are a variety of challenges to reducing the
plans for large projects. impacts of coastal uses on reef habitats. In many

Implementing the recommendations should help areas, implementation of existing tools or develop
federal agencies replace lost coral reef resources ment of new technologies is needed to help prevent
more efficiently and effectively. damage by vessels to coral reef habitats. Improve
ments in mitigation measures and adherence to
Hawai'i Interagency Mitigation mitigation plans could help protect and restore
Working Group Formed sensitive coral reef resources. In addition, educa
tion and outreach continue to be priority needs to
In 2002, as a result of the Pacific Compensatory help reduce impacts on reefs from a variety of
Mitigation Report, the Hawai'i Interagency Coral coastal activities.
Reef Mitigation Working Group (HIWG) was
formed to improve the performance of natural Address damage by vessels. USCRTF members
resource agencies in providing recommendations have initiated workshops and other management
for compensatory mitigation. The working group efforts to address the impacts of ships on coral reef
includes USFWS, EPA, NOAA, the Army Corps ecosystems; however, increased efforts are required
of Engineers (Regulatory and Civil Works), and to fully address this issue. For example, collabora
Hawaii's Department of Land and Natural tive initiatives among managers and vessel opera
Resources and Department of Health. The group tors, including the establishment of additional safe
is working to address problems outlined in the harbor areas and no anchoring zones, could provide
Pacific Compensatory Mitigation Report and is viable alternatives to anchoring in sensitive reef
meeting on a bimonthly basis to write an habitats. The National Marine Sanctuaries Act (16
Interagency Coral Reef Mitigation Strategy. HIWG U.S.C. 1431 et seq.) prohibits destruction, injury,
sponsored a resource assessment workshop to or loss of sanctuary resources and establishes liabil
establish ecological criteria for assessing coral ity for response costs and natural resource damages
reef resource functions and biological values from for injt -, Ih TI ii 1
which workshop proceedings were released in late served .I.i I l I1 l -. t
2004. ,

Implementation of the Naf tion ..


.j it i 1 .1l- 1, -1, m.,ii "1. ..'''ar tools are
I. IiuI. i i I l I*i ii ii

IInlpro\ e assessment of cunulatiae impacts.
\1* ! i I ii .i i ii 'I i i ii, I! been the in
rl.ili; .. i '. ; "11 "i is. H habitat loss
II,1..- ,I -1 I. i, ,l I, -i ,., i; ,,r through im m e
, 1, ,i ,' l .r .i l! .1-, I, .. !i il :l.uted extensively
, ,,!, .-, 1. 1 i ,,1 1 i I. I' II .I ,. -! I ,ning reefh health .
The ii qI'1"' i. i i of GIS mapping technology may
soon provide an excellent tool for projecting origi
nal habitat compositions and tracking cumulative
impacts to date. This is an extension of the shifting
baselines concept and will raise recognition of the
impact of habitat degradation on overall reef health.
It will also do much for managers by strengthening
the science behind the law in managing coral reefs.

Mitigate habitat impact. The adverse impacts on
reef systems of coastal development, dredging, and

shoreline modification have been significant in
many areas. To address this challenge, managers
need an assessment of more effective options for
mitigating impacts to reef ecosystems and better
integration and accountability of compensatory mit
igation in coral reef systems.

Provide education and outreach. Members of the
USCRTF have made efforts in the previous 2 years
to enhance education and outreach to improve
understanding of the impacts of coastal uses on
coral reefs and how to prevent or reduce these
impacts. However, this issue requires increased
commitment. To be successful in protecting fragile
coral reef ecosystems, additional efforts are needed
to help identify the causes of reef degradation and
how to prevent them.



. Reducing Pollution

GOAL: Significantly reduce the amounts, sources,
and cumulative impacts of pollution on coral reefs
by fully implementing existing federal and state

Rationale for Action

Healthy coral reefs require good water
quality to grow, remain viable, and pro
vide ecosystem benefits. Pollution can
threaten reef ecosystems by harming
sensitive species, altering species' com-
positions, disrupting critical ecological
functions (e.g., photosynthesis), and
impeding the normal settlement and
growth of stony corals and other benth
ic invertebrates. Pollution enters reef
ecosystems in many ways, ranging

from such specific point source dis
charges as sewage pipes and vessels to
more diffuse sources such as runoff
associated with agriculture, coastal
development, road construction, and
golf course irrigation. Land-based
sources of pollution, including sedi
mentation, have been identified as
top threats to coral reefs. In addition,
marine debris has been identified as the
primary anthropogenic impact to the
otherwise relatively pristine North
western Hawaiian Islands (NWHI)

LEaI j 9VA

OBJECTIVE 1: Reduce sedimentation and other land-based
sources of pollution by implementing conservation manage
ment practices in coastal watersheds through public/private
partnerships, incentive-based measures, regulatory measures,
technical and financial assistance, habitat restoration, and
other activities.
OBJECTIVE 2: Improve water quality by reducing nutrient
discharges from wastewater treatment facilities, vessels,
industrial sources, storm water, agricultural sources, and
air deposition.
OBJECTIVE 3: Reduce chemical pollution (e.g., oil, toxins,
hazardous materials) from land-based sources and vessel

OBJECTIVE 4: Reduce the flow of marine debris and
remove existing marine debris from reef ecosystems.
OBJECTIVE 5: Prevent and control the spread of invasive
species (e.g., non-native species) in coral reef eCOsystes
from ballast water and other mechanisms.
OBJECTIVE 6: Develop tools to assess and address
impacts of pollution on coral reefs.
OBJECTIVE 7: Increase awareness and understand ofi,
ecological health and socioeconomic imparts, Ifnd
and marine pollution on reef ecosystems.

S l 1 1 I.. -, i. i,- i! vasive species', which are
.. ii,- ([r. Id ;I I, ..I I i. -logical pollution, are
ii, i -i l4'. -i!l. i!.-. i eef areas throughout
ii .: : .i -.I, ii. i., -, lictions.

\Ili,..t'- 1 ii. -! ..... characteristics, and impacts
I ,, '111.11i ,!l1 I!, i ,l I', am ong U.S. jurisdictions,
liiI, -1 ,! i i, ,11. ,i would be significantly
I, Il... I, i, ii i 1 '!!, im inated by fully imple
meeting existing state and federal regulations and
voluntary programs. The USCRTF identified land
based sources of pollution as a priority area for
action and implementation of local action strategies
(LASs) to address the problem in key watersheds.

Summary of Implementation

USCRTF member agencies address pollution by
developing regulations to limit the types and
amount of waste being discharged and by establish
ing federal/local partnerships to voluntarily imple
ment best management practices within watershed
areas. Increasingly, federal, state, and local agencies
are using a ridge-to-reef approach to assess inputs
from watersheds on reef habitats and evaluate the
impact pollution has on reef ecosystems. In order to
design management solutions, agencies are conduct
ing multidisciplinary scientific research and devel
oping tools to better identify origins of pollutants,
track their movement, and understand their impacts
on the environment.

Reduction of land-based sources of pollution is
greatly affected by policies and regulations at the
local level. Therefore, strategic partnerships among
federal, state, and local agencies are important to
addressing this problem. The U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA), partnering with the states,
implements programs under the Clean Water Act
that regulate point source discharges polluting the
Nation's waters. These programs address point
source discharges from industrial facilities,

municipal wastewater treatment plants, certain agri
cultural operations, and storm water. In addition,
EPA and other USCRTF federal agencies tackle non
point source pollution by partnering with states and
territories and providing funding and technical
assistance through a variety of programs and grant

To address nonpoint source pollution, EPA partners
with states and territories through voluntary pro
grams like the Nonpoint Source Management
Program (Section 319 of the Clean Water Act) to
provide technical and financial assistance and edu
national training, initiate demonstration projects,
and support monitoring efforts. NOAA's Coastal
Zone Management Program funds projects that
address polluted runoff threatening coral reefs and
builds federal/state partnerships that encourage the
restoration and sustainable development of coastal
communities and resources nationwide.

In addition, EPA and NOAA partner with coastal
states to tackle nonpoint source pollution through
the Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control Program
(CNP). CNP differs from EPA's Section 319 volun
tary nonpoint source program in that it establishes a
consistent set of economically achievable manage
ment measures backed by enforceable state policies
for controlling polluted runoff. Measures are
designed to prevent pollution from agriculture,
forestry, urban areas, marinas, and hydromodifica
tions (i.e., channel modification) and to ensure envi
ronmentally sensitive management of wetlands and
riparian areas. In 2002-2003, the U.S. Virgin Islands
(USVI), American Samoa, and the Commonwealth
of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) received full
approval of their CNPs from NOAA and the EPA.
Puerto Rico has already received this designation.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) admin
sisters programs enabling many private landowners
to receive technical and financial resources to apply
conservation practices on their lands. The USDA's
Natural Resources Conservation Service provides

5 An "invasive species" is defined as an alien (non-native species) whose introduction does or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to
human health (Executive Order 13112).


Reducing Pollution

technical assistance to landowners
who want to voluntarily develop indi
vidual farm and ranch plans and
implement conservation measures that
affect millions of acres. These efforts
help reduce soil erosion and nutrient
runoff, thereby enhancing water quali-
ty. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
(USFWS) also has a number of pro- I *
grams providing funds and technical
assistance for projects that address
erosion and coastal wetland loss.
These include the Coastal Program, 5'
Partners for Fish and Wildlife, and the
Coastal Wetlands Grant program.

The USCRTF also addresses other
sources of pollution of major concern.
This includes pollutions from vessels
and marine debris and the introduction and spread
of invasive species. NOAA has led a major intera
agency effort in the NWHI to remove existing accu
mulations of marine debris, mostly derelict fishing
gear from distant water fisheries.

Highlights of Task Force
Member Activities

OBJECTIVE 1: Reduce sedimentation and other
land-based sources of pollution by implementing
conservation management practices in coastal
watersheds through public/private partnerships,
incentive-based measures, regulatory measures,
technical and financial assistance, habitat restora-
tion, and other activities.

Collaborative Assessment of Land-
Based Source Pollution in War-in-the-
Pacific National Park, Guam

In 2002, the National Park Service (NPS) initiated a
unique project with the government of Guam and

the University of Guam to assess the relationships
among wildfires, upland erosion, and coral reef
sedimentation in the War-in-the-Pacific National
Historical Park and at other locations. Monitoring
sites are yielding valuable information that will
contribute to the development of best management
practices to help resource managers address land
based threats to reef resources throughout Guam.

Using Partnerships and the Hawaiian
Ahupua'a Concept To Reduce Land-
Based Pollution

In Hawai'i, state, local, and private stakeholders and
USFWS, USDA, and EPA formed watershed partner
ships to implement landscape-scale conservation
while reducing siltation on adjacent coral reefs. The
ancient Hawaiian concept of the Ahupua'a recog
nizes the connectedness of the environment, from
the mountains to the e
meeting comm
vitality of the an
and slowly rele
than an ecosystem
Controlling hab t
invasive species F

Implementation of the Nationa


Sedimentation during high rainy season damages the southern coral reef
of Guam.

trees and understory species has proven effective in
reducing the amount of sediment reaching adjacent
marine ecosystems. In addition, in cooperation
with the state, NPS, and the local community,
USFWS funded removal of invasive plants and
restoration of native plant species on several highly
eroded islets near Oahu, which helped prevent
reefs from being smothered by mudslides original
ing on these islets.

EPA Targeted Watershed Grants

In 2003, the Hanalei Heritage River Program
received a $700,000 grant from EPA's Targeted
Watershed Grants program to reduce pollution and
assess coral reef health in Hanalei, Kauai. The proj
ect funding will be used to upgrade antiquated
cesspools, control sediment discharges from farms,
reduce erosion in forests, monitor water quality,
and assess changes in the structure and recruitment
of reef ecosystems.

USDA and Local Partners Reforest
Guam Watersheds

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
partnered with the Guam Division of Forestry and

- --c--


*i Soil Resources, landowners, community
members, and local businesses to imple
ment the Guam Urban Forestry Project,
*-sa which reforests watersheds and improves
i water quality in the Tumon Bay Marine
Preserve. The community participated in
all stages of the reforestation efforts,
including installing vegetative barriers,
filter strips, and tree plantings in the vil
lages of Tumon and Harmon.

OBJECTIVE 2: Improve water quality by
reducing nutrient discharges from waste-
water treatment facilities, vessels, indus-
trial sources, storm water, agricultural
sources, and air deposition.

No-Discharge Zone in the Florida Keys
National Marine Sanctuary

In 2002, EPA, acting on a recommendation by the
Governor of Florida, the Monroe County Board of
County Commissioners, and the Water Quality
Protection Program Steering Committee, designated
all state waters within the boundary of the Florida
Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS) as a no
discharge zone for vessel sewage.

EPA Management Guidelines for

The EPA released new guidelines in 2003 to help
local governments strengthen their management of
septic systems and other small, privately owned,
decentralized wastewater treatment systems. These
new guidelines are complemented by the Voluntary
(National) Guidelines for Management of Onsite
and Clustered Wastewater Treatment Systems. The
guidelines seek to improve the performance of
decentralized wastewater treatment systems. This
objective is especially important in coastal areas
with severely degraded or nonexistent wastewater
treatment facilities.

Reducing Pollution

Mobile Irrigation Labs in South Florida

To maximize the efficiency of irrigation water and
nutrient usage in southern Florida, the USDA
Natural Resources Conservation Service, in partner
ship with the South Florida Water Management
District, Florida Department of Agriculture, and
local soil and water conservation districts, is using
mobile irrigation labs (MILs). These systems help
reduce fertilizer and sediment losses that may affect
coral reefs. In fiscal year 2002, in southern Florida
alone, MILs resulted in an estimated savings of
3,478 million gallons of water.

OBJECTIVE 3: Reduce chemical pollution (e.g.,
oil, toxins, hazardous materials) from land-based
sources and vessel discharges.

Contaminated Sediment/Debris
Removed in South Florida

USDA's South Florida Resource Conservation and
Development Area entered into a cooperative agree
ment with the Federal Emergency Management
Agency (FEMA), Florida Department of Community
Affairs, and Miami-Dade County to remove contam-
inated sediment and other debris from a 2.25-mile
section of the secondary canal system. Removing
the sediment eliminated its potential deposition
and adverse impacts on associated coral reef

Uniform National Discharge Standards
for Armed Forces Vessels

EPA and the U.S. Navy are working together to
develop Uniform National Discharge standards to
regulate discharges, other than sewage, which are
incidental to the normal operation of Armed Forces
vessels. Phase I of the rulemaking characterized the
nature of the discharges (e.g., bilge water) and

determined which discharges will be subject to
pollution-control measures. The Phase I rule iden
tified 25 types of vessel discharges that would
require control by a marine pollution control device
(MPCD), and identified 14 vessel discharges that
would not require pollution controls because of
their low potential for causing adverse environment
tal impacts. Currently, the agencies are working on
Phase II of the rule, which will establish 25 per
formance standards for MPCDs. Under this phase,
EPA and the U.S. Navy are identifying and evaluate
ing potential MPCDs for the 25 types of discharges
in order to establish performance standards based
on the environmental performance of feasible
MPCDs. The agencies are promulgating discharge
standards in "batches" and completed the Batch
One technical analysis in August 2003. For more
information, visit http://www.epa.gov/

Ship Grounding Removal

The removal of a number of grounded and aban
doned vessels threatening coral reef resources in
Guam, Hawai'i, American Samoa, Puerto Rico, and
southern Florida has prevented further impacts on
coral reefs resulting from loose debris or cyanobac
teria (Lyngya spp.) blooms, which have been linked
to an increased presence of iron, phosphate, and

U.S.S. Mississinewa Oil Removal

In 2002, the U.S. Navy offloaded nearly 2
million gallons of heavy fuel oil from the U.S.S
Mississinewa, a Navy oiler that sunk during
WWII while anchored at Ulithi Atoll, Yap, in the
Federated States of Micronesia. The Navy sent a
salvage team to recover the fuel from the sunken
vessel, eliminating the threat of oil releases that
could have adversel affIcte(
and the health and

Implementation of the Nation

V '

ii ii

Governor Felix P. Camacho during a Guam "Island Pride" coastal
clean-up effort.

OBJECTIVE 4: Reduce the flow of marine debris
and remove existing marine debris from reef

Derelict Fishing Gear, Marine Debris
Removal Efforts in Hawai'i

The NWHI have one of the most pristine coral reef
ecosystems in U.S. waters. Derelict fishing gear
from distant water fisheries is the greatest anthro
pogenic impact to the NWHI. NOAA, the State of
Hawai'i, the U.S. Department of the Interior, the
U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), and many local partners
continue to coordinate the removal of derelict fish
ing gear from the NWHI. They removed approxi
mately 107 tons in 2002, 122 tons in 2003. Overall,
they have removed a total of approximately 336

tons since 1996. It is estimated that 25-40 tons
per year will continue to impact the NWHI.

Since derelict fishing gear continues to accumulate
in the NWHI, a number of activities have been
instituted to assess ways to reduce derelict fishing
gear and its impacts to this coral reef ecosystem.
These activities include:

* NOAA studies to detect and remove derelict
fishing gear from the open ocean;

* An Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation work
shop, in coordination with the U.S. Department
of State, on the problems of derelict fishing
gear that highlighted constructive information
exchange, knowledge building, technical assis
tance, and capacity building; and

* Initiation of an interagency international work
ing group to develop a strategy to address
derelict fishing gear.

OBJECTIVE 5: Prevent and control the spread of
invasive species (e.g., non-native species) in coral
reef ecosystems from ballast water and other

Mandatory Ballast Water Management
Program Established

USCG established a national mandatory ballast
water management program requiring vessels enter
ing the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone intending
to call at a U.S. port or place to manage their
ballast water through such practices as mid-ocean
exchange, retention of water onboard, and USCG
approved treatment methods. A follow-up regular
tion specifying the discharge standard to be met by
ballast water treatment systems for use as an alter
native to ballast water management practices is
planned for late 2005. As part of this program,
USCG is developing both an improved method


Reducing Pollution

for verifying that ballast water was exchanged in
mid-ocean and, in conjunction with the EPA, a
process for testing and verifying the performance
characteristics of technologies used to treat ballast
water. The Armed Services Ballast Water Manage
ment Program also requires ballast water manage
ment practices for its vessels meeting the U.S.
Department of Defense's policies and programs
for ballast water exchange.

Volunteer Efforts of Invasive Species

In Hawai'i, volunteers removed an estimated 68
tons of invasive algae from Waikiki and Kaneohe
Bay reefs. Though not significantly effective at
relieving the threat of aquatic invasive species (AIS)
in Hawai'i, events like this help increase awareness
of the impacts of AIS in Hawai'i.

Hawai'i AIS Management Plan

The Federal Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force
approved the State of Hawai'i Aquatic Invasive
Species Management Plan in September 2003. The
plan enhances the coordination of current manage
ment efforts, identifies remaining management
gaps, and recommends additional actions needed to
adequately address AIS. Such actions include mini
mizing the harmful ecological, economic, and
human-health impacts of AIS through the prevent
tion and management of their introduction, expan
sion, and dispersal into, within, and from Hawai'i.

OBJECTIVE 6: Develop tools to assess and
address the impacts of pollution on coral reefs.

Coral Condition Indicators

EPA's Office of Research and Development, in col
elaboration with the Florida Keys National Marine
Sanctuary and Dry Tortugas National Park, is

assessing coral condition within different geography
ic zones of South Florida. Coral condition indica
tors include coral composition and abundance,
prevalence of bleaching and disease, total coral
surface area, percent living coral, and living coral
surface area. The approach allows composition
independent comparisons across reefs and geo
graphic zones, information that will be used to
investigate potential anthropogenic or natural
stresses in areas of decline. Because measurements
are made on each colony in the transect, the indi
cators can be analyzed at the population level.
Populations in decline will be examined in the
laboratory for sensitivity to suspected stressors.

Temporal Watershed Dynamics of the
USVI and Puerto Rico Characterized
With Geographic Information System

In 2002, NOAA began a project to characterize
activities and changes in watersheds and to trace
their potential impacts on shallow-water coral
ecosystems in the USVI and Puerto Rico. The pro
gram will help managers understand the impacts of
land use in coastal watersheds over time and iden
tify and repair key watersheds that may most affect
adjacent marine ecosystems. Other thematic data
can be easily incorporated into the geographic
information system to enhance the scope of the

National Coastal Condition Report

During 2003, EPA and its partner agencies con
ducted policy and technical reviews of a draft of
the second National Coastal Condition Report
(NCCR II); the final report has been released
index.html). NCCR II provides comprehensive,
comparable, and nationally consist ratin of
several key ecological
ity, coastal habitati
community conditi tiss cti
nants, many of which maii lttothe

Implementation of the Nation

S. ., 1 ,' -.-,, !I inlike the first NCCR issued
I. it l '-' ., up I rsion includes coastal con
l ii, h i i,,i i l i.i, I., I'Puerto Rico. During 2003,
i I!.,I i I' '!'! !i 1, collected and analyzed
I I I. I i II i _'l I'j I .: which will be expanded to
111, l.I, _!11 Ii I II I ,, l,,r Hawai'i. Trends analysis
S I II I N i-.: I and future assessments
Ill 11 i. I h- I!., '!!. I I irm ine the effectiveness of
S, i -i .! III i -I ., 1 i' 1 l section program s.

OBJECTIVE 7: Increase awareness and under-
standing of the ecological health and socioeco-
nomic impacts of land-based and marine pollution
on reef ecosystems.

For the highlights under this objective, please see
chapter 4: Understanding Social and Economic
Factors and chapter 10: Improving Outreach and

Future Challenges

Implementing voluntary and regulatory programs to
address point and nonpoint pollution sources has
helped improve water quality flowing into some
coral reef areas; however, more work needs to be
accomplished to reduce the sediment, nutrients,
and other contaminants reaching coral reef ecosys
teams. To continue to address land based sources of
pollution, efforts need to address such activities as
the following:

Resolve water quality issues. The U.S. state and
territory islands have identified the need to update,
repair, or expand current water treatment systems
to accommodate increasing populations and avoid
repeated incidents of sewage spills that can
adversely impact coral reef and human health.

Support LASs. Federal agencies must continue to
emphasize coral reef watersheds within their
pollution-reduction programs and to implement
LASs for land-based sources of pollution. At the
local level, continued work is needed between
states and territories and the local stakeholders to
implement the actions contained in the LASs and
adapt individual strategies to meet changing needs
and objectives.

Restore watersheds. Federal agencies need to con
tinue to implement land-based restoration programs
to reduce nonpoint source pollution affecting coral
reef ecosystems. One of the most critical improve
ments needed involves infrastructure related to
sewage treatment and waste disposal.

Inventory invasive species and identify pathways
for introductions. The introduction of non-native
species to new areas has a devastating impact on
native biota. In Hawai'i, invasive species are of par
ticular concern to management agencies in areas
where non-native algae have out-competed native
corals and changed the structure of localized reef
resources. To enhance knowledge about invasive
species and their impact on coral reef ecosystems,
inventories are needed of non-native species found
in the Pacific Islands. Additionally, there is a need
to identify pathways for invasive species introduce
tions (e.g., hull fouling) in coral reef ecosystems in
order to assist in prevention efforts.

Develop a program to monitor land-based pollu-
tion. Further work is needed to identify and meas
ure the effectiveness of management activities to
reduce the impacts of land-based pollution on the
health of coral reef ecosystems. Specifically, effec
tive and consistent monitoring programs are needed
to establish baselines of coral reef health and to
determine pollution status and trends.



Restoring Damaged


GOAL: Increase the capability of federal and
nonfederal managers to efficiently and effectively
restore injured or degraded coral reefs.

Rationale for Action

A well-developed coral reef can repre
sent thousands of years of slow, incre
mental growth by resident stony
corals. Consequently, many corals liv
ing today are centuries old. Despite
the longevity and apparent natural
resilience of corals and the reefs they
construct, both are extremely vulnera
ble to destruction by human activities,
either gradually through degraded

habitat quality, or suddenly through
catastrophic damage from vessel
groundings, toxic spills, or habitat
destruction. The natural recovery of
coral and fish populations can be slow
in areas of degraded habitat and in
the presence of other stressors, such
as pollutants, climate change, high
abundances of pest species, exotic
species, or species that compete or
inhibit the recruitment and growth
of native fishes and corals and other


OBJECTIVE 1: Review and evaluate existing reef restoration
projects to quantify the benefits gained by the restoration
effort and expenditure of the restoration compared to sce
narios in which no restoration efforts were undertaken and
make recommendations for improvements.
OBJECTIVE 2: Develop and test innovative methods and
techniques to expedite reef restoration for all major cate
gories of coral reef injury using a hypothesis-driven approach
that involves rigorous, quantitative evaluation.
OBJECTIVE 3: Develop regional restoration plans that iden
tify significant restoration alternatives and weigh the costs
and benefits of natural recovery compared with restoration

OBJECTIVE 4: Promote cost-effective pilot restoration of
selected degraded U.S. I I .. I ,, i i1 1 i I i ,n I,
ecological, economic, a,, I i i,
OBJECTIVE 5: Rehabilil i. I. I i, i. i I .1 II . iI
the deployment of artif I I1 ... .... I I ~ I
transplant met
OBJECTIVE 6: Transfer 1i ... i, i, i i .. .
and lessons learned to i .,, 1 I 1 11. 1 .11 ii

A. "*. ,
.. "

Diadema (long-spined black urchin) an important herbivore controls
macroalgae in coral reef ecosystems.

benthic invertebrates. Natural recovery may never
occur when the underlying habitat structure is
destroyed or when the prevailing environmental
conditions have been chronically degraded over

The National Action Plan To Conserve Coral Reefs
(USCRTF 2000) recognizes that preventing the loss
of coral reef habitat through proactive conservation
measures is preferable to restoring coral reefs after
they have already been damaged. However, when
reefs have been damaged by human use or misuse,
removing or mitigating the anthropogenic stressors
responsible for their decline may enhance natural
recovery. In specific situations, the USCRTF has
facilitated recovery through active restoration
efforts, which have shown some success. Most of
these efforts have been limited to addressing
physical damage to reefs at small spatial scales
caused by vessel groundings. This typically
involves repairing the reef structure to prevent fur
their degradation or erosion with reattachment of
benthic organisms being undertaken secondarily to
speed up restoration of high-relief habitat.

Restoration efforts are also exploring the possibility
of small-scale targeted efforts to enhance recovery

from hurricanes, experimental-scale removal of pest
and exotic species, and enhancing recruitment of
habitat-forming organisms. Since the practice of
coral reef restoration is in its infancy, the USCRTF
seeks to strengthen restoration science through the
development, testing, and assessment of methods
that repair damage caused by human impacts and
assist in the natural recovery of coral reef ecosystem
structure and function.

Summary of Implementation

As an important adjunct to reducing key threats to
coral reef ecosystems, active restoration of coral
reefs may help prevent further degradation and
advance the natural recovery process in injured or
damaged habitats. Through a better understanding of
the extent and effects of human and natural distur
bances to reefs and their potential to recover natural
ly, scientists are beginning to apply more practical
restoration approaches including novel ecological
restoration strategies under conditions where the
natural system is out of balance. Critical aspects of
the restoration process include building knowledge
about possible restoration alternatives, developing
effective restoration tools and approaches, and find
ing ways to gauge the success of restoration activi
ties. The goal is to apply lessons learned toward
simple and cost-effective techniques for enhancing
restoration functions.

Most previous restoration projects in the United
States were a response to ship groundings and
efforts to mitigate coral losses due to harbor dredg
ing and other discrete shoreline modification proj
ects. Restoration efforts associated with vessel
grounding involve the structural repair of damaged
reef frameworks to avoid continued loss of habitat
associated with erosion. They also may involve the
transplantation of corals and other organisms to
speed up ecological recovery. In 2002-2003,


Restoring Damaged Reefs

USCRTF members developed guidelines to assess
resource injuries, developed and implemented
novel restoration projects, and evaluated and moni
tored existing restoration and mitigation projects in
the Pacific and Atlantic. Since coral reef ecosystems
are complex and the processes affecting recovery
potential are varied (e.g., water quality, local distur
bance, habitat structure), USCRTF members are
undertaking a multifaceted, research based
approach to developing successful restoration
tools and methodologies.

Highlights of Task Force
Member Activities

OBJECTIVE 1: Review and evaluate existing reef
restoration projects to quantify the benefits gained
by the restoration effort and expenditure of the
restoration compared to scenarios in which no
restoration efforts were undertaken and make rec-
ommendations for improvements.

Assessment of Transplanted Corals as
Part of a Mitigation Project

NOAA and the University of Hawai'i completed 6
years of monitoring a harbor mitigation project in
Kane'ohe Bay. In the course of the project, all of the
scleractinian corals from a small yacht harbor (an
area of 38 square meters) were transplanted to a
nearby reef that was dredged in 1939 for a seaplane
runway. The reef had not recovered due to the per
sistence of a silt sand substrate caused by the dredg
ing that inhibited coral recruitment. Researchers
found an initial decline in transplanted coral, fol
lowed by an average increase in coral cover of 40
percent over 6 years. Through this effort, colonies
that would have died in the yacht harbor provided
a low impact source of coral to rehabilitate a

degraded reef, which provided habitat for 439 reef
fish, with major benefits associated with increasing
topographic complexity.

Assessment of Restoration Efforts at
Ship Grounding Sites in Florida

The majority of coral reef restoration efforts by
NOAA scientists have occurred in the Florida Keys
over the past 15 years. A scientifically rigorous
monitoring program was initiated at 10 restoration
sites damaged by vessels aground or anchored on
coral reefs in the Florida Keys National Marine
Sanctuary (FKNMS). This restoration monitoring
program was designed to evaluate the effects of
restoration actions on an injured coral reef commu
nity by tracking the condition of key biological vari
ables. Important indicators of reef habitat quality,
coral cover, coral density, and coral colony size
were compared among the restored sites and undis
turbed reference sites. Preliminary results from the
baseline monitoring conducted in 2004 showed
coral recruitment and coral growth at most of the
restoration sites. Other important reef community
components such as octocorals, sponges, reef fish,
and invertebrates were also observed among the
restored reefs.

OBJECTIVE 2: Develop and test innovative meth-
ods and techniques to expedite reef restoration for
all major categories of coral reef injury using a
hypothesis-driven approach that involves rigorous,
quantitative evaluation.

Ecological Approaches to Coral

loN 1. I I -, ,1 1''!'!"' ,,. i," ,, 1 .i..- ,I I,' i,
T o . !. III.. i . 1.. l .

fu ll. IJ, IIl .[.. d '. 1,,1-

Implementation of the National


ion ofc i peing algae, and
t J4i usi redairs. To evaluate the
g targeted predators to mitigate
clkho iat (. palmata) popular
o tied a pilot experiment
)e r( n l molva of coral eating
c in iopl ibrevinat a from elkhorn
Re g the in corallivorous snails
Sp re live tissue than treat
t t th g ails in place, suggesting pred
Si yeni i ai ewn effective conservation
Tov Ith ugni s ii where the natural system

l reintl 1Id action of wild caught and laboratory
cultured herbivorous long spined black sea urchins
(Diadema antillarum) to a wide variety of habitats
in FKNMS is being tested by NOAA scientists and
partners to control macroalgae that has proliferated
since urchin die off in 1983 1984. The primary fac
tor limiting sea urchin reintroduction and recovery
appears to be predation pressure by fish and large
crabs with the laboratory cultured urchins being
more vulnerable. However, surviving urchins are
contributing to the successful removal of algae
through grazing pressure. Other research is evaluate
ing the differences between structural restoration
approaches in FKNMS and the ability to enhance
recovery through the natural recruitment of corals,
survival and growth of seeded coral larvae, and sur
vival of transplanted fragments. These studies pro
vide insight into factors controlling settlement and
post settlement survival, benefits and drawbacks of
different structural restoration approaches, and
optimal strategies for fragmenting and transplanting

Coral Nursery Expanded at Biscayne
National Park

In 2002, Biscayne National Park near Miami greatly
expanded its coral nursery for future restoration

projects. Multiple impacts from vessel groundings,
storms, coral diseases, and other stressors are
requiring scientists and resource managers to devel
op innovative strategies to restore coral reefs. The
coral nursery is a pioneering effort to rebuild dam
aged coral reefs by using new coral recruits grown
in the nursery. Park scientists and volunteers popu
late the nursery by rescuing coral fragments from
grounding sites that would die if not properly tend
ed. They are first taken to the National Marine
Fisheries Service Southeast Fisheries Center facility
at Virginia Key to be stabilized and later transferred
to nursery sites in the Park. The University of North
Carolina, students from the University of Miami,
and volunteers assist in research and nursery

OBJECTIVE 3: Develop regional restoration plans
that identify significant restoration alternatives
and weigh the costs and benefits of natural recov-
ery compared with restoration alternatives.

Restoration and Assessment of Coral

Recreational and commercial vessel groundings are
a major cause of coral and seagrass habitat loss in
FKNMS. More than 600 known vessel groundings
occur every year within the sanctuary, with a likely
equal number going unreported. In 2000, NOAA
and the State of Florida began the Restoration and
Assessment of Coral Ecosystems (RACE) Program to
assess and restore coral resources damaged by
small-vessel groundings within the sanctuary. Since
its inception, the RACE Program has:

* Developed a set of rapid, cost-effective damage
assessment methods using global positioning
systems and bathymetric tools to accurately
assess the extent of habitat damage;


Restoring Damaged Reefs

* Created and calibrated a
seagrass model capable of
predicting time to recov-
ery following restoration;

* Settled 19 seagrass cases
totaling nearly $600,000;

* Streamlined communica
tion and decisionmaking
protocols between NOAA
and Florida natural
resource managers and
law enforcement officers
to ensure rapid assess
ment of injuries, effective
case management, and
successful restoration.
Juvenile Diadema (long-sp
The successful application of
the RACE Program has prompted NOAA and the
State of Florida to modify the seagrass restoration
process to aid coral reef restoration efforts in the

OBJECTIVE 4: Promote cost-effective pilot
restoration of select degraded U.S. reefs, focusing
on habitats of high ecological, economic, and
social or conservation value.

Transplantation of Coral Fragments to
Degraded Reefs

U.S. Geological Survey and National Park Service
scientists conducted a small coral transplant project
in the Virgin Islands National Park. The project
reattached storm-generated Acropora palmata, A.
cervicornis, and Porites porites fragments onto
a degraded reef using plastic cable ties.

ined black urchin), with mixed coral species.

Approximately 20 percent of transplanted A.
palmata fragments were alive after 4 years. Live
fragments exhibited tissue growth over cable ties,
fusion with the reef substrate, and growth in the
form of new branches. The pilot project demon
states the feasibility of a low-cost, low-impact
method using naturally occurring, storm-generated
fragments of fast-growing corals to help restore
damaged reefs.

OBJECTIVE 5: Rehabilitate degraded fish habitat
through the deployment of artificial structures and
rapid, inexpensive transplant methods.

Habitat Restoration on Mona Island,
Puerto Rico

In 1997 ii. I1 \ i. i n i ',-, ,i ... ,1 u, M uii
Islan c i',.,. I1 I . . , ,-,,-" I; 1,

Implementation of the National


Elkhorn coral fragment seven years after restoration efforts. The
coral has produced numerous branches and now has the typical adult

of shallow Acropora-dominated fore-reef habitat.
Within 2 months, restoration experts stabilized
1,857 A. palmata coral fragments using stainless
steel wire to secure fragments to the reef substrate
and dead standing elkhorn coral skeletons. Six
years after the restoration, 20.3 percent (377) of the
restored fragments were living. Most live fragments
were cemented to the reef and produced new
branches, forming small colonies providing consid
erable structural relief. Reef fish communities have
begun to shift from a dominance of roving herbi
vores to a more complex community associated
with an increase in groupers and snappers. Given
the large declines Acropora populations have sus
trained from disease, hurricanes, and other impacts,
this restoration effort demonstrates reattaching

Acropora fragments may be a viable restoration tool
in cases where remaining Acropora habitat is dam
aged by ship groundings and hurricanes.

Assessment of Artificial Structures as a
Restoration Effort

Extending for more than 150 kilometers along the
continental shelf off eastern Florida, Oculina Banks
provides habitat for thousands of reef fish and
invertebrates. It also provides spawning grounds for
commercially important groupers. Although large
portions of the area (Oculina Banks Habitat Area of
Particular Concern) are protected from fishing, only
an estimated 10 percent of the former live reef
remains. Restoration efforts, started by NOAA and
its partners in 1996 and expanded since 2000,
involve deploying artificial structures seeded with
fragments of the dominant coral, Oculina varicosa,
into rubble habitats. Artificial structures appear to
enhance the natural colonization of corals through
recruitment, with high survivorship rates of trans
planted fragments and increased densities of reef

OBJECTIVE 6: Transfer proven restoration tools,
techniques, and lessons learned to domestic and
international partners.

USCRTF members have actively engaged the inter-
national community in the development, imple
mentation, and evaluation of restoration efforts by:

* Convening sessions on coral reef restoration at
major international symposia;

* Publishing peer-reviewed articles and technical
documents and hosting websites on damage
assessment, mitigation, and restoration
approaches and the efficacy of various restore
tion projects; and


Restoring Damaged Reefs I

* Providing state and territory gov
ernment partners and consultants
with technical expertise to assist
with damage assessment, resource
valuation, and restoration plan
ning and implementation.

Future Challenges

During the past several years,
USCRTF members have improved
the ability to conduct injury assess
ments, and calculate monetary dam
ages; outline primary restoration
Restoration scie
alternatives; and implement emer efforts.
agency and compensatory restoration
projects to mitigate damage, prevent further losses,
and restore ecological functions of coral reefs.
Efforts to address acute impacts on reefs, such as
ship groundings, have exhibited engineering suc
cess with restoration structures remaining stable
through subsequent disturbances and transplanted
corals remaining attached with moderate to high
rates of survival and growth. However, restoration
efforts often lack rigorous evaluation, and few proj
ects are designed to test how effectively different
restoration approaches enhance biological perform
ance or community function.

Future coral reef mitigation and restoration efforts
are needed to preserve and restore critical ecologi
cal functions within regional ecosystem dynamics.
Agencies need to continue to develop and evaluate
inexpensive, effective restoration techniques to mit
igate human impacts on reefs, including ship
groundings, and to possibly address other distur
bances. However, managers need to carefully
analyze degraded sites before undertaking a
restoration project, ensuring the causes of degrada
tion are understood and have been eliminated or
mitigated. Other considerations include the proper

ntists employ numerous mechanisms to ensure successful coral transplant

selection of species for transplantation, impacts on
source populations of transplanted fragments, opti
mal sizes of transplants and methods of attachment,
and other factors to enhance survival of corals,
minimize damage to source reefs, and maximize
rates of ecological recovery. Managers further need
to recognize that each proposed restoration needs to
be conducted on a case-by-case basis with consider
ation for variations in species life histories, envi
ronmental and physical parameters, and regional
differences. The main objectives for future restore
tion and mitigation efforts include the following:

Continue to evaluate success of restoration proj-
ects. A rigorous evaluation of the success of exist
ing reef restoration and mitigation projects should
be conducted to identify site and species-specific
approaches that maximize transplant survival and
effectively restore ecological function.

Continue to develop cost-effective, ecologically
sound restoration methods. Pipl i.,i 1 i -.
effect- 11 1. l i ..I l i -Ii ,Ii '1 i" ,p N-,hi
to enli ill. !iii iIi I I. ," i-, iii jiJ3. 3 kJ 1i i I
of crit, II II Iltil ll t lI -i hi i!i
ma .

Implementation of the National

erbi~iM bt y oal recruitment,
S pest or exotic species; and
other 1 stable substrates.

tsof using vessels as artificial
i pressure on natural reefs,
cfogical benefits of sinking
*1 I \avy vessels and other artifi
d bL e evaluated. Before vessels
a 1 bstrates are sunk, it is critical
e n to n minimize ecological
i e i th the sinking process.

lop sources of coral fragments. Ready sources
oIa 1 frg ents should be developed for immedi
transplantation after ship groundings through

coral culture techniques, coral nurseries, and other
low-impact coral sources in order to prevent har
vesting of natural populations.

Enhance restoration research. Using adaptive man
agement techniques to guide future restorations, a
science-based, hypothesis-driven approach should
be implemented for future restoration projects to
answer questions on what works and why.

Increase community awareness. Local communi
ties can be trained and involved in basic coral reef
assessments and restoration techniques to raise
awareness and increase the incidence of reporting
coral injury to expedite reef recovery.



Improving Outreach

M and Education

SGOAL: Increase awareness and understanding of
the ecological, cultural, and socioeconomic impor-
tance of coral reef ecosystems among the widest
possible audience.

Rationale for Action

Improving outreach and education is
critical to helping people understand
the value of coral reef ecosystems and
ways to avoid damaging them. Reduc
ing human impacts on coral reef
ecosystems often requires changing
behavior, beliefs, and decisionmaking
criteria about conserving these vital
ecosystems. An informed, engaged

OBJECTIVE 1: Raise public awareness of and appreciation
for coral reef ecosystems through targeted and focused
communications campaigns.
OBJECTIVE 2: Incorporate coral reef ecosystem issues in
education programs to promote understanding of marine
OBJECTIVE 3: Inform the public and policymakers about
accomplishments and recommendations of the U.S. Coral
Reef Task Force.

public (including resource users, poli
cymakers, industry representatives,
nongovernmental organizations, and
other stakeholders) is fundamental to
achieving the goals of the National
Coral Reef Action Strategy. People will
be more likely to alter their actions
and support conservation if they
understand why coral reefs are impor
tant, realize how their actions affect
the condition of the reefs, and are

teams through
monitoring an
states and terr

Outreach event at NOAA's Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale
National Marine Sanctuary.

aware of coral reef protection activities and how
they benefit communities.

The need for effective outreach and education cuts
across all goals of the National Coral Reef Action
Strategy, and progress depends on fully integrating
outreach and education into research and manage
ment initiatives. The USCRTF has identified lack of
awareness as one of the priority issues for the devel
opment of local action strategies (LASs).

Summary of Implementation

The USCRTF, with the support of nongovernmental
and academic partner organizations, has advanced
public awareness activities throughout 2002-2003.
USCRTF members reached out to stakeholders by
creating and distributing educational materials and
by funding outreach and education projects with a
variety of partners. Agencies also collaborated to
develop workshops and training modules to build
the local conservation capacity, develop student
education and career development programs, and
promote local involvement in conservation manage
ment. In addition, both the National Park Service
(NPS) and NOAA's National Marine Sanctuaries
Program include major coral reef education efforts.

To expand outreach programs, many of the USCRTF
members have created and distributed a variety of
multilanguage publications, videos, posters, bibli
ographies, virtual libraries, and public service
announcements targeted to reach vast numbers of
stakeholders. To complement these broadly focused
resources, agencies also developed materials specific
cally designed for key user groups. For example, the
U.S. Department of Defense developed materials for
military personnel that outline the crucial role the
Armed Forces play in successful conservation
efforts. The Virgin Islands National Park also deliv
ered targeted materials on such subjects as the
impacts of fishing gear on reef health, illegal
removal of corals, and the effects of driving on

Beyond information dissemination, agencies have
conducted community meetings and other initial
tives to improve two-way communication and foster
community involvement. These activities have
allowed managers to better understand stakeholder


Improving Outreach and Education

motivations and develop educational programs
addressing concerns specific to each group. For
example, NOAA held a series of workshops with
fishermen in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands
to discuss community values and the importance of
reefs to fishing livelihoods. Also, the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service (USFWS) documented traditional
marine conservation practices at a community
managed reef in Hawai'i and established statewide
exchange programs to share the information.

To strengthen local initiatives, the USCRTF
increased technical assistance for local capacity
building through workshops and training programs.
Agencies have supported training programs for local
scientists and managers in the application of field
and laboratory research tools and methodologies
geared toward an improved understanding of coral
reef processes, threats, and impacts. Many states
and territories funded education and outreach spe
cialist positions to coordinate their outreach efforts,
allowing resource management agencies to signifi
cantly increase the reach of their activities.

Although formal educational programs for students
lag behind informal education and training pro
grams, progress has been made in creating curricula
from coral reef research. Activities primarily focus
on providing resources and training to teachers,
distributing materials, delivering presentations to
classrooms, and developing exhibits and displays
in museums and aquariums. For example, American
Samoa incorporated the ecology and cultural impor
tance of coral reefs into education programs, trained
teachers, developed environmental workshops, and
participated in a program providing small grants to
help teachers design hands on coral reef projects.

Biannual USCRTF meetings are an important
venue for improving local outreach and education.

By increasing the visibility of national, regional,
and local efforts to protect coral reefs, the 2002
2003 meetings in Puerto Rico, Guam, and the
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
provided important opportunities to share informa
tion and resources and to transfer tools and expert
ise to local entities.

Highlights of Task Force
Member Activities

OBJECTIVE 1: Raise public awareness of and
appreciation for coral reef ecosystems through tar-
geted and focused communications campaigns.

Guam Launched Multimedia Coral Reef
Awareness Campaign

In 2003, as part of its
Education and Outreach
Local Action Strategy, the
Guam Coral Reef Initiative
Coordinating Committee
launched a multimedia coral
reef awareness campaign. A
unique clownfish character
serves as the campaign mas
cot and the "teacher" in an educational video for
use on incoming flights, movie theater slides, hotel
room tent cards, coloring books, advertisements,
and streetside banners. In conjunction with
Earthweek activities, the campaign sponsored an
islandwide children's contest to name the clownfish
character, which was named Professor Kika
Clearwa-, i

~- IF

7mp F1

Implementation of the National Coral Reef Action Strategy I '? 1

Living Reef
Program in
Hawai'i Raises
Reef Awareness



S".y In 2002-2003, more
I11 i! iii agencies,
i'i I' '!l i organize
tions, and communi
ty groups joined
together to create the
Coral Reef Outreach
NJ ., I.,. 1 ii.: IN)-an organization that worked to
S.... II II, i irIing Reef Program. The goals of the
,' ,. i-.:, i'logram are to raise awareness about
the importance of reefs to communities and what
actions individuals can take to minimize harmful
impacts. To jump-start the program, a logo and the
slogan "A Living Reef Gives Our Islands Life" were
created. CRON held several planning meetings and
made progress toward a website, an online game for
children, and a video starring Alexander Gould (the
voice of Nemo in the movie Finding Nemo) demon
strating how children can minimize their impacts
on coral reefs. In addition, the Living Reef Awards
Program was created with sponsor Tiffany & Co.
Jewelers, and CRON is hiring a public relations
firm to create public service announcements.
Hawai'i officially launched the Living Reef Pro
gram at a June 2004 ceremony in the Governor's

OBJECTIVE 2: Incorporate coral reef ecosystem
issues in education programs to promote under-
standing of marine conservation.

USFWS Funds Hawaiian Traditional
Knowledge Education

In 2003, USFWS funded a program for high school
students in O'ahu's Ewa Beach community to learn



traditional Hawaiian knowledge about the ecology
and human uses of local marine algae. The students
integrated this information into such scientific
techniques as water quality testing. As a result of
the program, the community is working with the
state to consider establishing a nearshore marine
protected area (MPA) at Ewa Beach. USFWS provide
ed funding in 2004 to begin a similar high school
program in the predominantly native Hawaiian
community of Nanakuli, O'ahu.

NPS Outreach Empowers Boaters To
Protect Resources

In 2002-2003, NPS conducted outreach programs to
help recreational boaters protect the resources they
enjoy in Biscayne National Park. Through partner
ships with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conserv
ation Commission, the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG),
and the Miami-Dade Marine Patrol, NPS launched
an intensive bilingual Resource Protection Through
Boater Education campaign. Park-specific educa
tional programs encouraged responsible boating
and navigation, which should reduce groundings
on seagrass and coral reefs in the park's 165,000
acre (668-km2) marine area. Exhibits with messages
targeted to visitors to the Keys (e.g., "Protect Your
Keys," "Be Safe, Not Sorry") were installed at two
public harbors in the park.

NOAA Develops Curricula Targeted at
K-12 Schools

NOAA, through the Sea Grant College Program, has
developed multiple curricula for K-12 schools in
Puerto Rico, including bilingual textbooks, targeted
specifically to coral reefs. In addition, NOAA fund
ed a full-time Sea Grant extension agent in Ameri
can Samoa. Extension agents are hired by the local
community to teach, develop curricula, and build
capacity as needed in the region and are helping
build a stronger presence for NOAA in the Western

Improving Outreach and Education

Hawaiian Islands
Discovery Visitor
Center Opens

In May 2003, the
Hawaiian Islands
(NWHI) Coral Reef
Ecosystem Reserve
opened the NWHI
Discovery Center in
Hilo, Hawai'i. The cen
ter raises awareness of
the special nature of
the NWHI and illus
trates why NOAA is
working to conserve
the area. The center, The U.S. Department of the Interior Nat
named "Mokupapapa" understanding of coral reef ecosystems.
after the low-lying
coral islets found in the NWHI, interprets the natu
ral science, culture, and history of the NWHI and
the surrounding marine environment. Interactive
displays, three-dimensional models, and a theater
allow visitors to experience the wonder of this
unique ocean region. In its first year of operation,
the center attracted more than 50,000 visitors,
exceeding the projections of a study conducted
before the center was opened. School groups regu
larly visit the center, which has broad community

OBJECTIVE 3: Inform the public and policymak-
ers about accomplishments and recommendations
of the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force.

NOAA's Coral Reef Information System
Team Shares Reef Data

In 2003, NOAA's Coral Reef Information System
(CoRIS) team conducted regional meetings with

ional Park Service works in the communities to promote greater

coral reef stakeholders and constituents to provide
them with access to CoRIS data sets and to make
these data more accessible and understandable. A
virtual library was developed to provide online
access to coral literature to enhance public knowl
edge about coral reefs. The Data Outreach pilot
project included the University of Hawai'i Sea
Grant College Program, University of Hawai'i,
American Samoa, Cooperative Institute for
Research in Environmental Sciences, The Nature
Conservancy, the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency, and NPS.

The project consisted of a series of small-scale
meetings in American Samoa and Hawai'i involve
ing members of the local coral communities,
including state and federal agencies and non
governmental org mis a
data collect s
the location

Implementation of the National Coral Reef

1 r |... l. 1i,11l i 1! I .1i' inform a
i. I i r Li' ilheij,(.ii i i ii Ii critical
W. it !.Ulli u' ui !Il I II rentall
uL .I .I I. 1
I 1 I .. I .. 1 Ni' [' I iil ii I I i i,,, stitu ent
tI 1, ,II 11 I',! i' 1- .' I I, I.... i I, I lu tu re
,, !! i i. i d ata
,-,! ,,!,,! I,,- ~ I, I ..... I~ ~ ,' ,,. I!~ nessand

OBJECTIVE 4: Increase understanding of coral
reef ecosystems through conducting comprehen-
sive assessments of monitoring and coral reef

Multiagency Educational Partnership
Formed for the NWHI

In 2002, NOAA, USFWS, and state and local
Hawaiian partners formed a NWHI multiagency
education partnership. The partnership focused on
education and outreach activities associated with
the 2002 NWHI Reef Assessment and Monitoring
Program expedition. An education and document
tion team, organized by the NWHI Coral Reef
Ecosystem Reserve, aboard the R/V Rapture posted
daily reports, journals, science pieces, video
reports, and images from the NWHI to the website
http://www.hawaiianatolls.org during the voyage.
Across the country and internationally, thousands
of people followed the voyage and learned about
the NWHI. Questions about the voyage were routed
through the website and answered by the team
aboard the R/V Rapture. The video segments were
shown to scheduled school groups visiting the
NWHI exhibit at the Hawai'i Maritime Center.

The educational partnership continued through
2002-2003 when the Navigating Change project
with the Polynesian Voyaging Society began.

Navigating Change seeks to motivate, encourage,
and challenge people to take action and improve
Hawaii's environmental conditions, especially coral
reef ecosystems. In 2003, the partners conducted
teacher workshops across Hawai'i in concert with a
statewide sailing journey of the famed Polynesian
voyaging canoe Hokule'a. The canoe traveled
around the state and then made a historical voyage
to the NWHI in May 2004.

OBJECTIVE 5: Support outreach and education
initiatives in states and territories and initiate
grants to local community groups.

Supporting Safe and Secure
Waterways in Hawai'i

A safe and secure business environment is vital to
Hawaii's more than $3 billion maritime and ocean
industry. NOAA has been working through the
University of Hawai'i Sea Grant College Program in
collaboration with the Hawai'i Ocean Safety Team
(HOST), a nonprofit organization formed in 1998.
HOST represents commercial and recreational
waterfront users with its mission to promote the
safe and pollution-free use of Hawaii's waters and
provides an open forum to discuss issues related to
ocean safety and the ocean environment. Together,
NOAA, the University of Hawai'i Sea Grant College
Program, HOST, and USCG have been addressing
issues related to the establishment of updated port,
harbor, and waterway security zones implemented
since September 11, 2001. These zones have
changed the way maritime and ocean users conduct
their businesses in Hawai'i and the Nation.

Grants for Local Conservation Projects

Financial and programmatic partnerships are cen
tral to reaching diverse audiences and involving a


Improving Outreach and Education

range of stakeholders in conservation efforts. To
build on these partnerships and support local con
servation initiatives, federal, state, and territory
agencies and nongovernmental partners funded
grant programs aimed at increasing community
awareness. Since 2001, the Coral Reef Conservation
Fund, operated by the National Fish and Wildlife
Foundation, has leveraged $1.21 million in NOAA
funds with $1.69 million in matching funds for a
total of $2.90 million to support 34 outreach and
education-focused coral reef conservation projects.
These projects seek to increase community aware
ness through the support of public/private partner
ships that solve specific outreach and education

Future Challenges

Federal, state, and territory agencies have increase
ingly taken steps toward creating outreach and edu
cation programs that build support for coral reef
conservation; however, a widespread lack of public
awareness regarding the importance and decline of
coral reef ecosystems still exists. Accordingly, many
management efforts lack support from communities
that could work with agencies to advance reef pro
tection and restoration.

For conservation efforts to succeed, outreach and
education programs need to be more strategically
planned, involve sustained and direct contact with
users of coral reef ecosystems, and be fully integrat
ed into the management process. The activity high
lights described above demonstrate positive trends
and examples of effective initiatives. Further
progress could be realized through USCRTF
involvement in the following efforts:

Continue the trend toward interactive, hands-on
outreach. Information alone is not sufficient to
change behavior. Stakeholders and constituents

may become more aware of the importance and
value of coral reef ecosystems, but increased aware
ness does not automatically result in improved
behaviors. Outreach that includes constituent meet
ings, training workshops, and capacity-building
technical assistance will better identify barriers to
change, promote increased agency transparency,
improve stakeholder buy-in, and ultimately support
more sustainable, community-based conservation

Strategically plan key messages, identify intended
audiences, and develop appropriate communica-
tions vehicles. A more targeted communications
and outreach approach using focus groups and
other planning tools will improve the effectiveness
of communications campaigns.

Improve coordination between resource manage-
ment and outreach goals. Coral reef scientists, man
agers, outreach coordinators, and educators should
work together to translate scientific findings and
management goals into specific outreach initiatives
that build public support for achieving those goals.
At the same time, outreach specialists should help
resource managers better understand potential bar
riers to sustainable reef use, develop culturally
sensitive communications, solicit meaningful and
sustained feedback, and create incentives for sus
tainable behavior.

Focus more resources on educational programs
for students, particularly formal curriculum devel-
opment. Youth education builds a foundation
for future reef management and stewardship.
Recognizing the limited resources of many educa
tors and the increasing emphasis placed on both
academic standards and experiential education,
member agencies should ork m directly with
educators to de e ,Il
and profe
and meetin?,1"aBf'

Implementation of the National Coral Reef

activities should focus on effectively translating
agency science and management directives into cre
ative activities that build wider public support for
conservation and service learning projects that
simultaneously serve educational and community

Prioritize outreach efforts that explicitly address
LASs, in particular the Lack of Awareness Local
Action Strategy. In addition to the National Coral
Reef Action Sil i, -.,i -goals outlined above, LASs
have been developed for each state and territory to
guide coral reef conservation efforts. Additional
focus is needed for outreach projects that explicitly
address the goals outlined in both the national
strategies and LASs.

Students at the Saipan International School in the Northern Mariana
Islands learn about water quality testing as part of a volunteer
marine monitoring program with the Coastal Resources Management
Agency and the Division of Environmental Quality.



Reducing Threats to

Reefs Internationally

GOAL: Exercise global leadership through com-
mitment to and collaboration with domestic and
international partners to protect and conserve
coral reefs and associated ecosystems globally.

Rationale for Action

Coral reefs are found in more than 90
countries, and the United States has
political and economic interests in
helping these nations protect their
ecosystems. Healthy marine ecosys
teams are critical to U.S. diplomatic
and development strategies in many
countries to promote economic and
food security, social stability,

improved human health, natural disas
ter and climate change mitigation, and
biodiversity conservation. Coral reef
ecosystems are economically, socially,
and culturally important, constituting
the economic base in many countries,
particularly small island nations.

Although the report Status of Coral
Reefs of the World (Wilkinson 2002)
found that coral reefs have continued

OBJECTIVE 1: Exercise global leadership in the international OBJECTIVE 4: Support the creation and effective manage
arena in shaping and developing environmentally sound and ment of coral reef MPAs, particularly those that contain
comprehensive ocean and coral reef policy. substantial ecological (i.e., no-take) reserves.

OBJECTIVE 2: Build human and institutional capacity to
manage and conserve reef ecosystems and coastal water
sheds through integrated coastal management.

OBJECTIVE 5: Address the impact of global change, coral
bleaching, and reef health on reefs and people.

OBJECTIVE 6: Address unsustainable and destructive fishing
OBJECTIVE 3: Promote efforts to prevent, reduce, and con practices and the U.S. role in and impact on international
trol land-based sources of pollution and their effects on coral trade in coral reef species.
reef ecosystems, including beaches, lagoons, seagrass beds,
mangrove forests, shallow reefs, deep reefs, and submerged
bank reefs.

19 1W t uni i .i ( I *uiI 11111, I iill,,,,,,genic
R', IA 1. ,lIIl ,i!, In 1!ni 11 initia-

[ i i nil l-.! ili l i..!I 1 i I I els are

d ri1 1 il ln Iii p- !. II!- 1w i

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Se ,11 no', 1' ,,r k i" II, , I i I --I l ,.,!!l!ries in
r-r i i i 11 and

Summary of Implementation

In response to the continuing global decline in coral
reef health, USCRTF member agencies have sub
stantially increased their efforts and leadership
roles to address the pressures facing the world's
reefs. The U.S. Agency for International Develop
ment (USAID), the U.S. Department of State (DOS),
NOAA, and the U.S. Department of the Interior
(DOI) have engaged domestic and international
partners to increase the prominence of coral reefs
and associated ecosystems in various international
forums. Internationally, the United States promotes
environmentally sound policies and decisions,
improved human and institutional capacity to
manage and conserve coral reefs, and proactive
strategies to address impacts of global change by
enhancing the resistance and resilience of coral reef
ecosystems. For example, the United States:

* Supports the International Coral Reef Initiative,
the nonbinding global forum of choice to discuss
coral reef conservation and related activities;

* Continues to play a critical role in the
Convention on International Trade in Endangered
Species to ensure the sustainable management of
coral reef resources (see chapter 12);

* Is the largest pledged contributor to the Global
Environment Facility, the major multilateral
organization supporting coral reef conservation
activities in developing countries; and

* Supports such key United Nations (UN) pro
grams as the UN Environment Programme's
(UNEP's) Regional Seas Programs, which foster
regional cooperation among governments.
Funding from DOS has been key to ensuring
UNEP's Regional Seas Programs and other such
regional environmental programs as the South
Pacific Regional Environment Program focus on
controlling land-based sources of pollution
affecting coral reef ecosystems.

USAID provides the principal U.S. bilateral support
for coral reef conservation overseas. The agency has
projects in more than 20 countries in Latin America,
the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and
East Africa. Activities range from field programs
promoting improved management practices and the
establishment of marine parks and reserves to the
promotion of sustainable tourism and fisheries.
For example, in Jamaica, USAID's Ridge-to-Reef
Program helps reduce the adverse impacts of agri
cultural runoff and decreases nutrient-rich sewage
flowing from settlements into watersheds and along

NOAA, DOI, the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency, and other USCRTF agencies primarily pro
vide technical assistance, small grants, and support
for targeted workshops and symposiums. These
activities create strategic partnerships with other
governments, international institutions, nongovern
mental organizations, and the private sector in sup
port of conservation. The partnerships have enabled
the USCRTF to extend its outreach, leverage funds,
and add value to its efforts. For example, NOAA
and the Coral Reef Fund (a partnership with the
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation) have sup
ported 63 small matching grants in 30 countries
between 2002 and 2004. These activities enhance
community-based conservation, promote watershed
management, improve the effectiveness of marine
protected areas (MPAs), promote socioeconomic
assessments in management plans, and develop
regional MPA systems.


Reducing Threats to Reefs Internationally

DOS continues to provide substan
tial financial support to the
International Coral Reef Initiative
(ICRI) and such ICRI-related activi
ties as development of the biennial
Status of Coral Reefs of the World
(Wilkinson 2002, 2004). USCRTF
agencies also provide financial and
technical support to international
coral reef meetings such as the
International Tropical Marine
Ecosystem Symposium held in the
Philippines in 2003, which brought
together more than 200 managers
and scientists from around the world
to identify and address priority
issues in the conservation of coral
reef resources.

Highlights of Task Force
Member Activities

The following activities exemplify how the Task
Force addresses international threats to coral reefs.
Other international activity highlights can be found
under other pertinent chapters.

OBJECTIVE 1: Exercise global leadership in the
international arena in shaping and developing
environmentally sound and comprehensive ocean
and coral reef policy.

Coral Reef Issues Included in World
Summit on Sustainable Development
Johannesburg Plan of Implementation

At the World Summit on Sustainable Development
(WSSD), U.S. efforts stressing the importance of
coral reef resources led to the inclusion of coral
reef issues in the WSSD Johannesburg Plan of

Local Jamaican fishing community weaving fishnets and traps.

Implementation. This implementation plan includes
actions to change unsustainable patterns of con
sumption and production and to protect and man
age the natural resource base of economic and social

White Water to Blue Water: A New
Initiative for Integrated Coastal

At WSSD, the U.S. government launched the White
Water to Blue Water Initiative, which involves U.S.
agencies, other governments, nongovernmental
organizations, and the private sector in a cross
sectoral approach to improving integrated ecosys
tem management from the watershed extending into
the ocean. To execute this new initiative, an internal
tional steering committee was formed to identify
existing programs and develop new partnerships
that enhance integrated approaches in such areas as
wastewater and sanitation, sustainable agricultural
practices, integrated coastal management, su
able tourism, and environment 1
transportation in the Caribbean
weeklong conference ad

Implementation of the National (


Iu l I fIlq, II 1 illil.il' ' i I- i_ -.
ngB I. ? i s ii* '1 ''- innovation.

08J : Build human and institutional
ca manage and conserve reef ecosystems
a tal watersheds through integrated coastal

Capacity Building for Improved
Resource Management

( is \i .1 ,- i ... -1 I! 1.:. -...... 1. [.1 i .I I .. 1 : P program in
IhI, i 'l!l '!! .a has successfully improved coastal
governance, built capacity, and empowered local
communities to stop and reduce destructive fishing
practices and overfishing. During the 7-year life of
the project, 110 communities established, moni
tored, and protected 83 marine sanctuaries covering
more than 9,900 acres (40 km2) of coral reefs, sea
grass, and mangroves. According to project find
ings, coral cover within the marine sanctuaries
increased by 46 percent. Community-managed
sanctuaries are helping to regenerate depleted fish
populations and act as biodiversity corridors or
protected areas to expand the protected habitat for
vulnerable plants and animals. These sanctuaries
are just part of more than 741,000 acres (3,000 km2)
of coastal resources now under improved manage
ment in the Philippines as a result of this project.

OBJECTIVE 3: Promote efforts to prevent,
reduce, and control land-based sources of pollution
and their effects on coral reef ecosystems, includ-
ing beaches, lagoons, seagrass beds, mangrove
forests, shallow reefs, deep reefs, and submerged-
bank reefs.

USAID Program Improves
Environmental Management in
Central America

The USAID Guatemala/Central America Regional
Environmental Program supports improved

environmental management (including disaster mit
igation) in the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor
through training and technical assistance. In 2003,
138,000 acres (560 km2) of agricultural land met
certification and market requirements, reducing the
environmental pollution from coffee and banana
production. In addition, 35 private industries in the
Mesoamerican Biological Corridor implemented
low-cost, best management practices in their pro
duction processes. Three municipalities improved
their solid-waste and wastewater management by
introducing low-cost technology in municipal serv
ices, leading to improved water quality in regional
watersheds affecting the Mesoamerican Coral Reef
and other coastal systems.

Watershed Conservation Plans
Developed in Palau

In 2002-2003, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
funded a private, nonprofit environmental group in
Palau to work with government agencies and com-
munities to develop watershed conservation plans
benefiting native forests, mangroves, and coral
reefs. The watershed advisor provided technical
advice and coordination and has made substantial
progress in establishing national policies and plan
ning documents that will reduce soil erosion affect
ing Palau's spectacularly diverse coral reefs.

OBJECTIVE 4: Support the creation and effective
management of coral reef MPAs, particularly those
that contain substantial ecological (i.e., no-take)

Improving MPA Management

In Bunaken National Marine Park in Indonesia,
USAID supported the development and implemen
station of a sustainable finance plan. A management
board now raises and retains sufficient funds
through visitor fees to fund park enforcement.
Enforcement patrols have stopped blast and
cyanide fishing, and, inside the marine park, coral
coverage increased by 10 percent in 2002. As a


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