[Coral-List] U.S. Coral Reef Task Force Showcases Conservation Accomplishments And Remaining Needs
Roger B. Griffis
Roger.B.Griffis at noaa.gov
Wed Mar 21 16:35:50 EDT 2007
*Office of the Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 12, 2007 *
Shane Wolfe, 202-208-6416
U.S. Coral Reef Task Force Showcases Conservation Accomplishments
States, Territories Prioritize Efforts and Remaining Needs
Washington, D.C. The U.S. Coral Reef Task Force met recently at the
Department of the Interior to discuss ways to support efforts by state
and territory reef managers to raise public awareness of the threats
facing reefs, and to address one of the biggest threats to those reefs
land-based pollution sources that imperil some of the worlds most
diverse wildlife resources.
At the 17th biannual meeting last week, the Task Force composed of
federal agencies, states and territories involved in coral reef
conservation hosted a special session on the status of its Local
Action Strategies Initiative. State and territory reef managers
highlighted significant progress in addressing land-based pollution
sources and raising public awareness, but also requested further federal
technical and financial assistance for moving these local conservation
The Task Force is examining ways to strengthen the capacity of local and
state management agencies to carry out conservation work. These
capacity needs range from increased training for management staff to
sustained funding and increased educational and job opportunities to
build and retain local expertise.
"These jurisdictional coral projects are where the real work of
conserving our coral reefs takes place", said Deputy Assistant
Secretary of the Interior for Insular Affairs David Cohen. "We need to
do all that we can to help them succeed."
Of 700 Local Action Strategy projects developed across U.S. coral reef
jurisdictions to maximize conservation gains at the local and
state/territory level, 500 projects are underway. Of the $63 million
needed for full Local Action Strategy implementation, $25 million, or 45
percent, has been raised from federal, state, territory and private sources.
The Task Force also passed a resolution supporting reauthorization of
the Coral Reef Conservation Act, in light of the key role the Act has
played in conserving coral reef resources.
"The Act has been very important for allowing NOAA to help advance
coral reef conservation nationally and on the ground", said Timothy
Keeney, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere
and Task Force co-chair.
The original Act was passed in 2000, and was up for reauthorization
starting in 2004.
Presentations at the meeting were made by field staff from Florida,
Hawaii, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas
Islands, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, representing all
of the jurisdictions of the United States with coral reefs.
Presidential Executive Order 13089 established the U.S. Coral Reef Task
Force in 1998 to lead U.S. efforts to preserve and protect coral reef
ecosystems. Through the coordinated efforts of its members, including
representatives of 12 federal agencies, the governors of seven states
and territories, and the leaders of the Freely Associated States, the
U.S. Coral Reef Task Force has helped advance U.S. efforts to protect
and manage valuable coral reef ecosystems in the U.S. and
internationally. The Department of the Interior and the National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) co-chair the Task Force.
The 12 federal agencies represented on the Task Force the Department
of Commerce, Department of the Interior, Department of Agriculture,
Department of State, the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,
the Environmental Protection Agency, Agency for International
Development, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and
U.S. Coast Guard will review the priority needs to determine where
they may be able to offer technical assistance, personnel or funding.
The Task Force also reviewed a draft action plan for the International
Year of the Reef in 2008, after hosting a summit on U.S. participation
in the international year. Over 70 individuals from almost 40 agencies,
non-profit organizations, universities and other groups participated in
helping shape plans for collaborative action and public education.
Deputy Secretary of the Interior Lynn Scarlett delivered the keynote
address, challenging the Task Force to think beyond present approaches
as they look to the future.
The next meeting of the Task Force will be in American Samoa in August.
*Additional information on the Task Force meeting is available at
On the Web:
U.S. Coral Reef Task Force - http://www.coralreef.gov/
Department of the Interior http://www.doi.gov/
NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program - http://www.coralreef.noaa.gov/
International Coral Reef Initiative: http://www.icriforum.org/
International Year of the Reef 2008: http://www.iyor.org/
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