[Coral-List] Chagos Conservation

Jim Hendee jim.hendee at noaa.gov
Wed Jan 27 08:13:19 EST 2010


    I have a new sparkler to throw into the Chagos fireworks.  The U.S.
Department of Defense (through the Secretary of Defense) is charged  by
Executive Order #13089 to be participating member of the U.S. Coral Reef
Task Force.  To wit, see Sec.4.:


 Sec. 4. Coral Reef Task Force. The Secretary of the Interior and the
Secretary of Commerce, through the Administrator of the National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration, shall co-chair a U.S. Coral Reef Task
Force (``Task Force''), whose members shall include, but not be limited
to, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, the
Attorney General, the Secretary of the Interior, the Secretary of
Agriculture, the Secretary of Commerce, the Secretary of Defense, the
Secretary of State, the Secretary of Transportation, the Director of the
National Science Foundation, the Administrator of the Agency for
International Development, and the Administrator of the National
Aeronautics and Space Administration. The Task Force shall oversee
implementation of the policy and Federal agency responsibilities set
forth in this order, and shall guide and support activities under the
U.S. Coral Reef Initiative (``CRI''). All Federal agencies whose actions
may affect U.S. coral reef ecosystems shall review their participation
in the CRI and the strategies developed under it, including strategies
and plans of State, territorial, common-wealth, and local governments,
and, to the extent feasible, shall enhance Federal participation and
support of such strategies and plans. The Task Force shall work in 
cooperation with State, territorial, commonwealth, and local government 
agencies, nongovernmental organizations, the scientific community, and
commercial interests.


Although this EO was designed with U.S. territories in mind, clearly
coral reef areas know know no international boundaries; and in fact
NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program (www.coralreef.noaa.gov) provides
for international programs and partnerships.

The DoD was also charged with helping coral reefs in the U.S. Commission
on Ocean Policy.

I'm almost clueless on DoD coral reef activities, yet I see here...


that they have made progress.  Perhaps now is a great chance for them to
both help their quiet image on the coral reef conservation front, and
also to help come to a solution regarding the Chagos conservation area. 
If Diego Garcia is a "hands-off" area, but which is of concern in being
included into a proposed new conservation area, then might I propose
that DoD offers to the international research community a plan for
conservation that is reviewed by peers, and which would allow periodic
site review by those who would likely not be shot as spies?  I think it
is worth considering that this subject be put before the next U.S. Coral
Reef Task Force meeting to be held February 23-24, Washington, DC. 
Here's more on the USCRTF, http://coralreef.gov/ .  Note this statemtent
on that site:

"The advance public comment period for the February 2010 CRTF Meeting is
open through Friday, January 29. Advance public comments may be
submitted to Sarah Bobbe via email at Sarah_Bobbe at ios.doi.gov or via
mail at 1305 East-West Highway, NOS/OCRM/CCD 10th Floor, Silver Spring,
MD 20910."

In other words, by this Friday, two days from now.

I know this suggestion in itself does nothing, or little, with regard to
the Chagosians themselves.  However, maybe this is a great opportunity
for the U.S. (to include the Department of State) to look like one of
the good guys.


 James C. Hendee, Ph.D.
 Coral Health and Monitoring Program
 Ocean Chemistry Division
 Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory
 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
 U.S. Department of Commerce
 4301 Rickenbacker Causeway
 Miami, FL  33149-1026

 Voice:  (305) 361-4396
 Fax:    (305) 361-4447
 Email:  jim.hendee at noaa.gov
 Web:    http://www.coral.noaa.gov

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