[Coral-List] The infamous 82 corals and what members of Coral-List, ought to be doing about them (Francisco Soto)

Steven Thur steven.thur at noaa.gov
Tue Mar 9 10:38:07 EST 2010

Francisco and others,

As I am employed by one of those U.S. government agencies (and sending this from that agency's network), I will refrain from responding on the need for INCREASED community involvement in the management of natural resources.  However, I will fully agree with the need to integrate the opinion of local communities in decision-making.  In fact, the NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program funded, via our General Grants Program, the development of the Tres Palmas Natural Reserve management plan that is referenced.  This is one of many examples of how our federal program works with organizations and individuals at multiple levels (other Feds, States/Territories/Commonwealths, Counties/Municipalities, and NGOs) to further coral reef conservation.  Engaging the local community early in the process was vital for Tres Palmas, and the lessons learned there have been incorporated into our efforts elsewhere.

So, the purpose of my reply is to illustrate the challenges of transforming specific critiques about individual environmental management practices or statutes into general statements that break down under closer scrutiny.  While it is likely a valid opinion that increased community involvement is needed, the Tres Palmas example is one that illustrates positive partnerships.  I am pleased that the Tres Palmas management plan is viewed as a success by at least some number of interested individuals in Puerto Rico, and I am proud that the federal program I work for had a role in its development.

Steven Thur, Ph.D.
Coral Reef Conservation Program
Office of Ocean & Coastal Resource Management
National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration
N/OCM, SSMC4, Rm. 10404
1305 East-West Highway
Silver Spring, MD 20910

email:  steven.thur at noaa.gov
phone:  301.563.1147
fax:  	301.713.4387

Date: Thu, 4 Mar 2010 09:50:29 -0800 (PST)
From: Francisco Soto <franciscoj_soto at yahoo.com>
Subject: Re: [Coral-List] The infamous 82 corals and what members of
	Coral-List ought to be doing about them
To: "Andrea A. Treece" <atreece at biologicaldiversity.org>,
	"coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov" <coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>,
	AlinaSzmant <szmanta at uncw.edu>
Message-ID: <907113.1753.qm at web110607.mail.gq1.yahoo.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=iso-8859-1

Hello listers:

Dr. Szmant has a valid and interesting point. The US government agencies NEED and I repeat NEED to integrate the opinion of the community in the decisions taken over the natural resources.? In my opinion, this is one of the biggest problems in the US and probably in other countries, including Puerto Rico, which is a colony of the US. When I say "integrate the community", I refer to actually paying attention to the suggestions the civilians have to offer. Normally this doesn't happen. The laws should not be made only by the ones who are not using these ecosystems but by an integrated approach of experts, civilian experts and civilians that constantly use these ecosystems. I believe this is an important way to promote conservation and preservation of natural resources. 

?To add to what Dr. Szmant said about the situation in Tres Palmas, Rinc?n, PR, here is a local newspaper article that came out recently:


The article says that basically thanks to the community, the Tres Palmas Marine Reserve has now a positive management plan that fulfills the interests of the different sectors of the community. To me this is great management.

Pura vida!

Francisco J. Soto-Santiago
Estudiante Graduado
Departamento de Ciencias Marinas
Universidad de Puerto Rico
Mayag?ez, PR 00681


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