[Coral-List] NOAA Fisheries Proposes Critical Habitat for 7 Threatened Indo-Pacific Corals under the ESA

Lance Smith lance.smith at noaa.gov
Thu Dec 3 02:42:35 UTC 2020

NOAA Fisheries is proposing to designate critical habitat for seven
Indo-Pacific corals listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act
(ESA) within U.S. waters in Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana
Islands (CNMI), American Samoa, and the Pacific Remote Island Area (PRIA).
The seven species are *Acropora globiceps, A. jacquelineae, A. retusa, A.
speciosa, Euphyllia paradivisa, Isopora crateriformis, *and *Seriatopora

Proposed coral critical habitat consists of substrate and water column
habitat characteristics essential for the reproduction, recruitment,
growth, and maturation of the listed corals. In this case, the proposed
critical habitat consists of 17 separate units, each of which contains all
ESA-listed corals that occur there: There are four units in American Samoa
(Tutuila, Ofu-Olosega, Ta‘u, Rose Atoll); seven in CNMI (Rota, Aguijan,
Tinian, Saipan, Anatahan, Pagan, and Maug Islands); five in PRIA (Howland,
Palmyra, Kingman, Johnston, and Jarvis Islands); and one unit encompassing
all proposed designations in Guam. Between one and six listed corals occur
in each unit.

The following areas are either ineligible for proposed critical habitat, or
excluded because of national security impacts: A complex of overlapping
Navy Surface Danger Zones off of Ritidian Point in Guam, other parts of
Guam, parts of Tinian, a group of six Navy anchorage berths on Garapan Bank
in Saipan, all of Farallon de Medinilla, and all of Wake Atoll.

Critical habitat protections apply only to Federal actions under Section 7
of the ESA; activities that are not funded, authorized, or carried out by a
Federal agency are not subject to these protections.

The proposed rule and other materials prepared in support of this action,
including maps showing the proposed critical habitat, are available and
accessible via the Internet at:

We are accepting public comments for the proposed rule for 60 days through
January 26, 2021. To submit a public comment, go to the above website, and
click on “Submit a Comment”.

Lance Smith, Ph.D
Fishery Biologist
Protected Resources Division
Pacific Islands Regional Office
NOAA Fisheries | U.S. Department of Commerce

Office: (808) 725‐5131


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