The Coral Program's Restoration and Disease Activities


Underwater image of divers placing coral fragments on coral nursery site. NOAA divers placing coral fragments on floating coral nursery site.
Credit: NOAA

One key tool in resilience-based management of coral reef ecosystems is direct restoration of degraded coral reefs, while other stressors are being managed. The NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP) is working with partners on various restoration activities including new interventions to increase coral resilience, cutting-edge coral reef monitoring, research to improve restoration success, assessment of ongoing restoration efforts, and community engagement across the US coral jurisdictions. This multidisciplinary approach to restoration is designed to improve the outlook for coral ecosystems nationally and the people who depend on them.

This page serves as a collection of resources that have been produced by NOAA CRCP and/or its partners to help restoration practitioners and resource managers. These materials address all aspects of the Restoration Pillar in the CRCP Strategic Plan.

Restoration Resources


A Manager's Guide to Coral Reef Restoration Planning and Design supports the needs of reef managers seeking to begin restoration or assess their current restoration program. The Guide is aimed at reef resource managers and conservationists, along with everyone who plans, implements, and monitors restoration activities. Action Plan for Restoration of Coral Reef Coastal Protection Services: Case Study Example and Workbook, Supplement to a Manager's Guide to Coral Reef Restoration Planning & Design.

Coral Restoration Consortium (CRC) - Information related to the CRC's work such as CRC Group products - coral species facts sheets, guides, webinars, and databases. CRC Resources also features products from CRC members and partner organizations. The CRC provides access to these resources as part of the CRC's Mission to foster collaboration and technology transfer to facilitate a community of practice to advance and scale-up coral reef restoration. Please note that the resources provided here are for use at the sole discretion of the user and are updated as new information becomes available.

A Guide for Coral Restoration Permitting in the Seven U.S. Coral Reef Jurisdictions pdf cover

A Guide for Coral Restoration Permitting in the Seven U.S. Coral Reef Jurisdictions

The US Coral Reef Task Force Restoration Working Group compiled a guidance document for permitting requirements for in-water coral restoration. This includes all of the basic permits needed at both the local and federal level to conduct standard in-water restoration.

Download Restoration Permitting Guidance PDF
Restoration Plans
Jurisdictional Restoration Plans

The jurisdiction restoration plans were developed by local managers with assistance from NOAA and The Nature Conservancy. These plans are to highlight priority areas and actions for coral restoration in each of the jurisdictions in order to best direct restoration efforts.

Research and Implementation

NOAA commissioned the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) to review and evaluate the quickly evolving science of novel ecological and genetic coral intervention strategies. These interventions have the potential to enhance recovery and sustainability of corals under near-future environmental scenarios, and include stress-hardening, translocation of non-native stocks, manipulation of symbiotic partnerships, selective breeding, and genetic modification. The NASEM review was completed in September 2019 and comprises two reports:

A Decision Framework for Interventions to Increase the Persistence and Resilience of Coral Reefs
Download 2019 NASEM Report
A Research Review of Interventions to Increase the Persistence and Resilience of Coral Reefs
Download 2018 NASEM Report

This high-level plan of action is meant to guide how the agency approaches coral interventions. The plan encompasses four actions for the agency: (1) research and test priority interventions, (2) develop local or regional structured decision support, (3) review policy implications of coral interventions, and (4) invest in infrastructure, research, and coordination.

Mission: Iconic Reefs builds off of decades of pioneering restoration efforts proven successful in the Florida Keys involving growing and transplanting corals, setting the stage for this large-scale, multi-phased restoration effort at seven reefs. The first phase focuses on restoring elkhorn and staghorn corals, fast-growing species that have not been affected by the current outbreak of stony coral tissue loss disease. The second phase will focus on incorporating resilient corals of other slower growing species and introducing grazer species that control invasive algae that smother and outcompete coral. The goal is to restore diversity and ecological function to the reefs by returning coral cover at target reef sites to a self-sustaining level.

Acropora Recovery Implementation
Acropora Recovery Plan pdf cover
Acropora Recovery Plan
Download Acropora Recovery Plan
Caribbean Acropora Restoration Guide pdf cover
Caribbean Acropora Restoration Guide
Download Acropora Restoration Guide
Management Plan for Caribbean Acropora Population
                                    Enhancement pdf cover
Management Plan for Caribbean Acropora Population Enhancement
Download Management Plan for Acropora
ESA Legal and Policy Review pdf cover
ESA Legal and Policy Review of Interventions to Increase the Persistence and Resilience of Coral Reefs
Download ESA Legal and Policy Review