A Manager's Guide to Coral Reef Restoration Planning and Design
Resource managers are exploring how to use active restoration interventions to mitigate reef degradation and promote recovery and resilience.
The urgent motivation to sustain coral reefs has fueled a building momentum to restore and rebuild reefs, with increasing numbers of projects, research studies, and investments. However, coral reef restoration as a field is still in its infancy, with many projects and techniques remaining small-scale and experimental. As managers seek to invest in restoration activities, careful planning is required to improve the chances that restoration will be successful. The needed planning includes working with local experts, stakeholders, and decision-makers to determine how, when, and where restoration will be conducted, and how it can complement - rather than take away from - existing coral reef conservation and management strategies.
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.
Through a six-step, adaptive management planning process, the Guide helps managers gather relevant data, ask critical questions, and have important conversations about restoration in their location. The process set out in the Guide leads to the creation of a Restoration Action Plan. Hallmarks of the process include the iterative nature of the planning cycle and ways to consider climate change, such that we learn and improve restoration efforts that can also meet long-term goals in a warming world. The first four steps of the Guide's planning cycle focus on goal-based planning and design of restoration interventions. The final two steps discuss considerations for full-scale implementation and long-term monitoring.
The Guide includes two Appendices and other tools and materials that can be used assist readers in developing a Restoration Action Plan, including:
Workbook (.doc) - helps document the process, information, and decisions made during Steps 1-4 of the planning cycle.
Action Plan Template (.doc) - can be used to shape a Restoration Action Plan using information summarized when completing the Workbook.
Development of this Guide was made possible through financial support from the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Coral Reef Conservation Program and NOAA Restoration Center, the United States Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Research and Development, and The Nature Conservancy's Reef Resilience Network.
Shaver E C, Courtney C A, West J M, Maynard J, Hein M, Wagner C, Philibotte J, MacGowan P, McLeod I, Boström-Einarsson L, Bucchianeri K, Johnston L, Koss J. 2020. A Manager's Guide to Coral Reef Restoration Planning and Design. NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program. NOAA Technical Memorandum CRCP 36, 120 pp. https://doi.org/10.25923/vht9-tv39
Appearing as solitary forms in the fossil record more than 400 million years ago, corals are extremely ancient animals that evolved into modern reef-building forms over the last 25 million years. Continue Reading →
coral reef conservation program
The NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP) is a partnership between the NOAA Line Offices that work on coral reef issues: the National Ocean Service, the National Marine Fisheries Service, the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, and the National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service. The CRCP brings together expertise from across NOAA for a multidisciplinary approach to managing and understanding coral reef ecosystems.
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NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program
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