These are a few key documents that relay CRCP program and policy information, descriptions of the state of corals, and strategies for preserving coral ecosystems. They are listed here for easy access. All documents are also accessible through the CoRIS Data & Publications search function.
Each entry includes a title, a link to the document, and a brief description of the publication. The listed urls either link directly to a download of the document (indicated by parentheses with 'pdf' and the file's size immediately following the url), or to a web page with background information on the document and access to the full document and/or chapters of the document for download.
Abstract : The U.S. Coral Reef Task Force (USCRTF) was established in 1998 by Presidential Executive Order #13089 to lead U.S. efforts to preserve and protect coral reef ecosystems. Co-chaired by the Department of Commerce and the Department of the Interior, the USCRTF includes leaders of 12 federal agencies, seven U.S. states and territories, and three freely associated states.
Abstract : In March of 2000, the USCRTF adopted The National Action Plan to Conserve Coral Reefs (NAP), the first U.S. plan to comprehensively address the most pressing threats to coral reefs.
Abstract : In December of 2000, the Coral Reef Conservation Act (CRCA) formally established NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program and laid out a number of mandates for NOAA aimed at the preservation, sustainability and restoration of U.S. coral reef ecosystems.
Abstract : The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act is the primary law governing marine fisheries management in U.S. federal waters. The Act was first enacted in 1976 and amended in 1996 and 2006. Section 408 of the Magnuson-Stevens Reauthorization Act of 2006 establishes the Deep-sea Coral Research and Technology Program.
Abstract: This document provides NOAA’s revised Grant Program Implementation Guidelines for the Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP) under the Coral Reef Conservation Act of 2000.
U.S. Ocean Action Plan
Abstract : On September 20, 2004, the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy completed a thorough and expansive report, An Ocean Blueprint for the 21st Century. On December 17, 2004, President Bush submitted to Congress his formal response, the U.S. Ocean Action Plan. Pages 20-21 of the report focus specifically on the promotion of coral reef and deep sea coral conservation and education.
CRCP Strategic Guidance
Abstract : The new NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program Strategic Plan will guide the agency's future coral reef research and conservation efforts. It outlines refined strategies to increase resilience to climate change, improve fisheries' sustainability and reduce land-based sources of pollution, while adding a new focus of work—restore viable coral populations. Addressing the top three recognized threats to coral reefs and supporting coral reef restoration are now the four "pillars" of the NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program.
Abstract : Stony coral tissue loss disease was first observed in south Florida in 2014. As of September 2020, it has spread to 13 Caribbean countries and territories. The outbreak is unique due to its large geographic range, extended duration, rapid progression, high rates of coral mortality, and the number of species affected. Once infected, coral colonies typically die within weeks to months. While the cause of the disease is still unknown, it is believed that the pathogen may have a bacterial component due to its response to antibiotic treatments. Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease can be transmitted to other corals through direct contact and water circulation. Recently, leadership from Indo-Pacific countries and territories shared concerns that the disease could spread into the region.
Abstract : The Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP) 2016 — 2021 Social Science Strategy builds on the previous (2010-2015) strategy. The new strategy document reviews recent outcomes from the previous social science work plan and then provides recommendations to CRCP in order to address emerging trends, social science and human dimensions needs.
Abstract : The Climate Change Strategy and Implementation Plan refines and builds upon the Coral Reef Conservation Program Goals and Objectives 2010-2015 to direct Program investments in reducing the impacts of climate change and ocean acidification to coral reef ecosystems. The focus of the Coral Program is to support effective ecosystem-based management and adaptation with a foundation of sound science to understand the impacts of climate change and ocean acidification to coral reef ecosystems.
Abstract : The purpose of the CRCP Fishing Impacts Implementation Plan is to refine the Coral Reef Conservation Program’s (CRCP’s) approach to achieving its National Goals and Objectives related to fishing impacts and direct future CRCP investments towards reducing this threat in U.S. coral reef ecosystems over the next five years.
Abstract : The CRCP Land-Based Sources of Pollution Implementation Plan outlines a plan for implementing the Coral Program’s National Objectives for addressing land based sources of pollution (LBSP) and supporting identified local priorities related to this threat.The implementation plan identifies the particular expertise, tools, and support the Coral Program can provide to assure our partner jurisdictions have the capacity to successfully achieve management goals to reduce the impacts of LBSP to coral reef ecosystems and to effectively manage watersheds.
Abstract : NOAA' Coral Reef Conservation Program is supporting a National Coral Reef Monitoring Plan (NCRMP) for biological, physical, and socioeconomic monitoring throughout the U.S. Pacific, Atlantic, and Caribbean coral reef areas. This publication defines the national monitoring effort, which will provide a consistent flow of information about the status and trends of environmental conditions, living reef resources, and the people and processes that interact with coral reef ecosystems. Results will be reported through a periodic national‐level status and trends report.
Abstract : This series of documents were developed to articulate a set of strategic coral reef management priorities developed in consensus by the coral reef managers in the seven US coral reef jurisdictions. NOAA will use these documents in conjunction with its 2010.2015 Coral Reef Conservation Program National Goals and Objectives to direct its investment in each jurisdiction through grants, cooperative agreements and internal funding.
Abstract : This project is a follow-up to the Coral Reef Conservation Program's Management Priority Setting process finished in 2010. Using the management priorities identified by each jurisdiction as a framework, the capacity assessments are designed to identify capacity gaps in light of that jurisdiction's priority goals and objectives, and provide recommendations to fill those gaps. The assessment is geared toward understanding capacity gaps in local agencies with the responsibility to manage coral reefs, but the recommendations are meant to engage the larger conservation communities in the jurisdictions, other federal partners in the Coral Reef Task Force, and NGOs.
Abstract : An important component of NOAA's Coral Program efforts to protect coral reef ecosystems from land based sources of pollution (LBSP) has been the development of watershed management plans (WMPs) and conservation action plans. WMPs and CAPs outline a comprehensive set of actions and an overall management strategy for improving and protecting each jurisdiction's priority watershed sites from nonpoint and point sources of pollution.
Abstract : The CRCP Roadmap for the Future called for the development of a suite of performance measures and evaluation criteria to track progress toward addressing three key threats to coral reef ecosystems . impacts of climate change, fishing, and land-base sources of pollution. Based on the NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program Goals and Objectives 2010-2015, specific performance measures were developed to track on-the-ground outcomes. In May 2010, the new CRCP Performance Measures were approved by the Senior Management Council and in May 2011 this manual was completed to assist CRCP Project Managers ensure the results of their work contribute to the new measures and that they understand the process to report the results of their work.
National Coral Reef Monitoring Program - Status Reports
NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP) supports the National Coral Reef Monitoring Program (NCRMP) throughout the U.S. Pacific, Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean coral reef areas. This program is a strategic framework for conducting sustained observations of biological, climatic, and socioeconomic indicators in U.S. states and territories. The resulting data provide a robust picture of the condition of U.S. coral reef ecosystems and the communities connected to them.
Ecosystem condition status reports are a common approach to synthesizing a large amount of ecosystem monitoring data into a public-friendly report that can be understood by decision makers, managers, and scientists alike. Fundamentally, status reports help answer the question "How is the ecosystem doing?" The goals of a status report are to: provide a broad-level assessment, communicate complex information, use real data, and engage communities.
CRCP Technical Memorandum Series
The following documents are part of NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program Technical Memorandum (Tech Memo) Series. Recent documents are listed on this page and older reports can be found in the Key Documents - Archive. They are scientific gray literature.
The National Coral Reef Monitoring Program released a new report on biological monitoring data, including benthic and fish data, from the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. The report summarizes the status of coral reef biological data in the region from the most recent data collection in 2019, and is also the first Atlantic biological report to show trends from sampling every two years since 2013.
Abstract: The Socioeconomic Component of the National Coral Reef Monitoring Program (NCRMP) gathers and monitors a collection of socioeconomic data in seven U.S. coral jurisdictions. The team started its second monitoring cycle with data collection in South Florida in 2019, and recently released their report of summary findings along with a new infographic. The report outlines current human dimensions information relevant to coral reef resources in South Florida, as well as trends between the first (2014) and second monitoring cycles, while the infographic focuses solely on the 2019 findings. Survey results are representative of each of the five counties adjacent to Florida's coral reef tract: Martin, Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade, and Monroe.
Abstract: This project report describes a novel approach to develop a spatially explicit model to predict the frequency of low-stand events. This will help guide the selection of restoration sites, and identify both sites at future risk and those with greater refuge from low-stand events that could benefit from increased management. Benthic surveys to evaluate mortality were undertaken at 18 sites around Guam that experienced significant coral mortality from recent extreme low-tide events or were strategically selected for geographic representation around the island. At these sites, tidal variations were logged over five-week periods, and critical depth thresholds (e.g., past subaerial exposure) were determined. The tidal data from the sites were correlated with long-term data from the Apra Harbor tide gauge on Guam. Using the derived relationships and depth thresholds, and modifying a model used to predict high-tide (or nuisance) events, spatially-explicit predictions of vulnerability to subaerial exposure were produced (see map). This analysis has demonstrated the applicability of the methodology to other sites in the Pacific region, such as American Samoa and the Saipan Lagoon in CNMI, each of which has experienced similar, significant, recent coral loss.
Abstract: Recent losses of Dendrogyra cylindrus from the wild have been due largely to the panzootic of Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTLD). In 2016, a multi-institutional collaboration began rescuing the remaining genotypes from the wild and placing them into ex situ and in situ nurseries. NOAA NOS NCCOS Coral Health and Disease Program (Charleston SC) conducted exploratory treatments to recover and rehabilitate D. cylindrus genotypes. This NOAA Technical Memorandum chronicles over four years (2016-2019) and seven collection and rescue events, experimental treatments, and rehabilitation of Dendrogyra cylindrus genotypes afflicted with SCTLD from Florida reefs.
Abstract: 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.
Abstract: This report outlines human dimensions information relevant to coral reef resources in the United States Virgin Islands (USVI). The findings here are derived from a combination of data gathered through household surveys conducted from February to April 2017, and additional secondary sources of socioeconomic information for the region. Survey results show that USVI residents participate in beach recreation and swimming most frequently. Additionally, 40% of residents indicated that they participate in fishing or gathering of marine resources. Perceptions concerning marine resource condition tend to vary amongst USVI residents, they generally support a range of potential marine management policies and regulations, and are moderately familiar with the various threats facing coral reefs. Further, 92% of residents agree that coral reefs are important to their culture.
Abstract : This report outlines human dimensions information relevant to coral reef resources in the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). The findings here are derived from a combination of data gathered through household surveys conducted from August 2016 to April 2017, and additional secondary sources of socioeconomic information for the region. Survey results show that CNMI residents participate in beach recreation and swimming most frequently. Additionally, 38% of residents indicated that they participate in fishing or gathering of marine resources. Perceptions concerning marine resource condition tend to vary amongst CNMI residents, they generally support a range of potential marine management policies and regulations, and are moderately familiar with the various threats facing coral reefs.
Abstract : This technical memorandum presents the findings from the initial Guam NCRMP socioeconomic data collection. The report presents preliminary social indicators and provides examples of how indicators can be used to analyze changes over time in a long term setting. The main objective is to lay the groundwork for combining and comparing socioeconomic variables with a goal of developing meaningful indicators that can be used to examine trends in human dimensions of coral reef resources and better understand human influences on effective coral reef conservation. It should be noted that this report presents information that, in many instances, is being collected for the first time. In all instances, the information represents baseline socioeconomic data for the NCRMP.
Abstract : This U.S.-wide data summary report is the first developed since the formal implementation of the NCRMP in 2013. The primary audience for this data summary report and the publically available summary data is the scientific and management community. Greater than 95% of the data presented in this report was collected between 2015 and 2017. All summary-level data presented within the report are available via the NOAA Coral Reef Information System (CoRIS), and raw data are available through the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). The methods used to collect the data presented within this report can be found within reports made available with this report on the NOAA CoRIS webpage.
Abstract : This report outlines human dimensions information relevant to coral reef resources in the state of Hawai'i. The study findings were derived from a combination of data gathered through household surveys conducted in November of 2014 and additional secondary sources of socioeconomic information for the region. Survey results show that Hawai'i residents participate in swimming and beach recreation most frequently. The study also revealed that the majority of Hawai'i residents support a range of potential marine management policies and regulations, and are for the most part familiar with the various threats faced by coral reefs (such as hurricanes, pollution, and coastal development).
Abstract : Coral reef resilience is the capacity of a reef to resist or recover from degradation and maintain provision of ecosystem goods and services. Resilience assessments involve measuring or assessing resilience indicators (e.g., coral disease, coral recruitment and herbivorous fish biomass) and producing an aggregate score that expresses resilience potential for all sites as relative to the site with the highest (assessed) resilience potential. Across the shallow reef sites of Guam, higher resilience potential correlated most strongly with high coral cover and high coral recruitment and low resilience potential sites were negatively correlated with these same two indicators. Across the deep reef sites of Guam, higher resilience potential correlated most strongly with high coral recruitment, low macroalgae, high herbivore biomass and high coral cover.
Abstract : This report outlines human dimensions information relevant to coral reef resources in Puerto Rico. In 2014, the Puerto Rican government designated nine socioeconomic regions: Aguadilla, Arecibo, Bayamon, Caguas, Carolina, Humacao, Mayaguez, Ponce, and San Juan (Nieves 2014). The survey results contained within this document are representative of each of the regions. The findings were derived from a combination of data gathered through household surveys conducted from December 2014 to February 2015, and additional secondary sources of socioeconomic information for the region.
Abstract : The Adaptation Design Tool can be used to incorporate climate change adaptation into management plans using existing planned actions as a starting point, and also to guide development of additional climate-smart strategies as needed. The Adaptation Design Tool includes worksheets, instructions, and examples as well as information on expanded considerations, resources and lessons learned to support managers in using the tool. Fillable versions of the worksheets are available for download.
Abstract : This report presents results from resilience and bleaching surveys conducted at two different depths along priority areas of South Kohala and North Kona in October of 2015. These surveys were conducted as a collaborative effort with the Hawaii Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR), The Nature Conservancy, SymbioSeas, NOAA Coral Reef Ecosystem Program, and community organizations.
CRCP Technical Report Series
The following documents are part of NOAA's Coral Reef: Conservation Program Technical Report (Tech Report) Series. This series was begun in 2010. They are scientific gray literature.
Abstract : Coral reefs throughout the world are subjected to a number of anthropogenic stressors. Some of the most pervasive of these are a result of climate change. Increasing sea surface temperature of the world.s oceans is resulting in unprecedented, mass coral bleaching events wherein coral polyps expel their symbiotic zooxanthellae. Research also suggests these disturbances make coral reefs more susceptible to disease. Occurrences of mass bleaching and disease outbreaks prompted the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to create Coral Reef Watch, a program that monitors many of the indicators of these events using satellites. Coral Reef Watch provides coral reef managers with near-realtime alerts of bleaching conditions as they develop. For Coral Reef Watch to adequately monitor the environmental conditions of coral reefs throughout the world, it is imperative that collaborations exist between coral reef ecosystem biologists, managers and remote sensing scientists. This technical reportdocuments a workshop held in 2010 in which experts from around the worldconvened to share information and brainstorm about threats to coral reefecosystems as a result of climate change. In addition, these experts discussedadditional risks to coral reefs and potential remote sensing tools that couldbe developed in order to monitor the threats. This technical report providessubstantive information on experts. current understandings of coral reefbiology, best management practices for coral reef ecosystem management, andtechnical considerations for using environmental remote sensing to aid inthese research and managerial pursuits. (NOAA Technical Report CRCP 1)