FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Ben Sherman
News Releases 2003
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The U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Department of the Interior will convene the 10th U.S. Coral Reef Task Force (USCRTF) meeting in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) and the Territory of Guam October 3 and 6. The two-day meeting will be co-hosted by the governments of CNMI and Guam with one day of activity slated for each location.
The USCRTF will discuss implementation of the National Coral Reef Action Strategy, progress concerning development of three-year “Local Action Strategies,” the results of research reef assessments in the Pacific Island region, and ways in which the task force and its member agencies can help build capacity to protect coral reef ecosystems in the Pacific and globally.
Co-chaired by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Tim Keeney, deputy assistant secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere, and Craig Manson, assistant secretary of the interior, the meeting will be attended by representatives of 12 federal agencies; governors of seven states, territories and commonwealths; and representatives of the Republic of Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of Palau.
“Coral reefs are some of the most diverse and valuable marine ecosystems on the planet. Protecting these important ecosystems, and the communities and economies that depend on them is a high priority for the United States and others in the international community,” Keeney said. “This meeting of the Coral Reef Task Force, set in the midst of island communities with a long history of use and management of reef habitats, emphasizes the continuing need by all interested parties to work together to safeguard this culturally, economically and ecologically valuable resource.”
At the meeting, the USCRTF will consider a series of resolutions calling for improvement of Pacific waste water treatments and other measures to reduce impacts of pollution on reefs; continuation of a NOAA-sponsored Marianas Reef Assessment Monitoring Program; increasing collaborations between various international activities and the USCRTF; the establishment of an integrated program for understanding local and system-wide impacts of climate change on corals reefs; and development of response plans in collaboration with the Department of Homeland Security to reduce impacts on coral reef habitats during natural disasters.
Additionally, Keeney is expected to announce NOAA Sea Grant’s commitment to establishing a presence at the University of Guam and to capacity building in the Pacific region in conjunction with other NOAA programs.
The Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources.
NOAA coral reef programs: http://www.coris.noaa.gov
coral reef publications: http://www.coralreef.noaa.gov