For the first time since 2004, the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force (USCRTF) will meet in Florida, providing an opportunity for local input on reef issues of importance to the region and the nation.
The theme of the USCRTF meeting October 17-21 in Ft. Lauderdale is "Integrating Management of the Florida Reef Tract,” and it will specifically address coastal and marine spatial planning, water management and coral reef restoration.
The Ft. Lauderdale meeting is being held in conjunction with the 2nd Reef Resilience Conference, October 18-19, the official workshop of the USCRTF meeting. “Planning for Resilience” in the Florida, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico coral reef context is the focus of that conference, which will combine presentations on biological and social science research conducted in Florida, statements from fishermen and divers who depend upon coral reefs, and small group discussions that will generate input for the Task Force meeting. The conference and public portions of the USCRTF meeting are open to all interested parties.
The USCRTF was established in 1998 by Presidential Executive Order to lead U.S. efforts to preserve and protect coral reef ecosystems. The USCRTF includes leaders of 12 federal agencies, seven states, territories, commonwealths, and three freely associated states. The purpose of the USCRTF is to help build partnerships, strategies and support for on-the-ground action to conserve coral reefs.
The meeting is being organized by a planning committee of more than four dozen local scientists, managers and conservationists. These partners have come together from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, The Nature Conservancy, the Department of Interior, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Mote Marine Lab, University of Miami, Nova Southeastern University’s National Coral Reef Institute, Reef Relief, Miami-Dade Department of Environmental Resources Management, Broward County Environmental Protection and Growth Management Department, and Palm Beach County Environmental Resources Management.
It is anticipated that the meeting, at the Marriott Harbor Beach Hotel in Ft. Lauderdale, will be attended by local scientists, students, environmentalists, business leaders, and other stakeholders who depend upon coral reefs for their livelihoods. Staff and members of the seven U.S. coral reef jurisdictions which include American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianna Islands, Florida, Guam, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, will be participating as well. For more information on this meeting, visit http://www.coralreef.gov.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.
Christopher Boykin (305) 795-1222
Florida Dept. of Environmental Protection