A snorkeler dives to plant a coral fragment with elkhorn coral in the background.
Coral as a Priority A member of our USVI team outplants coral fragments. © Matthew Davies/TNC

Caribbean Currents Newsletter

TNC Participates in U.S. Coral Reef Task Force Meeting

From October 24 to 26, 2023, TNC in the Caribbean staff from the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Policy and Strategy programs and Science teams attended the 47th U.S. Coral Reef Task Force meeting in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. The task force meets biannually to discuss key issues, propose actions and present progress related to coral reef conservation and monitoring efforts across the U.S., its territories and associated states with coral reefs. It includes leaders of federal agencies and coral reef management staff from states and territories around the world.

TNC's Denise Perez stands next to a large screen and makes a presentation.
GIS Science in Focus Denise Perez of the TNC Caribbean Science team presents the Blue Carbon Explorer at the USVI Coral Reef Task Force Meeting © Tania Metz/TNC

Denise Perez of the TNC in the Caribbean Science team presents the Blue Carbon explorer at the USVI Task Force Meeting.

During the meeting, TNC in the Caribbean sponsored a breakfast event for 100 attendees, where we provided information about TNC’s ocean priorities and Caribbean coral strategy. Elizabeth Shaver presented on coral strategy; Jessica Ward presented on on-the-ground activities at the Coral Innovation Hub in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands; Tania Metz presented on TNC’s work in Puerto Rico; and Denise Perez presented on our open-access science tools including our benthic habitat maps, Blue Carbon Explorer tool, and coral climate refugia models, which help to identify critically important reefs for conservation and restoration.

TNC staff also participated in a coral disease workshop, panel discussions and field site visits. At one of these site visits, USVI Governor Albert announced an executive order proclaiming the ecosystems of the USVI as “natural infrastructure,” recognizing the vital role they play in protecting and supporting coastal communities.