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Contact EPA Pacific Southwest Water Division

Pacific Southwest, Region 9

Serving: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, Tribal Nations

Oceans, Coasts, and Estuaries
- Protecting Coral Reefs

Coral reefs are valued for their diversity and beauty, but are increasingly threatened worldwide by natural and human-caused stressors. To address threats such as land-based pollution and coastal development, EPA, Pacific Southwest’s office is applying a range of regulatory and non-regulatory environmental programs to monitor and protect coral reefs.

Coral Reef Strategy

Coral reefs are threatened globally by the impacts of climate change and local stress such as land-based and marine pollution. Scientists tell us that 90 percent of all coral will be threatened by 2030 if we do nothing. The best opportunity we have to protect coral for future generations, other than reducing greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, is to limit the amount of local stress on the coral by maintaining coral ecosystems with healthy food webs and clean, clear water.

EPA’s Pacific Southwest coral reef strategy (PDF) (5 pp, 700K) improves EPA’s focus on coral reef protection. The strategy builds upon what is known about the threats to coral reefs to direct existing tools and resources in the most efficient and beneficial way possible. EPA intends to implement the strategy in partnership with state, territorial, non-governmental, and other federal agencies.

Photo Credit: EPA Region 9 Administrator Jared Blumenfeld
Photo of:

Damselfish swim among vast beds of "Acropora" spp. corals in Palau. Photo by Jim Maragos, FWS.

Photo of: Photo by Kathy Chaston

Sediment from erosion in coastal watersheds and construction sites threaten coral reefs in Hawai'i. Photo by Kathy Chaston

Photo of: Photo by Jim Maragos, FWS

Stony corals exhibit a diversity of forms including the solitary mushroom coral Fungia fungites, surrounded by a colony of Porites rus. Photo by Jim Maragos, FWS

Photo of: Photo by Jim Maragos, FWS

Coral reefs support a diversity of marine organisms such as crinoids attached to a sea fan in Palau. Photo by Jim Maragos, FWS.

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Coastal wetland taro fields in Hanalei Watershed on the island of Kaua'i, Hawai'i.

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