The 34th Meeting of the U. S. Coral Reef Task Force is tomorrow, Thursday, Oct. 29 from 8:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. and 2:00- 5:15 p.m. at The El Conquistador Hotel, Pablo Casals Ballroom, Fajardo, Puerto Rico.
When the 18th U.S. Coral Reef Task Force met in 2007 in American Samoa, they made a point of addressing how climate change was threatening the coral reef ecosystems. At that time, they adopted a resolution on climate change, which called for the formation of a Climate Change Working Group to specifically focus on impacts of climate change on coral reefs.
Because temperature increases in the air and ocean render corals vulnerable to thermal stress and have a low capacity to adapt was a key point in a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group II Summary for Policymakers. Rising sea surface temperatures could result in more frequent coral bleaching events and widespread mortality. The U.S. Coral Reef Task Force was established in 1998 to lead U.S. efforts to preserve and protect coral reef ecosystems and is holding its biannual meeting from Oct. 24 to 31 in Fajardo, Puerto Rico and emphasizes the importance of coral reef conservation, highlight conservation strategies and successes and promote an enhanced vision for how the task force and its members can meet the challenges facing coral reefs and local communities. Key topics include ongoing research and partnerships in Puerto Rico’s Northeast Marine Corridor and Culebra Island, one of NOAA’s newest habitat blueprint focus areas, local land use and watershed management practices, climate vulnerability and more.
This biannual gathering is co-chaired by the Department of Commerce and the Department of the Interior — brings together representatives from 12 federal agencies, officials from state and territory governments, and delegates from three freely associated states.