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Action plan for restoration of coral reef coastal protection services: Case study example and workbook

February 1, 2022

This report was prepared by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), Office of Research and Development, as part of the Air, Climate and Energy (ACE) research program, with support from Tetra Tech, Inc., and in collaboration with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Geological Survey, and The Nature Conservancy. The ACE research program provides scientific information and tools to support USEPA’s commitment to clean air, clean water and sustainable natural resources, even as environmental conditions change. A key component of this is the development of sound science to support adaptation. Adaptation involves preparing for and adjusting to the effects of climate change and its interactions with other global and local stressors. Because these effects are diverse, interactive, and difficult to predict, adapting management of natural resources in this context can be very challenging.

Coral reefs—which provide valued ecosystem services such as fisheries, coastal protection, and tourism—are threatened by the effects of increased sea surface temperatures, sea level rise, and intensifying storms. These large-scale stressors are interacting with local stressors such as pollution, overfishing, and recreational misuse to drive ongoing and accelerating declines in coral reef ecosystems. Thus, there is a rising urgency to design and implement climate change adaptation measures that will enable reef resilience in the face of these changes. This includes accounting for, and adjusting to, the combined effects of climate change and local stressors in coral reef protection and restoration efforts.

The action plan, example case study, and workbook found in this report demonstrate a structured process for integrating climate-smart design considerations into restoration planning using A Manager’s Guide to Coral Reef Restoration Planning and Design. The focus is a hypothetical coral reef restoration project that has a goal of recovering nature-based coastal protection services using restoration interventions. The intent is to provide readers with a completed example of how to use the Guide workbook to inform a draft action plan, centering on the topic of coastal protection as a burgeoning area of interest in coral reef science and management communities. The information in this hypothetical case study is not intended for direct use; rather, it provides a starting point for more detailed planning that would occur in specific places. And while a full review of the current literature on reef restoration methods is outside the scope of this report, readers are encouraged to use the examples herein as well as in the Guide as a jumping-off point for exploring the rapidly growing body of information on methods, techniques, successes, failures, monitoring challenges and future directions of coral reef restoration in a changing world. The workbook, together with the action plan, can serve as a valuable record of the planning thought process as well as a living document for adaptive management, to be updated through time as improved information becomes available.

Publication Year 2022
Title Action plan for restoration of coral reef coastal protection services: Case study example and workbook
Authors Catherine A. Courtney, Jordon M. West, Curt Storlazzi, T. Shay Viehman, Richard Czaplinski, Erin Hague, Elizabeth C. Shaver
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype Federal Government Series
Series Title EPA Report
Series Number EPA/600/R-21/306
Index ID 70229242
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center