In October 2023, the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force (USCRTF) approved a resolution that designates coral reefs along U.S. states and territories as national infrastructure. This resolution makes it easier to direct federal funding, particularly infrastructure, hazard mitigation and disaster recovery monies, to reef conservation and restoration to protect people, property, and livelihoods.
The resolution, USCRTF Resolution 47.2 Coral Reefs as National Natural Infrastructure, solidifies the importance of nature-based solutions to protecting coasts from the impacts of climate change and will make it easier to apply U.S. federal funding to preserve its natural infrastructure. Previous work by University of California – Santa Cruz and the U.S. Geological Survey demonstrated that coral reefs are especially important for protecting underserved, underrepresented, and vulnerable populations. This work will help redirect funding associated with hazard mitigation so that it is invested equitably in cost-effective natural defenses and will help those disproportionately impacted in coastal communities.
Partners on this project included the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the University of California – Santa Cruz. This group previously led the development of guidance on Coral Reef Restoration for Risk Reduction (CR4). That guidance was approved and published by the Task Force, and this resolution represents the follow-up action requested by the USCRTF.
By: U.S. Coral Reef Task Force National Natural Infrastructure Working Group