Diverse, Productive Coastal and Marine Places
The beauty of ocean and coastal areas is hard to dispute. These areas are also essential to satisfying our increasing appetite for energy, food, goods, and services. Through innovative management and protection activities, NOS worked in 2010 to balance environmental conservation, economic development, and recreational enjoyment to ensure our special coastal and ocean areas are available today and for future generations.
- Identifying and Focusing Support on Top Priority Needs of Reef Managers in U.S. Coral Reef Regions
The Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP) is focusing its efforts and resources on the priority needs, as identified by the management community in each U.S. reef region, to reduce the impacts from the top three threats to coral ecosystems – climate change impacts, fishing impacts, and impacts from land based sources of pollution. The outcomes from a series of workshops and consensus-building are seven strategic planning documents, released in May, 2010. These documents articulate the top priorities developed by the coral reef resource managers in each of the U.S. coral reef jurisdictions, which include American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Florida, Guam, Hawai`i, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The CRCP provided support to the jurisdictions to coordinate with the broader management community in each place to determine the local management priorities. NOAA will use these documents in conjunction with its 2010–2015 Coral Reef Conservation Program National Goals and Objectives to direct its investment in each jurisdiction through grants, cooperative agreements, and internal funding.
- Agreement Reached to Restore Fish and Bird Habitat in Lower Duwamish Waterway
On May 4, a settlement agreement was filed with the court to resolve liability of the Boeing Corporation for injury to natural resources from releases of hazardous substances from Boeing properties along the Lower Duwamish River. The agreement includes two restoration projects (comprising 4.8 acres) creating habitat for out-migrating juvenile salmon, flatfish, crabs, and shorebirds. Boeing also agrees to contribute to a long term stewardship fund and repay almost $2 million of the natural resource trustee’s costs.
The Duwamish River runs through downtown Seattle, and contains three Superfund sites related to historical contamination from shipping, manufacturing, and other heavy industries. This is a cooperative negotiated settlement between Boeing and the Elliott Bay Trustee Council (comprised of NOAA, U.S. Department of Interior, State of Washington, the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, and the Suquamish Tribe).
- Hawai‘i Marine Debris Action Plan Completed
The NOAA Marine Debris Program (MDP) led the coordination in Hawai‘i of the first statewide action plan to address marine debris. The Hawai‘i Marine Debris Action Plan was rolled out to decision makers and potential funders in January 2010. With support from the NOAA Pacific Services Center and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 9, MDP hosted a series of seven workshops in Honolulu from June 2007 to October 2009 to develop strategic actions to address marine debris across the Hawaiian Archipelago. Approximately 80 representatives of federal agencies, state and county governments, academia, and the private sector worked on the plan. Participants outlined previous and ongoing activities, developed focus areas and objectives, and refined or proposed new strategic actions under four results-oriented goals: backlog of marine debris reduced, introduction of solid waste and fishing gear at sea and coastal areas decreased, number of abandoned and derelict vessels decreased, and land-based debris in waterways reduced. The MDP and marine debris partners across the state continue to work on refining and implementing the action plan.
- Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument Becomes First Mixed UNESCO World Heritage Site in the U.S.
Delegates to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) 34th World Heritage Convention in Brasilia, Brazil, agreed July 30, 2010, to inscribe Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument as one of only 26 mixed (natural and cultural) World Heritage Sites in the world. The monument is the first U.S. site nominated to the World Heritage List in 15 years, as well as the nation’s first mixed site to be added to the list. Co-managed by NOAA, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the State of Hawaii, Papahānaumokuākea covers nearly 140,000 square miles of remote ocean and coral reefs in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. The monument’s inscription to the World Heritage List recognizes the global significance of its near-pristine habitats, diverse marine life, and living, indigenous, cultural connections to the sea.