09/02/14 – DLNR Hosts National Meeting In West Maui To Address Coral Reef Issues

Posted on Sep 2, 2014 in Aquatic Resources, News Releases

DEPARTMENT OF LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES
News Release

NEIL ABERCROMBIE
GOVERNOR
WILLIAM J. AILA JR,
CHAIRPERSON

For Immediate News Release September 2, 2014

DLNR HOSTS NATIONAL MEETING IN WEST MAUI
TO ADDRESS CORAL REEF ISSUES

HONOLULU – The Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) will host attendees of the 32nd United States Coral Reef Task Force (USCRTF) meeting in
Ka‘anapali, Maui, from Sept. 8 to 12, 2014. Participants will discuss key national issues, propose new actions, and present the latest progress in the effort to protect, restore, and sustainably use coral reef ecosystems.

The USCRTF was established in 1998 by Presidential Executive Order and includes leaders from 12 federal agencies; seven U.S. states, territories and commonwealths; and three Freely Associated States to further the understanding and conservation of coral reefs.

The Meeting
This action-oriented meeting will include several themed workshops, smaller issue-specific meetings, site visits, and opportunities for the public to engage with participants and learn more about their efforts. The main event of the week is a formal business meeting on Sept. 11 at The Westin Maui, where representatives from each participating agency, state, and/or territory will present accomplishments, address regional priorities, and outline next steps in coral conservation strategies.

West Maui
“Kâ‘anapali, Maui, was chosen as the meeting location for its national and local significance,” DLNR Chair and USCRTF member William J. Aila, Jr. explained. “DLNR’s Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) identified this region as a priority management area and, in 2009, established the Kahekili Herbivore Fisheries Management Area (KHFMA) to legally protect herbivores and promote coral reef recovery.”

In 2011, the USCRTF designated West Maui as a priority watershed partnership incorporating holistic resource management at the ahupua‘a, or watershed level. This designation builds on established efforts and leverages resources to reduce one of the key sources of coral reef decline – land-based pollution.

In 2012, a comprehensive effort known as the West Maui Ridge to Reef Initiative (WMR2R) was formalized and resulted in several on-the-ground efforts including planting rain gardens, reducing erosion, limiting landscaping impacts, and engaging the community in actions to improve ocean health. Coral reef monitoring data shows recent improvements in the condition of West Maui’s corals and fish populations. This upturn may be an early sign that protection of herbivores and efforts to reduce pollution are leading to improved conditions for coral growth.

Learn More and Contribute
“We encourage the public to learn more about coral reefs through this meeting and the multitude of volunteer and educational programs statewide,” Aila said.

There will be an opportunity for citizens to participate in a public comment period from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. during the business meeting on Sept 11.

For more information and meeting details visit: www.uscrtf2014.weebly.com (videos at http://uscrtf2014.weebly.com/updates)

For more information about coral reefs in Hawai‘i: www.dlnr.hawaii.gov/dar

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Media Contact:
Deborah Ward
Public Information Specialist
(808) 587-0320