Regulatory programs do not address the full spectrum of conservation challenges nor do they provide all the tools needed for comprehensive habitat conservation. Partnerships are important for protecting and conserving aquatic habitat while continuing to provide ecological and economic benefits. New conservation challenges (e.g., climate change, prolonged droughts, and population growth) require engagement from the broader stewardship community, and we work with a variety of partnership entities comprising various federal, state, local, private, and non-profit groups.
NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program
The Coral Reef Conservation Program was established in 2000 by the Coral Reef Conservation Act and is a partnership among the NOAA Line Offices that work on coral reef issues:
- National Ocean Service
- National Marine Fisheries Service
- Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research
- National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service
The Program brings together expertise from across NOAA for a multidisciplinary approach to understanding and conserving these complex ecosystems to inform more effective management.
Habitat Conservation Division staff coordinate with coastal resource managers in Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) to develop technical information and establish interagency partnerships addressing fishery management priorities. In Florida, work focuses on reducing land-based sources of pollution, coordinating a Florida reef-tract-wide fisheries independent monitoring effort, and assisting the Southeast Florida Coral Reef Initiative. (SEFCRI)
In the USVI and Puerto Rico, the focus is on outreach and education opportunities with fishers through the annual fisher registration/licensing processes. These annual workshops improve the process for building awareness and knowledge of fisheries management regulations in USVI and Puerto Rico.
Southeast Aquatic Resource Partnership (SARP)
The SARP is a regional collaboration of natural resource agencies, conservation organizations and private interests developed to strengthen the management and conservation of aquatic resources in the southeastern United States. Habitat Conservation Division staff serve on the SARP Steering Committee, the SARP Science and Data Subcommittees, and as a co-chair with the State of Florida on the Coastal Workgroup. (SARP)
National Estuary Program (NEP)
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Estuary Program established community-based programs across the country to safeguard the health of important coastal ecosystems. The Habitat Conservation Division serves on technical and management committees of several NEPs in the southeastern United States including the Galveston Bay Estuary Program in Texas, the Barataria-Terrebonne NEP in Louisiana, and in Florida the Tampa Bay, Sarasota Bay, and Charlotte Harbor NEPs.