Climate Change Working Group

Introduction

Background: At the 18th U.S. Coral Reef Task Force (USCRTF) Meeting in 2007 in American Samoa, the USCRTF adopted Resolution 18.1: Coral Reefs and Climate Change, which called for the formation of a Climate Change Working Group (CCWG) to specifically focus on threats to coral reefs from climate change. In 2012, when the USCRTF returned to American Samoa, the members passed Resolution 28:2: Coral Reefs and Climate Change Renewed Call to Action - reaffirming the commitment of the members to work together to understand, reduce, and adapt to the impacts of climate change on coral reef ecosystems.

Issue Statement: Climate change and ocean acidification continue to intensify as global threats to coral reefs. As USCRTF Federal and State/Territory agencies and partners document ongoing and accelerating declines in coral reef ecosystems, there is a rising urgency to design and implement climate change adaptation measures that will enable successful management in light of these changes. This requires accounting for, and adjusting to, the effects of climate change and ocean acidification across all coral reef conservation, mitigation and restoration efforts. Only by understanding and adapting to the effects of climate change and ocean acidification will it be possible to meet the USCRTF mandate to protect and enhance the condition of coral reef ecosystems and safeguard their sustainability for future generations.

Actions: The USCRTF commits to increasing its efforts across Federal and State/Territory agencies to:

  • Continue to support Vulnerability and Adaptation Science through development of advanced methods and tools to: assess the vulnerability and resilience of coral reef ecosystems to climate change and ocean acidification; and design effective adaptation responses.
  • Facilitate information transfer from Science to Management and support capacity building for application of vulnerability and adaptation planning tools and enable their application to practical management actions on the ground.
  • Advance Integration Across the Task Force of climate change adaptation concepts and measures throughout USCRTF plans, programs and activities.

Accomplishments

Actions: The USCRTF commits to increasing its efforts across Federal and State/Territory agencies to:

  • Continue to support Vulnerability and Adaptation Science through development of advanced methods and tools to: assess the vulnerability and resilience of coral reef ecosystems to climate change and ocean acidification; and design effective adaptation responses.
  • Facilitate information transfer from Science to Management and support capacity building for application of vulnerability and adaptation planning tools and enable their application to practical management actions on the ground.
  • Advance Integration Across the Task Force of climate change adaptation concepts and measures throughout USCRTF plans, programs and activities.

Vulnerability & Adaptation Science

Resilience-based Management:

Resilience Assessments:

Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
Florida
Hawaii
USVI - St. Croix

Adaptation Planning (Corals and Climate Adaptation Planning Project)

Climate-smart Design (CCAP Adaptation Design Tool)

Integration Across the Task Force

Presentations

Climate Change Working Group Webinar Series

2017

  • January: Exposure to and effects of organic ultraviolet filters in tropical and subtropical corals - Dr. Margaret Murphy (AAAS Fellow, US EPA)
  • March: Ocean acidification and warming impair calcification and survivorship of Caribbean corals - Colleen Bove (University of North Carolina Chapel Hill)
  • May: Coral reef community response to ocean acidification in the Palau archipelago - Dr. Hannah Barkley (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute)
  • June: Actions to Promote Recovery Following a Mass Bleaching Event: Hawaii's Coral Bleaching Recovery Plan - Anne Chung (University of Hawaii)
  • July: Lensing and MiDAR: New remote sensing technologies with coral reef applications - Dr. Ved Chirayath (NASA)
  • September: Human Impacts to Coastal Ecosystems in PR (HICE-PR) and a new Citizen Science approach to assess the current condition of reefs in PR - Dr. Juan Torres-P�rez (NASA)

2016

  • January: Impacts and Initiatives: Climate Change in the Republic of the Marshall Islands - Don Hess (College of the Marshall Islands) and Karl Fellenius (University of Hawaii Sea Grant)
  • April: Coral coping with climate change - Dr. Andrea Grottoli (The Ohio State University)
  • May: Long-term, Integrated, Interdisciplinary Monitoring of the Ecological Impacts of Ocean Acidification on Coral Reefs Across the Pacific Islands - Dr. Rusty Brainard (NOAA Fisheries Service)
  • July: Coral and Climate Adaptation Planning (CCAP) project update - Dr. Jordan West (US EPA)
  • August: Gu�nica Bay Adaptation Design Tool Case Study & Puerto Rico Coral Reef Resilience Assessment - David Gibbs (ORISE Fellow, US EPA)
  • October: Guam/CNMI Task Force ReCap - Tanya Code (US EPA)

2015

  • May: Corals and Climate Adaptation Planning Project: Conservation in Action -Jordan West (US EPA)
  • June: Surviving climate change: the role of acclimatization in ref-building corals - Dr. Iliana Baums (Pennsylvania State University)
  • July: NASA's Eyes from the Skies on Coastal Ecosystems - Dr. Liane Guild (NASA)
  • August: Risk-based adaptation using EPA's "Being Prepared for Climate Change" workbook - Dr. Michael Craghan (US EPA)
  • September: LEAP Implementation in Micronesia - Meghan Gombos (Sea Change Consulting)
  • October: Supporting Climate Change Adaptation in the Coral Triangle - Britt Parker (NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program)
  • November: Finding resilience in a sea of sickness - Dr. Erinn Muller (Mote Marine Lab)
  • December: A Review of the U.S. State and Territory Statutory Authorities for Emergency Rulemaking to Address Threats to Coral Reefs in a Changing Climate - David Sakoda, JD (Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources) and Dr. Catherine Courtney (Tetra Tech)

Panels and Workshops at Task Force Meetings

38th Meeting, Florida (August 2017)

37th Meeting, Washington, DC (February 2017)

36th Meeting, Marianas (September 2016)

35th Meeting, Washington, DC (February 2016)

34th Meeting, Fajardo, Puerto Rico (October 2015)

33rd Meeting, Washington DC (February 2015)

28th Meeting, American Samoa (2012)

24th Meeting - Saipan, CNMI (September 2010)

23rd Meeting - Washington DC (February 2010)