At the 40th U.S. Coral Reef Task Force Meeting in 2018 in American Samoa, the USCRTF adopted Resolution 40.1 "Coral Reef Restoration Urgent Action, which called for the formation of a Restoration and Intervention Working Group (RWG) to respond to threats by increasing capacity to improve coral reef ecosystem resilience via place-based efforts that include coral restoration.

Issue Statement

Various stressors, including accelerated ocean warming and changing ocean chemistry, sedimentation, pollution, increased occurrence of disease, and unsustainable fishing practices, have reduced live coral cover worldwide and within U.S. jurisdictions. The Restoration and Intervention Working Group will work to take economical and effective actions to aid coral recovery while reducing external stressors, aiming to more rapidly restore coral reef ecosystems, even as environmental conditions deteriorate.


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

  1. Provide support and guidance for locally-driven implementation strategies developed by each jurisdiction for coral resilience that include development of coral nurseries for resilient coral colonies of prioritized reef-building species.
  2. Develop a strategy that identifies and prioritizes actions to improve coral reef restoration and propagation actions to improve resilience as well as longer-term strategies. These strategies should be based upon the best available science, including identification and propagation of thermal-, disease-, and/or pollution-resistant coral species, live-coral cultivation facilities, and out-planting designed to recover ecosystem function. Additionally, a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation plan should be developed, which includes a determination of science that is sufficiently robust and replicable to develop effective and economic measures to improve resilience, and tests to determine their efficacy and efficiency.
  3. Identify, through existing programs and within existing authorities, ways to support this resolution, via technical, financial, or other support.
  4. Identify and explore through authorities and programs, and partnerships across federal and state governments, as well as other non-governmental, academic and private partners, alternative pathways for additional support.
  5. Support coordination on priority issues through place-based partnerships, such as the Watershed Partnership Initiative, and via other active support networks, like the Climate Change Working Group.
  6. Develop a list of actions with timelines and milestones to ensure action and measurable progress for the work group for the next 5 years. The Action Plan will be submitted for approval by the working group to the Task Force during the 41st U.S. Coral Reef Task Force meeting in February 2019.