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U.S. EPA and NRCS Sponsor Coral Reef Workshop in Honolulu

Release Date: 6/24/2003
Contact Information: Dean Higuchi, (808) 541-2711

Workshop to focus on threats to coral from land based pollution
     HONOLULU   The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's, Pacific Southwest Region and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's, Natural Resources Conservation Service are hosting a Pacific Regional workshop on coral reefs and land based pollution today in Honolulu for environmental officials from the Pacific Islands.

     "The workshop will provide Pacific Island environmental officials the resources needed to protect coral reefs from the many sources of pollution," said Wayne Nastri, regional administrator of the U.S. EPA's Pacific Southwest Region. "EPA is working creatively to use our programs, authorities, and grants to protect reefs that are essential to the food supply, economy, culture, and shoreline protection of the Pacific Islands."
     At the workshop the various Pacific Island representatives will discuss the impacts of pollution on reef ecosystems and strategies for reducing pollution threats to coral reefs.

     "Workshops like this provide us the opportunity to share our successes, experiences, and tools as we work toward managing land based pollutants and reducing their effects on our reefs," said Larry Yamamoto, state conservationist of the Natural Resources Conservation Service."This strengthening of our communications network is very important to the success of our collaborative efforts."    
     The Pacific Regional workshop is a result of a resolution made at the October 2002 U.S. Coral Reef Task Force meetings to improve coral conservation. The Task Force identified land based sources of pollution as one of the key threats facing coral reef ecosystems along with:

    recreational overuse and misuse of reef areas,
    the lack of public awareness on the importance of coral reef ecosystems,
    climate change and coral bleaching, and
    diseases that impact corals.
     The Task Force recommended that each state and territory and its federal partners work cooperatively to develop locally focused three year action strategies. The Pacific workshop, in addition to one later in the year for the Caribbean and Atlantic regions, will help to identify and implement the action strategies to address coral reef protection issues.
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