The Coral Restoration Consortium, a community of practice comprised of scientists, managers, and coral restoration practitioners, is hosting the Reef Futures 2018 symposium in Key Largo, Florida from December 10 to 14. The symposium is the first truly global conference on coral reef restoration, and will bring together over 400 conservationists, scientists, and experts from more than 30 countries to share the latest science and techniques for coral reef restoration. NOAA is a member of the Coral Restoration Consortium and a sponsor of the conference.
Highlights of the symposium include a plenary session on a recently released National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) interim report on coral interventions, which was sponsored by NOAA and brought together international experts to evaluate new restoration strategies, along with the associated risks and benefits. Another plenary session will include information on participating in the XPRIZE Saving Coral Reefs competition. NOAA staff served as subject matter experts during this year’s XPRIZE Visioneering—where the concept of Saving Coral Reefs was selected as the next XPRIZE competition—and will continue to support the refinement of the competition parameters. Additional activities at Reef Futures 2018 will include field trips to local restoration sites, workshops on hands-on restoration training and high-resolution coral reef mapping, and a youth leaders training.
Coral reefs provide food and income through tourism, fisheries, and shoreline protection—valued at tens of billions to trillions of dollars each year globally. However, coral reefs are at risk due to stressors such as climate change, unsustainable fishing practices, and land-based sources of pollution. Restoring self-sustaining reefs using novel ecological interventions will buy tropical reefs time until ocean temperatures return to levels at which reefs can thrive.
The NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program was established in 2000 by the Coral Reef Conservation Act. Headquartered in Silver Spring, Maryland, the program is part of NOAA's Office for Coastal Management.