Coral Heroes: The Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources
Throughout the Coral Reef Conservation Program’s 20th Anniversary, we are highlighting Coral Heroes — individuals and organizations that have worked with the program and are making a real difference in coral reef conservation.
Government agencies at all levels—federal, local, and state and territorial—are working together to implement the latest science and technology to conserve, restore, and preserve coral reef ecosystems. While federal agencies, including NOAA, provide high-level support, state and territorial agencies are responsible for enacting the “on the ground” work.
The department has been working with NOAA and other federal, territory, and non-governmental partners on watershed management in several areas including Guánica and Culebra. The partnership is focused on the reduction of land-based sources of pollution into nearby coral reef ecosystems. A successful project includes the introduction of sustainable coffee farming practices that stabilize sediment in the Guánica watershed.
NOAA and the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources work closely together on the continued recovery of coral reefs following the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season. Hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated corals in Puerto Rico and other states and territories. This work has continued for the past three years since coral reefs provide such important ecological and economic services. In fact, the department is also working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to recognize corals as essential structures.
State and territorial agencies like Puerto Rico’s Department of Natural and Environmental Resources are essential partners in coral conservation work and are a true testament to the collaborative nature necessary to preserve coral reefs for current and future generations.
Click on the photo to view a video by FEMA on coral restoration in Culebra following the 2017 hurricane season.
Follow the celebration on our Facebook and Twitter pages and the National Ocean Service Instagram page all year using the hashtag #NOAACoral20th.
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.