The Coral Reef Alliance

Healthy coral reefs are some of the most diverse and valuable ecosystems on the planet. Nearly a billion people live near coral reefs, with many relying on reefs for food, coastal protection from storms and erosion, and income from fishing, recreation, and tourism*. At a global scale, coral reefs have enormous intrinsic value as the ocean's richest biodiversity hotspot. In addition, coral reef biodiversity is increasingly becoming a primary source for the biological compounds used to develop new medicines. Yet coral reefs also represent one of the most imperiled biomes on the planet. An estimated 60 percent of the world's reefs are under immediate and direct threat from local activities suc...
Sep 8, 2011

What Does a CRLN Leader Do for Coral Reefs?

Kahekili sign dedication
Kahekili sign dedication

The Coral Reef Alliance's success in its project sites around the world is built on a strong network of community members, including our CORAL Reef Leadership Network (CRLN).

By training a network of qualified local CORAL Reef Leaders to conduct and sustain educational outreach and disseminate best practices, CORAL is in essence "training the trainers." The CRLN identifies and recruits respected and motivated local leaders in the marine community so members have the credibility and background knowledge necessary to inspire trust. The leaders' presence on site ensures continuity in an industry known for high turnover and serves as a touchstone on coral conservation in the region.

Training provides leaders with the knowledge and skills to effectively convey CORAL’s educational curriculum about reef conservation, resource management, and sustainable tourism practices to marine recreation providers. Under the guidance of CORAL's field staff and with a stipend to sponsor their efforts, CORAL Reef Leaders are empowered to teach CORAL’s Sustainable Marine Recreation workshops and conduct collaborative outreach in their local region.

In Hawaii, our CORAL Reef Leaders have been also directly educating tourists and encouraging them to follow best practices. They are doing this through our reef etiquette signs. By finding locations for the signs and working with local businesses and communities to install them, our leaders are reducing tourism impact on nearshore reefs. As of September 1, 2011, forty-three signs have been installed over three islands, with five more pending installation. You can find a full list of signs and locations at http://www.coral.org/hawaii_reef_signs. And if you happen to be traveling to Hawaii, please visit one of the signs to see your donations at work.

Thanks to your support, we are able to ensure the continued growth of this important program. Mahalo!

Reef etiquette sign on Kauai
Reef etiquette sign on Kauai

Links:

Jun 15, 2011

The Mangroves Are Growing!

Growing mangrove
Growing mangrove

When we updated you on our mangrove replanting effort in Belize last March, we had just finished planting over 100 mangrove seedlings in several high priority areas of San Pedro.  We have been monitoring the sites since then and are pleased to report that at one of the sites, 39 encasements were set up and 39 now have healthy and growing mangroves; that's a 100% success rate during one of the more challenging times in development.  One of the other sites had 17 encasements set up, but due to "fill" (dirt piled up by the property owners to block waves), 2 of the mangroves have been damaged.  We are currently working to fix this issue.

We know that it could be years before we know the ultimate success of this endeavor, but we are grateful for your support that has given us the resources to even get this far.  Thank you!

Silhouette of a mangrove in its protective tube
Silhouette of a mangrove in its protective tube
Mangrove growth comparison
Mangrove growth comparison
Mar 31, 2011

Mangrove Planting in Belize

Val (foreground) at mangrove workshop
Val (foreground) at mangrove workshop

Mangroves are extremely beneficial to coral reefs. Not only do mangroves act as a natural purifier to prevent harmful pollutants from reaching reefs, but their root systems also provide a breeding ground and nursery for many reef species. Unfortunately for both mangroves and reefs, the high demand for beachfront property in Belize has led to an alarming rate of mangrove destruction. Coastal developers have traditionally favored clearing mangroves and constructing seawalls to prevent erosion, even though mangroves do a better job of minimizing erosion, while providing important coastal habitat.

It's with that background that the Coral Reef Alliance launched a mangrove replenishing effort in San Pedro. With our local partners, as well as renowned mangrove expert Bob Riley, we hosted a workshop on how to effectively restore mangrove habitat and enlisted volunteers to plant nearly 100 seedlings in three high-priority locations along the coast. The attached link takes you to our YouTube page where you'll find a great video with more detail on the project.

While it will take a few years for the seedlings to develop root systems, the ultimate return on investment will be worth the wait. "We are confident that these sites will serve as models to educate coastal developers on the importance of maintaining mangrove habitat," says CORAL's Belize Field Rep. Val Rosado. "Development is essential to our local economy, but it must be done in a responsible way."

Thanks for your support of this exciting project!

Links:

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