Unfortunately, US Coral Reefs are in decline, despite efforts to preserve and protect them at the federal and local level. The Restoring Resilient Reefs Act (RRRA) of 2020 (S.2429) provides innovative new pathways to help restore our coral reefs. This bipartisan bill brought together the Senators from Hawai’i and Florida to improve how the US manages coral reefs. Many partners, including the AIC, provided comments to ensure this new legislation will actually help on the ground practitioners better manage coral reefs.
Why are coral reefs important?
- Shoreline protection – fortifying coastal communities especially during storm events.
- Fisheries Habitat – ensuring food security through commercial and recreational fishing.
- Drug Discovery – the frontier for new biomedical research.
- Tourism – the main economic driver in coastal coral reef communities.
- Cultural – preserving traditional rights and practices.
What’s included in this bill?
The RRRA includes many of the AIC’s legislative priorities, including:
- Increasing funding over the next 5 years, with an designated percentage going directly to jurisdictions for on the ground management and project implementation.
- Ratification of the US Coral Reef Task Force, an essential collaborative body that drives US coral reef policy and programs.
- Formal establishment of the USCRTF Coral Reef Management Fellowship to build long term local capacity.
- Creating a Coral Reef Conservation Emergency Fund to ensure emergency financing is available for coral reef injuries, restoration, and interventions.
You can read the entire bill, and follow its progress, at: https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/senate-bill/2429
How can you help?
The best way to help is to contact your congressional representative and ask them to request house leadership schedule a vote on S.2429, the Restoring Resilient Reefs Act next week. #Coralscantwait
Because a lot of US coral reefs are located in US Territories, who have non-voting members of congress, this is especially important if you live in a state that doesn’t have any coral reefs. We need your help to make sure this important legislation is passed.
You can also post about this on social media – make sure you are using the hashtag #Coralscantwait
How to contact your congressional representative:
Contacting your congressional representative is easy. Go to: https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative, type in your ZIP code and you’ll be directed to all the information you need.