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Coral Reefs

Coral and a pacific blue tangClimate change can severely impact coral reefs. Currently, coral reef ecosystems are under stress from many sources including increased sea surface temperature, ocean acidification, pollution, over-fishing, coastal use and extreme events such as storm damage from hurricanes or typhoons. Loss of coral reefs adversely affects coastal economies. Island communities whose livelihoods depend on these reef systems as local resources are especially vulnerable to changes in coral reef ecosystems.

The Coral Reef Task Force was established by Presidential Executive Order in 1998. Its mission is to lead, coordinate and strengthen US government actions to better School of coral reef chromis fish by a staghorn coralpreserve and protect coral reef ecosystems. The Task Force is co-chaired by the Departments of Commerce and Interior and includes 12 federal agencies, seven US states and territories and three freely associated states. As an agency in the USDA, NRCS is a member of the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force and the Coral Reef Task Force Steering Committee focusing its efforts on the reduction of land based sources of pollution, including sediments and nutrients, in support of the Task Force's mission to protect and enhance coral reef ecosystems.

In partnering with federal, state, and territory governments, NRCS has the expertise and field offices to provide technical assistance on conservation practices that address Local Action Strategies designed to mitigate impacts on coral reef ecosystems.

Images: Photos courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service