Climate Change and Interacting Stressors: Implications for Coral Reef Management in American Samoa (Final Report)

EPA announced the release of the final document, Climate Change and Interacting Stressors: Implications for Coral Reef Management in American Samoa. This report provides a synthesis of information on the interactive effects of climate change and other stressors on the reefs of American Samoa as well as an assessment of potential management responses. This report provides the coral reef managers of American Samoa, as well as other coral reef managers in the Pacific region, with some management options to help enhance the capacity of local coral reefs to resist the negative effects of climate change.

Climate variability and change can negatively impact sensitive coral reef ecosystems by altering sea surface temperatures, ocean chemistry, sea level, storm damage, precipitation patterns, stream flows to the coast, salinity, and pollution loads. This report focuses on the coral reefs of American Samoa as a case study for how managers can approach:
    (1) assessments of reef vulnerabilities to combined climate change and local stresses,
    (2) identification of adaptive management strategies in response, and
    (3) implementation of management options given existing decision processes and mandates.
Large-scale climate stressors are reviewed along with information on localized stressors in American Samoa to assess reef vulnerabilities to climate-related impacts such as coral bleaching. Based on this information, this report presents some adaptive management strategies that could be implemented immediately (e.g., water quality improvements), in the near-term (e.g., enhanced strategic monitoring), and in the long-term (e.g., resilience planning). In each case, management options are considered in a decision making context – i.e., in terms of how such strategies relate to existing plans, processes, and mandates.

Citation

U.S. EPA. Climate Change and Interacting Stressors: Implications for Coral Reef Management in American Samoa (Final Report). U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, EPA/600/R-07/069.

History/Chronology

Sep 2005Review draft completed.
Aug 2007EPA released the final report.

This document has been reviewed in accordance with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency policy and approved for publication. Mention of trade names or commercial products does not constitute endorsement or recommendation for use.