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Biological Criteria for Protection of U.S. Coral Reefs.
BRADLEY, M. P., W. DAVIS, W. S. FISHER, H. BELL, V. A. CHAN, C. LOBUE, AND W. WILTSE. Biological Criteria for Protection of U.S. Coral Reefs. In Proceedings, 11th International Coral Reef Symposium, Fort Lauderdale, FL, July 07 - 11, 2008. National Coral Reef Institute, Dania Beach, FL, 1078-1082, (2008).
This paper is being submitted for inclusion in the Proceedings for the 11th International Coral Reef Symposium. It is intended to: 1) introduce the coral reef management community to the suite of powerful regulatory tools available under the Clean Water Act that can be applied to protect coral reefs, and 2) provide concrete examples of efforts undertaken by the EPA and the states and territories.
Coral reef ecosystems are threatened by natural stressors, human activities, and natural stressors exacerbated by human activities. Under the U.S. Clean Water Act, States and Territories may guard against anthropogenic threats by adopting water quality standards based on biological, physical, and chemical criteria. The condition of biological communities like coral reefs is more dependable as a water quality standard than physical and chemical attributes because living organisms are responsive to effects of low-level, chronic, cumulative, interacting point- and non-point source pollution. The President’s Ocean Action Plan directed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop biological assessment methods and tools for evaluating the health of coral reefs so that States and Territories could more easily establish biological water quality standards, which include descriptions for designated waterbody uses and biological criteria (biocriteria). Biocriteria are qualitative or quantitative thresholds of biological condition necessary to sustain the designated uses. Rigorous biological assessments are needed to identify metrics to set these biological expectations and generate defensible long-term monitoring programs. Implementation of biocriteria during the past two decades for many freshwater ecosystems has forged a process that can be adopted for coral reefs. EPA is fostering development of coral reef biocriteria through focused research, evaluation, and collaboration.
Record Details:Record Type: DOCUMENT (PAPER IN NON-EPA PROCEEDINGS)
Organization:U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
NATIONAL HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS RESEARCH LABORATORY
ATLANTIC ECOLOGY DIVISION
MONITORING AND ASSESSMENT BRANCH