President Clinton issued Executive Order (E.O.) 13089 (63 FR 32701-32703 (1998)) on Coral Reef Protection on June 11, 1998, as part of the Monterey National Ocean Conference. The order established the interagency U.S. Coral Reef Task Force, co-chaired by the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Commerce through the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The U.S. Coral Reef Task Force is charged with developing and implementing a comprehensive program of research and mapping to inventory, monitor, and “identify the major causes and consequences of degradation of coral reef ecosystems.” The first meeting of the Task Force was October 19-21, 1998 at Biscayne Bay National Park.
The Order also directs Federal Agencies to expand their own research, preservation, and restoration efforts. BOEM carries out the mission of E.O. 13089 by supporting directed research and developing proper mitigation measures in order to protect these fragile and biologically rich ecosystems.
Executive Order 13089 – Other BOEM – Sponsored Studies Related to Coral Reefs
- Larval Dispersal: BOEM is supporting a study of the long-distance dispersal of coral larvae originating from the Flower Garden Banks by plotting water movement and circulation patterns using satellite-tracked buoys. Information from this study will be used to evaluate the potential role of the Flower Garden Banks as a larval source for coral reefs in the waters off Florida and Mexico.
- Effects of an Oil Spill on Coral Reefs: BOEM supported a study of the effects of spilled crude oil on coral reefs following the accidental rupture of a storage tank at a coastal refinery in Bahia Las Minas, Panama. This 5-year study examined affected habitats along more than 80 km of oiled shore, including coral reefs. A general decline in the health of coral reefs at control sites was observed during this study. This was consistent with trends observed across the Caribbean.