Coral Reef Capacity Assessment Project with NOAA CRCP

For over ten years, partners within the NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP) and the US flagged States and Territories with coral reefs have expressed a major concern over lack of capacity to effectively manage coral reefs in the jurisdictions. Through these discussions, and an external review process, CRCP decided to support a capacity assessment process to better understand specific issues, needs, and gaps within and across all jurisdictions to help better support decision making to build coral reef management capacity.

However, the first question remained “Capacity to do what specifically?” To answer this question, CRCP and the jurisdictions completed a series of steps to define key threats to reefs and prioritize what needs to be done to manage and conserve coral reefs and show measured results at the national and jurisdictional levels. The results of these processes are described in the NOAA CRCP National Goals and Objectives document and the Coral Reef Management Priority documents for each of the seven jurisdictions with coral reefs (American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Florida, Guam, Hawai`i, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands).

Upon completing these plans in 2010, CRCP has decided to now follow-up on the priority setting process to assess the capacity of the jurisdictions to implement these goals and objectives and has selected a partnership consultant team led by SustainaMetrix.

The purpose of the assessment is to identify gaps and persistent barriers in coral reef management capacity in each jurisdiction, and provide recommendations as to how these gaps could be addressed. The product will be seven separate reports, one for each jurisdiction, designed to support the jurisdictional organizations that manage coral reefs, their partners, the All Islands Committee (AIC) of the US Coral Reef Task Force, and other stakeholders by documenting what is needed to improve coral reef management capacity, focusing in particular on the capacities needed to implement the goals and objectives set forth in the Coral Reef Management Priority documents completed in 2010. A synthesis document will also be done to assess capacity across all seven jurisdictions, the findings of which are primarily intended for NOAA CRCP and other federal partners.

Visit NOAA CRCP's page to learn more about the capacity assessment process and SustainaMetrix's role in it.