Documents and Policies

Executive Order

Executive Order 13089 established the interagency U.S. Coral Reef Task Force, co-chaired by the Secretary of the U.S Department of Interior and the Secretary of the U.S Department of Commerce through the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). 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 U.S. Coral Reef Task Force (USCRTF) is an interagency body that works to develop and implement comprehensive, multidisciplinary, and coordinated approaches to preserve and protect U.S. coral reef ecosystems, and encourage sound coral reef conservation practices globally. The Task Force seeks to use existing agency programs, statutory authorities, competencies, and capabilities to promote coral reef conservation consistent with U.S. law and treaty obligations. It functions as a clearinghouse and coordinating mechanism for Federal, State, and territorial agencies involved in coral reef ecosystem protection and management efforts. The Task Force also advises members concerning the impact of their actions and programs upon coral reefs, and encourages cooperation and partnerships to conserve coral reef ecosystems worldwide.

Oversight Policy

Executive Order 13089 directs the Task Force to, among other things, "oversee implementation of the policy and Federal agency responsibilities set forth in this Order." The Task Force will accomplish its oversight responsibilities with respect to implementing the Order's policies through the following actions: facilitating information exchange between the members, providing a source of technical assistance, coordinating and monitoring consistency with the Order's policies, and providing a mechanism for the identification of, and response to, issues raised concerning implementation of the Order.

National Action Plan to Conserve Coral Reefs

In 2000, the USCRTF adopted the National Action Plan to Coral Reef Conservation (National Action Plan), the first U.S. plan to comprehensively address the most pressing threats to coral reefs. The National Action Plan is designed to be the Nation's roadmap to more effectively understand coral reef ecosystems and reduce the adverse impacts of human activities. The Plan identifies two fundamental themes for immediate and sustained national action:

  • Understand coral reef ecosystems and the natural and anthropogenic processes that determine their health and viability; and
  • Quickly reduce the adverse impacts of human activities on coral reefs and associated ecosystems.

The National Action Plan is designed to serve as a long-term plan and provides the guiding framework for the priorities, strategies, and implementation plans of the Task Force and its members. In 2002, the USCRTF collaborated to produce a complementary document, A National Coral Reef Action Strategy (National Action Strategy) mandated by the Coral Reef Conservation Act (CRCA) of 2000 and designed to addresses priorities and strategies in the short term.

Coral Reef National Action Strategy

The National Action Strategy follows the same format of the National Action Plan and is designed to address shorter term priorities and strategies for coral reef conservation.

The CRCA requires NOAA to report to the U.S. Congress every two years regarding implementation of the National Action Strategy.

The U.S. National Coral Reef Action Strategy's 13 Goals for Addressing Threats to Coral Reefs Worldwide