CORAL Wins The Climate Adaptation Leadership Award

The Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL) was honored to be recognized by the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies Annual Meeting as one of six organizations and individuals to receive The Climate Adaptation Leadership Award for Natural Resources (CALA) on September 9, 2020. The CALA was established in 2016 to recognize exemplary leadership in the field of climate adaptation and the protection of the nation’s vital natural resources and the people who depend on them in a changing world. “Climate change poses growing risks to our nation’s valuable fish and wildlife resources and the many people, businesses and communities that depend upon them,” stated Kelly Hepler, President of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and Secretary of the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish, and Parks. “This year’s awardees have done outstanding work to help safeguard species, habitats, and communities in a changing world, and we are thrilled to … [Read more...]

How You Can Help Coral Reefs for Earth Day & Every Day

By Dr. Madhavi Colton On April 22, 1970, concerned environmentalists came together to create Earth Day to focus on the environment and bring attention to the effects that humans were having on our planet’s ecosystems. The first Earth Day brought 20 million people together to rally for the protection of the environment, and later that year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was formed and the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts were passed. Since then, Earth Day has grown to a global event, with people around the world coming together to protect our environment. Almost 50 years later, our planet and its inhabitants are suffering as climate change causes severe ocean heat waves and increases the likelihood of wildfires. We’ve also seen the rapid decline of coral reefs over the past 30 years. These devastating consequences of climate change are becoming the new normal for our time. However, if we come … [Read more...]

Coral Reefs in Roatán Thrive with Clean Water

The Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL), our partners in the Bay Islands of Honduras, and the people of Roatán celebrated a major win as a decade of work recently came to fruition when the island passed clean water standards for the first time since monitoring began in 2013. The island of Roatán, part of the Bay Islands of Honduras, is world-renowned for its colorful reefs, white sand beaches, and clear waters. Over a million tourists visit this small island each year, contributing over 1 billion US dollars to the Honduran economy. About a decade ago, CORAL and partners realized that polluted ocean water in Roatán was beginning to threaten coral reef health and human health -- and with it, the tourism industry and local economy. CORAL began working with the communities of West End and Half Moon Bay on Roatán, where – due to a lack of funding and few alternatives – the majority of homes and businesses were discharging their wastewater … [Read more...]

Plant a Tree, Save a Coral

Jen Vander Veur is fighting an uphill battle to save coral reefs on the slopes of West Maui’s mountains. Jen is CORAL’s Program Manager in Maui, and she’s leading the charge on restoring Maui’s once lush forest to stabilize the soil and protect coral reefs downstream from being smothered by sediment, reversing the effects of decades of industrial agriculture for sugarcane and pineapple. Jen’s work takes place in two watersheds of West Maui - Honokõwai and Wahikuli – that were identified as “priority watersheds” by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The uphill location of CORAL’s restoration projects tends to surprise people, but what many people don’t realize is that what happens on land has a direct impact on the shoreline. During heavy rainfall, soil and contaminants in watersheds enter streams, travel downstream, and get dumped directly into the ocean. Because ocean currents travel from West Maui’s shores … [Read more...]

Let’s Start Saving Coral Reefs

At the Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL), we're on a mission to save the world's coral reefs. But to do that, we first need to identify what the most urgent threats to coral reefs are. Luckily, we (and scientists all around the world) have the answer! According to scientific publications like the United Nations' IPCC special report, the biggest threat to coral reefs around the world is the impact of climate change. When corals are also experiencing the negative effects of overfishing, water pollution, and unsustainable tourism on top of feeling the heat of climate change, it becomes difficult, if not impossible, for them to survive. That's why our work focuses on addressing threats to reefs so they can survive and adapt to the warming temperatures of climate change. Learn more about our solutions below, and stay tuned for ways that you can get involved and save coral reefs! … [Read more...]

Partnering for Change to Save Coral Reefs

By Dr. Madhavi Colton   At CORAL, our mission is Saving the World's Coral Reefs. That means finding a solution to the biggest threat facing corals today- climate change. Troubled by warming ocean temperatures and mass coral bleaching events, we launched the Modeling Adaptation Potential (MAP) Project in 2016 to ask a critical question: Can coral reefs adapt to and survive the warming temperatures of climate change? To answer this question, CORAL assembled some of the top experts in coral reef ecology, evolutionary biology and conservation science to figure out if corals can adapt to life on a warming planet and what we can do to help. Scientists from Rutgers University, the University of Washington, the University of Queensland and Stanford came together under CORAL's leadership to analyze how different conservation solutions perform through time using a suite of mathematical models. The group used models to predict … [Read more...]

CORAL Announces Appointment of Dr. Madhavi Colton as New Executive Director

The Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL) is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Madhavi Colton as its fourth Executive Director. Dr. Colton is succeeding Dr. Michael Webster, who has chosen to leave his role to pursue research at New York University on how life can adapt to climate change. "The Board is very excited about Dr. Colton's promotion," stated John Anner, Chair of the CORAL Board of Directors. "We know Madhavi is going to take CORAL to a new level of success with her deep understanding of coral adaptation and conservation. Her expertise in local and global conservation empowers her to translate CORAL's scientific to save coral reefs across the globe." Dr. Colton is a conservation scientist whose career is focused on helping the world's ecosystems cope with the effects of climate change. She has over 20 years of experience in marine conservation and research, and as CORAL's Program Director, created partnerships with local … [Read more...]

Motorcyclists Become Unexpected Allies in Protecting Maui’s Reefs

If you walk along a certain dirt road in the Wahikuli watershed in West Maui, you will see a large sign made by the Coral Reef Alliance asking bikers for their kokua (help) in avoiding this road and taking an alternative road nearby instead. What does this road a mile from the shoreline have to do with coral reefs? And how can bikers help? In West Maui, water pollution from old dirt roads has led to a decline of coral cover from 30 to just 10 percent in the last fifteen years. Stormwater runoff also regularly causes the Hawaiʻi Department of Health to issue “Brown Water Advisories”, which are warnings to the public to avoid swimming or fishing because of risks to human health. Beach closures negatively impact Hawaii’s natural and cultural heritage, as well as the tourism industry. CORAL, our partners, and volunteers from the community are working to address this threat by planting native plants and deep-rooted grasses … [Read more...]

Raising Chickens and Bees to Save Coral Reefs

Coral reefs provide an important source of food and income for coastal and island communities around the world. But more than 55 percent of reefs are threatened by overfishing globally. Overfishing not only disrupts the delicate ecology of coral reefs, it also negatively impacts the local communities that depend on them. If fishers are unable to catch enough fish, they may struggle to make a living or feed their families. That's where bees and chickens come in. Entrepreneurial “income diversification” projects, like raising egg-laying chickens or keeping honeybees, offer new ways for fishers and their families to earn money. When communities have the skills and resources to generate income in new ways, they don’t need to overfish. The result is a win-win solution, in which people are no longer over-reliant on a single resource, while depleted fish stocks and coral reef ecosystems get the chance to recover and thrive. As … [Read more...]

Hawaiʻi Wai Ola Citizen Science Program Launches

‘A`ohe hua o ka mai`a i ka lā ho’okaāhi -- When a task is done together, no task is too big." The Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL) and partners are excited to announce the launch of the Hawaiʻi Wai Ola citizen science program. Hawaiʻi Wai Ola is a collaborative group (called a Hui in Hawaiian) comprised of ten organizations, which aims to improve Hawaiʻi Island’s coastal water quality through science, communication and collaboration to accelerate positive change. Hawaiʻi Wai Ola’s diverse set of members includes: Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL) Hawaiʻi Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) Kahalu’u Bay Education Center Natural Energy Lab of Hawaiʻi Authority (NELHA) South Kohala Coastal Partnership Surfrider Foundation The Kohala Center- Kahalu'u Bay Education Center The Nature Conservancy (TNC) University of Hawaiʻi Hilo (UHH) Analytical Lab Waiwai Ola Waterkeepers Hawaiian Islands Hawaiʻi Wai Ola is harnessing the … [Read more...]