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Region 2

Serving New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands and Eight Tribal Nations.

Coral Reefs in the Caribbean

Coral ReefsCoral Reefs provide substantial benefits to communities throughout Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Each year, hundreds of thousands of visitors travel to see these natural wonders first hand, generating millions of dollars for the local tourism industry. Coral reefs help protect shore communities, shielding land masses from damaging storm and ocean surge forces. Reefs also create habitats that are vital to maintaining bountiful fisheries, and harbor organisms that can be harvested to produce pharmaceuticals.

Unfortunately, coral reef ecosystems throughout the Caribbean are being damaged by a growing number of problems such as overfishing, sediment runoff, pollution, disease and climate change, which causes the water to become warmer and more acidic.

Failure to protect coral reefs could leave them at risk for extinction in the near future, stripping Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands of one of their most treasured resources.

Caribbean Coral Reef Protection Group

Coral ReefsIn January, 2013, EPA Region 2 announced the formation of an inter-agency effort to protect coral reefs off the shores of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Caribbean Coral Reef Protection Group, which consists of the EPA and other government agencies, will facilitate a closer working relationship among its member agencies to coordinate more effective government strategies in protecting coral reefs in the Caribbean.

February 25th, 2013 Public Listening Session

On February 25th, at 1:00pm, the Coral Reef Protection Group will host a listening session in the 1st Floor Conference Room at the Administration and Conference Center (ACC) at the University of the Virgin Islands in St. Thomas. Representatives from the EPA and the Coral Reef Protection Group's other member agencies will be in attendance to hear the discussions and concerns of community groups and citizens regarding the state of coral reefs throughout Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The session will also be broadcast live for the public in the Rain Forest Conference Room in EPA's Caribbean Environmental Protection Division offices at City View Plaza II – Suite 7000, #48 Rd. 165 km 1.2, Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, and at the Great Hall at the University of the Virgin Islands in St. Croix.

To RSVP and to sign up to speak at the February 25 listening session in St. Thomas, or at the public broadcast in St. Croix, contact Keshema Webbe at 340-714-2333 or webbe.keshema@epa.gov. To RSVP and to sign up to speak at the public broadcast in San Juan, contact David Cuevas at 787-977-5856 or cuevas.david@epa.gov.


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