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1 . United States     United States
Florida East Coast

The reefs in northern Monroe County to Vero Beach are a series of 3 discontinuous reef rows parallel to the shore: First Reef rises to 3–5m of the surface with very low profile cover of algae and small octocorals; Second Reef at 6–8m depth has more complex relief that includes dissecting channels and conspicuous octocorals often in high density; and Third Reef is at 15-22m with the most diversity and abundant hard corals, that include Diploria clivosa, Dichocoenia stokesii, Montastraea cavernosa, and Solenastrea bournoni. There has been strong recruitment of Acropora cervicornis in the past 3 years and clumps of staghorn coral are common, especially in Broward County, along with large barrel sponges (Xestospongia muta). The hard corals are larger on the Third than the Second Reef and moderate sized colonies of Montastraea annularis are common. However, there has been no growth of the elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata) for more than 5,000 years.

Most reefs have been mapped and coral cover estimated for the first two rows, but less for the deeper Third Reef. These reefs are protected from some impacts by Florida State statutes and regulations e.g. fishing regulations, dredging permits, prohibition against harvest, sale, or destruction of corals etc. In addition, mooring buoys have been established.

Florida Keys

The Florida Keys coral reefs extend from just south of Miami to the Dry Tortugas and include the only emergent reefs off the continental USA. The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS) was designated in 1990 to protect and conserve the nationally significant biological and cultural marine resources of the area, including critical coral reef habitats. The Sanctuary covers 9850 km2 with 1400km2 of coral reef and hard bottom habitat (42% in Florida State territorial waters; and 58% in Federal waters i.e. more than 3 nautical miles offshore). The reefs comprise a bank reef system of almost continuous reef communities in lines that run parallel to each another. There are several distinct habitats including offshore patch reefs, seagrass beds, back reefs and reef flats, bank or transitional reefs, intermediate reefs, deep reefs, outlier reefs, and sand and soft bottom areas.

Texas Flower Garden Banks

These are two prominent geological features on the edge of the continental shelf in the northwest Gulf of Mexico, approximately 190km southeast of Galveston, Texas. The Banks are uplifted Jurassic salt domes, rising from 100m depth to within 17m of the surface and have about 1.4km2 of luxurious bank reefs on the shallowest portions of the East and West Flower Garden Banks. These are the most northerly coral reefs on the continental shelf of North America (27°52’ to 27°56’ North) and also some of the most isolated reefs of the Caribbean, being over 690km from the nearest reefs of Campeche Bank off Yucatan, Mexico.

The East Flower Garden Bank (27°54’N; 93°36’W) contains about 70% of the coral area, with the rest on West Flower Garden Bank (27°52’N; 93°49’W) about 22km away. These reefs have only 21 coral species probably because they are so isolated, but coral cover is high (~50%) with crustose, coralline and calcareous green algae also common. The Flower Garden Banks are composed of large, closely spaced coral heads up to 3m in diameter and height, which are hollow in places due to bioerosion and separated by sand patches and channels. These corals grow from the top near 17m down to about 50m.

The reefs were designated as the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary (FGBNMS) in 1992, and Stetson Bank was added in 1996. The Sanctuary covers 143km2 and includes all the coral reef areas. Regulations protect the corals with prohibitions on: oil and gas exploration; anchoring or mooring of vessels over 30m; anchoring of smaller vessels near mooring buoys; injuring or taking coral and other marine organisms; use of fishing gear other than hook and line; discharging or depositing any substances or materials; altering the seabed; building or abandoning any structures; and using explosives or electrical charges.
Source: Spalding, M.D., C. Ravilious and E.P. Green , 2001 , World Atlas of Coral Reefs . Prepared at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre. University of California Press,Berkeley,USA.421p. (See Document)

2 . Florida (USA)     Florida (USA)
Florida is located at the convergence of the subtropical and temperate climate zones (Chen and Gerber, 1990). The Gulfstream (a warm-water boundary current) has a major influence on water temperature and the transport of flora and fauna to the region (Jaap and Hallock, 1990). The Gulfstream intrudes into the Gulf of Mexico as the Loop Current and reverses flow to return to the Straits of Florida, joining the main body of the Florida Current before flowing in a northeasterly direction towards Europe. The influence of the Gulfstream together with the presence of a broad-shallow continental shelf around Florida and the absence of any major rivers have provided conditions for the development of extensive coral reefs (Figure 7.1). Most coral reefs are found in water less than 18 m deep. Rohmann et al. (in press) have estimated that 30,801 km² of shallowwater inshore areas around Florida could potentially support coral reef ecosystems. In comparison, the area estimated was 16.4 km² in Guam, 1,231.4 km² in the Main Hawaiian Islands and 2,207.6 km² in Puerto Rico.
Source: Andrews, K., L.Nall, C. Jeffrey, and S.Pittman (eds.) , 2005 , The State of Coral Reef Ecosystems of Florida. . p.150-200 in Waddell, J. (ed.), 2005. The State of Coral Reef Ecosystems of the United States and Pacific Freely Associated States: 2005. NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS NCCOS 11. NOAA/NCCOS Center for Coastal Monitoring and Assessment’s Biogeography Team. Silver Spring, MD. 522 pp. (See Document)

3 . Florida (USA)     Florida (USA)
The waters of the FKNMS are characterized by complex water circulation patterns, with much of the spatial and temporal variability due to seasonal influences on regional circulation regimes. The Sanctuary is directly influenced by the Florida Current, Gulf of Mexico Loop Current, inshore currents of the southwestern Florida Continental Shelf (Shelf), discharge from the Everglades through the Shark River Slough, and tidal exchange with both Florida Bay and Biscayne Bay (Lee et al., 1994, Lee et al., 2002). Advection from these external sources has significant effects on the physical, chemical, and biological composition of waters within the Sanctuary, as may internal nutrient loading and freshwater runoff from the Keys themselves and episodic upwelling (Leichter et al., 2003).
Source: Andrews, K., L.Nall, C. Jeffrey, and S.Pittman (eds.) , 2005 , The State of Coral Reef Ecosystems of Florida. . p.150-200 in Waddell, J. (ed.), 2005. The State of Coral Reef Ecosystems of the United States and Pacific Freely Associated States: 2005. NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS NCCOS 11. NOAA/NCCOS Center for Coastal Monitoring and Assessment’s Biogeography Team. Silver Spring, MD. 522 pp. (See Document)

4 . Florida (USA)     Florida (USA)
The extensive offshore coral reefs (patch, offshore bank or bank barrier, transitional and deep reefs), fringing mangroves, seagrass meadows, and hard-bottom areas, are protected as the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary; the third largest marine protected area in the USA. These resources are the basis for the economically important commercial fishing and tourism located in south Florida, which attracts more than 4 million visitors who spend in excess of 14 million visitor-days per year. Most are snorkelers and scuba divers, as well as recreational fishers and water sports enthusiasts. Others come to the Keys to relax and enjoy the tropical climate of a unique destination.

The waters surrounding most of the 1700 islands of the Florida Reef Tract (here called the Florida Keys), which are arranged in a 320 km (220 mile) arc, were designated a national marine sanctuary in 1990 to stem mounting threats to the health and ecological future of the coral reef ecosystem. More than 60% of the Sanctuary (9800 km2; 2900 square nautical miles) is in State of Florida waters, and the Sanctuary is managed through a co-trustee management agreement between the State of Florida and the national government, via the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Source: Wilkinson, C., Souter, D. (eds) , 2008 , Status of Caribbean Coral Reefs After Bleaching and Hurricanes in 2005 . Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network, and Reef and Rainforest Research Centre, Townsville, 152 p. (See Document)

5 . Florida (USA)     Florida (USA)
The northern extension of the Florida reef tract and a complex of limestone ridges run parallel to the subtropical Atlantic coastline of southeast Florida. Spanning 170 km from the northern border of Biscayne National Park (BNP) in Miami-Dade County to the St. Lucie Inlet in Martin County, the reefs and hardbottom areas in this region support a rich and diverse biological community (Figure 5.1). Nearshore reef habitats in southeast Florida include hardbottom areas, patch reefs and worm reefs (Phragmatopoma spp.) exhibiting abundant octocoral, macroalgae, stony coral and sponge assemblages. Offshore, coral reef associated biotic assemblages occur on linear Holocene Acropora palmata mid-shelf and shelf margin reefs that extend from Miami-Dade County to Palm Beach County (Lighty, 1977; Figure 5.2). Anastasia Formation limestone ridges and terraces colonized by reef biota characterize the reefs from Palm Beach County to Martin County (Cooke and Mossom, 1929).



The coastal region of southeast Florida is highly developed, containing one third of Florida’s population of 16 million people (U.S. Census Bureau, 2006).Many southeast Florida reefs are located just 1.5 km from this urbanized shoreline. Despite their unique position as the highest latitude reefs along the western Atlantic seaboard, the reefs of southeast Florida have only recently received limited scientific and resource management attention. Andrews et al. (2005) discussed the reefs of southeast Florida and the critical need to implement actions that fill resource knowledge gaps and address conservation and threats to reef health. This report further examines and updates the list of stressors imperiling the health of southeast Florida’s reefs, and presents information gained from new research, monitoring and management efforts to determine the extent and condition of reef resources in this distinctive region.
Source: Collier., C., R. Ruzicka, K. Banks, L. Barbieri, J. Beal, D. Bingham, J. Bohnsack, S. Brooke, N. Craig, R. Dogde, L. Fisher, N. Gadbois, D. gilliam, L. Gregg, T. Kellison, Vladimir Kosmynin, B. Lapointe, E. McDevitt, J. Phipps, N. Poulos, J. Proni, P. Quinn, B. riegl, R. Spieler, J. Walczak, B. Walker and D. Warrick , 2008 , The State of Coral Reef Ecosystems of Southeast Florida. pp. 131-160 . In: J.E. Waddell and A.M. Clarke (eds.), The State of Coral Reef Ecosystems of the United States and Pacific Freely Associated States: 2008. NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS NCCOS 73. NOAA/NCCOS Center for Coastal Monitoring and Assessment's Biogeography Team. Silver Spring, MD. 569 pp. (See Document)

6 . Florida (USA)     Florida (USA)
In June 2002, the retired navy ship USS Spiegel Grove was sunk in the waters off Key Largo in the FKNMS. At 510 ft, the Spiegel Grove was at the time the largest vessel ever intentionally sunk for the purpose of creating an artificial reef within the FKNMS. Proponents of the Spiegel Grove argued that the ship’s role as an artificial reef would take pressure off the surrounding natural reefs and thus provide an ecological benefit. Leeworthy et al. (2006) tested this hypothesis over a 10-month period via a pre- and post-sinking monitoring effort. A combination of dive shop logbooks and on-water observation were used to estimate total use on the artificial and natural reefs surrounding the area where the Spiegel Grove was to be sunk. The study found that after the sinking of the Spiegel Grove, usage of surrounding natural reefs declined 13.7%, while use of artificial reefs increased 160.5% and total reef use (artificial and natural) increased 9.3%. In addition, dive shop business increased 3.7% and total recreation and tourism increased as well, resulting in an additional $2.7 million in total sales/output, $962,000 in income and 68 full and part-time jobs in the Monroe County economy.
Source: Donahue, S., A. Acosta, L. Akins, J. Ault, J. Bohnsack, J. Boyer, M. Callahan, B. Causey, C. Cox, J. Delaney, G. Delgado, K. Edwards, G. Garrett, B. Keller, G.T. Kellison, V. R. Leeworthy, L. MacLaughlin, L. McClenachan, M.W. Miller, S.L. Miller, K. Ritchie, S. Rohmann, D. Santavy, C. Pattengill-Semmens, B. Sniffen, S. Werndli and D.E. Williams , 2008 , The State of Coral Reef Ecosystems of the Florida Keys. pp. 161-188 . In: J.E. Waddell and A.M. Clarke (eds.), The State of Coral Reef Ecosystems of the United States and Pacific Freely Associated States: 2008. NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS NCCOS 73. NOAA/NCCOS Center for Coastal Monitoring and Assessment's Biogeography Team. Silver Spring, MD. 569 pp. (See Document)

7 . Gulf of Mexico (USA)
The East and West Flower Garden Banks (EFGB and WFGB) were designated as the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary (FGBNMS) through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in January 1992. The two banks are prominent geological features located near the outer edge of the continental shelf in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico, approximately 192 km southeast of Galveston, Texas (Figure 8.1). These features, created by the uplift of underlying salt domes of Jurassic origin, rise from surrounding water depths of over 100 m to within 17 m of the surface. The northernmost thriving coral reef communities in North America cap the shallow portions of the EFGB and WFGB. They are relatively isolated from other coral reefs of the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico, located over 690 km from the nearest reefs of the Campeche Bank off Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, and over 1,200 km from the coral reefs of the Florida Keys. The area of the EFGB (27 54.5’ N, 93 36.0’ W) comprises about 65.8 km2 of which about 1.02 km² is coral reef. Located 19.3 km to the west, the WFGB (27 52.5’ N, 93 49.0’ W) comprises about 77.2 km² of which about 0.4 km7sup2; is coral reef (Gardner et al., 1998).
Source: Hickerson, E.L. and G.P. Schmahl , 2005 , The State of Coral Reef Ecosystems of the Flower Garden Banks and Other Banks of the Northwestern Gulf of Mexico. . p.201-221 in Waddell, J. (ed.), 2005. The State of Coral Reef Ecosystems of the United States and Pacific Freely Associated States: 2005. NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS NCCOS 11. NOAA/NCCOS Center for Coastal Monitoring and Assessment’s Biogeography Team. Silver Spring, MD. 522 pp. (See Document)

8 . Gulf of Mexico (USA)
The East and West Flower Garden Banks (EFGB and WFGB) were designated as
the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary (FGBNMS) through the National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in January 1992. The two banks are
prominent geological features located near the outer edge of the continental shelf in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico, approximately 192 km southeast of Galveston, Texas (Figure 7.1). These features, created by the uplift of underlying salt domes of Jurassic origin, rise from surrounding water depths of over 100 m to within 17 m of the surface. The northernmost thriving coral reef communities in North America cap the shallow portions of the EFGB and WFGB. They are relatively isolated from other coral reefs of the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico, located over 690 km from the nearest reefs of the Campeche Bank off Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, and over 1,200 km from the coral reefs of the Florida Keys. The area of the EFGB (27°54.5’ N, 93°36.0’ W) comprises about 65.8 km2text of which about 1.02 km2text is coral reef. Located 19.3 km to the west, the WFGB (27°52.5’ N, 93°49.0’ W) comprises about 77.2 km2text of which about 0.4 km2 is coral reef (Gardner et al., 1998).
Source: Nemeth, R.S., S. Herzlieb, M. Taylor, S. Harold and W. Toller , 2003 , Video monitoring assessment of coral reefs in St. Croix, United States Virgin Islands . Year two final report submitted to Department of Planning and Natural Resources. Division of Coastal Zone Management, Department of Planning and Natural Resources, U.S. Virgin Islands. 114pp. (See Document)

9 . Gulf of Mexico (USA)
Stetson Bank was added to the FGBNMS in 1996. It is located 48 km to the northwest of the WFGB and is also associated with an underlying salt dome. Stetson Bank is classified as a mid-shelf bank (Rezak et al., 1985) and is comprised of claystone/siltstone outcrops forming distinct pinnacles near its northern edge. Stetson Bank is not a true coral reef, but it does contain a low diversity coral community in addition to a prominent sponge fauna. Stetson Bank is dominated by fire coral (Millepora alcicornis) and in certain areas ten-ray star coral (Madracis decactis). These two species collectively make up about 32% of coral cover in the pinnacle region (Bernhardt, 2000). Stetson Bank is composed of claystone outcroppings that have been pushed within 17 m of the sea surface. Including the two dominant species, about 10 species of coral have been documented. The pinnacle region is the most conspicuous feature of the bank, which stretches along the northwest face of Stetson Bank for approximately 500 m. With the addition of Stetson Bank, the FGBNMS encompasses 145.8 km2 and includes the entire bank areas of each of the three features.
Source: Hickerson, E.L., G.P. Schmahl, M. Robbart, W.F. Precht and C. Caldow , 2008 , The State of Coral Reef Ecosystems of the Flower Garden Banks and Other Banks of the Northwestern Gulf of Mexico. pp. 189-218 . In: J.E. Waddell and A.M. Clarke (eds.), The State of Coral Reef Ecosystems of the United States and Pacific Freely Associated States: 2008. NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS NCCOS 73. NOAA/NCCOS Center for Coastal Monitoring and Assessment's Biogeography Team. Silver Spring, MD. 569 pp. (See Document)

10 . Hawaiian Islands (USA)     Hawaiian Islands (USA)
The Hawaiian Archipelago stretches for over 2,400 km from 19°-28° N to 155°-178° E (Fig. 222).

Given the prevailing ocean currents and its distance from land masses, Hawai‘i is one of the most isolated yet populated areas on earth (Juvik and Juvik 1998). This isolation has resulted in buffering many of the region-wide and global impacts seen in other areas while allowing a wide range of urban-related impacts not seen on most Pacific island coral reefs. Geographic isolation is also thought to have led to the high endemism seen across most marine phyla in Hawaiian waters.

The Archipelago consists of eight large islands and 124 small islands, reefs, and shoals. It can be divided into two distinct regions: the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI), primarily uninhabited atolls 147, islands, and banks accounting for the majority of U.S. reefs, and the Main Hawaiian Islands (MHI) largely made up of populated, high, volcanic islands with non-structural reef communities, fringing reefs, and two barrier reefs. These two regions are distinct in terms of impacts and resources (Table 20)...

In 2000, an estimated 1.2 million people resided in the MHI (U.S. Bureau of the Census 2002). Since 1990, the size of MHI’s population has increased by 9.3% (U.S. Census Bureau 2002, Table 21). Over seven million visitors visit Hawaii; 88% of them engage in some form of marine water activity (State of Hawai'i 2000).

Tourism is the largest industry, employer and revenue generator in the entire State. In 2000, visitor expenditures in Hawai’i totaled $10.9 billion (Hawai'i DBEDT 2000). The marine tourism industry is thought to bring over $800 million dollars per year into the State and employs over 7,000 people in over 1,000 small businesses (Clarke and Gulko 1999).

Commercial fishing revenues (ex-vessel value) generate another $68.5 million annually (NMFS 2001). Much of this (80-90%) is from pelagic, mostly longline fisheries, not coastal coral reef fisheries.
Source: Gulko, D., J. Maragos, A. Friedlander, C. Hunter, and R. Brainard , 2002 , Status of coral reefs in the Hawaiian Archipelago. . In: Rogers, Z. et al., 2002. The State of Coral Reef Ecosystems of the United States and Pacific Freely Associated States: 2002. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/National Ocean Service/National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, Silver Spring, MD. 265 pp. (See Document)

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