Thursday, February 28, 2013

NOAA Coral Fellow Report

Hafa adai from the nation’s capital!

As the Guam NOAA Coral Fellow for 2013-3014, I recently had the opportunity to travel to Washington D.C. for some training. Not only did this travel give me the opportunity to see how the city has changed since the last time I was there (1994), I was also able to meet the six other Coral Fellows, the Coral Fellowship Program Manager, and learn some valuable project evaluation and leadership tools. [It also forced me to dig in the back of my closet and borrow cold-weather clothes!] While there, I, along with all the other fellows, participated in Coral Fellowship orientation and training, we developed our work plans for the year, were introduced to the All Islands Committee (AIC) and Steering Committee of the USCRTF, and attended the USCRTF Business Meeting. It was a busy, and cold, four days, but it was extremely rewarding in many ways.

As the Coral Fellows are spread out around the world (Guam, CNMI, American Samoa, Hawaii, Florida, Puerto Rico, and the USVI), this was our first opportunity to meet each other and the program managers. We had the opportunity to discuss our projects and plans for the year, getting feedback from each other on some successful ways to approach those projects, and, since many of the jurisdictions are insular, we were able to discuss some of the challenges and triumphs each island experiences. Not only did we receive valuable training to help us move forward in our projects, but we were able to form a community of support for each other, providing useful information and advice on each other’s projects. To find out more about this year’s fellows and their projects, check out the NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program’s website (

NOAA Coral Fellows at the USCRTF Meeting (from left to right): Jenn Travis (USVI), Derek
Toloumu (American Samoa), Karen Bohnsack (Florida), Anne Rosinski (Hawaii), Jeiger Medina (Puerto
Rico), Roxanna Miller (Guam), Britta Baechler (CNMI)
 After our training, we attended the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force Meeting. Every year the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force (USCRTF) holds two meetings—one in Washington D.C. at the beginning of the year, and the second meeting in one of the seven jurisdictions later in the year. These meetings bring together members from at least 12 Federal agencies; 7 US States, Territories, and Commonwealths; and 3 Freely Associated States. They gather to discuss their efforts to preserve and protect coral reef ecosystems. Established by Executive Order 13089 in 1998, the USCRTF is responsible for overseeing implementation of the Executive Order, and developing and implementing coordinated efforts to map and monitor U.S. coral reefs; research the causes of, and solutions to, coral reef decline; reduce and mitigate coral reef degradation from pollution, overfishing, and other causes; and implement strategies to promote conservation and sustainable use of coral reefs internationally (for more information go to:

Some of the topics discussed at this year’s meeting were the final review of the National Ocean Policy, the proposed listing of 66 coral species under the Endangered Species Act, and an update on the USCRTF Watershed Partnership Initiative.

It was wonderful to meet so many brilliant people who are excited about what they are doing with all their different projects. On Guam, we are just as excited about our monitoring program and can’t wait to get back in the water. Stay tuned for updates from what will be an amazing year, I’m sure!

Posted by
Roxanna Miller
8:24 pm

Friday, February 28, 2013
Location: Hagatna, Guam

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