Working group formed to review coral reef resiliency plan

Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero on Monday signed an executive order creating an interagency working group to review a draft Coral Reef Resiliency Strategy submitted by the Bureau of Statistics and Plans.

“Guam’s coral reefs have declined by almost a third in just the last decade and our reefs are under increasing threat from a number of causes including climate change and pollutants from other sources,” Leon Guerrero said. “Our community’s sustainability efforts, both now and into the future, depends on how well we manage and take actions to protect our coral reefs today.”

A total of 13 agencies are involved in the working group, which will be led by Agriculture Director Chelsa Muna-Brecht and vice chair Tyrone J. Taitano, Director for the Bureau of Statistics and Plans.

The group has two months to review and make recommendations in order to prepare a policy for immediate implementation. Plans focus on reef response and restoration, reducing land-based sources of pollution, effective fisheries management, sustainable recreation use and improving community resilience and adaption to climate change.

“Our coral reefs are part of Guam’s environmental heritage,” the governor said. “The reefs are vital to protecting our shoreline and seashore communities. Because our reefs are an integral component of our competitiveness as a tourist destination and vital to

sustaining our fisheries, Guam’s future economic growth is also at risk. We need to take decisive action now to protect our reefs and build resiliency against ongoing threats such as climate change.”