Identifying and structuring objectives for a coral reef protection plan at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Journal of Coastal Conservation(2017)

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Region 2 of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency initiated a Coral Reef Protection Plan (CRPP) in 2014 to reduce anthropogenic stress on Caribbean coral reefs. The CRPP is intended to foster institutional practices that improve reef condition and focus regulatory and non-regulatory decision making on minimizing pollutant release to coastal systems. A framework incorporating two sets of objectives was constructed to examine the short- and long-term costs and benefits of tasks. The first set of objectives was derived from existing tasks in the CRPP and was intended to support an update of the CRPP for 2015. Fundamental objectives were constructed to communicate the end objectives across tasks and means objectives were constructed to communicate the means for achieving them. The second set of objectives was created to reflect costs and benefits of the CRPP beyond 2015. These objectives contained fundamental objectives comprising broad social, economic, learning and governance topics. The means objectives included tasks such as building capacity, providing regulatory oversight, and learning and reducing uncertainties. The second set of objectives also included strategic objectives that identify long-range benefits such as coral reef integrity and reef ecosystem services. The process of defining objectives helped to ascertain and better elucidate the important consequences for the CRPP. Understanding objectives not only provides a roadmap for coral reef protection but can help Region 2 communicate internally and externally with other agencies, industry, and the public.
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Key words
Objectives,Decision analysis,Coral reef protection,Coastal pollution,Sustainable practices,Regulatory fulfillment
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