Management through collaboration and engagement to conserve American Samoa's coral reef ecosystems
To ensure American Samoa’s coral reef ecosystems are thriving, valued, and conserved.
To promote effective coral management through collaboration and engagement with partners, leaders, and communities.
CRAG is a Collaboration
The Coral Reef Advisory Group (CRAG) coordinates American Samoa’s coral reef management efforts. CRAG is a collaboration of several local and Federal agencies:
Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources
Department of Commerce
This includes American Samoa's Coastal Zone Management Program (AS-CMP) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa
American Samoa Environmental Protection Agency
American Samoa Community College
National Park of American Samoa
US Fish and Wildlife Service
Rose Atoll National Wildlife Refuge and Marine National Monument, under the Department of Interior
CRAG collaborates with numerous partners, including the NGO Ridge to Reefs, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Service Office of Pago Pago, the US Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), NOAA Pacific Islands Regional Office (PIRO), AS Department of Education, AS Power Authority, AS Port Administration, US Fish, and Wildlife Service, the Department of Youth and Women’s Affairs, and The Office of Samoa Affairs (OSA) is a group of village pulenu’u (mayors). CRAG agencies and partners continue to collaborate with OSA as the first point of contact when conducting work in villages of American Samoa.
Our Management Strategy
Education and Outreach
Education and outreach projects are tailored to target different audiences by utilizing multidisciplinary outreach tools to maximize education and outreach efforts in the territory. These projects support all of the goals in the Education and Outreach Strategic Communication Plan to facilitate the creation of an informed public and initiate proactive behavior changes that benefit the environment.
Promotion of Sustainable Fishing
CRAG has organized its Local Action Strategy around the three primary threats to American Samoa’s coral reefs: overfishing, land-based pollution, and global climate change. The Coral Reef Monitoring Program includes the ability to respond with adaptive management to rapid or slow changes in the reef ecosystem from natural or anthropogenic disturbances such as fishing practices.
Coral Reef Monitoring
Coral reef monitoring is needed to understand the current status and temporal trends of the coral reef ecosystems around the islands of the Territory. Our monitoring team can detect threatening changes and stressors and investigate rapidly developing issues, including coral bleaching, algal outbreaks, disease outbreaks, crown-of-thorns starfish, corallivore outbreaks, and cyclone and storm damage.
Watershed Management & Restoration
We focus on training, outreach, collaboration, and taking water quality samples from priority sites to mitigate and reduce land-based pollution sources to improve coastal watershed quality and enhance coral reef ecosystem conditions. Through community and resilience-based management strategies, we improve watershed management plans and build and sustain watershed management capacities at the local level.
Coral Reef Ecosystem Restoration
Coral restoration is employed to improve the territory’s understanding of coral restoration interventions and to improve the reef ecosystem function in priority restoration sites identified in the American Samoa Coral Restoration Action Plan. This plan outlines the strategy for American Samoa to implement coral restoration and pilot studies to conserve coral reef ecosystems and their resources.
Facilitation of Climate Change Preparedness & Community Resiliency
By combining science, education, outreach, and coordination, CRAG takes an intersectional approach to climate change preparedness. By collaborating with various agencies, NGOs, and local communities to combat global climate change, we strengthen policies and practices to bolster community and environmental resilience.