In 2000, the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force adopted a National Action Plan to conserve coral reefs. With guidance from the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission coordinated the formation of a team of interagency and non-agency marine resource professionals, scientists, resource users and other stakeholders. This team, known as the Southeast Florida Coral Reef Initiative (SEFCRI) Team, first gathered in May 2003 to develop local action strategies targeting coral reefs and associated reef resources from Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Martin counties to improve the coordination of technical and financial support for the conservation and management of coral reefs. SEFCRI is targeting this region because the coral habitats are close to shore and co-exist with intensely urbanized areas that lack a coordinated management plan (like that of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary).
The SEFCRI focus areas have identified issues and threats to coral reefs and have developed and are implementing Local Action Strategies for their component of the SEFCRI. This includes defining and revising goals, objectives and actions, priority setting, budget development, building implementation teams and tracking progress. Numerous stakeholders participated in the development of Florida's Local Action Strategies, using a facilitated process including public review and input. The outcome is a coordinated plan to address causes of coral reef degradation and provide a roadmap for successful conservation and management. The SEFCRI Technical Advisory Committee continues to provide technical and scientific expertise to all focus area teams. The Technical Advisory Committee is comprised of leading research scientists in the fields of coral reef ecology, water quality, oceanography, geology, fisheries, socioeconomics, resource management, chemistry and biology.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the state’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship – protecting our air, water and land. The vision of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is to create strong community partnerships, safeguard Florida’s natural resources and enhance its ecosystems.