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Impact of coastal construction on coral reefs in the U

Author(s): Maragos JE

Abstract

During the past century, traditional ownership, control, and use of coral reef habitats in the U.S.‐affiliated islands in the Pacific have declined, exposing them to increased construction for plantation, transportation, military, urban, aquaculture, fisheries, mineral, and resort development. Dredging, filling, and other construction in coral reef and related ecosystems are expected to continue at high levels. Collectively, these activities have resulted in major adverse ecological impacts, many of which can be avoided or reduced to minor levels. Improvements in the design, siting, and construction of coastal projects can be accomplished by early integration of environmental objectives. Ecological baseline surveys; environmental impact assessments; regulatory conditions; guidelines and standards during construction; monitoring of construction; post‐construction evaluation; and long‐range research, planning, and management are among the most useful of the environmental tools to describe reefs and to identify measures to reduce or avoid adverse impacts on coral reefs.

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