Working Together To Keep Coral Reefs Alive

Dear Friends of CORAL,

There is plenty of bad news about coral reefs this year, but here is some good news. After years of work by lots of different organizations and individuals, President Clinton has issued an Executive Order creating the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Reserve, the single largest nature reserve ever established in the United States.

The Reserve is approximately 84 million acres, of which approximately 4% or 3.3 million acres is protected "coral reef habitats". The NWHI Reserve is the largest protected area established in U.S. history.

While some are concerned that the protection offered by the Reserve is not complete enough, this is certainly a big step in the right direction for coral reefs. One of CORAL's primary goals is to build public awareness of the value of coral reefs and the need to protect them. We are happy that this growing public awareness is starting to turn into action, such as the creation of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Reserve.

Other information on size of the NWHI Coral Reef Reserve:

Approximate Area of the Reserve:

  • 131,800 square statute miles
  • 99,500 square nautical miles
  • 341,360 sq. kilometers
  • 84,365,000 acres

Approximately length of the Reserve: 1200 miles long

Approximate width of the Reserve: 100 miles wide.

Some comparisons - The NWHI Reserve is:

  • More area than Florida and Georgia combined
  • Area about half the area of Texas
  • About as long as distance from Seattle to Los Angeles
  • As large as all of the U.S. National Park areas combined.
  • 7 times the area of the 13 current National Marine Sanctuaries
  • Almost as large as the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park = 102,043 square nautical miles (NWHI Reserve is 99,500 sq naut miles)
  • 2nd largest marine protected area in the world
  • Largest protected area in US history

Thank you for your support of CORAL. With your help we can make sure that there will be more good news about coral reefs in the years to come.

Stephen Colwell
Executive Director
The Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL)