Identifying Sources of Pollution That Affect Coral Reef Communities

The Takeaway: Digital Coast land cover and coral data map the relationship between people and nature.

NOAA’s coastal land cover data and coral survey data were used to explore the relationship between landscape and coral reef conditions in St. Croix. The study found that high human land-use activity within a watershed is associated with poor coral condition. Landscape development intensity maps highlighting watersheds with elevated amounts of human disturbance were developed. These maps serve as a good predictor of coral reef conditions. Researchers anticipate using this process in other locations. (2016)

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Partners: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, NOAA Office for Coastal Management