WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Congressmen Brian Mast (FL-18) and Darren Soto (FL-09) today introduced the bipartisan Restoring Resilient Reefs Act to restore and conserve coral reefs by authorizing five years of directed federal funding. States, territories and local communities may use this funding for the restoration and management of coral reef ecosystems.

“Coral reefs play a critical role in protecting coastal communities from hurricanes and devastating flooding,” Rep. Mast said. “Restoring and conserving these reefs will also promote healthier ecosystems, protect aquatic habitats and support our marine life. That’s what this bill is all about.”

The Restoring Resilient Reefs Act would reauthorize and modernize the Coral Reef Conservation Act of 2000 to promote the conservation of our nation’s reefs. The bill would also codify and update the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force. Finally, the bill would encourage innovative new Coral Reef Stewardship Partnerships among resource management agencies, research centers and community stakeholders.

“Our Florida coral reefs are a national treasure that contain part of the most diverse ecosystems on earth,” Rep. Soto said. “We’ve witnessed how the effects of climate change, overfishing, pollution and development have threatened the vitality of coral reefs around our coasts. Protecting our environment, specifically preserving the precious habitats for marine life, should not have an expiration date. That’s why this bipartisan legislation is key to reauthorizing existing federal programs and continue the desperately needed programs halting deterioration of coral reefs. Our Florida way of life depends on the health of our environment.”