Hawaii’s Rapid Response Contingency Plan (RRCP) summarizes Hawaii’s framework for response to coral bleaching, disease, or crown of thorns starfish outbreaks. It was developed through several workshops, which were held in 2007-08 and included managers, scientists, NGOs, and ocean users.
Download a copy of the plan here: HawaiisRRCP
The framework that resulted includes three tiers of response levels. The first tier is a public report or primary observation. A major component of the first tier is the Eyes of the Reef (EOR) Network. Primary observations may also come from the use of remote sensing alerts, such as the NOAA Coral Reef Bleaching Alert System, or management agency monitoring surveys. The second tier is the primary assessment of the event whereby trained personnel conduct an in-water survey to confirm or negate an event is taking place. The third tier involves follow-up monitoring of an event, and if appropriate, management action. The image below shows a simple overview of the tiered Rapid Response Contingency Plan structure.
Major Components of the Plan:
Rapid Response Contingency Plan Coordinator
Within the RRCP, protocols were developed to allow managers to respond to outbreak events in a timely and efficient manner. This includes a Rapid Response Plan Coordinator, who is tasked with coordinating each response, using RRCP protocols.
Management Response Team
The Rapid Response Plan Coordinator is responsible for assembling the Management Response Team, who will review the case and determine if a rapid response should be initiated. The Management team will meet again to discuss the findings of the Rapid Response Team and to discuss management actions, follow-up monitoring, and communicating information to decision-makers, stakeholders, and the media.
Rapid Response Teams
If a response is warranted, the Coordinator will facilitate the assembly of the Rapid Response Team. Each island-specific Rapid Response Team is tasked with collecting all relevant biological information, sample collection, and reporting of the initial findings to the Management Response Team. They also conduct any follow-up monitoring and make recommendations as to best practices for allowing a rapid recovery of the reef following the event.