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RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF THE ECOSYSTEM-BASED CAMPAIGN TO PROTECT COASTAL AND OCEAN RESOURCES IN RINC

Approved by the Surfrider Foundation Board of Directors on October 15, 2006 in Rincón, Puerto Rico

Whereas, Rincón is rich with coastal and marine resources and community character, culture and history

Whereas, Rincón is a gem of the Caribbean surfing world. It boasts numerous world-class waves, including Tres Palmas - the temple of big wave surfing in the Caribbean

Whereas, the coral reefs in Rincon feature some of the healthiest Elkhorn coral (Acropora Palmata) in the Caribbean, which is listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act

Whereas, the waters off Rincón play host to the highest density of Humpback whales in Puerto Rico. In addition, the region has one of the only whale watching observation areas in Puerto Rico, where you can watch humpback mating and calving rituals

Whereas, the stretch of coast along Rincón is home to many sea turtle nesting areas and is home to Leatherback and Hawksbill turtles, both listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act

Whereas, the beautiful and tranquil beaches are still accessible via public access; however, in recent years several beaches in Rincón have lost public access to development projects

Whereas, Rincoeños face many challenges to their livelihoods, their identities, their institutions, and their sense of place as rapid growth increases pressure on an over-taxed infrastructure while jeopardizing natural resources that serve as an integral economic driver for the community

Whereas, these challenges are directly affecting the health of Rincón’s beaches and waves and marine ecosystem health

Whereas, clearing of land for development is creating sedimentation that is threatening the health of Elkhorn coral and other marine species.

Whereas, the Pew Ocean Commission, the US Commission on Ocean Policy and the Joint Commission on Ocean Policy have identified ecosystem-based management as a necessary approach to protecting coastal and ocean resources.

Whereas, the Rincón Organizing Committee has been working on a community and ecosystem-based campaign to protect coastal and ocean resources through the establishment of a marine reserve, protection of watershed health, the avoidance of coastal hazards and progressive land use planning.

Now, therefore be it resolved that the Surfrider Foundation Board of Directors:

Recognizes that economic growth, environmental conservation and preservation of community character do not need to be at odds.

Supports an ecosystem-based approach to protect coastal and ocean resources that is community-based and includes the input of all Rincoeños.

Congratulates the citizen’s of Rincón, community activists, and the Rincón Organizing Committee for their work in making Rincón a model for protecting its coastal and ocean resources while supporting sustainable economic development.

Urges continued work and support of the local and Commonwealth elected officials and agencies in helping to ensure the communities vision for the future of Rincón where economic development compliments coastal and ocean conservation.