If worsening coastal storms damage the reefs, the Nature Conservancy will get a payout and use the money to repair the coral — work that state officials can’t afford to do.
As climate change makes coastal storms more destructive, an environmental group is trying a new approach to protecting Hawaii’s coral reefs. It could become a model for defending natural structures around the country — if it works…the Nature Conservancy, which is based near Washington, D.C., completed the first step and bought a $2 million insurance policy on Hawaii’s coral reefs. It is the first insurance policy in the United States for a natural structure, according to the group, following similar efforts in Latin America. The conservancy says that if the experiment is successful, it will look at expanding the model to other states and include other natural features that shield against storms, such as mangroves, wetlands or coastal dunes.
“We think we can help our Hawaii state government put this into place as a pilot project,” said Makale’a Ane, who leads community engagement and partnerships in Hawaii for the Nature Conservancy. “It’s not simple…”