Urban Waikiki and the surrounding coral reefs.
United States Coral Reef Study
A 2019 United States Geologic Survey (USGS) study quantifies the coastal flood risk reduction benefits provided by coral reefs and identifies their annual expected benefits, a measure of the annual protection provided by coral reefs. Based on these results, the annual protection provided by U.S. coral reefs is estimated in:
Avoided flooding to more than 18,180 people;
Avoided direct flood damages of more than $825 million to more than 5,694 buildings;
Avoided flooding to more than 33 critical infrastructure facilities, including essential facilities, utility systems, and transportation systems; and
Avoided indirect damages of more than $699 million in economic activity of individuals and more than $272 million in avoided business interruption annually.
Thus, the annual value of flood risk reduction provided by U.S. coral reefs is more than 18,000 lives and $1.805 billion in 2010 U.S. dollars.
These data provide stakeholders and decision makers with spatially explicit, rigorous valuation of how, where, and when U.S. coral reefs provide critical coastal storm flood reduction benefits. The overall goal is to ultimately reduce the risk to, and increase the resiliency of U.S. coastal communities.