Ambassador A. and Political Officer Andrew Zvirzdin took the plunge with mariculture expert Provan Crump as work began to restore coral removed for airport construction. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has ongoing safety improvements underway at the airport that have required dredging just offshore. Mr. Crump has been contracted to restore coral in areas where it has been removed or disturbed. Coral is important to the RMI for food security, as it serves as habitat for a range of aquatic life, and it serves as a natural breakwater to lessen the effects of wave action that can cause erosion and take away precious land from this island nation as sea levels rise. The RMI Environmental Protection Agency is deeply involved in the restoration effort that is expected to extend new coral beds all along the lagoon facing the airport. The current multi-million dollar airport project creates a safety buffer zone for airplanes and helps to bring the RMI runway to the highest international standards.