The U.S. government has selected two sites in Puerto Rico that will receive additional resources and protection as part of a federal conservation program.

A swath along Puerto Rico's northeast coast and the nearby sister island of Culebra were designated "habitat focus areas" by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi said Thursday that both areas have recently seen declines in the number of mangroves, coral and sea grass. He said the program will improve habitat conditions at both sites that are popular with tourists and help the local government manage recreational activities.