- Explores and develops market-based solutions.
Staghorn and elkhorn corals were once dominant on reefs in the Florida Keys and wider Caribbean, but since the 1980s, these corals have suffered severe population declines. In 2006, both corals were listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The threats contributing to their status and hindering their recovery are disease, ocean warming, ocean acidification, pollution, physical damage, habitat loss, predation, reduced reproduction, and reduced genetic diversity. CRF restores reefs by growing corals in offshore nurseries and outplanting the corals to existing reefs. Projects in the Caribbean, and especially Bonaire, are partly funded through market mechanisms. To ensure the long-term success of such large-scale restoration efforts, it is essential to educate the public on the underlying threats to coral populations. CRF will develop messaging to provide the public with information on the threats and how they might take action to protect our reefs into the future.
Our grant request is two-fold as we are seeking funding for two aspects of our messaging overhaul. First, NOAA is hosting a Caribbean Coral Restoration Workshop in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on November 15-17. The conference will gather international representatives to advance the science and practice of Caribbean coral restoration. One goal of the conference is to discuss the impact of climate change on Acropora recovery. We are seeking funding to send five representatives from our Florida Keys science and restoration team, as well as the restoration managers from our Bonaire and Curacao programs, to the conference. Two of our staff have applied to lead panel discussions at the workshop. The conference will allow CRF to lead conversations on the threats to coral recovery with partners from NGOs, academia, and government agencies. It will also serve as an opportunity to strengthen the relationship between the Florida Keys team and our international programs in Bonaire and Curacao.
Four staff members of CRF attended the November workshop - Ken Nedimyer, Scott Winters, Jessica Levy and Kayla Ripple. The workshop was well attended and restoration managers throughout Florida and the Caribbean were represented. The CRF team led 6 talks and participated in two panels over the course of the workshop on topics ranging from the tracking and management of a large nursery to scaling up outplanting to managing a volunteer workforce. The workshop focused on translating the latest coral science into restoration practice, scaling up restoration efforts, and monitoring for overall ecosystem recovery. There was a clear call to action at the wrap of the conference for continued conversations and regular meetings between coral restoration managers. Thanks to funding from the Alex C. Walker Foundation, CRF was able to sponsor two international coral managers to visit our operation in the Florida Keys. In 2017, we will be joined by staff members from FUNDEMAR and Oceanus A.C. located in the Dominican Republic and Mexico respectively. Thank you for funding the attendance of CRF staff to the workshop and enabling us to create strong leverage and synergy between our Florida Keys program and other growing programs throughout the Caribbean.
Ken Nedimyer, President of CRF, and the winners for the Coral Restoration Training Fellowship - Gabriela Nava, Oceanus A.C., (Mexico) and Rita Ines Sellares, Dominican Foundation of Marine Studies - FUNDEMAR (Dominican Republic). They are joined on stage by Dr. David Vaughan of MOTE and two additional fellows being sponsored by our partner organization. The fellowship will share best practices between established coral restoration organizations and smaller non-profits located elsewhere in the Caribbean.
Coral Restoration Foundation has proven that large-scale reef restoration is possible. Our organization will outplant 50,000+ corals across eight reefs in the Florida Keys over the next three years. To ensure this work is not undone by the continued impacts of ocean acidification, ocean warming, overfishing, etc., Coral Restoration Foundation will educate the public on how these global threats impact our reefs. By inspiring individuals to take action on their own, we hope to establish the political will to counteract these global threats moving forward.
CRF restores reefs throughout the Florida Keys and also operates internationally with nurseries in Bonaire, Curacao, Mustique, Grand Caymans, Jamaica, and Roatan. Additionally, a Consortium of coral restoration partners including NGOs, academia, and government agencies is being developed by NOAA. Its purpose is to coordinate efforts throughout coral reefs in Florida, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and the Greater Caribbean to increase abundance, diversity, and resilience of ESA-listed corals by developing and implementing active management strategies for population enhancement. Coordinated population enhancement efforts will promote conservation and recovery of threatened coral species. CRF will partner with NOAA in the development, organization, and management of the Consortium.
Project Link https://www.st.nmfs.noaa.gov/coralrestoration/pages/partners.html
(Check sent: 8/30/2016)