FWC, partners begin plantings to restore coral at Keys reef
Monday, October 25, 2010
Media contact: Gabriella B. Ferraro, 772-215-9459; Officer Robert Dube, 305-684-8703
The long process of restoring coral at a popular
reef off the Florida Keys has begun. Biologists with the Fish and
Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI), the research arm of the Florida
Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC); the Florida Keys
National Marine Sanctuary; the Coral Restoration Foundation; the
Wildlife Foundation of Florida (WFF); and the family of the late
Charlie Stroh have partnered to begin a multiyear effort to restore
coral at Davis Reef, off Islamorada.
Stroh was a successful Iowa businessman who retired
to Islamorada and became a deep-sea-fishing enthusiast. He died in
2006, but his final wish was to ensure that Davis Reef is healthy
and thriving. By working with the WFF, Stroh's daughter, Nicole
Hass, has helped make that wish a reality.
"It is exciting to see dedicated donors work with
the FWC and the WFF to create these unique conservation efforts,"
said FWC Chairman Rodney Barreto. "Efforts like this enhance
the FWC's ability to make significant conservation impacts in tough
budgetary times. Public-private partnerships are clearly the wave
of the future."
The FWC and its partners have just started the
first phase of the project by placing nursery-reared corals at
several locations at Davis Reef. The project has the potential to
jump-start coral recovery at Davis Reef. The significance, however,
reaches far beyond Davis Reef itself. Because coral reef
restoration is in its infancy, the scientific information developed
at Davis Reef will lead to restoration designs that can be used
across the entire Florida Keys in the future.
"It is well-known that reefs throughout South
Florida have lost coral cover over the past few decades," said John
Hunt, FWRI biologist and project leader. "We are thrilled to
be part of a new effort to restore coral to this reef."
Reefs are vitally important to South Florida. They
provide essential habitat to fish and wildlife resources. They
provide shoreline protection. Tourism and fisheries are supported
by reef habitats. In fact, reef-related industries account for
billions of dollars in revenue annually.
"This project represents the kind of partnerships
that are exciting and necessary for conservation in Florida," said
Brett Boston, executive director of the Wildlife Foundation of
Florida. "Private donors providing gifts that are meaningful to
them enable the Foundation's partners to perform critical
The Wildlife Foundation of Florida is raising
$100,000 to initiate and sustain this initiative for three years or
longer. To learn how you can make a difference in coral reef
restoration, please visit www.wildlifeflorida.org.