Common Sea Fans (<em>Gorgonia ventilina</em>) are one of several species of sea fans found in southeast Florida. Sea fans are also classified as soft corals or gorgonians.

Common Sea Fans (Gorgonia ventilina) are one of several species of sea fans found in southeast Florida. Sea fans are also classified as soft corals or gorgonians.

Photo: Chantal Collier

Juvenile bluehead wrasses swim along the reef in Palm Beach.

Juvenile bluehead wrasses swim along the reef in Palm Beach.

Photo: Joe Marino

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Southeast Florida Reef News

SEFCRI Vice-Chair Corner: Erin McDevitt

Erin McDevitt has been the Southeast Marine Habitat Manager for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) since 2005. She received her B.S. in biology from Florida Atlantic University in 1996 and her M.S. in environmental science from the Florida Institute of Technology in  2003.  Her primary objective is to work within the FWC’s Aquatic Habitat Conservation and Restoration Section to manage estuarine and marine habitats within the Southeast Florida region.  Her job duties include coordination with local, state and federal agencies and stakeholder groups to manage estuarine and marine resources.  In this role, Erin identifies, develops and implements coordinated restoration projects for estuarine and marine resources, including mangrove, seagrass, oyster and coral reef communities.  An example of a successful restoration partnership initiated by Erin is the establishment of a mooring buoy program, designed to protect nearshore reefs from anchor damage in Palm Beach County in 2009 in partnership with Palm Beach County Department of Environmental Resources Management.  Another recently completed project in partnership with Palm Beach County restored 13 acres of “dead zone” in the Lake Worth Lagoon with seagrass, mangrove and tidal marsh habitat.  A project near completion is the restoration of 178+ acres of mangrove marsh along the Indian River Lagoon in St. Lucie County currently infested with Brazilian Pepper and experiencing a mangrove die-off due to impaired hydrology.  This summer, Erin will partner with the Florida Wildlife Research Institute on a coral restoration research project in the backcountry of the Florida Keys.

Erin’s other job responsibilities include duties pertaining to marine debris, exotic marine species, tracking and monitoring coral disease, responding to ship groundings and providing comments to regulatory agencies in regards to Environmental Resource Permit applications.  Erin also participates in outreach events and presents marine habitat topics and issues to schools and community groups. A particularly enjoyable part of Erin’s work is coordinating with stakeholders, including serving as a Vice Chair of the SEFCRI.  Prior to her current position, she worked as a Fisheries Biologist at the Florida Marine Research Institute in Tequesta, Florida. 

Erin lives in Hobe Sound with her family.  Erick, her husband, is a fish biologist with FWC currently engaged in research involving acoustic tagging of snook and Goliath Grouper. Her nine-year-old daughter, Emilee, is a music lover and likes to spend her free time reading Harry Potter books and playing Minecraft.  Jake, her four-year-old son, is obsessed with garbage trucks and angler fish.  Erin has a not-so-green thumb but still likes to garden and especially enjoys attracting and raising butterflies.



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