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

Bal Harbour Reef Restoration Accomplished

By Brett Godfrey
Reef Injury Prevention & Response Coordinator

A successfully reattached great  star coral (Montastrea cavernosa) with tag. Photo: Melissa Sathe
A successfully reattached great star coral (Montastrea cavernosa) with tag. Photo: Melissa Sathe
In August 2009, Miami-Dade County’s Department of Environmental Resources Management (DERM) completed primary restoration activities on an area of coral reef off Bal Harbour. As reported in the summer edition of Southeast Florida Reef News, the reef impacts were discovered by DERM on July 24, 2009 in approximately 50 feet of water. The damage was consistent with that caused by a tow cable or fish/lobster trawl being dragged across the reef. DERM submitted their restoration report to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP) in September 2009, detailing the work they completed. Below is a brief summary and excerpt from the report.

Divers surveyed the entire damage area and collected 12 dislodged coral colonies. The colonies were assembled at two central locations where a 2 foot piece of rebar was driven into the substrate using a hammer to mark each location, and the location of each piece of rebar was recorded. Reattached hard coral colonies were mapped and tagged to allow for future monitoring. Prior to attaching displaced coral colonies, the reattachment surfaces were prepared by removing loose sediment and turf algae using a wire brush. Nails were placed in each reattachment location to direct divers to the proper location and to further stabilize the cement. Directional headings and distances were recorded from both central restoration locations to each coral colony. Most colonies were tagged using a nail, cable ties, and a numbered black plastic tag. Specifications were recorded such as the species, size, health, and depth of each reattached coral colony. In addition to mapping the reattached coral colonies, reference colonies that were not impacted were identified, mapped, and measured to serve as controls for monitoring of the restoration work.

Numerous large barrel sponges, Xestospongia muta, were also damaged or dislodged along the impact path. Seven X. muta individuals were mapped and tagged in the same fashion as described above for the hard coral colonies. The barrel length, width, height, and depth of each mapped sponge were recorded along with notes about the type of damage.

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