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

Increased Spending Authority for Coral Reef Restoration Approved During the 2012 Florida Legislative Session

Jena Sansgaard
Reef Injury Prevention and Response Coordinator

Damage found on a coral reef in Palm Beach County that may have been caused by the illegal anchoring of a commercial vessel. Photo: Bryan Clark
Damage found on a coral reef in Palm Beach County that may have been caused by the illegal anchoring of a commercial vessel. Photo: Bryan Clark

During the 2012 Florida Legislative session, Florida’s Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP) was granted increased authority to spend funds from the Ecosystem Management and Restoration Trust Fund (EMRTF). The EMRTF is the repository for monies recovered from injury to, or destruction of, coral reefs and other natural resources in the State of Florida (e.g., vessel groundings, anchor drags, etc.). The Florida Coral Reef Protection Act of 2009 requires monies deposited into the EMRTF resulting from coral reef injuries to be used for the following purposes:

 

  • - Reimbursing the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for reasonable costs incurred to assess coral reef resource damages and pursue recovery of penalties for, and compensatory mitigation of damages.
  • - Funding triage and primary restoration when the responsible party is unknown, unresponsive, or unable to fund restoration activities.
  • - Funding activities to restore or rehabilitate injured or destroyed coral reefs, as well as alternative projects that benefit coral reefs.

 

Southeast Florida’s coral reef ecosystems have received various levels of impact from vessel groundings, anchor impacts, cable drags and other physical damages. Over the next three years, the CRCP will use the increased spending authority to evaluate existing damage sites for restoration potential, evaluate the success of previously conducted restoration, plan and execute underwater reconstruction and restoration, and to continue assessment of the sites to determine recovery rates and success of the restoration efforts.



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