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

map

Southeast Florida Reef News

Broward County Vessel Grounding Case Closed: Money received will help fund coral reef restoration in the southeast Florida.

Jena Sansgaard
Reef Injury Prevention and Response Coordinator

Reef resource damage found in 2008 from an 80 ft., twin hullvessel that grounded on a coral reef in Broward County. Photo: Dr. Dave Gilliam
Reef resource damage found in 2008 from an 80 ft., twin hullvessel that grounded on a coral reef in Broward County. Photo: Dr. Dave Gilliam

In May 2012, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s (FDEP) Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP) received compensation for reef resource damages resulting from a vessel grounding offshore of Broward County. In October 2008, an 80 ft., twin hull vessel grounded offshore from John U. Lloyd Beach State Park and caused approximately 2,027m2 of damage. The responsible party was required to perform emergency stabilization of all dislodged corals, stabilize or remove reef framework rubble, and remove toxic hull paint from the reef substrate. Additionally, the responsible party was required to pay for monitoring the recovery of the impacted area and other coral reef conservation efforts.

The State’s Ecosystem Management and Restoration Trust Fund (EMRTF) is the repository for monies recovered for injury to, or destruction of, coral reefs and other natural resources of the State of Florida.  FDEP CRCP has annual authority to use a small portion of these funds for emergency reef restoration in the event that the responsible party is unknown, unresponsive, or unable to fund restoration activities. During the 2012 Florida Legislative session, FDEP CRCP was granted the ability to use $600,000 of EMRTF funds over the next three years for large scale coral reef restoration in the southeast Florida region including Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, and Martin counties.  This is the first time that funds recovered from un-permitted coral reef injuries in this region will be used for active restoration of those sites.

During a meeting last July, FDEP CRCP, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), and other local natural resource trustees, met to begin planning this large-scale restoration effort. Three commercial vessel grounding locations and one commercial anchor drag site have preliminarily been identified and prioritized for restoration. Each of these sites received emergency stabilization of dislodged corals and reef framework when they were originally impacted, but none have received the primary restoration of framework rubble and coral transplantation needed for the sites to fully recover. The selected locations will be further assessed for site specific restoration goals and associated costs.



View This Newsletter | Back to News