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Photo: Dave Gilliam

Reef Injury Prevention and Response Program

Report Coral Damage!

To report a vessel grounding, anchoring incident, or other coral reef injury in southeast Florida (Miami-Dade to Martin County), use the Southeast Florida Action Network (SEAFAN) online report form or phone hotline 866-770-SEFL (7335).

For large vessel groundings requiring immediate attention, please call the 24-hour emergency groundings cell phone at 786-385-3054.

The Coral Reef Protection Act

Florida’s Coral Reef Protection Act (CRPA) was enacted in 2009 to increase protection of coral reef resources on sovereign submerged lands off the coasts of Martin, Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade, and Monroe counties.

Under this law, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) may assess civil penalties and damages relating to a coral reef injury event. A civil penalty fee schedule is outlined in the CRPA, for more detailed information see Section 403.93345, Florida Statutes.

Reef Injury Prevention and Response Program

The Reef Injury Prevention and Response (RIPR) Program is responsible for leading response to, and management of, coral reef and hardbottom injuries resulting from direct impacts such as vessel grounding, anchoring incidents, and cable drag events.

The primary goal of the RIPR Program is to develop and implement management actions that prevent coral reef injuries associated with commercial and recreational vessels, using tools created through the Southeast Florida Coral Reef Initiative (SEFCRI). This is accomplished by:

  • Leading coordination of the State’s response to reef grounding and impact events for all reported coral injuries in the southeast Florida region.
  • Effective coordination with local, state, and federal agencies.
  • Promoting public awareness of Florida’s CRPA.
  • Where damages to reef resources do occur, the goal is to ensure that appropriate and adequate restoration and/or mitigation is carried out on impacted coral reef resources and that those responsible for damages are held accountable.

There are ongoing assessments of the management options to prevent vessel grounding, anchoring, and accidental impacts to coral reefs and hardbottom resources in the southeast Florida region. This involves the following projects:

  • Support local buoy mooring programs for Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, and Martin counties.
  • Publicize information regarding mooring buoys and reporting options for coral reef damage through various outreach opportunities.
  • In cooperation with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), enforce the CRPA and increase awareness of the need to protect coral reef and hardbottom benthic habitats in southeast Florida.
  • Continue working with the United States Coast Guard (USGS) Auxiliary to present information on the CRPA, mooring buoy access and usage, and ways to report coral reef damage in their boating safety classes.

For a complete list of projects and reports see here.

RIPR Program Outcomes and Products:

  • A waterproof map of mooring buoy locations throughout the southeast Florida region designed to be distributed by FDEP staff and SEFCRI volunteers, or available online.
  • Southeast Florida Coral Reef Locator map made available for public use through the ESRI ArcGIS free mobile application. Includes locations of coral reef and sand habitat, mooring buoys, and commercial vessel anchorages. Download instruction cards are available in print or online in English and Spanish.
  • Benthic Habitat Maps and Nautical Charts that show benthic and coral habitat overlaid on NOAA nautical charts in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, and Martin counties.
  • South Florida Mooring Buoy Maps