The goal of this project is to restore genetically diverse, breeding populations of threatened staghorn and elkhorn corals to degraded reefs throughout South Florida and the U.S. Virgin Islands. TNC and our partners believe that through large-scale nursery cultivation and strategic outplanting, these species can be reestablished as breeding populations that will provide subsequent natural recovery. To date we have over 50,000 corals in eight nursery locations and have outplanted over 13,000 colonies to the reef.
Acroporid coral was historically a major reef-building coral species found in Florida and throughout the Caribbean. Thirty years ago, these fast-growing corals formed dense, three-dimensional thickets, contributing to reef growth, island formation, coastal protection, and fisheries habitat diversity. Acroporid coral populations have declined 80-90% throughout the Caribbean and western Atlantic since the late 1980’s, mainly due to temperature-induced bleaching, diseases, and hurricanes. They were listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 2006 and were proposed for uplisting to endangered in 2012. Through an extensive review of known information, it was determined that their range remains largely the same but their densities have decreased significantly.
CURRENT REEF RESTORATION PERMITS – In order to limit the file sizes, full permits are not included here; to see the full permits, contact Caitlin Lustic at firstname.lastname@example.org.