✓ Accidental boat groundings damage the reef and seagrass beds. Consult tide and navigational charts and steer clear of shallow areas (shallow, seagrass beds appear brown in color).
✓ Land-based sources of pollution can affect water quality and the coral reef, including excessive use of chemical fertilizers, oil & chemical spills, trash, sewage. Minimize these sources to reduce the stress on the reef system.
Visitors, residents and members of the community who want to be a part of the Florida Reef Resilience program can participate in any of the volunteer programs listed below. Each program has been designed to engage the community in being a part of the early detection of marine events and increase the number of eyes and ears on the reef. Everyone who knows and loves the reef has a role to play in the Florida Reef Resilience program.
What does this program do: The Southeast Florida Action Network (SEAFAN) is a reporting and response system designed to improve the protection and management of Florida’s Coral Reef by increasing response to vessel groundings and anchor damage, and providing early detection of potentially harmful biological disturbances.
Who can help: people who spend time on the water, such as divers, snorkelers, commercial and recreational fishermen, boaters, law enforcement personnel, environmental professionals and anyone else who uses the water or visits the coast. Everyone can contribute to the network by being the eyes and ears on the reef.
What can you do: Report any unusual sightings, including marine debris, vessel groundings and anchor damage, invasive species, harmful algal blooms, fish disease and fish kills, discolored water, and coral disease and bleaching. There is no special training needed and no further participation is required; just report what, when, and where the incident was observed
Areas covered: SEAFAN covers all of Florida’s Coral Reef with the exception of Biscayne National Park and Dry Tortugas National Park, which includes the Florida Keys and Southeast Florida from the northern border of Biscayne National Park in Miami-Dade County to the St. Lucie Inlet in Martin County,
How to Report : Call the SEAFAN hotline at 866-770-SEFL (7335) or fill out the online report form.
What does this program do: Coral bleaching, which is the corals’ loss of their symbiotic algae called zooxanthellae, is a natural event that occurs to some extent every year along Florida’s Coral Reef. While records show that coral bleaching events have been occurring for many years in Florida, indications are that the frequency and severity has steadily increased since the 1980’s. Large-scale mass coral bleaching events are driven by unusually warm sea temperatures. The effects of these mass events are potentially devastating to ecosystems and the people who depend on them. Modeled after the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s “BleachWatch” program, specially trained volunteers, known as “BleachWatch” observers, collect field observations to monitor for signs of coral bleaching. Satellite data and field observations by trained “BleachWatch” observers are consolidated and provided to the reef managers and other interested parties with a summary, or “current conditions report”, throughout the summer.
Who can help: Volunteer divers or snorkelers who can provide reports from the reef on the actual condition of corals throughout the bleaching season.
What can you do : Recreational, commercial and scientific divers are encouraged to become part of the BleachWatch Observer Network by participating in a training session and reporting incidences of coral bleaching.
Areas covered: Florida’s Coral Reef
If in Southeast Florida (the Coral ECA region), contact Taylor Tucker, Reef Resilience Coordinator at (561)681-6631 or fill out the online form.