Target: Ken Nedimyer, President of the Coral Restoration Foundation
Goal: Applaud volunteers for coral reef restoration efforts.
Coral reefs are experiencing rapid decline with dire implications for the enormous amount of biodiversity they support. In addition to their tremendous ecological value, coral reefs help to generate economy by attracting tourism and fishing. They protect the terrestrial environment by acting as a barrier against coastal erosion during storms.
Staghorn coral and elkorn coral are endangered of local extinction in the Florida Keys. Globally, corals are threatened by climate change indicated by severe cold fronts, bleaching from warmer waters, and frequent hurricanes. Disease, overfishing, and coastal development have also contributed to the rapid decline of coral.
Fortunately, a non-profit in Key Largo, Florida, has been working to offset the degradation of coral reefs by growing and restoring local species. The Coral Restoration Foundation has provided workshops to train divers in the process of coral reef restoration. Volunteers take a series of educational lectures and are given hands-on diving experience to restore corals.
The Coral Restoration Foundation, led by Ken Nedimyer, has experimented with different methods to grow corals in nurseries including mounting them onto concrete disks, hanging corals from monofiliments, and tethering corals to a tree nursery on the sea floor. Tethered tree nurseries have been the most effective technique for growing coral.
Volunteers clean and prepare new coral for planting then dive thirty feet below the surface of the water to attach small fragments of starter coral onto the tree nurseries. When branches of healthy corals have grown, they are clipped for replanting in areas including the Molasses Reef in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, a popular snorkeling and diving spot.
After corals are planted, volunteers continue to monitor and maintain restoration sites, checking for disease, predation, bleaching and broken branches. Broken branches are ‘rescued’ by reattaching them to their substrate, enabling them to grow into new coral colonies. Maintaining nurseries is a viable way to help to keep pace with the decline of coral reefs. Please sign this petition to thank this organization for its amazing conservation efforts.
Dear Ken Nedimyer, President of the Coral Restoration Foundation,
I would like to commend your organization and its volunteers for their dedication and hard work restoring coral reefs in the Florida Keys. Coral reefs are precious natural resources that provide many vital ecosystem services and habitat for a multitude of marine species. With various factors inhibiting their survival, it is imperative that we have organizations with motivated volunteers to promote the conservation of coral species.
Education outreach provided by the Coral Restoration Foundation increases environmental awareness and engages members of the community to become stewards of shared natural resources. Your organization has taken impressive actions to facilitate the natural recovery of corals species. Involving the community in the underwater restoration project is a sustainable and viable way to carry out conservation efforts, including planting corals and monitoring their health over the long-term.
Please continue to expand your efforts by engaging more recreational divers and local Floridians with conservation.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: mattkieffer via Flickr