Ocean Reef Club’s Commitment Critical to Reaching Milestone
Coral Restoration Foundation™ has announced a huge milestone in the fight to restore and save the world’s third largest barrier reef: as of July 2019, they have officially returned 100,000 “reef ready” corals to the Florida Reef Tract. This huge achievement demonstrates the power of collaborative action to save and restore our coral reefs, but it is just the beginning.
Coral Restoration Foundation is undertaking the largest coral restoration effort in the world. Since inventing the now-famous “Coral Tree”, they now operate Coral Tree nurseries capable of producing more than 44,000 genetically-diverse, “reef-ready” corals every year. Corals they have outplanted have been observed spawning in the wild – evidence that the animals are thriving in the wild, and that these methods really work.
Restoration work of this scale has only been made possible as a result of an unprecedented, collaborative network of active stakeholders. On a daily basis, volunteers from Florida and beyond join the Coral Restoration Foundation team out on the water. R. Scott Winters, Coral Restoration Foundation CEO, said, “We have been engaging the local community with impactful events like Coralpalooza™, which mobilizes hundreds of divers on World Oceans Day every year, the Raise the Reef annual fundraising gala at Ocean Reef Club, and regular public dive -programs that let all ocean lovers have an active role in restoring reefs. The fact that our volunteer base is growing demonstrates that more people than ever before are committed to ensuring a future for our coral reefs. Our educational programs are now empowering the next generation to become ocean stewards.”
Financial support to the Coral Restoration Foundation in the form of grants, individual donations, and corporate sponsorships has also been critical in bringing this many corals back to the reef. Three sources of funding have been particularly instrumental in kicking this work into a higher gear; a five-year grant from Ocean Reef Club for the restoration of Carysfort Reef, a three-year grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and regular awards from the Monroe County Tourist Development Council (TDC).