Protecting Our Reefs
What is the Coral Restoration Foundation?
Founded in 2007, CRF is a Key Largo-based nonprofit created to develop offshore coral nurseries and restoration strategies for critically endangered coral reefs. What began as a local effort, spearheaded by CRF founder and president Ken Nedimeyer, has grown into a globally recognized organization. CRF has been successfully growing and transplanting corals for more than a decade throughout the Keys, the Caribbean and South America. The restoration process involves growing staghorn and elkhorn corals for about a year in an underwater nursery until they are large enough to be outplanted on a reef.
Rebuilding Carysfort Reef
In December 2013, the Club and Ocean Reef Conservation Association became CRF’s first community donor and two years later, together established a five-year goal to plant 20,000 corals by year 2020and restore Carysfort Reef to what it looked like 40 years ago.
Just five miles from the shore of Ocean Reef Club, the iconic Carysfort Reef, like many reefs in the Florida Keys, has seen its population of staghorn and elkhorn coral decline by more than 90 percent since the 1970s due to various environmental stressors. In the last two years, support by the Club, donations by individual Members, ORCA, Ocean Reef Conservation Association, Ocean Reef Community Foundation and the Club’s business partners, has helped CRF work towards the goal of completely rebuilding Carysfort Reef. When complete, it will be the first total restoration of a coral reef anywhere in the world. As of March 2018, 4,311 staghorn and 3,253 elkhorn have already been outplanted at Carysfort Reef.
How You Can Get Involved
Over the years, many Ocean Reef Members have gotten involved in the restoration either through dive trips to help transplant corals, or through the “adopt a coral” program. Through this program, Members may adopt an individual staghorn ($250) or elkhorn ($500), a personally identified staghorn cluster ($1,000), or a family planting trip where they can plant an entire staghorn tree nursery ($5,000).
If you’re interested in learning more about these efforts, visit www.coralrestoration.org or www.oceanreefconservationassociation.org, or coordinate a dive trip through Cristal Clear Charters to the Carysfort nursery and lighthouse.