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Southeast Florida Coral Reef Initiative Highlights

Video Transcript

Narrator: Coral Reefs are alive! They contain millions of tiny animals that form a spectacular and complex community. Reefs provide nurseries and a safe haven for hundreds of fish and other marine life. They are valuable natural resources that protect our coasts by reducing wave energy from storms and hurricanes.

Coral reefs in Florida are usually associated with the Florida Keys. However, extensive and beautiful coral reefs are also found off Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Martin counties, north of the Keys.

These reefs are so diverse in marine life that they have been compared to tropical rainforests. This ecosystem is part of the third largest barrier reef in the world, stretching 330 miles from the Dry Tortugas to St. Lucie Inlet.

Fishing, diving and boating on Florida's coral reefs provide a tremendous source of income for Florida and its coastal communities. A study of natural and artificial reef usage in southeastern Florida showed that each year, reef-related expenditures contribute $6.6 billion in income and sales and support over 61,000 jobs in the region.

Damselfish and staghorn coral

Small fish often shelter in staghorn coral.

In southeast Florida these coral reefs lie just a few hundred yards off the beaches of our highly urbanized coastal communities. Roughly one third of Florida’s 18 million residents live within this region, which attracted 25 million visitors in 2003. The proximity of such a highly urbanized area can sometimes be detrimental to our beautiful coral reefs, which are very delicate and vulnerable to poor water quality, coastal development, ship groundings, hurricanes and climate change. Corals need clean, clear water with low levels of nutrients to survive and grow.

The Southeast Florida Coral Reef Initiative’s Local Action Strategy is a roadmap for collaborative and cooperative action among federal, state, local and non-governmental partners. The local action strategy identifies key threats to the coral reef resources of southeast Florida and priority actions needed to reduce those threats.

Southeast Florida’s reefs are exhibiting the same signs of degradation as reefs in other parts of the world, but prior to SEFCRI, no coordinated public education or resource management plans had been proposed for this area.

The coral reefs of southeast Florida need all the help they can get. As neighbors and visitors, we have a responsibility to protect our coral reefs.

Find out what you can do now by visiting www.southeastfloridareefs.net.

Credits

Biscayne National Park
Broward County Audubon Society
Broward County Environmental Protection Department
Broward County Extension Education, University of Florida IFAS
CCI Consulting Engineers Inc.
Coastal Eco-Group, Inc.
Coastal Planning and Engineering, Inc.
Coastal Systems International
College of Charleston
Cry of the Water
Dive Equipment and Manufactures Association
Environmental Defense
Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP)
FDEP Beaches and Wetlands Resources
FDEP Southeast District Office of Water Facilities
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Marine Habitat Management Unit
Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary
Florida Institute of Technology, Division of Marine and Environmental Systems
Florida International University
Florida Marine Research Institute
Florida Outdoor Writers Association
Florida Sea Grant
Florida Sportsman Communications Network
Greater Fort Lauderdale Diving Association
Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute
International Game Fish Association
Marine Industries Association of Florida
Martin County
Martin County School District Environmental Studies Center
Miami-Dade County Department of Environmental Resources Management
McMaster University
National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service Habitat Conservation Division
National Coral Reef Institute at Nova Southeastern University
Ocean Watch Foundation
Ocean Engineering
Palm Beach County Department of Environmental Resources Management
PADI Project Aware
Port Everglades
Port of Miami
Port of Palm Beach
Reef Environmental Education Foundation
Smithsonian Institute Marine Station
South Broward High Marine Magnet School
South Florida Diving Headquarters
South Florida Water Management District, Everglades Division Field Operation Center
Surfrider Foundation
Tetra Tech
The Nature Conservancy
The Ocean Conservancy
Tropical Audubon Society
University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
University of Georgia
University of Miami
University of North Carolina, Wilmington
University of South Florida
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
U.S. Coast Guard, Marine Safety Office
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, South Florida Water Management Division Region 4
U.S. Geological Survey
Vone Research

Funding Acknowledgement: The Southeast Florida Coral Reef Initiative and the production of this video were funded in part by a Coral Reef Conservation Program grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management and by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection through its Coral Reef Conservation Program.

SEFCRI logo

 

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If you are interested in receiving updates or would like to sign up as a stakeholder, please contact us at Coral@dep.state.fl.us

 

 

Last updated: May 08, 2014

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