Written by: Justine Dill
Last month, we hosted our 4th annual Gala at the Islander Resort in Islamorada. That night we released some very exciting news about our plans in the coming future: the complete restoration of Carysfort Reef.  This was once one of the most mature and developed reefs throughout the Florida Keys reef tract and is now among the severely degraded. Historically, the composition of this reef has been extensively photographed and documented so it has given us a great lead on the work that we need to do.

Along with the loss of coral, there has been a loss of the abundance and size of other biodiversity once found within the reef. The degradation is believed to have begun in the 1970s from a variety of factors. These stressors have contributed to the current state of the reef, which has significantly impacted the once dominating staghorn and elkhorn corals.  Issues such as overfishing, pollution, the sea urchin die off, and climate change, have bombarded the reefs over the last half of a century leaving only 2% of the original coral cover of staghorn and elkhorn coral throughout the Florida Keys.With support from Ocean Reef Club, we are now planning for a massive expansion of our offshore nursery to sustain this new and revolutionary project. Many of you may not know, but Carysfort reef was made up of 30% elkhorn. We want our restoration to reflect this so we will be significantly expanding our work with the elkhorn species.

This will be the largest restoration project ever attempted and we need your help! Monthly giving is a predictable source of income we can count on to continue our restoration work. Help us create a healthy ocean here. Also, be on the lookout for posts on social media and upcoming articles in the Coral Chronicles to stay up-to-date on this new, groundbreaking project!