The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and U.S. Naval Air Station Key West worked together to execute a plan to rescue coral from the Navy seawall prior to structural repairs. U.S. Naval Air Station Key West-funded Truman Mole Pier pre-construction coral rescue project commenced October 17th 2011. From October 17th until October 27th more than 1476 coral and coral fragments measuring more than 15cm were rescued from the Truman Mole Pier seawall. The coral was relocated to the FKNMS dockside coral nursery. The largest in-tact coral rescued measured in excess of one meter. The total number of species rescued from the seawall was fourteen. The combined coral count for the FKNMS nursery as of November 8, 2011 was 1569.
|Resource Manager and coral rescue project lead Lauri MacLaughlin evaluates large coral location at the FKNMS dockside nursery. Photo submitted by Brenda Altmeier (FKNMS)|
|Baskets of coral are lined up on the pier at the FKNMS Key West office waiting to be placed in the Key West nursery. Photo submitted by Brenda Altmeier (FKNMS).|
|Key West coral nursery. Photo submitted by Brenda Altmeier (FKNMS).|
|FKNMS staff Lauri MacLaughlin and Mike Buchman perform dive operations to evaluate project area for completion. Photo submitted by Brenda Altmeier (FKNMS).|
The U.S. Navy plans to contribute funds for the husbandry and upkeep of corals in the nursery for two years, until such time they can be placed in beneficial use projects such as restorations, aquaculture, educational exhibits and scientific research. Navy contractors worked closely with FKNMS staff to accomplish this rescue effort. Of the coral remaining that measured 15cm or less, an in-kind rescue effort by FKNMS staff, coral reef nursery partners, aquarium and scientific researchers will continue through the end of the calendar year.
Story and Photos Submitted by:
Brenda Altmeier, FKNMS