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.
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.
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.
February 27, 2019 - 8:57am
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The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the state’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship – protecting our air, water and land. The vision of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is to create strong community partnerships, safeguard Florida’s natural resources and enhance its ecosystems.