A diver replanting staghorn coral. The coral fragments are attached to the reef with epoxy and tagged to keep track of genetic information. Credit: Coral Restoration Foundation

A diver replanting staghorn coral. The coral fragments are attached to the reef with epoxy and tagged to keep track of genetic information.

NOAA and partners from government, academia and the private sector—including Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium—are beginning the first major phase of one of the largest strategies ever proposed for coral reef restoration as part of Mission: Iconic Reefs, the most ambitious effort to date in the U.S. to restore nearly 3 million square feet of the Florida Reef Tract at seven sites: Carysfort Reef, Horseshoe Reef, Cheeca Rocks, Newfound Harbor, Eastern Dry Rocks, Sombrero Reef and Looe Key Reef. These sites represent the iconic diversity and productivity of Florida Keys coral reefs; they span the geographic extent of the region, a variety of habitats, and a range of human uses. They also have a history of restoration success, or have characteristics that indicate restoration is likely to succeed. Restoration is set to begin immediately, using a phased approach.

 

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