The PI Team has been putting in work this past month to help save coral reefs
After selling PI at the Fort Lauderdale Yoga Expo last March, we headed down to Key Largo, in Florida, to help out with the Coral Restoration Foundation™ and learn more about their approach to protecting our oceans.
The Coral Restoration Foundation™ is the largest coral reef restoration organization in the world. The foundation was founded in response to the dramatic loss of coral populations on the Florida Reef Tract.
Did you know the Florida Reef Tract is the third largest barrier reef in the world after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and the Belize Barrier Reef?
In the 1970s, the Florida Reef Tract was dominated by two species of coral reef, staghorn (Acropora cervicornis) and elkhorn (Acropora palmata). Today only 3% of the previous population of those two species remain in the Florida Reef Tract and they are now considered Critically Endangered species.
As the foundation of some of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet, coral reefs are important for many reasons. They are a source of food and habitat for more than 25% of marine life, they help protect our coastlines from waves, storms and erosion. And these are just a few important reasons to focus on preserving coral reef habitats.
We chose to partner with the Coral Restoration Foundation™ because of their unique approach to protecting the coral reefs.
The Coral Restoration Foundation™ is working to restore these reefs by growing and then “outplanting” huge numbers of corals onto the Florida Reef Tract. They produce these corals in massive offshore “Coral Tree Nurseries”.
A Coral Tree Nursery is essentially like a garden under the sea, with genetically diverse corals growing on man-made structures (“trees”). Imagine a Coral Tree looking something like a Charlie Brown Christmas tree, with coral attached to it on mono filament line. The coral grows on its own and once it gets big enough it is moved to a reef site, where it is attached to the substrate using a two-part marine epoxy.
Picture Credit: Alexander Neufeld/Coral Resoration Foundation™
The organization manages seven of these Coral Tree Nurseries. The largest has over 500 Coral Trees and covers an acre-and-a-half of sea floor. It can produce more than 40,000 “reef-ready” corals every year!
Using these techniques, the Coral Restoration Foundation™ is working to restore wild coral populations that are being lost due to human pressure, including direct impact by divers and snorkelers, overfishing, rising water temperatures and pollution.
They are actively restoring the Florida Reef Tract and have already planted more than 80,000 corals back onto the Reef.
While there, we helped construct some of the tree structures that would be installed in the nursery. We also donated to their fundraising event that draws hundreds of participants each year in hopes to raise even more money to help with their cause.
We are very grateful for the opportunity to work hands on with the Coral Restoration Foundation™. More so, we were beyond grateful for all the support we received from the community in regards to our cause! We could definitely tell that coral reef conservation was near and dear to the hearts of the people in Florida.
Visit https://www.coralrestoration.org for more information on the Coral Restoration Foundation™. Their office is located in central Key Largo and anyone wishing to learn more about their conservation projects can visit their Exploration Center at 5 Seagate Blvd, Key Largo, Florida 33037.
All in all, we are looking forward to coming back to Florida again next year and we hope to bring some of you along with us!
If you are interested in attending our next conservation project please email us directly at email@example.com.