BELOW THE WATER: STAGHORN CORAL RESTORATION
Lauderdale-By-The-Sea is one of the few communities in America which has a living coral reef system located within swimming distance of the beach. We are one of the most popular spots for beach diving in Florida. Coral reefs provide valuable protection from hurricanes and critical habitat for tropical fish, lobsters, sea fans and corals. Unfortunately, like many coral reefs around the world, ours has suffered from natural and man-made events. With our fragile reefs so close to the shore, protecting and expanding them has been a high priority for the town.
The Town entered into a partnership with Nova Southeastern University’s Coral Nursery Initiative in 2014. Under this program, a total of 2,000 staghorn coral fragments from NSU’s coral nursery were planted off the Town in 2015 and 2016. The Town funded the $59,000 cost of the project. Monitoring will occur for an additional three years.
Our Town is now the northernmost site on the planet for staghorn coral transplanting. Our partnership with NSU is unique as we know of no other municipality in Florida which has partnered with a major university to help a threatened coral species recover. The Town is now considering starting a second staghorn restoration project with NSU.
Staghorn corals are in severe decline and were listed as threatened in 2006 by the federal government. We believe our innovative staghorn transplanting program will help improve the long-term sustainability of the species and provide valuable new habitat for marine life. Coral reefs, which help break waves and storm surge, are the first line of defense in helping to mitigate severe beach erosion.