coral reefs

C.M. Guerrero Miami Herald

A $205 million Port Miami channel expansion that left a swath of dead coral and led to a legal battle over damage is facing more controversy. 

A new study published last week concluded U.S. Army Corps of Engineers contractors vastly underestimated the amount of coral killed. Meanwhile, the Miami U.S. Attorney's Office last week charged the lead biologist on the project who oversaw coral monitoring with lying about working part-time for an outside consultant hired by the Corps.

Didier Noirot / OceanX

Impacts from climate change, overfishing and poor water quality continue to destroy Florida's coral reefs. The conservation nonprofit OceanX has launched a mission focused on conserving and documenting the reefs.

Miami Herald archives

As South Florida's ritzy coastline, bejeweled with luxury condos and posh hotels, has come under increasing threats from flooding and storm surge driven by climate change, scientists have focused on reefs to defend that wealth.

STEVE NEWBORN / WUSF PUBLIC MEDIA

Divers were busy in early April transplanting coral grown in the Tampa Bay area to stressed-out reefs in South Florida and The Florida Keys. This unprecedented effort revolves around genetics.

Florida's once-colorful coral reefs are under siege. Warming seas, ocean acidification and diseases like coral bleaching are leaving parts of the world's third-largest reef a ghostly white.

Now, there's a new threat - Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease. Or more simply, White Plague.

FWC Corals Program

Five years ago, a new coral disease was found right off downtown Miami. It has now spread through the Florida reef tract, from Martin County down past Key West. In response, scientists are taking unprecedented measures to make sure some coral survives, at least in captivity.

Environmental Protection Agency

When Key West city commissioners approved a ban on the sale of some sunscreens, some said it wasn't just to protect the reef that has protected the island for centuries.

Commissioner Jimmy Weekley said Key West is leading the continental U.S., and is already receiving global attention for its action.

"Key West, the 3-by-5-mile island, is going to take a major step to help preserve our environment — the environment of every citizen of the world," he said.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Key West has become the first place in the mainland U.S. to ban the sale of sunscreens containing two chemicals that have been found in some studies to harm corals.

"There are thousands and thousands of various alternative sunscreens that can be used. But we only have one reef," said Commissioner Jimmy Weekley, one of the sponsors of the ordinance.

It won final approval by a 6-1 vote Tuesday night.

Courtesy Andrew Bruckner / NOAA

After stony coral tissue loss disease reached the Lower Keys last spring, the disease seemed to stall. Reef scientists were hoping that meant it might peter out.

But it didn't.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

The city of Key West took the first step Tuesday toward becoming the first place on the mainland U.S. to ban the sale of sunscreens that contain certain chemicals, like oxybenzone and octinoxate, which some studies have shown can harm corals. 

NOAA

Over the summer, Hawaii became the first place in the United States to ban sunscreens with chemicals that have been found to harm corals. Now Key West is considering a similar ban. And a group opposing the ban is fighting back — online.

If you're in Key West and open a video on YouTube, there's a new ad on heavy rotation.

The Ocean Agency

Time is running out to save the world’s coral reefs from irreversible damage, according to numerous studies

Wikimedia / Creative Commons

It's a good idea to protect your skin with sunscreen when you're out on the water.

But protecting reefs means giving up some of the most common sunscreens that can harm corals. Studies have found that some ingredients, especially oxybenzone and octinoxate, are harmful even in very small quantities.

Across New York City, more than 70 restaurants are tossing their oyster shells not into the trash or composting pile, but into the city's eroded harbor. It's all part of Billion Oyster Project's restaurant shell-collection program.

Force Blue

A new group is using what they learned in the military to fight threats to South Florida's coral reefs.

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