Coral Restoration Foundation™ is the largest coral reef restoration organization in the world.
We were founded in response to
the wide-spread loss of the dominant coral species on the Florida Reef Tract.
The Coral Restoration Foundation™ is headquartered in Key Largo, Florida.
THE FLORIDA REEF TRACT
The third largest barrier reef in the world
THE FLORIDA REEF TRACT
Running from north of Miami down to Key West in the south, right on Florida’s doorstep, lies the Florida Reef Tract.
It is the third largest barrier reef in the world and the only barrier coral reef in the continental United States.
The Florida Reef Tract was once dominated by two species of reef-building coral, staghorn (Acropora cervicornis) and elkhorn (Acropora palmata).
REEF IN CRISIS
Reef loss on a massive scale
The Florida Reef Tract now hosts just three percent of the once-dominant staghorn and elkhorn cover that it had in the 1970s.
These became some of the first corals to be included on the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species, and are both now listed as “Critically Endangered” – one step away from a listing of “Extinct in the Wild”.
Active reef restoration
We have developed a method for “farming” and “outplanting” colonies of staghorn and elkhorn.
By hanging finger-sized fragments of these corals to grow on Coral Trees™, we can produce colonies that are large enough to be outplanted in just six to nine months.
To date, we have now planted more than 66,000 corals back onto the Florida Reef Tract.
The story of Coral Restoration Foundation™ begins with Ken Nedimyer, a commercial fish collector and live rock farmer who, as a longtime resident of the Florida Keys, had seen, first-hand, the decline of the local reefs through the decades.
In a fortuitous turn of events, several colonies of critically-endangered staghorn coral (Acropora cervicornis) settled onto Nedimyer’s live rock farm off the coast of Tavernier, Florida in the late 1990s.
As the colonies began to grow, Nedimyer saw the potential for an aggressive new type of marine conservation that not only protected threatened reef habitats but that also actively restored them.
By 2007, Nedimyer had already demonstrated that his staghorn coral could be grown rapidly and then “outplanted” to the reef.
Enlisting his family and a small, dedicated staff, Nedimyer founded CRF™ in 2007 and began working to build up stock of staghorn and elkhorn (Acropora palmata) coral.
Drawing on Nedimyer’s experience in the aquarium industry and coral research from around the world, CRF™ started to experiment with different methods for growing coral in offshore, in-situ nurseries.
Disk nurseries, line nurseries, and several forms of tree nurseries were tried before the current tree structure was invented.
Thanks to permits obtained from the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, CRF was also able to collect clippings and broken fragments of coral from the remaining wild populations of staghorn and elkhorn in south Florida.
Building such a genetically diverse portfolio of coral would prove to be critical for CRF’s™ current restoration work, which aims to restore the genetic diversity of wild coral populations rather than rely only on corals with perceived – but scientifically unproven – strengths.
For his work with CRF™, Nedimyer has been given the Wyland ICON Award and named a CNN Hero and a Disney Worldwide Conservation Hero.
FISCAL YEAR 2018
JAN 2018 – DEC 2018
ANNUAL REPORT 2018
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MEET THE TEAM
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
DIVE SAFETY BOARD
We are a small, dynamic group of people with a fierce passion for marine conservation.
Our specialized backgrounds and diverse experiences all contribute to Coral Restoration Foundation’s™ professional environment of cooperation, determination, and innovation.
Scott is a serial entrepreneur of 15 years following a career as an academic scientist. His ventures have ranged from entertainment, through consumer goods to healthcare. Highlights of his career include the development of the world’s most technologically advanced pediatric cancer center. He has served on the board of directors for multiple entrepreneurial ventures as well as international non-profits. Throughout his career he has published 2 books, over 50 technical articles and popular papers, and amassed over 750 hours of public speaking.
Scott received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in two simultaneous programs (Ecology, Evolution and Biodiversity and BioInformatics and Computational Biology), received his M.B.A. from the Wharton School of Business, and is Phi Beta Kappa. Scott’s passion for ocean conservation brought him to the Florida Keys to inspire others to help save our ocean.
DIVE SAFETY BOARD
Patti Gross CHAIRMAN
Master Scuba Instructor: PADI/SSI
IDC Staff Instructor/DAN First Aid/CPR/Oxygen Provider Instructor
CRF Reef Restoration Program Manager
Retired Senior Legal Counsel/Risk Manager Xerox Corporation
Master Scuba Instructor
President, National Association of Black SCUBA Divers (NABS) Regional DSO for NABS
Joseph Dituri, Ph.D.
Navy Saturation Diver/Scientific Diver/Technical Diving Instructor
Vice-President and Instructor of IANTD
Hyperbaric Clinical Researcher
CRF Science Program Manager
General Manager Rainbow Reef Dive Center
PADI Course Director
DAN Instructor Trainer
Adjunct Professor and Dive Safety Officer College of the Florida Keys
Shawn Martin, M.Sc
Jonathan Bergeron DSO
Master Scuba Diver Trainer Instructor/DAN Instructor
SCUBA Equipment Technician
USCG Boat Captain
THE CORAL CHRONICLES
Follow our mission as it evolves, with news that comes straight from the heart of the
Coral Restoration Foundation™!
The blog from the largest reef restoration initiative in the world.