Coral Reefs and Coral Beach, Florida

From the Dry Tortugas to the St. Lucie Inlet, Florida’s Coral Reefs covers about 350 miles. It’s the only coral reef system in the continental US, with over 40 kinds of reef-building corals providing refuge, food, and breeding grounds for millions of plants and animals. The Coral Reef of Florida is a magnificent natural resource that protects our shoreline while also supporting the economy by offering recreational, educational, and medical research possibilities. Apart from that, the coral beach Florida is an extremely famous tourist destination. 

What Are Corals?

A fish swimming under water

Corals are the animals that build and live on the coral reefs of Florida. Corals are among the most unusual and ancient living creatures in the world. They build vast reefs along our beaches, dubbed the “rainforests of the sea,” that sustain a rich and complex web of life in our ocean. Corals are little creatures that can be as small as a pinhead or as large as a DVD. Polyps can exist as single animals or in vast groups containing thousands of individuals. The majority of corals develop at a snail’s pace, adding less than one inch every year. A colony is a group of people who have lived together for hundreds of years. Southeast Florida’s oldest known colony is approximately 300 years old!

The Coral Reef In Florida Is In Peril

Underwater view of a coral

The Coral Reef in Florida is vulnerable to a variety of global and local stresses, including coastal building, poor water quality, reckless fishing and diving, vessel groundings and anchor drags, and marine debris effects, to mention a few.

Outbreak Of Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease

Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease has been affecting Florida’s coral reef for some years. While disease outbreaks are common, this one stands out because of its wide geographic scope, long length, quick advancement, high mortality rates, and the enormous number of reef-building coral species impacted. This epidemic began in 2014 off the coast of Miami-Dade County and has since spread to reefs around the Caribbean, including Jamaica, Mexico, St. Maarten, the US Virgin Islands, and the Dominican Republic. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Park Service, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is leading a collaborative response effort that includes dozens of federal, state, and local agencies, non-governmental organizations, universities, and community members to investigate and solve the problem.

Conservation Of The Coral Reefs Of Florida

More than 6 million people of Monroe, Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, and Martin counties, as well as 38 million yearly tourists, benefit from Florida’s Coral Reef. To sustain existing reefs, rehabilitate those that have been damaged, and avoid further damages, Florida’s Coral Reefs requires active management. We are in danger of losing this amazing natural treasure if conservation measures are not made. Beginning with the creation of Key West National Wildlife Refuge in 1908, Florida has a long history of recognizing the value of its coral reefs. The primary risks to Florida’s coral reef are being addressed through conservation efforts. These are governed by each maritime managed area’s management plan, which requires considerable public involvement and comment on a regular basis.

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