Coral Restoration Foundation (CRF) Founder and President, Ken Nedimyer, with CRF dedicated volunteer, John Hauk, recently returned from a 10-day trip to the Rosario Islands off the coast of Colombia where they assisted CRF partner organizations in coral nursery development and coral planting. Nedimyer and Hauk worked alongside members of The Oceanarium of the Rosario Islands, Living Coral Foundation, and the National Natural Park, Corales del Rosario y San Bernardo to plant over 2,000 pieces of staghorn and elkhorn and fragment over 4,000 new pieces of coral that will be ready to plant next year. This is the second visit from CRF and is part of a larger scale program to develop the nursery and train others in restoration techniques.
Nedimyer began planting staghorn corals in 2003 off the coast of the Florida Keys. Since then, over 20,000 colonies of threatened corals have been raised in coral nurseries and relocated to critically endangered reefs throughout the Keys. CRF began working with Caribbean nations in 2010 to educate and empower international partners in restoration programs for their coastal ecosystems in order to preserve these aquatic treasures for future generations. CRF’s first international coral nursery was established in Bonaire where CRF and Buddy Dive Resort partnered to develop nursery and restoration programs for reefs damaged by bleaching, coral diseases, and hurricanes. Nurseries were established in Colombia in October 2010 to negate effects of declined coral populations as a result of events similar to Bonaire.
Coral nurseries in Colombia are located a shore dive away from the Rosario Islands where staff and volunteers from the Living Coral Foundation and The Center for Research Education and Recreation (CEINER) Oceanarium of the Rosario Islands work with the Colombian National Park Service to maintain them throughout the year. Restoration sites are located in close proximity to the nurseries where large amounts of coral can be transported and planted to the shallow reefs. The nursery in Colombia is ever expanding with 35 “coral trees” that hold both staghorn and elkhorn growing and waiting to be transplanted. To learn more about restoration programs in Colombia, visit www.coralesvivos.org.