DEP Announces Award of $8 Million for 31 Coral Projects

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CONTACT: DEP Press Office, 850-245-2112,

DEP Announces Award of $8 Million
for 31 Coral Projects

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Governor Ron DeSantis and Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary Shawn Hamilton announce the award of $8 million from the Fiscal Year 2022-23 budget for 31 coral projects across the state. Projects would include monitoring and support of stony coral tissue loss disease response, restoration of Florida’s Coral Reef and the enhancement of regional water quality with a focus on Biscayne Bay.

“Thanks to the Governor's leadership and this ongoing financial commitment, DEP can continue to support the multifaceted partner response to stony coral tissue loss disease outbreaks through intervention, coral rescue, research and restoration, and water quality assessments,” said DEP Secretary Shawn Hamilton. “This dedicated funding will allow the state of Florida and our partners to be global leaders in the development of coral restoration technology.” 

This funding will allow the continuation of key research that will guide regional, state and national coral reef authorities, policies and procedures to ensure consistency and effectiveness of reef management actions and support science-based decision making. Importantly, this funding is also being invested in partners that are responding to the ongoing outbreak, monitoring coastal water quality above the reefs and creating infrastructure for onshore coral nurseries. 

View more information about selected projects.

Florida is the only state in the continental United States with extensive shallow coral reef formations near its coasts. Coral reefs create specialized habitats that provide shelter, food and breeding sites for numerous plants and animals, including those important to fishing like spiny lobster, snapper and grouper. Coral reefs are the foundation of a dynamic ecosystem with tremendous biodiversity. 

Florida's Coral Reef stretches approximately 350 linear miles from Dry Tortugas National Park west of the Florida Keys to the St. Lucie Inlet in Martin County. Roughly two-thirds of Florida's Coral Reef lies within Biscayne National Park and the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, a marine protected area that surrounds the Florida Keys island chain.

The reefs stretching north of Biscayne National Park and the marine sanctuary are designated as the Kristin Jacobs Coral Reef Ecosystem Conservation Area. These are managed by DEP’s Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP) with insight from the Southeast Florida Coral Reef Initiative, which is one of several programs administered by the CRCP.