Major Restoration and Monitoring Projects

seagrass restoration using bird stakes

Over the years, there have been a number of groundings in Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary that involved large vessels, such as private luxury craft, commercial fishing boats, or commercial freighters. These groundings have resulted in injuries so substantial that it was necessary to physically rebuild reef structures or import crushed limestone rock to fill in large holes. Restoration on this scale becomes a major marine construction project that requires considerable planning, equipment, materials, and trained personnel to successfully implement.

In addition to the occasional large vessel grounding, hundreds of smaller vessel groundings are reported in the sanctuary each year. The impacts from smaller vessels add up over time and their affect on seagrass and reef health is significant.

The pages listed below are the monitoring plans for some of the sanctuary’s largest restoration efforts.

Lagniappe II
Corals damaged in 2002 when a 36-foot long boat ran aground on a patch reef are now thriving following a restoration and near decade-long monitoring effort. Biologists tracked recovery progress using digital photographs and highly specialized computer software. More

The sanctuary’s restoration efforts in a nearly 1,000 square-foot seagrass injury caused by a 54-foot powerboat in 1991 were successful in speeding the recovery of the scar. Restoration techniques for this grounding included replanting seagrass and installing stakes for birds to roost on. More

M/V Elpis
In the wake of the M/V Elpis grounding in 1989, which destroyed more than 30,000 square feet of living corals, restoration included stabilizing foundation to mimic the surrounding natural seabed in order to foster the natural recruitment of coral colonies. More
M/V Alec Owen Maitland
Restoration for the M/V Maitland grounding, which destroyed more than 7,000 square feet of living corals in 1989, included filling in the blowhole and stabilizing the damaged reef framework. More

M/V Wellwood
In 1984, more than 60,000 square feet of living corals was destroyed during the grounding of the M/V Wellwood. To restore physical relief back to the damaged site and encourage natural recovery, reef modules were placed in the injured areas to provide a substrate for new coral growth. More...

M/V Connected
Restoration on the 1991 M/V Connected grounding site included salvaging and reattaching displaced coral fragments and stabilizing reef substrate along the impact track. More...

M/V Jacquelyn L
Restoration efforts on the 1991 Jacquelyn L grounding included the salvage and reattachment of dislodged coral fragments, as well as relocating coral colonies from outside the grounding site to the grounding scar. More...

M/V Wave Walker
Sanctuary biologists repaired the rim of the injured coral colony and reattached live coral fragments during the restoration of the 2001 M/V Wave Walker grounding site. More...