Ecosystem Restoration

In the last 40 years, healthy coral cover on the reefs within Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary has declined more than 90%. This decline can't be blamed on a single cause, but rather a web of interconnected problems. The different habitats of the Florida Keys are dependent on each other to survive. Mangrove forests, seagrass meadows, shallow hard-bottom habitats, and coral reefs face many local and global threats to their health and survival. The health and quality of each of these habitats affect the others, so restoring each habitat ndividually helps improve the quality of other habitats and ecosystems.

The Florida Keys community is working to protect and rebuild these beautiful ecosystems and is developing and implementing omprehensive restoration strategies in collaboration with numerous partners. This includes replanting seagrass beds that have been damaged, enhancing the structural complexity, functioning, and resilience of coral reefs, and reintroducing sponges into nearshore hard-bottom communities to restore degraded sponge communities and enhance their effectiveness to improving nearshore water quality.

Click on the links below to learn more about restoration projects in Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

divers swim among a coral garden underwater

Coral Reef Restoration

Learn more about Mission: Iconic Reefs and other restoration projects taking place along Florida's Coral Reef.

Learn more about the world's most comprehensive coral restoration project, Mission: Iconic Reefs.

Mission Iconic Reefs

Learn more about the world's most comprehensive coral restoration project, Mission: Iconic Reefs.

Small black mounds in rows on a mucky seafloor

Sponge Restoration

Sponge restoration may be an important part of future coral reef restoration projects.

A small fish hides in seagrass blades

Seagrass Restoration

Our partners at Florida Department of Environmental Protection work to restore seagrass habitat in the Florida Keys.

A large area of barren, white seafloor appears to have been burrowed

DARP Seagrass and Coral Injuries

Damage caused by boaters takes time to restore, and our team is part of the process.