Coral Reef Restoration

Coral reef restoration in Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary has grown from a small-scale project involving the outplanting of a few hundred corals a year to a large-scale effort involving outplanting of hundreds of thousands of corals. Mission: Iconic Reefs is a large-scale NOAA-led and partner-driven coral restoration initiative within Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary to restore seven ecologically and culturally significant coral reefs to self-sustaining levels by 2040. In addition to the production and outplanting of corals, the project includes the reintroduction of herbivorous crabs and urchins and other activities designed to improve environmental conditions of the reef and enhance coral survival.

The reefs in Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary are part of a larger coral reef ecosystem known as "Florida's Coral Reef," which extends over 350 miles from the Dry Tortugas in the Gulf of Mexico to the St. Lucie Inlet in Martin County. While Mission: Iconic Reefs focuses on restoring seven iconic reef sites in Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, coral restoration is expanding in other locations along Florida's Coral Reef throughout the sanctuary, southeast Florida, and the Dry Tortugas. Many non-profit, government agency, university, and private industry partners are involved in restoration projects throughout the South Florida-area.

To find out more about different projects to help conserve and restore Florida's Coral Reef, visit:

Divers in the water column surrounded by tree-like structures
Coral nurseries allow practitioners to grow fragments on "trees" for later outplanting on the reef. Photo: Jay Clue
Four circles fused together on a rock
These coral fragments have fused together from smaller discs outplanted on barren reef. Photo: Jay Clue