James M. Cervino cnidaria at
Sat Aug 25 08:51:56 EDT 2001

Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                       Contact: Dan Clark, Cry 
of the Water, 954-753-9737     
Thursday, August 23, 2001                              Jessica 
Vallette Revere, PEER, 202-265-7337

Reef Protection Report Released to Document and Save Northernmost Coral Reef

Ft. Lauderdale, FL - Cry of the Water, a coral reef monitoring group 
in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, has documented unexpectedly high coral cover 
and coral reef species diversity off the Broward County shoreline in 
an area that is now threatened by a massive dredge and fill project.

Prior surveys of the area have missed or underestimated the size and 
extent of large stands of staghorn coral reef and ancient coral 
colonies that are found close to shore. Further, early agency 
planning documents repeatedly stated  that the 3 million cubic yard 
dredging project using 7 offshore dredge sites would not 
significantly impact the reefs of Ft. Lauderdale.

The best shallow reefs in Ft. Lauderdale are close to the burial 
area. Over 25 acres of shallow essential fish habitat, hard bottom 
and coral, will be directly buried and many more acres will also be 
indirectly affected. These reefs contain more then 1/2 of all the 
coral species found in the Caribbean and some coral colonies are 
between 500 and 1000 years old.

"Killing or damaging the last remaining good shallow reefs in east 
Florida by dredging and filling would by like dynamiting the last 
giant redwood stand" said Dr. Tom Goreau president of The Global 
Coral Reef Alliance.. "At a time when reefs are showing the effects 
of multiple stresses, any activities that would cause any further 
damage could irreversibly degrade the reef ecosystem and damage local 

These findings are documented in a new report by Cry of the Water and 
the Global Coral Reef Alliance titled "Reef Protection in Broward 
County, Florida" (see Research teams 
conducted dives for the past year to map uncharted coral colonies in 
and near the impact area of the proposed dredge and fill project to 
temporarily widen local beaches. Ft. Lauderdale's remaining coral 
reefs can continue to support major diving and fishing industries, 
and protect the coast for years to come if not further damaged by 
massive dredging projects.

"It is time that we take a common sense approach to marine resource 
management in Broward County. To damage or destroy the reefs that 
currently protect the shore line will only move us further away from 
our goal of sustainable coastal management." said Dan Clark, 
President of Cry of the Water.


The report, color photographs of the reef, and a short excerpt from 
the accompanying video can be viewed at


James M. Cervino
PhD. Program
Marine Science Program
University of South Carolina
(803) 996-6470
e-mail:cnidaria at
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