[Coral-List] Reef Restoration Aesthetics

Todd Barber reefball at reefball.com
Sun Feb 29 09:48:19 EST 2004

Hi Jessica,

Go to http://www.reefball.com/map/antiguascience/antiguapressrelease.htm to
see an example reef restoration effort that included aesthetics.  In fact,
this effort was not limited by typical funding restraints.  For the project,
we propagated more than 10,000 new (hard and soft) corals of the wide range
of the local diversity, rescued and transplanted over 17 tons of adult coral
colonies from the path of a dredge, and used hundreds of varieties and sizes
of prefabricated designed artificial reef units.  The units were laid out
with a great deal of attention to aesthetics including snorkeling and diving
trails, canyon like features, tall pinnacles, and the restoration occurred
in an area where there where some natural coral heads which were fit into
the reef design.  Adding to the aesthetics, we are planting over 7,000 Red
Mangroves near the restoration effort which will also serve as estuary type
habitat.  After the prefabricated reef units were planted with propagates
and adult corals, the team undertook a large effort of aquascaping.  We
planted various algae, sponges and other lifeforms much in the same way an
aquarist plants an aquarium....with aesthetics (and biological goals) in
mind.  Because the area had been devastated by a hurricane, there were
several unstablized/loose  "live rocks" in the restoration area which would
become a threat during storm events, therefore as an additional effort,
these live rocks were attached to the designed artificial reef units.

In just 4 months, the reef system is a spectacular success.  There has been
a tremendous recovery of species and population densities.  Many of the
coral propagates have doubled in size in just 4 months and are basing
correctly over the artificial reef units.

The aesthetics efforts also included reef layout from an aerial perspective.
The Reef was laid out to act as a physical barrier to boat traffic in
shallow seagrass areas and we are seeing an end to prop scars in the
seagrasses which adds further to the natural beauty of the restoration
effort.  Additionally, the restoration effort including arrangement of the
units to form a natural fringing coral reef to create a submerged breakwater
to protect the beach from erosion....another component of aesthetics.

To my knowledge there has never been such a complete restoration effort, and
in our case the project was done with less funding than most governmental
efforts.  All that said, I also agree with Curtis Kruer when he said that to
pretend a restoration effort can achieve total restoration is presumptuous.
So far, the Antigua project is the first in the world to prove that the
technology exists to get very close to a full restoration at a reasonable
price,...perhaps even better than natural reefs from some human perspective
goals (aesthetics, beach protection, suitability for
snorkeling/diving)....but the only real way to "restore" a reef to its
natural state is to protect it before it is damaged.  Marine reserved areas
are likely the only practical solution to achieve this goal and they may not
be able to protect reefs from wider threats such as global warming and human
environmental impacts.

-Todd Barber
Reef Ball Foundation, Inc.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Jessica Tallman" <mailjtall at yahoo.com>
To: <coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>
Sent: Friday, February 27, 2004 4:05 PM
Subject: [Coral-List] Reef Restoration Aesthetics

> Dear Coral List,
> I am also working on a section of Bill Precht's book on coral reef
restoration. I am writing an overview of the aesthetics of restoration.
Funding issues often limit the amount of attention that can be paid to this
and biological success should be of utmost importance, however, is there
much demand for an aesthetically pleasing dive site? I am wondering if
anyone has come up with solutions to aesthetics for the interim, before a
reef is rehabilitated to a natural state. Please let me know of any
suggestions you have.
> Thank you,
> Jessica Tallman
> mailjtall at yahoo.com
> (781) 724-9014
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