[Coral-List] Comments on Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for Coral Restoration

Thomas Goreau goreau at bestweb.net
Wed Jun 18 14:15:08 EDT 2008

Dear Alice Stratton,

I wish to correct serious inaccuracies in the draft statement on page  
17, namely the section below:

The method described was invented by the late Prof. Wolf Hilbertz,  
and developed and patented by him and myself over the last 20 years.  
The citations given are mostly to unauthorized work that copied ours,  
but which made serious errors of design, materials, and operating  
conditions. They did not get the results that we, and those who we  
train to use the method properly, routinely get in the field in  
nearly 30 countries in the Caribbean as well as the Pacific, the  
Indian Ocean, and South East Asia. We typically get growth increases  
of electrified corals 2-6 times faster than uncharged controls, based  
on 7 independent studies, but these depend on the species and the  
operating conditions. Most of this work is in Indonesian, and we have  
not had time to prepare a summary in English. In contrast, our  
imitators have had much inferior results, and in fact some of those  
you cite published a "peer" "reviewed" paper in which it was claimed  
that they could only get corals to grow when the power was off!

But there is an even more important aspect of our work to restoration  
following physical damage than enhanced growth rates, namely the  
almost immediate healing of physical damage to tissue that our  
electrical method promotes.
One of our students in Indonesia, transplanted 32 freshly broken  
Acropora formosa tips from a single large clone onto Electrified  
structures and 32 onto control uncharged structures. The electric  
corals grew 4.01 times faster than the controls. But more important,  
while the controls released mucus for two weeks after  
transplantation, which is typical for physical damage, THE ELECTRIC  
wound healing caused by the direct current electrical field is  
similar to that long known in vertebrates.

We routinely use this method in rescuing naturally broken coral  
fragments for transplantation. Most of the natural fragments we use  
were long ago damaged by anchors, divers,, waves, or fishing gear,  
and when we get them many have been severely injured by rolling  
around on rock or sand, often with much of the tissue dead or  
necrotic. But when we put them onto electric nurseries the damaged  
areas heal very rapidly, and the polyps quickly extend and start  
feeding. The photos below taken by Leong Sze Wong at one of our  
projects in Indonesia show broken corals that have had only one day  
of electrical recuperation and were simply placed on a temporary  
charged substrate without being attached, as this was simply a  
temporary measure to restore them until they could be transplanted  
onto a permanent electrified structure. Their vivid colors and  
healthy polyp expansion of both hard and soft coral fragments are a  
dramatic difference from how they were when we collected them a day  
or two before.

In conclusion, the Biorock reef rehabilitation method is the best  
practice for rescuing corals from physical damage, but it requires  
prompt intervention for the best results. Whenever NOAA is serious  
about using the best methods to rescue damaged corals, we will be  
happy to show them how use our method properly. There are so few  
corals left in the Keys that it is remiss not to use the best methods  
for rescuing those that have been smashed by careless divers,  
pleasure boaters, commercial shipping, or University of Miami  
research vessels.

Best wishes,

Thomas J. Goreau, PhD
Global Coral Reef Alliance
37 Pleasant Street, Cambridge MA 02139
goreau at bestweb.net

Date: Mon, 16 Jun 2008 14:21:57 -0400
From: Alice Stratton <astratto at clam.mi.nmfs.gov>
Subject: [Coral-List] NOAA Coral PEIS for review
To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Cc: Coral PEIS <Coral.PEIS at noaa.gov>
Message-ID: <4856AF45.3090404 at clam.mi.nmfs.gov>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="ISO-8859-1"

    NOAA's  National Marine Sanctuaries Program is seeking comments  
on the
    Draft   Programmatic   Environmental   Impact   Statement   for   
    Restoration  in  the  Florida  Keys  and  Flower Garden Banks  
    Marine  Sanctuaries.   This  document  describes the methods  
    used  to  implement restoration in response to physical  
injuries.  The
    comment  period is open until July 21, 2008.  A PDF of the  
document is
    available from the Sanctuaries website at
    [1]http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/involved/     and   hard    
copies   are
    available upon request.
    Please  submit electronic comments to [2]coral.PEIS at noaa.gov.   
    comments may also be sent to:
    Alice Stratton
    212 Rogers Ave
    Milford CT 06460
    For   additional   information,   please  contact  Alice   
Stratton  at
    [3]coral.PEIS at noaa.gov or 203-882-6515.


    1. http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/involved/
    2. mailto:coral.PEIS at noaa.gov
    3. mailto:coral.PEIS at noaa.gov

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