[Coral-List] Florida can teach Australia a lesson about corals

Brian Walker walkerb at nova.edu
Thu Mar 12 09:25:37 EDT 2015

Dear Ashley,

I hope you're right. It's too bad Florida is in the spotlight for this as there are many hard-working people trying to make a difference. Unfortunately we haven't learned from our own past mistakes, not to mention others. This seems to occur with every major project near sensitive habitats and yet we continue to prioritize economic growth and commercial interests ahead of environmental interests. 

In my opinion, it all comes down to cost. They could spend the money and monitor appropriately during construction, but the cost of suspending a project is too great and out-weighs any sort of penalties for violating ones permits. I suspect these will continue to happen until penalties become large enough to play into the economic evaluation of a project.  

Best Regards,


Brian K. Walker, Ph.D.
Research Scientist
Nova Southeastern University
Oceanographic Center
8000 N. Ocean Drive
Dania Beach, FL 33004

-----Original Message-----
From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov [mailto:coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov] On Behalf Of Frisch, Ashley
Sent: Wednesday, March 11, 2015 1:22 PM
To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Subject: [Coral-List] Florida can teach Australia a lesson about corals

Dear Coral List,
I read with interest (and disappointment) about the coral damage being caused by dredging in Florida, USA. A brief summary can be found at...

Although this result is entirely expected given our global knowledge of corals and sedimentation, I hope that failures such as this will help convince policy makers elsewhere about the extreme dangers of dredging near coral reefs. This is particularly relevant to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, where dredging operations are often proposed (and sometimes approved) by government agencies. In a recent case, dredging at Abbot Point was approved and then temporarily suspended (due to local and international pressure), but this is unlikely to be the end of the story. Recent commentary can be found at...

If Australia is genuinely concerned about protecting the Great Barrier Reef, then the failures in Florida provide valuable lessons. Hopefully these lessons will be heeded in future decisions about Abbot Point and other dredging proposals, both in Australia and elsewhere.

Ashley Frisch
Townsville, Australia

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