[Coral-List] Coral killing continues in Florida

Eugene Shinn eugeneshinn at mail.usf.edu
Thu Sep 10 13:07:31 EDT 2015

Sarah, Your rant re, "killing hundreds of acres of endangered 
corals"---- the Corps of Engineers, "bulldozing crusade," "Port of Miami 
disaster," and "nightmare" may be a little over stated. That kind of 
language may create some excitement with some but is not likely to get 
you anywhere with the agencies involved. Good scientists should not rant 
that way or misidentify Golith Grouper poop for reproductive fluid as 
you did on the list last year. Did you apologize to readers for that 

My former office on Fisher Island overlooked the dredging area in 
question for 15 years. I know it well and although there were some 
corals there it is a stretch to consider it a coral reef. That limestone 
area had been essentially devoid of reef-building corals for millennia. 
The few corals that were there were only the hardiest, weediest species. 
In fact we could not grow corals in the water from government cut that 
we collected there at high tide for experiments. Admittedly, that was 
before the Virginia Key sewage outfall was moved further offshore. I am 
aware that a large amount of money was spent moving corals and on 
monitoring the effects of the dredging spoil on the few live corals 
found there today (coral cover off Miami-Dade County is routinely 
measured at a half percent or less by SECREMP). Some divers have 
photographed sediment accumulations on corals near the dredge area but 
were not aware the sediment was on corals already dead. The greatest 
threat was the regional 2014 bleaching event followed by regional white 
plague disease that ranged from Monroe to Palm Beach County well outside 
the dredging area (and is still ongoing). The scientists doing the work 
of course cannot discuss the results of the required monitoring studies 
at the present time because of ongoing lawsuits. I suspect that at 
sometime in the future many interesting publications and reports will 
become available for more critical review. I can appreciate the feeling 
of the many who have seen the unavoidable plumes that result from any 
dredging but it is something that none of us can stop. The danger is 
that strong contestable language now may backfire and create deleterious 
effects on the credibility of coral scientists in the future. A year 
from now the area in question will likely look no different than nearby 
areas not touched by this dredging.Gene


No Rocks, No Water, No Ecosystem (EAS)
------------------------------------ -----------------------------------
E. A. Shinn, Courtesy Professor
University of South Florida
College of Marine Science Room 221A
140 Seventh Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
<eugeneshinn at mail.usf.edu>
Tel 727 553-1158
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