[Coral-List] Restoration and conservation Re: ICRS 2021 meeting session: Can Coral Reef Restoration Increase Coastal Protection?

Douglas Fenner douglasfennertassi at gmail.com
Sat Sep 12 02:04:54 UTC 2020

I agree that growing coral in captivity is really well worked out, it's not
difficult or high tech, and it is highly successful.  If it wasn't, it
wouldn't have such a strong appeal.  That's great, and it is not the
problem.  If coral restoration grows large enough it will inevitably have
to compete for funding with other things.  Finances are not infinite.  I
have not to date heard that funding has been taken away from other
projects, however, money spent on one thing could have been spent on
another.  I do not begrudge growing coral, I think it's great.  I do,
however, notice that some people who do it, at least when speaking to the
press, and sometimes when posting on this list, completely omit any mention
of what is causing all the loss of coral, and the need to address the cause
and not just the symptoms.  We're all terribly frustrated by the lack of
progress on fixing the causes.  If we don't fix the causes we are doomed to
eventual failure.  That is conspicuously absent not only from what some
coral restorers put out, but certainly from the press's glowing coverage of
"this may save the reefs!!!"  No, as scientists, we don't control the free
press (thank heavens) but don't we have a responsibility to also mention
the 800 pound gorilla in the corner of the room???  Conveniently omitting
the fact that most of the corals that are planted out are highly likely to
die, as documented in the published study of a big project in Florida, may
help funding, but does it help us be realistic in our attempts to save
reefs??  Florida is in many ways very different from most of the world's
reefs, so those results do not necessarily apply elsewhere.  But is coral
restoration needed where water quality is good and corals are growing
fine???  There are places where water quality is good, but substrate is
bad.  Nothing but sand or lose rubble caused by things like dredging.  Or
storm damage.  Or crown-of-thorns.  Fine, let's do coral restoration there,
it has a good chance of working, at least until mass coral bleaching from
climate change kills about 90-95% of the world's corals.  Can we be
realistic about our chances of restoring the size of area that was
damaged?  But one of the ironies of coral restoration is that the long term
prospects of the coral colonies planted out are great where restoration is
not needed, and terrible where restoration IS needed.  Surely with a few
exceptions.  I wish it was otherwise, but wishes won't solve the crisis.
      Other people say we must learn to live with dead reefs.  No,
actually, they don't say that, they say something like "changed reefs."  As
in 5% coral cover or similar.  (geological reefs but not coral reef
ecosystems)  I am not sure future generations will pardon us for giving
up.  But we sure are losing in a big way.
      At some point, we're going to have to face reality, reality will
force that.  And I fear that by then it will be too late.
     Cheers, Doug

On Fri, Sep 11, 2020 at 7:03 AM Sarah Frias-Torres <
sfrias_torres at hotmail.com> wrote:

> Doug
> The science of Ecological Restoration is well established and follows a
> set of science-based principles. I invite you to visit the Society for
> Restoration Ecology web site, which has links to standards and protocols in
> their "Resource Center" tab
> https://www.ser.org/
> Specifically, for coral reef restoration, what you call "planting out
> corals" is just one step in coral gardening, which is one of many
> techniques available in this scientific discipline of restoration ecology.
> The aim of coral reef restoration is to restore ecological function.
> Science-based projects take into account all factors, from local to global
> stressors. Unfortunately, there are many "copy-cats", people that start
> 'planting corals" without going through all the steps of a science-based
> restoration project. Whether it is blind enthusiasm attached to ignorance
> or real malice, it needs evaluation in a case by case basis.
> Also, to clarify a comment about funding (from a post related to this
> one), in my experience, none of the funding I have secured to implement
> coral reef restoration projects was taken away from the funding pie of
> conservation and climate change mitigation. This is not an issue of coral
> reef restoration taking away slices of the funding pie for conservation. We
> are not eating the pie and leaving our conservation colleagues hungry. We
> are making the funding pie bigger.
> None of the coral reef restoration scientists I work with ignores local
> and global stressors to coral reefs. None of us thinks that restoration is
> the magic pill that will save coral reefs. Restoration is one more tool in
> the toolbox of saving coral reefs.
> As I keep repeating over and over, to save coral reefs, conservation,
> restoration, and targeting the climate crisis must all work together.
> Finally, on the Titanic analogy, there was a similar comment ("rearranging
> the deck chairs ") shared at the open forum during ICRS 2016 in Hawaii,
> saying that first, we must stop burning fossil fuels, and stop climate
> change, before we even consider coral reef restoration. My answer to this
> comment was that if we take this approach, there will be no point to do
> restoration by then.
> The futile tug of war between pro-conservation and pro-restoration coral
> reefs scientists is nicely explained in "Coral Whisperers" by Irus
> Braverman. I strongly recommend reading this book to you and folks in
> Coral-list.
> This is not a conservation vs. restoration issue.
> It's not game over.
> It's game on.
> We must fight the coral reef crisis together, not against each other.
> <><...<><...<><...
> Sarah Frias-Torres, Ph.D.
> Twitter: @GrouperDoc
> Science Blog: https://grouperluna.com/
> Art Blog: https://oceanbestiary.com/
> ------------------------------
> *From:* Coral-List <coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov> on behalf of
> Douglas Fenner via Coral-List <coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>
> *Sent:* Wednesday, September 9, 2020 6:03 PM
> *To:* Storlazzi, Curt D <cstorlazzi at usgs.gov>
> *Cc:* coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov <coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>
> *Subject:* Re: [Coral-List] ICRS 2021 meeting session: Can Coral Reef
> Restoration Increase Coastal Protection?
>   Wouldn't an important aspect be how long improvements in the amount of
> live coral last??  If people plant out 10,000 corals and feel good about
> themselves, but only 100 survive more than 5 years, was it worth it??  This
> is a question which it seems to me the huge number of enthusiastic coral
> restoration people are dodging, and I think it is a critical one.  Bad
> water quality and mass coral bleaching can undo all these good efforts, and
> WILL, if we don't address them, and so far we're failing miserably at
> that.  Isn't this fad just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic???
> Cheers,  Doug
> On Tue, Sep 8, 2020 at 7:05 AM Storlazzi, Curt D via Coral-List <
> coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov> wrote:
> > Dear colleagues:
> >
> > We would like to draw your attention to a meeting session to address:
> >
> > Can Coral Reef Restoration Increase Coastal Protection?
> >
> > at the 2021 International Coral Reef Symposium, which is being held 18-23
> > July 2021 in Bremen, Germany.
> >
> > If your work is relevant to this session please submit an abstract to
> > ICRS20-39 under Theme 13: Interventions and Restoration via the following
> > link:
> >
> > https://www.icrs2021.de/program/call-for-abstracts/
> >
> > Session Description:
> >
> > Coastal flooding and erosion affects thousands of vulnerable coastal
> > communities and has resulted in hundreds of billions of dollars in damage
> > during the past decade alone; these impacts are predicted to worsen with
> > continued population growth and climate change. There is growing
> > recognition of the role of coral reefs in coastal hazard risk reduction
> as
> > they dissipate wave energy and produce and trap sediment on adjacent
> > beaches and thus reduce flooding and erosion. Given these benefits, there
> > is the potential to apply coral reef restoration not only to meet
> > ecological recovery goals such as coral species and reef communities, but
> > also to reduce coastal hazards and build coastal resilience to current
> and
> > future storms. To meet and support these joint objectives, there must be
> > rigorous, quantitative assessments of restoration performance,
> particularly
> > for risk reduction benefits. This mini-symposium focuses on advancements
> in
> > understanding the role of coral reefs in hazard risk reduct
> >  ion, including but not limited to (i) quantifying the roles of coral
> > spacing, morphology, and attachment strength in boundary-layer
> > hydrodynamics; (ii) relating coral species morphology, structural
> > complexity, or reef location to change in hydrodynamic roughness or
> > induction of wave breaking for different environmental forcing
> conditions;
> > (iii) design and siting of reef restoration to best reduce coastal
> flooding
> > for different reef configurations; (iv) comparison of natural green and
> > hybrid gray-green infrastructure in relation to ecological and
> hydrodynamic
> > change; (v) incorporation of ecological connectivity into reef
> restoration
> > site selection; and (vi) cost-benefit analyses of restoration for coastal
> > hazard risk reduction. Summaries of current local or regional-scale
> > studies, including modeling exercises are encouraged, especially if they
> > evaluate social and economic impacts of different restoration options.
> >
> > Please visit the conference website for more information:
> >
> > https://www.icrs2021.de/program/session-program/#c245
> >
> > Abstract submission closes 15 September 2020
> >
> > For further information and all updates, please visit:
> >
> > https://www.icrs2021.de
> >
> > If you know of anyone who might be interested who might not receive this
> > notice, please feel free to pass it along.  We are very excited about
> this
> > session and look forward to your participation. If you have any
> questions,
> > please feel free to contact us. We hope to see you in Bremen!
> >
> > Organizers:
> >
> > Curt Storlazzi - USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center
> > Shay Viehman - NOAA National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science
> > Mike Beck - UCSC Institute of Marine Sciences
> >
> > ---------------------------------------------------
> > Curt D. Storlazzi, Ph.D.
> >
> > U.S. Geological Survey
> > Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center
> > 2885 Mission Street
> > Santa Cruz, CA 95060
> > (831) 295-3429 cell during COVID-19
> > https://www.usgs.gov/staff-profiles/curt-d-storlazzi
> >
> >
> > _______________________________________________
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> >
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