Coral reefs received a major victory as of late, at least in
Southeast Florida, reveals a recent Southeast Florida Coral Reef Initiative
newsletter. Thanks to $500,000 in funding for the 2017–2018 fiscal year to
monitor the water quality of the coral reefs in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm
Beach, and Martin counties, the Coral Reef Conservation Program has added 88
sites to the already existing nutrient water quality monitoring pilot project
being conducted at St. Lucie Inlet and Government Cut. The result is a total of
115 inlet, outfall, and randomized reef sites now being monitored monthly — the
first time such extensive water quality monitoring has taken place in the
The goal? To establish a long-term water quality monitoring
program for the northern portion of the Florida Reef Tract not encompassed by
Biscayne National Park or the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.
Sampling at the St. Lucie Inlet and Government Cut began in
2016 by DEP’s Coral Reef Conservation Program and Florida State Parks staff,
funded as part of a partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration’s (NOAA) National Ocean Service. During the first month of the
expansion project in September 2017, around 1,070 samples were collected on the
outgoing tide to be analyzed for nutrients, which will help researchers assess
the impact of land-based sources of pollution on the health of near shore
reefs. All samples are currently being collected by Nova Southeastern
University and analyzed by Broward County’s Environmental Lab and the TDI
Brooks Lab at Texas A&M University (a NOAA partner).
Now, that’s a win for the environment.