KEY LARGO – CLIMATE NEWS – The coral reefs of Florida, which are crucial to the local community and to the state’s economy are facing a severe and urgent crisis due to soaring water temperatures caused by climate change.
The potential loss of coral populations within the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary is becoming an alarming reality, as these delicate animals are now succumbing to the heat at an alarming rate.
Devastating Impact on Coral Reefs
Recent assessments by the Coral Restoration Foundation™ (CRF™) teams revealed alarming trends. At the Sombrero Reef, a restoration site that has been actively worked on for over a decade, they discovered an unimaginable 100% coral mortality on July 20th. Similarly, the Looe Key Nursery in the Lower Keys has lost almost all its corals. However, hope remains, as sites in the Upper Keys, where the water is cooler, are not yet experiencing such dramatic declines. The CRF™ is now taking immediate action to rescue and relocate as many corals as possible to land-based holding systems, safeguarding these precious corals.
Urgency in Addressing Climate Change
The situation underscores the urgency of addressing climate change. Dr. R. Scott Winters, CEO of Coral Restoration Foundation™, emphasizes that climate change is our present reality and its impact on our reefs is undeniable. This crisis should serve as a wake-up call, emphasizing the need for globally concerted efforts to combat climate change to preserve critical ecosystems like the coral reefs of the Florida Keys.
Intensified Efforts to Save Coral Reefs
Despite the challenges, hope endures as the Coral Restoration Foundation™ intensifies its efforts to save the coral reefs. Jessica Levy, Director of Restoration Strategy at Coral Restoration Foundation™, highlights the crucial role their restoration work plays in preserving the long-term survival and resilience of the reefs. They are part of a coalition of organizations, coordinated by NOAA, working to bank as much genetic diversity as possible, a critical aspect for these coral reefs’ survival.
Call to Action
Coral Restoration Foundation™ calls on everyone to understand the gravity of the situation and lend their support. Voters are urged to endorse policies and political candidates advocating for climate change solutions and environmentally sustainable practices. Dr. Winters stresses that climate change is not a partisan issue, and everyone will be affected. The climate crisis impacts our way of life and all life on Earth. The time is now for broader awareness and aggressive action to address climate change, triggering greater investment in the restoration and conservation of our planet’s life, including the precious coral reefs.