Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Governor Awards $9.5M to the Coral Reef Restoration and Recovery Initiative

Bleached stony coral
Martin Hablützel/aquapix -
Bleached stony coral

Florida - Friday March 22, 2024: Governor DeSantis today awarded $9.5 million from the Florida's Coral Reef Restoration and Recovery Initiative to bolster academic and private partnerships to safeguard Florida’s Coral Reefs.

The funding will enhance coral recovery, including propagation and out-planting capacities critical to the health and longevity of Florida’s coral reefs which extend over 350 nautical miles from the Dry Tortugas to the St. Lucie Inlet.

“Florida’s Coral Reef protects Southeast Florida against approaching storms and attracts visitors year-round,” said the Governor in a news release. “Safeguarding our coral reef is important both environmentally and economically and we will continue to support projects that keep this natural resource healthy.”

The Governor established the Florida Coral Reef Restoration and Recovery Initiative in Executive Order 23-06 to ensure the state develops infrastructure and capacity for coral propagation, technology, as well as developing a skilled workforce and the logistics needed to support long-term recovery and restoration. More than $11 million has been included in the 2024-24 fiscal year budget to continue Florida’s Coral Reef Restoration and Recovery Initiative.

“As we tackle environmental challenges, we understand that preparation and planning make all the difference,” said Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Shawn Hamilton. “We are extremely thankful that this administration has prioritized environmental initiatives, because without them, we might be facing a different outcome for Florida’s Coral Reef.”

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and its partners are working to support the reef’s natural recovery processes through the large-scale cultivation, out planting and monitoring of coral colonies that are more resilient to environmental stressors. Other DEP programs are simultaneously working to address local coral challenges such as water quality restoration, including in Biscayne Bay.

Awardees will perform specific functions pertaining to their funding requests, including:

  • Expansion of land-based propagation infrastructure and capacity including the rearing of species most impacted by Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease.
  • Expansion of research, in-water staging and development of propagation curriculum.
  • Expansion of coral restoration efforts, including off-shore grow-out nurseries.
  • Expansion of facilities to care for threatened coral species, such as Pillar Coral.
  • Expansion of yearly out planting efforts.

Since 2019, Governor DeSantis and the Florida Legislature have devoted over $50 million specifically for coral reef recovery and restoration, which enabled Florida’s multifaceted response to this past summer’s event.
A list of all projects selected for Fiscal Year 2023–24 funding can be found here.