The Reef Ball Foundation in conjunction with the Stanford Development Group will be launching the world???s largest coral transplant effort taking place off the Caribbean island of Antigua.
Confirmed at DEMA today, the collaboration, known as ??The Coral Propagation Project???, will begin its physical work on Saturday, October 11th when volunteers from Antigua and other Caribbean islands, start the process of taking samples of the endangered species of Acropora corals from all over the island and transplanting them into new Reef Ball homes.
Approximately 2,000 Reef Balls will be installed around Maiden Island; a tiny island perched just north of Antigua. This project will include the largest ever coral propagation and transplant program. It will create over 10,000 new colonies of the threatened Staghorn and Elkhorn coral. The Reef Balls will serve many purposes including protecting sea grasses from boating scars, stabilization of the island???s beaches to create better conditions (less siltation) for corals and other marine life, and as substrate to create a richly diverse coral reef. Antigua???s Optimist Club volunteers will be guided and instructed by a team of experts including Oceanographer Alfredo Torruella, Ph.D of the Caribbean Oceanography Group and Dr. Lee Harris of the Florida Institute of Technology. Harold Hudson (A.K.A. ??the reef doctor???) has assisted the Foundation in providing specialized biological designs for the Reef Balls to be used in the project. In total, the project will use 7 different sizes of Reef Balls of which there are 9 different styles and 5 different anchoring solutions. Not only is this the most extensive use of all Reef Ball technologies, but it will also be completed in record time. Typically a project of this size will could take several years to complete due to complex oceanography, engineering, permitting, construction and deployment time.
The Coral Propagation Project, which started in mid-September, will be completed by the end of this year without any slippage in quality. The project has been made possible by the efforts of Mr. Alan Stanford, who has gone to great lengths to create Marine Protected Areas in Antigua and throughout the Caribbean. Mr. Stanford would like to see knowledge and techniques shared with local Caribbean talents so that Western Caribbean residents can continue projects like this in the region.
The Reef Ball Foundation is an international environmental non-profit group. Its mission is to help restore our world???s ocean ecosystems and to emphasize and protect our natural reef systems through preservation, technology, innovative public education opportunities, and community involvement. For more information, you can visit their website at www.reefball.org.
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