Restoring marine life one reef at a time
In 2012 the Coral Restoration Foundation (CRF) was invited to assist the local coral restoration group on Bonaire in the southern Caribbean. The Bonaire Island Council granted a permit to the local group to allow work to begin on developing a nursery and restoration program on the main island of Bonaire and adjacent island of Klein Bonaire. Ken Nedimyer, CRF Board member, Denise Nedimyer, and the CRF staff traveled to these islands in the Dutch Caribbean, during April and began work on the Coral Restoration Foundation Bonaire Project sponsored by Buddy Dive Resort.
In addition to working with local Bonaire authorities and dive professionals to identify specific sites for coral nurseries and reef outplantings, CRF together with the Bonaire National Marine Park and Buddy Dive Resort staff volunteers collected different genetic strains of staghorn (Acropora cervicornis) and elkhorn (Acropora palmata) coral. These specimens were used to populate coral growing “trees” in two coral nurseries. These corals are monitored and maintained by the local Coral Restoration Foundation Bonaire, supported by Buddy Dive Resort and is forming the base nursery stock, fragmented every six months, to develop second and third generation corals in each genetic strain. Since June 2013, these new coral generations are regularly taken onto nearby degraded reefs, called coral restoration sites.
CRF’s goals in Bonaire are to assist the local government and local environmentalists to preserve the existing genetic diversity of staghorn and elkhorn corals, establish a nursery and restoration program designed to restore the shallow reefs, and to work with the community to identify and reduce land-based stressors, such as uncontrolled storm water runoff and poor sewage treatment practices.
The main production nursery is located off of Klein Bonaire, where there is limited public access and minimal disturbance for the growing corals. Another nursery is located on the main island of Bonaire, at Buddy’s Reef, north and south side. These nursery trees, placed at the drop-off depth of 6mt/20ft are not only used to produce corals but also to train Coral Restoration Divers. The Nursery at Buddy’s Reef is accessible to divers from the dock at Buddy Dive Resort.