National Marine Sanctuaries
  40 Years of Sanctuaries - Top 40 Accomplishments 

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#22 2002
Restoration Done Well(wood)

The M/V Wellwood ran aground in the Florida Keys in 1984 with devastating results, destroying living corals and injuring extensive reef habitat. After a subsequent settlement in 2001, the sanctuary system and its partners launched an extensive restoration effort. The restoration prompted innovative restoration techniques and projects in the Keys. For example, since 2003, over 10,000 coral colonies have been rescued from nearshore construction projects. Many of these rescued corals reside in the sanctuary’s coral nursery, an underwater holding area in Key West, until they can be used in permitted research, restoration, or education projects.

Accidents like groundings and oil spills, and natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, and hurricanes, are inevitable and the sanctuary system does everything it can to prepare for, respond to, and restore after such events. For example, in 2009, after an 8.3 magnitude earthquake generated a tsunami that devastated shorelines throughout American Samoa, staff from Fagatele Bay National Marine Sanctuary rushed to deliver a boat that was used to survey the impacts of the tsunami. The resulting interagency collaborations resulted in 56 km of shoreline surveyed and over four tons of debris removed from area coral reefs, thus preventing further coral reef damage.

Trash and marine debris are a persistent and serious threat to the marine environment (see the worst offenders). It is also a nearly wholly preventable problem. Find a trash or litter clean up in your community and join Ocean Conservancy's trash free challenge.

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More about the Wellwood restoration project