M/V CONNECTED Coral Reef Restoration Monitoring Report Monitoring Events 2004-2005
Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Monroe County, Florida
Joe Schittone, Erik C. Franklin, J. Harold Hudson, Jeff Anderson
Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary
This document presents the results of the monitoring of a repaired coral reef injured by the M/V Connected vessel grounding incident of March 27, 2001. This grounding occurred in Florida state waters within the boundaries of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS). The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund of the State of Florida, ("State of Florida" or "state") are the co-trustees for the natural resources within the FKNMS and, thus, are responsible for mediating the restoration of the damaged marine resources and monitoring the outcome of the restoration actions. The restoration monitoring program tracks patterns of biological recovery, determines the success of restoration measures, and assesses the resiliency to environmental and anthropogenic disturbances of the site over time.
The monitoring program at the Connected site was to have included an assessment of the structural stability of installed restoration modules and biological condition of reattached corals performed on the following schedule: immediately (i.e., baseline), 1, 3, and 6 years after restoration and following a catastrophic event. Restoration of this site was completed on July 20, 2001. Due to unavoidable delays in the settlement of the case, the "baseline" monitoring event for this site occurred in July 2004. The catastrophic monitoring event occurred on August 31, 2004, some 2 ½ weeks after the passage of Hurricane Charley which passed nearby, almost directly over the Dry Tortugas. In September 2005, the year one monitoring event occurred shortly after the passage of Hurricane Katrina, some 70 km to the NW. This report presents the results of all three monitoring events.
Keywords: Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, coral, grounding, restoration, monitoring, Hurricane Charley, Hurricane Katrina, Acropora palmata