Buffering the Storms

When a hurricane hits the coast, it can spark tragedy, leaving flooding and destruction in its wake. But national marine sanctuaries help ensure our coasts are resilient. During storms, healthy coral reefs can help buffer the coastline from storm surge, minimizing damage. And after a storm, sanctuaries and our partners help assess damage to natural resources and assist coastal communities in recovery efforts.

damaged coral

After Hurricane Irma hit in September 2017, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary worked with partners to rapidly assess which areas of the reef were most impacted. Photo: Steve Gittings/NOAA

a boat damaged by hurricane irma

In the Florida Keys, hundreds of vessels sank during Hurricane Irma. Sanctuaries help advise cleanup efforts after natural disasters. Photo: Eric Raslich/NOAA

people preping a water collection device on the deck of a boat

Researchers from Texas A&M University worked to assess water quality in and around Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary after Hurricane Harvey in August 2017. Photo courtesy of Andrea Kealoha