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Wellwood Reef Restoration in the Florida Keys

Reef Restoration Projects

Wellwood Reef Restoration Project

Tug on side on coral reefOn August 4, 1984, the M/V Wellwood, a 122-meter freighter ran aground on Molasses Reef within the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Due to complications with removal, the ship remained on the reef for 12 days.

The total destruction from the grounding included 5,805 square meters of living corals and injury to 75,000 square meters of reef habitat. It was NOAA’s goal to restore physical relief back to the damaged site and encourage natural recovery. In order to do this, reef modules were placed in the injured areas to provide a substrate for new coral colonization.

Learn more about our efforts to rebuild and restore Molasses Reef during the Wellwood Reef restoration project.

Columbus Iselin Reef Restoration Project

coral reefFrom July through September 1999, the restoration of one of America's most significant coastal barrier coral reefs dating back 4,000 years took place within the boundaries of NOAA's Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

The R/V Columbus Iselin Reef Restoration Project joined NOAA staff and contractors in the difficult job of physical reconstruction of four coral reef spurs damaged in the grounding of the R/V Columbus Iselin. The 155-foot research vessel, owned by the University of Miami, went aground on an ancient reef in Looe Key, Florida just before midnight on Aug. 10, 1994.

During this project, a chronicle of the restoration progress was posted. Learn more about our efforts to rebuild and restore Looe Key.

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Revised September 12, 2023 by Sanctuaries Web Team | Contact Us | Web Site Owner: National Ocean Service
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