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Madda Fella & the Coral Restoration Foundation™: Healing our Home

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Anyone who’s found themselves plunged into another world while snorkeling in Key West can appreciate the magnificence and importance of our underwater vistas. It’s easy to see why we love calling this place home. But that beautiful turquoise blue water relies on Florida’s Coral Reef to protect the habitats of the plants and animals that live there, and it is rapidly declining.

Florida’s Coral Reef is the only barrier coral reef in the continental United States. Running from Miami to Key West in the south, it is the third-largest barrier reef in the world. Before the 1970s, the reef was teeming with two species of coral: staghorn and elkhorn. In the last five decades, however, the populations of those species have been reduced to just 2% of what they once were. Now critically endangered, these two keystone species of our beautiful reef are nearing extinction in the wild.

That’s where the Coral Restoration Foundation™ comes in. As the largest reef restoration foundation in the world, they’ve been working to rehabilitate the dominant coral species in Florida’s Coral Reef since 2007 to ensure it can be enjoyed for future generations.

With a team of dedicated experts, the Coral Reef Foundation has created the world’s largest coral nursery, with 7 locations from Carysfort Reef to Key West, covering 1.5 acres of seafloor. Their team has pioneered a process to propagate corals using simply designed Coral Trees™ that allow them to grow coral fragments to be transplanted into the ocean floor.

Elkhorn and staghorn aren’t the only species the foundation has helped restore. Their nurseries are nurturing 11 different coral species. To ensure the preservation of the reef continues, they’ve also created a genetic bank of coral genotypes across 20 species, including several that no longer exist in the wild, making it a crucial resource for ecological marine restoration.

If you want to learn more about the Coral Restoration Foundation, visit their website at where you can explore the role of coral in the ecosystem and their research and work in the community. 

Or do one better and go on a recreational dive to one of their rehabilitated sites at Marker 32, one of the most beautiful shallow diving spots in Key West. Join in and become a Coral Restoration Foundation Citizen Scientist to contribute to the fantastic work they’re doing. Afterward, don’t forget to stop by our Rum Bar and Brand Shop to say hello and raise a glass with us to the Coral Restoration Foundation!

To make a donation to the Coral Restoration Foundation, please visit the Donate page on their website.

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