Coral reefs are a vital part of Florida's ecosystem. According to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, coral reefs create habitats that offer shelter, food, and breeding sites for plants and animals. According to Sarah Fangman of the National Marine Sanctuary, each kilometer of coral provides Florida with a million dollars of flood protection along Florida's shore line.
Unfortunately, those same reefs are dwindling in number. According to Earth Justice, the National Marine Fisheries Service has listed seven species of coral as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Six of those species are found in Florida. There are organizations who are working to help preserve the reefs. The Boy Scouts are one of them.
How to Boy Scouts are Trying to Help Regrow Florida's Coral Reeds:
On Islamorada in the Florida Keys, the Boy Scouts participate in America's Sea Base. Students have been learning to scuba dive at the Base for decades, but recently the Scouts have decided to participate in a new program in an attempt to help the coral.
The Scouts help to grow new coral via a process called fragmentation. Corals are cut into small pieces that can grow in a nursery 50 times faster than they would in nature. The Scouts then take these small pieces and plant them underwater to rebuild the reef.
The program began in 2018. To date, the Sea Base has grown approximately 10,000 new corals. The Scouts are hopeful that the project can eventually help restore millions of square feet of reef.
17-year-old Scout Warren Vronay feels that he's making a real difference in the program. Warren told CBS Miami:
“When I remember my biggest accomplishment in Scouting, it will probably be the Sea Base program.
Here is a YouTube video where you can see the impact that the program is making.