American Samoa XL Catlin Seaview Survery - The Ocean Agency - Richard Vevers

Coloradoans Help Save the Florida Coral Reefs

For immediate release. Fort Collins, Colorado. July 28, 2017

What would happen to our Colorado wildlife if the forests suddenly disappeared? It’s unthinkable. But a similar disaster is happening in our oceans when coral reefs die. Coloradoans now have the opportunity to participate in a coral restoration expedition with High Plains Scuba, acting in concert with the Coral Restoration Foundation, a 501c3 organization.

Most of us think of coral as rock or a plant. But actually, corals are animals compromised of thousands of tiny polyps, which secrete a protective limestone covering. Coral death is caused by natural disasters, disease, chemicals, toxins and rising ocean temperatures.

“What we do in Colorado can affect the reef in Florida,” explains Karen Roberts from High Plains Scuba. “We’re all part of a huge ecosystem. By 2050, 90 percent of the world’s coral reefs will die if something isn’t done to save and protect them.”

Healthy coral reefs provide food for fish, a living environment for various marine life, protection from natural disasters, and even drugs for human beings, including cancer treatments. They also support a huge tourist industry, commercial fishing industry, plus local and global economies.

“Due to multiple stressors in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, the population of Staghorn and Elkhorn coral have declined dramatically, leaving the remaining corals scattered and facing extinction.” states the Coral Restoration Foundation, “97% of Staghorn and Elkhorn coral have been lost since the 1970’s”.

“These reefs exist on the shores of our country. We have the ability to take action in favor of the local reefs -even from Colorado.” says Karen Roberts. “The plan of action begins with a coral restoration expedition to Key Largo, Florida September 22-27th, 2017. We will be working with The Coral Restoration Foundation to educate divers on methods and strategies used to save the coral, as well as the measures to prevent further coral damage. We will work directly with the threatened species for several days on the Florida Reefs. Divers will see first-hand, the damage and restoration efforts side-by-side. I feel certain there are other scuba divers in our area that would be interested in joining us. After all, Colorado still boasts the title of second most scuba divers in a landlocked state. We are simply looking for divers to step up to the challenge.”

If you are an interested in learning more, or are a certified scuba diver, come to High Plains Scuba at 115 W Harvard on August 5th to see the powerful film “Chasing Coral”. Learn more about corals and the expedition. Free tickets for the film are available now at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/chasing-coral-screening-tickets-36515460726