Rebuild St. Maarten's Coral Nursery
Help to rebuild St. Maarten Nature Foundation’s Coral Nursery on St Maarten
On the 6th of September powerful category five storm Hurricane Irma struck Sint Maarten with 185 MPH winds, causing widespread damage to the island and its infrastructure. The storm also caused significant damage to the island’s nature, environment and underwater world. The large waves and unbelievable strong underwater motion and surge caused by ‘Irma’, totally destroyed the Nature Foundation's Coral Restoration Project.
The project aims to restore Elkhorn (Acropora palmata) and Staghorn (A. cervicornis) coral reef zones by growing coral fragments in a Coral Nursery and transplant the corals at selected restoration sites. Nine coral ladders were located at the dive site ‘The Bridge’ filled with coral fragments. Out of the 255 fragments growing in the nursery only two little fragments have been found back, all others has been destroyed. The strong currents and surge probably pushed the coral ladders down or ripped them apart, leaving them covered under layers of sand and sediment. More than one year of intensive research efforts has been totally lost and so far no funding is available to rebuild this critical project.
Also Sint Maarten’s reefs and their corals are heavily damaged or destroyed by direct and indirect impacts of the massive hurricane, especially branching coral such as Elkhorn and Staghorn are damaged. Therefore rebuilding the Coral Nursery is now even much more essential to restore the reefs. With your help the Nature Foundation will be able to rebuild the Coral Nursery and raise new coral colonies in it to repopulate depleted coral reefs around the island.
For more information see the website: www.naturefoundationsxm.org or facebook.com/St-Maarten-Nature-Foundation
Elkhorn and Staghorn (Acropora) Corals
Until the 1980’s Acropora coral species dominated the near shore zone of many Caribbean islands, including Sint Maarten, with cover estimates of up to 85%. However, these coral reef zones have almost disappeared from most islands in the region due to diseases, climate change and habitat destruction. Acropora corals are currently listed as ‘Critically Endangered’ on the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems and Species. The loss of corals has had large negative effects on biodiversity, biomass of fishes, and coastal protection as well as a significant decline in the attractiveness of shallow near-shore coral reefs.
Before Irma Photos
After Irma Photos