Recently, scientists from Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary joined other partners from NOAA and outside organizations to conduct a rapid assessment of the Florida Coral Reef Tract, including areas in the sanctuary, following Hurricane Irma. Preliminary reports from the team found extensive shifting of sand and heavy sediment accumulation, which can smother and prevent corals from getting enough sunlight, as well as some structural damage to individual corals and the reef itself.
This effort is the first step in a longer recovery process and helps NOAA begin assessing damage and start preparing and prioritizing future restoration activities. The rapid assessment took place October 9-19.
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