In order to better manage Floridas coral reefs the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Southeast Florida Coral Reef Initiative (SEFCRI) have partnered with Nova Southeastern University’s Oceanographic Center researchers to launch the Our Florida Reefs Coastal and Ocean-use Survey.

This survey is being conducted as part of a local initiative for the southeast Florida region, known as Our Florida Reefs.

“The Our Florida Reefs Community Working Group members are crafting recommendations to balance use and protection of southeast Florida’s coral reefs using the best available science, but they cannot complete their task without information about the diverse interests of all ocean users,” said Jamie Monty, manager of the FDEP Coral Reef Conservation Program and chair of the SEFCRI team. “Were thrilled to launch the OFR Coastal and Ocean-use Survey to ensure this important information is captured and used during this process.”

“Since the 1960s, NSU’s Oceanographic Center has been working to learn more about our marine environment, the role it plays and how we can be better stewards of this natural resource,” said Richard Dodge, Ph.D., dean of NSU’s Oceanographic Center. “Today, more than ever, it’s vital that we continue to learn how to strike a balance between enjoying Florida’s precious resources in the sea and ensuring that they remain vibrant and thrive for generations to come.”

Brian Walker, Ph.D., a researcher at NSU’s Oceanographic Center, has been working with local stakeholders and Point 97, a company dedicated to developing technology solutions for assisting in coastal management, to develop a reef-use survey to poll the public.

“The data collected from the survey will provide essential information for developing appropriate management strategies while affecting the least amount of users,” said Walker.

By providing information on where they fish, dive, boat, surf, etc. local residents, reef users, business owners, visitors and the broader public in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Martin counties will be part of the data used by the Our Florida Reefs Community Working Groups to enhance recommendations on managing Florida’s reefs to better balance resource use and protection while ensuring healthy coral reefs for future generations.