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Hayden Dunsel

FL - Groups Plant 60,000 Fragments Of Nursery-Raised Coral At Reefs In Florida Keys

More than 60,000 fragments of nursery-raised coral are being planted by federal officials and environmental groups at reefs located off the Florida Keys.

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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Tuesday that workers have started the three-year outplanting project at Eastern Dry Rocks Sanctuary Preservation Area near Key West. The announcement came just two days before Earth Day, an annual event to demonstrate support for environmental protection.

“Outplanting at this unprecedented scale is one of many immediate actions needed to address the rapid decline in our treasured coral reefs,” acting NOAA Administrator Ben Friedman said in a statement.

Eastern Dry Rocks contains a concentration of bank reef habitats that are ecologically and economically important to the Florida Keys, officials said. Distinct genetic strains of elkhorn and staghorn corals are being transplanted across more than 9 acres (3.6 hectares). The corals were grown in their respective nurseries over six to eight months.

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