When hearing the word “Florida”, most people envision a gorgeous beach. Indeed, our thousands of miles of coasts are world-renowned.
Over the years, the Conservancy has purchased some of the best. Two favorites are Topsail Hill State Preserve in the Panhandle and our own Blowing Rocks Preserve along the southeast Atlantic. To help us with this work, will you make a safe and secure online gift today?
More than beautiful playgrounds, however, Florida’s coastal habitats include some of the world’s most productive reefs, bays and estuaries. They support plant and animal diversity and also contribute nearly $562 billion each year to our economy. Yep, that’s “billion.”
The Conservancy strives to balance ocean conservation with the needs of people – now and in the future. But coastal threats abound, including:
• Pollution and disease
• Loss and degradation of coastal habitat
• Rising, warming and more-acid seas
• Frequent and powerful storms
• Overfishing and boat grounding/anchor/diver impacts.
We are busily researching ways to make coastal habitats more resilient to these threats, from oil gushers to hurricanes.
Restoring priority habitats
All across Florida, Conservancy scientists work with partners on your behalf to protect significant ocean resources. We give top priority to the restoration of coral reefs and oyster reefs. Together these provide nurseries for a multitude of plant and animal species (many of which are human food sources.) The habitats protect the coast from storm surges and even purify the water.
Anticipating Sea Level Rise
Rising seas are of special concern, especially along the low-lying Florida Keys and shallow Gulf of Mexico coasts. Even the lowest of sea level rise projections shows dramatic changes to native habitats and billions in property loss. The Conservancy uses a computerized mapping system to guide a diverse group of planners, economists and ecologists – all charged with helping Florida’s coasts adapt to change.
Mapping ocean resources
Although vast, our oceans are expected to meet crushing demands: shipping, food production, transportation, recreation, energy development, commercial fishing and more. Wild creatures – including endangered whales and sea turtles – must sometimes compete for space.
Our scientists have begun to map these conflicting needs and identify the most critical conservation areas. Known as marine spatial planning, it’s imperative if Florida’s coastal and marine habitats are to remain bountiful. Unlike land, most marine areas can’t be purchased and protected by private interests.
Everyone who needs or loves the ocean has a role to play. We all depend upon marine resources, and the Conservancy is grateful for your support! Won’t you join us?
We are working from Pensacola to the Florida Keys to restore the Gulf coast to a thriving system for nature and people.
There’s power in partnerships! The Conservancy leads a collaboration of scientists, reef managers and user groups to improve the health of one of the world’s most significant reefs. From the Florida Keys up the central east coast, a 3,000 year old reef provides us with food, recreation and jobs. It’s equally important to nature.
Once abundant in Florida, staghorn coral has declined by as much as 97 percent. The Conservancy and our partners are growing the coral in several underwater nurseries – from cuttings – and later transplanting them onto degraded reefs. This in-depth feature from Nature Conservancy magazine includes magnificent photos.
Our “prairies of the sea” are dying at a rate as high as 90 percent in some Florida Gulf Coast bays. Because these once-vast meadows protect water clarity, support the shoreline and offer food and shelter to many aquatic species, the Conservancy is experimenting with novel techniques to help reverse the trend.