Healthy Coral Reef
Florida Coral Reef Schooling Fish in the Florida Keys © Rachel Hancock Davis

Stories in Florida

Florida’s Spectacular Coral Reef System

Our marine conservation team works to protect and restore Florida’s coral reefs.

Coral reefs are also one of the most threatened marine systems. Scientists estimate that unless we take immediate action, we could lose up to 70 percent of coral reefs by 2050.

Colorful parrotfish, angelfish, wrasses, barracuda, nurse sharks, stingrays, delicate corals, other invertebrates, and turtles – all are inhabitants of Florida’s beautiful coral reefs. The Florida Reef System (FRS) is the largest coral reef ecosystem in the continental US, with its extensive shallow coral reefs that span 358 miles from the Dry Tortugas near Key West, north along the Atlantic coast to Martin County.

Our treasured coral reefs provide Florida with many benefits. Not only are they home to many species of wildlife, including species listed as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act, they are integral to the economy of Florida’s tourism industry, including to commercial and recreational fisherman and scuba divers. Additionally, they act as a natural buffer for Florida’s shoreline, helping to lessen the strength of waves, providing natural support for coastal resilience.

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The Nature Conservancy South Florida team works to champion the protection, restoration, monitoring and management of the reefs. Coral reefs communities are sensitive to threats that are both man-made and linked to people's actions. From high water temperatures which are dangerous to corals, to pollutants that impact the health of the ecosystem, to our commercial and recreational uses of the reef, sound science-based management practices and careful stewardship are critical to ensure the reefs’ healthy future.  That’s where the Florida Reef Resilience Program comes in.