Reef Management & Artificial Reefs
Coastal Systems International, Inc. diverse staff of marine scientists and engineers offer services related to coral reefs and the ecosystem, including conservation, restoration, and the creation of artificial habitats. Natural reef communities are constructed of a framework of calcareous coral and algae species, and provide habitat for a diverse variety of organisms such as fish, algae, sponges, and soft coral. Reefs, through their productivity and beauty, generate income for fishing and tourism industries.
Coastal Systems custom-designs reef management. We analyze existing conditions, develop databases, and present information in the appropriate format. Reef assessments typically begin with a field baseline survey, and end with monitoring and plan evaluation. Coastal Systems’ marine scientists use a variety of methods, including traditional and rapid reef assessment protocols to evaluate the health of reefs.
Natural and anthropogenic factors can also be evaluated to assist in the development of a reef management plan. Natural influences on reef condition may include susceptibility to storms and water temperature, depth, and quality. Human influences on the ecosystem may include changes to local land use and sedimentation patterns, introduction of pollutants, and direct contact from divers or boats.
Reef management techniques include the establishment and monitoring of protected areas, marking of navigation channels and shallow water areas with buoys to prevent groundings, and distribution of public education materials.
Impact avoidance and restoration efforts often take the form of relocation programs or artificial reef installation. Materials which substitute the "framework" of a natural system are installed to provide habitat for reef species. Coastal Systems conducts assessments of potential project risks and benefits, designs artificial reef systems, and executes monitoring programs.