The Department of Environment and billionaire Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen have come to an agreement to fix the reef damaged by Mr. Allen’s 300 foot mega-yacht Tatoosh.
The jointly-administered programme emergency restoration plan’s immediate focus is to speed up the recovery of the damaged site and to minimise further harm to an already injured coral habitat.
The team from Polaris Applied Sciences, a firm contracted by Mr. Allen’s company Vulcan Inc is scheduled to begin work Tuesday (1 March). The project will be overseen by Dr. Harold Hudson, a coral habitat restoration expert formerly of NOAA. Dr. Hudson will report to both Vulcan Inc and the DOE.
A joint press release from DOE and Vulcan Inc outlines the five-point plan as follows:
- Triage the affected corals: Upright, uncover, secure and move viable corals to safe locations, while work on stabilising the reef structure is completed.
- Stabilise or remove the larger rubble accumulations, to prevent continued and future damage to nearby living and established resources from the impacts of rubble movement. As much rubble as possible and to the extent practicable will be incorporated onsite, to recreate and retain the original reef structure.
- Recreate the lost structure, or reduce the unnatural appearance of scraping or scarring.
- Rescue and reattach as much living coral and other live biota as practicable, to reduce the time for a full site natural recovery and restore ecosystem services.
- Monitor the site to determine the success of the restoration effort in the months and years following completion.
The first phase of the plan was completed jointly by Polaris and the DOE.
The success of the project will be monitored by DOE.