Beachsite’s Natural Infrastructure Helps Protect Corals from Runoff

Initial studies show the new infrastructure has lessened sediment in marine habitat areas.

At Playa Tamarindo on Culebra Island, runoff from sediment and cars driving on the beach imperils coral reefs and a local waterway.

Partners addressed the problem by planting vegetation in bare soil, installing a gravel parking lot to absorb excess water, and placing rocks in specific areas to channel excess water into thicker greenery, where it is absorbed.

Using the Digital Coast’s OpenNSPECT tool, scientists analyzed how effective these measures were in reducing polluted runoff, then made natural-infrastructure improvements. Initial studies show sediment loads in marine habitats have gone down, lessening the impacts to nearby corals in this NOAA Habitat Blueprint area. (2017)

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Partners: CORALations, Department of Natural and Environmental Resources of Puerto Rico, NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program, NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service Restoration Center, Protectores de Cuencas, Ridge to Reefs, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service