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$5 million grant will help restore Keys coral reef

File photo provided by the Florida Keys News Bureau shows volunteers with the Coral Restoration Foundation at a coral reef planting site with staghorn coral clippings in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary off Key Largo.
File photo provided by the Florida Keys News Bureau shows volunteers with the Coral Restoration Foundation at a coral reef planting site with staghorn coral clippings in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary off Key Largo.

KEY WEST, Fla. – A $5 million grant will help restore one of the major coral reefs located in federally protected waters around the Florida Keys.

The Miami Herald reports that the project at the Eastern Dry Rocks reef includes planting more than 60,000 corals and employing professional dive shops and community groups to remove debris.

The reef is about seven miles (11 kilometers) southeast of Key West and is part of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration awarded the $5 million through the National Coastal Resilience Fund.

In 2019, NOAA announced Mission: Iconic Reefs, a plan to restore nearly much of the Florida Reef Tract. It’s one of the largest strategies ever proposed for coral restoration.

The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary protects 3,800 square miles (6,100 kilometers) of waters surrounding the Florida Keys.