& 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.