CREMP in Southeast Florida
At a Glance
- 22 sites
- Martin County (St. Lucie Inlet) to Miami-Dade County (Biscayne National Park boundary)
- Monitoring initiated in 2003
- Sites chosen by county and reef terrace
- Funded by the NOAA Coral Program and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection
- Monitoring conducted by Nova Southeastern University with data management support from FWC
The coral reef ecosystems of southeast Florida are near the latitudinal terminus for reef growth. As a result, they differ in age and structure from reefs in the Florida Keys and Dry Tortugas. Prior to the establishment of SECREMP most coral reef research in Florida focused on the Florida Keys and Dry Tortugas. Most information obtained for Southeast Florida originated from mitigation studies assessing the impacts from coastal development projects or vessel groundings. To provide continuity in monitoring efforts along Florida’s Coral Reef and fill in spatial gaps, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) established SECREMP as an expansion of CREMP. SECREMP monitors 22 sites and provides vital information on coral condition in a region that is subjected to impacts from extensive coastal development and associated stressors such as large, freshwater discharges, terrestrial runoff, and sedimentation from dredging operations (see map below).
This portion of the reef extends over 100mi from Martin County to Miami -Dade County within 2mi of shore. SECREMP monitoring sites were selected to be representatives for each county (Martin, Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade) and linear reef structure type, which runs parallel to shore. These linear reefs, called terraces, were formed as reefs backstepped during sea level rise.
- The Nearshore Ridge Complex is a series of shallow nearshore ridges consisting of coquina and carbonate sandstone. The Nearshore Ridge Complex lies between the coastline and the Inner Reef.
- The Inner Reef is the nearest reef to shore and shallowest at 9-21' depth. Also representing a paleoshoreline, the Inner Reef was largely Acropora palmata which ceased growing at about 6,000 years ago.
- The Middle Reef grew on a paleoshoreline and ceased upward reef growth about 3,700 years ago. The Middle Reef depth crests at 18-24'.
- The Outer Reef terrace is the deepest and furthest offshore, cresting at 45-70'. It is the oldest reef and possibly equivalent to shelf-edge reefs of the Florida Keys, with reef growth ceasing around 8,000 years ago.
As the reef tract proceeds northward, the Inner Reef and then Middle Reef disappear, leaving only the Outer Reef in Martin County.
Like most of the other CREMP sites, there are four stations at each SECREMP site. Unlike other CREMP sites, SECREMP stations are oriented north-south parallel to the reef edge.
SECREMP survey sites are conducted by the Coral Reef Restoration Assessment and Monitoring Lab (https://hcas.nova.edu/research/faculty-labs/crram/index.html) at Nova Southeastern University’s Oceanographic Center. Monitoring across these four habitats began in 2003 at 10 sites. Currently SECREMP monitors 22 sites, but multiple additions and changes have occurred over the years.
- Ten original sites established, three each in Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties and four in Broward County, including a nearshore monotypic stand of Acropora cervicornis at site BCA.
- Three sites added in Martin County. However, site MC3 was not a true SECREMP site and was established to fate track specific stony coral colonies. Martin County has limited reef area and researchers were unable to establish a third true SECREMP site.
- Four additional sites added, two each in Palm Beach County and Miami-Dade County.
- Fate-tracking at MC3 stopped.
- Six sites added, three each in Broward and Miami-Dade counties.
Southeast Florida CREMP Sites
SECREMP sites are stratified by county and reef type. See the SECREMP site table for a full listing of our sites and monitoring timeframe. Note that site MC3 is a fate tracking site, not a full SECREMP site. This site was discontinued in 2013 in order to establish other sites more consistent with CREMP survey protocols.