Location: Dry Tortugas, Florida
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This project involved conducting a coral and benthic study in support of a planned repair project to the counter scarp surrounding the historic Fort Jefferson that was damaged by hurricane Irma in 2017. As part of the survey, 1,700 linear feet of protective counter scarp was surveyed documenting all hard and soft corals observed. Because the survey would be used to support the permitting of the repairs to the counter scarp, the geographic location and dimensions of corals (length, width and height) had to recorded for each coral colony observed (over 1000 colonies). Additionally, the survey included mapping of Submerged Aquatic Vegetation surrounding the fort and within the interior portion of the moat.
Challenges encountered during the course of this work included working in remote location (the park is 68 miles from Key West and accessible only by ferry or small sea plane). The logistics involved in working in this remote location included being completely self-sufficient while at the fort (food and provisions), equipment had to be prepared with redundancy in mind and a lack of available connectivity (Satellite phone was the only form of communication).