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U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Jacksonville District (SAJ)
Endangered Species Act Coral Survey and Relocation Services
GLE was awarded the task order to perform diver based Endangered Species Act (ESA) coral relocations for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Jacksonville District (SAJ).
Diver based surveys were completed across Segment II, which consisted of an 8.6-mile-long segment, encompassing approximately 321 acres. Colony specific data was recorded for all observed ESA corals, which included species name, largest linear dimension, estimated live tissue percentage, estimated recent mortality percentage, stressors, and GPS coordinates.
Following completion of survey work, under a Special Activities License, obtained through the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, corals were collected and delivered to Nova Southeastern University scientists for placement in Nova Southeastern’s coral nursery. Approximately 130 ESA coral colonies were relocated during this project.
Background: The 2020 South Atlantic Regional Biological Opinion (SARBO) requires that beach nourishment projects covered under this Opinion complete a beach hardbottom survey to identify and map the location of any hardbottom located 500 ft seaward of the beach fill template equilibrium toe-of-fill (ETOF) as well as identify and record the presence of all Endangered Species Act (ESA)-listed corals within the beach hardbottom survey area. These hardbottom surveys must be completed prior to beach sand placement for beach nourishment projects within the range of ESA listed corals in the project area.