In April, 2017 the TORO team traveled to the volcanic island of Montserrat in the Eastern Caribbean to complete our largest project to date: the construction of Thunderbeard Reef off of Rendezvous Beach in the northwestern part of the island. We constructed a variety of Reef Balls to form a small system that will help support sea life in an area under stress of new development. This effort was guided by Scuba Montserrat as part of the larger Montserrat Reef Project. We look forward to working with our friends on the island to continue to monitor our site as new life takes up residence and begins to grow and thrive within the system. Check out our video montage and photos of the reef construction below:
After a series of volcanic eruptions destroyed the southern half of Montserrat, including the capital city of Plymouth, the population that chose to remain on the island relocated to the largely unaffected northern regions. This has required the development of mountain and coastal areas to provide space for residents, businesses, and the local government to reestablish themselves and regain a footing in their beloved home. Much of the new construction has concentrated around one of the few remaining protected mooring areas, Little Bay, in the northwest. Coastal construction unfortunately can be very destructive for local reefs and ecosystems, which is why the Montserrat Reef Project has taken up the task of creating an artificial reef system in the nearby waters. The team at Scuba Montserrat has placed a series of Reef Balls which they can then use to relocate and transplant mature critically endangered corals from the impact areas before they are destroyed. They have also been farming corals on site which they can use to supplement the system and create a new habitat for the displaced fish and sea life. The project creates a balance by minimizing the environmental impact inherent in continued development, while allowing necessary steps to be taken to accommodate the local population and create a thriving town, community, and tourism industry.
Update: New life after only two months in the water!! Check out all those red eggs!