Florida is a unique state, a place where humans and alligators coexist tentatively as the seas rise and the ocean encroaches on the coasts that make it a draw to so many. It is home to the only coral reef barrier in North America, one of the largest in the world, a 10,000-year-old live ocean fence extending about 360 miles from the Florida Keys in the south up the east coast. And now, it’s also where Force Blue, a unique environmental group, is working to save the corals.
The reef barrier is ailing. Apart from damage done by divers, development, pollution, and dredging, it’s threatened by the declining water quality and a severe and deadly bout of disease that’s had a devastating effect on coral health. The reef track is a living thing, made up of 80 species of countless corals that host other creatures, like 70 species of marine sponges. However, it’s currently struggling to survive.