Reef Rescue volunteer divers document reef damage and request FDEP action.
In their complaint Reef Rescue supplied the FDEP with vessel tracking documentation and reef damage photographs alleging the dredge RS Weeks dragged cables across coral habitat during the Easter weekend while being towed to Boca Raton to perform a beach renourishment project.
Following weeks of in-water inspections FDEP in a May 6, 2016 letter, named Weeks Marine as the potential responsible party for having damaged Breaker’s Reef in Palm Beach and hardbottom damage in Boca Raton, FL. FDEP divers completed multiple in-water surveys between April 5 and April 28 that identified 1.4 miles of damage to Breaker’s Reef.
In a separate incident the DEP contends Weeks Marine damaged nearshore hardbottom coral habitat while performing the beach renourishment project in Boca Raton.
In their letter to Weeks the DEP stated ‘Pursuant to the CRPA [Coral Reef Protection Act], damage to coral reef may result in liability for damages and restoration, compensatory mitigation, and the judicial imposition of civil penalties. Additionally, the responsible party must cooperate with the Department to undertake damage assessment and primary restoration of the coral reef in a timely fashion.