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YEAR 2007 - CRP Project #2001C (Caribbean)

Project #2001C
Tire Removal for
Elkhorn Coral Restoration

Rincon, Puerto Rico

Project name:   Tire Removal for Elkhorn Coral Restoration  
Project number:   2001C  
Project status:   Complete  
Grant Administrator:   Gulf of Mexico Foundation (for NOAA)  
Grantee:   Surfrider Foundation  
Project location:   Rincon, Puerto Rico  
Grant period:   Jan 1, 2021 – Dec 31, 2020  
Grant amount:   $30,000  
Land Ownership:   Public  
Lat/Long:   18° 20’ 42.1” N, 67° 15’ 41.0” W  
Types of Habitat:   Reef  
Project leader:   Chad Nelson
Environmental Director, Surfrider Foundation
PO Box 6010
San Clemente, CA 92672-6010

Tires removed during project
Tires removed during project

Species Benefiting From Restoration:
Elkhorn coral (A. palmata)

Acres of Habitat To be Restored:
Approximately 215 acres

Project Summary:
While most Elkhorn coral (A. palmata) throughout the Caribbean is facing destruction largely because of human-related activities, healthy and well-developed Elkhorn coral can still be found off the coast of Rincón, Puerto Rico. However, because of ongoing environmental threats, Elkhorn was recently listed as a threatened species.
The coral near Rincón provides environmental and economic benefits to the small community: the Tres Palmas reefs protect the adjacent shoreline from erosion and Elkhorn colonies provide essential fish habitat. The reefs also provide world-class snorkeling and surfing opportunities for tourists. Surfrider Foundation logo
This project seeks to protect and restore the health of these reefs by removing a large number of tires that may damage coral reefs. The Surfrider Foundation will also implement a community-based educational outreach campaign that will create and distribute solution-focused outreach materials addressing threats to coral reefs from sedimentation and marine debris. The Surfrider Foundation will work with local fishers, the municipality and local citizens to implement the restoration and education and outreach efforts.
Project effectiveness will be measured by tracking the number of tires removed and monitoring the site on a regular schedule for more tires that may be unearthed by shifting sediments. Outreach activities will be evaluated by tracking the amount of outreach materials distributed, number of presentations made, and the number of people involved in community activities.

Project Objectives:
The primary objective of this project is to minimize damage and begin to restore the health of the Elkhorn coral reefs and surrounding marine environment in the Reserva Marina Tres Palmas (RMTP) in Rincón, Puerto Rico, by collaborating with local fishers and the Municipality to remove submerged tires that threaten coral reef health. The project also seeks to educate the public about:

  • The importance of protecting the reefs
  • The link between land-based activities and the health of the reefs
  • How their everyday actions can have a direct impact on reef health.

Community Involvement:
The Surfrider Foundation has had significant success in building community involvement in educational and volunteer efforts. Various community groups are volunteering their time and resources on the broader RMTP management plan effort, and over the past year, at least 200 volunteer hours have been spent on educational activities supporting reef protection. With the addition of CIEL and the Municipality volunteering their time to help with project activities, as well as the volunteer force of our local Rincón Surfrider Foundation chapter coordinating the outreach campaign, we anticipate this number to approach 500 hours.


GMF conducts site visits
for Caribbean CRP projects

GMF staff in Caribbean - click to view slide show

August 2008 - GMF staff travels to Caribbean to conduct site visits for CRP projects in USVI and Puerto Rico.

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Click on photo to enlarge

GMF Site Visit
GMF staff in Caribbean - click to view slide show
Aug 2008 GMF conducts site visit for Caribbean CRP projects including Tire Removal for Elkcorn Coral Restoration.

Study area - click to enlarge
Study area for reef survey

Tires submerged - click to enlarge
Tires submerged within debris and on coral heads

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NOAA Restoration Center

Gulf of Mexico Foundation

Surfrider Foundation

Asociacion de Pescadores Comerciales de Rincon (local fishers group)

Obras Publicas de Rincon, Programa de Reciclaje (recycling program)

University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez

Sea Grant Puerto Rico

Gulf of Mexico Foundation - PMB 51, 5403 Everhart - Corpus Christi, TX 78411
(800) 884-4175 toll free - (361) 882-3939 phone - (361) 882-1262 fax
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webmaster: Carrie Robertson