These photographs were taken on Anne’s Beach during the first Lower Matecumbe clean up after Hurricane Irma ... a coral tree that was part of the hurricane debris.  While there are a number of different types of "coral trees" being used, this coral tree came from the Coral Restoration Foundation's Tavernier nursery... one of two trees that the Foundatin lost during the hurricane.  Both apparently washed up onto the shoreline of Lower Matecumbe.  Only one was returned... this one apparently hauled off as hurricane debris.

Just what is a "coral tree" and how is it used? 

As the coral reefs here and around the world struggle to 

survive, there are many individuals and organizations doing 

what they can to help our environment.  One such 

individual is Ken Nedimyer, founder of the Coral Restoration 

Foundation here in the Upper Keys.

Ken continually looks for ways to "put Humpty Dumpty back

together again."  He has created the Coral Tree Nursery®.

Take just two minutes to watch a video from CNN that 

demonstrates some of the efforts of the Coral Restoration 

Foundation and the work that Ken Nedimyer is doing here

in the Keys and around the world.  Click here to view video.

​From the Coral Restoration Foundation (CRF) website ( 

  • In 2010, we developed the Coral Tree Nursery®: a simple framework of PVC pipe that resembles the shape of a tree. The nursery tree is tethered to the ocean floor and buoyed with a subsurface float. Coral fragments are hung from the branches of the tree using monofilament line. The tree floats in the water column and is able to move with storm-generated wave surges. This dissipates wave energy preventing damage to the tree structure or the corals themselves.

  • Corals are grown in the nursery for approximately six to nine months. After they have reached a substantial size, they are tagged and taken to a carefully selected reef restoration site where they are attached directly to the reef using a non-toxic marine epoxy.

  • Tens of thousands of corals are produced through our pioneering propagation techniques and housed in multiple offshore coral tree nurseries. We currently have 7 offshore coral nurseries in South Florida from Carysfort Reef to Key West.

The coral tree photographed (at top of page), amid the hurricane debris, is a new design invented by Ken Nedimyer, used to grow star corals and brain corals.

Thanks to Catlin Seaview Survey, and Google Maps’ Underwater Streetview, you can now see first hand what the coral tree nursery looks like under water. The Catlin Seaview Survey visited the Coral Restoration Foundation Nursery in 2015 to capture 360° images.  Use your mouse to move around the 360° image to see coral fragments growing on the Coral Trees, as well as larger fragments attached to smaller, “hangman” structures, ready for the team to collect gametes during the annual coral spawning.  It is truly fascinating to see scientists working tirelessly to "fix" what they can of our ocean.

Go to the Foundation website to "visit" an underwater coral tree nursery: 

Others making a difference:

Mote Marine Laboratory and the Boy Scout SeaBase have partnered on a project to use these coral trees to help restore coral throughout the Keys.  See a recent article about their newest announcement: (Click here)

To read about the Hurricane Irma damage to the coral tree farmshere:

​Coral Restoration


Lower Matecumbe Key