Tom McCann is The Nature Conservancy’s Director of Marine Communications.
These days you can find all kinds of reality shows on television. It seems that there is even an entire network dedicated to restoring old houses. Families repair hardwood floors and fix broken windows all in the hope of making a smart investment, saving something beautiful and timeless, and restoring an important part of a community.
Along our coastlines is a similar reality show where scientists, conservationists, volunteers, engineers and other experts are restoring a much larger part of our community: our coral reefs, mangroves, sea grasses, shellfish and more.
These natural defenses to storm surge help reduce erosion and dampen wave energy, as Nature Conservancy marine scientists Dr. Michael Beck and Dr. Christine Shepard highlight in the recent World Risk Report. They capture the essential role coral reefs and other habitat play in reducing risks for people from storms and other coastal hazards — one of their findings was that coral reefs may provide risk reduction benefits to 200 million people around the world.
Beyond their role in risk reduction, coral reefs, mangroves, shellfish and other habitats also support coastal economies by providing habitat for fish and other marine life — the homes and nurseries that help sustain fish populations and support recreational and commercial fishing. Dr. Amanda Wrona Meadows documents the value of investing in coastal habitat restoration for the Conservancy in this video including fish migration habitat helping salmon fishermen, corals supporting tourism, and shellfish helping clean waters and provide natural buffers to storms.
A recent report from The Nature Conservancy and Oxfam show how the emerging restoration economy offers new and expanded opportunities for businesses in the Gulf of Mexico.
While coastal restoration may not have its own cable channel, yet, you can tune in at nature.org/RestorationWeek on June 3rd and learn about how we’re putting science in action to restore coastal habitat, adding natural defenses to storms and helping give coastal economies a boost.
Learn how mangroves helped protect a school from hurricane Ivan in the Grenadines, how sea grasses are helping scientists bring back scallop populations in Virginia, how innovative approaches including coral nurseries are supporting tourism, and shellfish in the Gulf of Mexico and New York are supporting communities.
[Image: Volunteer event at Mobile Bay in Alabama. Image source: Erika Notremann/TNC]
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Tags: coastal hazards, coastal management, coastal restoration, Coral Reefs, Gulf of Mexico, hurricane, mangroves, marine, marine conservation, marine scientist, natural defenses, natural infrastructure, oyster restoration, restoration, restoration week, restoration works, sea grass, seagrass restoration, shellfish, storms, superstorm, tom mccann, world risk report