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Coral Reefs….Calypso…pre-planning stage…

October 4, 2008 by Barbara



“Offshore Oil and Gas Exploration There continues to be no oil or gas drilling operations in the state waters of southeast Florida.OtherSubsea Engineering Projects: Gas Pipelines and Fiber Optic Cables Installation of fiber optic cables and construction of gas pipelines can have a major impact on coral reefs. Stony corals, gorgonians and sponges can become abraded or dislodged during pipeline installation, increased sedimentation and leaks of drilling mud and lubricants during horizontal directional drilling (HDD) can smother corals, and resultant increases in turbidity reduces the amount of light necessary for healthy function. Although cables have a small impact footprint, cor-als and other reef organisms can be chronically impacted by shading and abrasion (PBS&J, 1999). Storm events can lead to movement of cables on the substrate, which can result in abrasion of corals and reef substrate. Over the last twenty years there has been over 12 acres of nearshore reef damaged during pipeline installation in southeastern Florida (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. SE Region, 2004). There are two gas pipeline projects currently being reviewed for permits in the southeast Florida region, AES Ocean Express and Calypso U.S. Pipeline, LLC, and they are expected to incur greater than seven acres and 4.5 acres of reef damage, respectively. Both of these projects plan to pipe liquid natural gas from facilities in the Bahamas to exit points in Broward County. However, as an alternative, Calypso is proposing a deepwater port approximately 10 miles offshore from Port Everglades. There have been no new fiber optic cable permits issued since 2001 for the southeast Florida region (Vince, pers. comm.). Since 2003, recommendations have been made to minimize impacts to reef systems, such as decreasing tur-bidity thresholds, using reef gaps to lay cables, implementation of tunneling and elimination of HDD, coral relocation for corals at risk, and increased monitoring and mitigation…..”

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