A team of military veterans is putting their hard-earned skills toward a different challenge: Restoring damaged corals in hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico. Divers from Force Blue — in partnership with NOAA, Sea Ventures Incorporated, the Ocean Conservancy and many others — recently kicked off off a two-month mission to stabilize and perform emergency restoration on coral damaged off the coast of Puerto Rico during last year’s hurricanes.
Last week, the former combat divers and special operations veterans jumped in to add some muscle power for these corals in need. The first team of divers, comprised of NOAA scientists and local partners collecting data, surveyed and assessed damage to high-value sites. The second team — a triage team including Force Blue veterans — stabilized a selection of at-risk coral fragments to fortify them for recovery. This involved unburying, repositioning and re-attaching corals with cement.