Coral Reefs

Hallandale Beach Coral Reefs

The shores of Hallandale Beach are part of the Florida Reef Tract. The Florida Reef tract is the only coral reef accessible by land in the continental United States. The Florida Reef Tract spans 360 linear miles from the St. Lucie Inlet in Martin County to the Dry Tortugas. 

Coral reefs are found approximately 500 feet from the shores of Hallandale Beach. A colony of staghorn coral (Acropora cervicornis) can be found less than a half-mile offshore the City. 

The Florida Reef Tract is experiencing a widespread multi-year outbreak of Stony Coral Tissue Loss. As of 2018, over half of the Florida Reef Tract has been affected. This disease has been killing more than 20 species of coral, seemingly targeting species which build reefs. To learn more about Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease visit the Florida Department of Environmental Protection Coral Reef Conservation Program website on the disease. Additionally, Coral Reefs worldwide suffer from the impacts of climate change (oceans getting warmer and more acidic) as well as land-based sources of pollution.

The City encourages residents and visitors to download the Southeast Florida Action Network (SEAFAN) app. The SEAFAN app is a citizen reporting and response system designed to improve the protection and management of our reefs by enhancing marine debris cleanup efforts, increasing response to vessel groundings and anchor damage, and providing early detection of potentially harmful biological disturbances. 


Ocean Friendly Landscaping

Wave breaking with the sun behind it, corals in front of the wave with the HB logo


The City encourages the use of low impact development and green infrastructure to reduce outdoor water use and land-based sources of pollution. 

To incentivize reducing pollution, the City is launching its Ocean Friendly Landscaping program on October 1, 2019! This program will rebate residents  $1 per square foot rebate to replace turfgrass on their property with a rain garden or other green infrastructure. Restrictions apply. This program is a pilot and will provide rebates to approved residents for as long as funding is available.

Guidelines

  • Removal and replacement of turf must comply with City Landscape Ordinances. Projects are required to be a minimum of 500 square feet and completed within 60 days of application approval rate.
  • The conversion area is required to be completely covered by a layer permeable to air and water. Common materials include rock, mulch, and drought tolerant plants with drip irrigation hooked up to a rain sensor.
  • Rebates are only available to City of Hallandale Beach customers or landlords of property serviced by the City of Hallandale Beach. New construction does not qualify. Projects that have been started or completed prior to the City of Hallandale Beach's review of application, installation of vegetable gardens were grass once was, water features and fountains, and invasive plants and weeds do not qualify.

Rebate Process

  1. Complete an application, take all required photos and measurements of the renovation area.
  2. Send completed application, drawing with measurements, and clear color photos that are dated along with a recent City of Hallandale Beach water bill to the City of Hallandale Beach's Green Initiatives Coordinator.
  3. You will be scheduled and contacted for a pre-job inspection.
  4. Upon approval, remove turf, install replacement rain garden or green infrastructure and after take required clear color and dated photos and submit them to the City of Hallandale Beach's Green Initiatives Coordinator.
  5. You will be contacted and scheduled for a final inspection.
  6. Rebate will be mailed approximately 4 weeks after application approval and inspection.

*Do not begin to remove your turf until you have received  approval after your pre-inspection.*

Download the Application and Program Information.

Email ajoneswood@cohb.org if you have any questions.


Our Local Coral Reef Protection Ordinance - Effective October 1, 2019

The Ordinance can be read here.

The Ordinance includes: 

  • the prohibition of expanded polystyrene food service articles and single-use carry out plastic bags on public beaches;
  • the prohibition of distributing expanded polystyrene food service articles and/or single-use carry out plastic bags from beachside establishments;
  • the prohibition of emptying boat blackwater tanks into waters within City limits;
  • the prohibition of fertilizer applications during the National Weather Service defined Wet Season (May 15 to October 15);
  • the prohibition of fertilizer applications during a watch or warning for floods, severe thunderstorms, tropical storms, hurricanes, or periods when greater than or equal to two (2) inches of rain in a 24 hour period is forcasted by the National Weather Service; and
  • the creation of an Ocean Friendly Landscape rebate program.

The City's Resolution encouraging the use of reef-safe sunscreen can be read here.

What does this mean for beachgoers?

This means that starting October 1, 2019, beachgoers should bring something other than a plastic bag to carry their belongings. Additionally, it means to-go food which comes onto the beach should not be packaged in styrofoam. 

The City believes that this restriction will 

1) Reduce the amount of plastic waste which enters the marine environment 

and

 2) encourage pro-environmental behavior of all beachgoers.

Nobody likes to see litter at the beach!

What does this mean for beachside restaurants, markets, & stores?

This means that by October 1, 2019, those beachside establishments may not distribute the prohibited materials. Alternatives to expanded polystyrene and single-use carry out plastic bags are abundant and can be just as cost-effective as the prohibited materials. 

What does this mean for boaters?

This means that if a boat has a head (AKA toilet), that toilet waste must be pumped-out instead of dumped into the water. Pump-outs are available at many marinas, including the City of Hallandale Beach marina for a $5 fee. Boat blackwater is regulated by local, State, and Federal law.

What does this mean for my lawn?

This means that if you fertilize your lawn or landscape, it should be with a slow-release fertilizer that is applied before the wet season begins. Often times landscaping companies will fertilize in April and again in November, both of which are outside the wet season.

What does this mean for the environment?

This means that the environment, specifically the marine environment and coral reef ecosystems, will be less stressed by water pollution and debris. When the corals are less stressed, they are better able to deal with disease and water temperature changes. With less plastic pollution entering the marine environment via the beach and beachside establishments, less animals may ingest or become entangled in marine debris. 


CORAL REEF AMBASSADOR PROGRAM

Just as Hallandale Beach's beaches attract tourists, the ocean environment draws diving and fishing enthusiasts from all over the world and Hallandale Beach is home to part of the only coral reef in the continental United States. These reef tracts range in depth from 15 feet on the inner reef tract to 90 feet on the outer tract.

Reef Conservation Tips for Divers

Tens of thousands of divers descend on the Florida Reef each year, so coral-friendly diving practices are essential. It is vital that you avoid touching the corals with hands, fins, or gear. Here are some tips to avoid contact:

  • Learn how much weight is ideal to get you to the bottom. Practice your buoyancy skills before diving on coral reefs.
  • Swim at an attitude parallel to the reef to avoid kicking it with your fins. Shallow artificial reefs are good places to practice.
  • You will enjoy a longer, safer dive if you hover a bit above the reef. 
  • Clip everything to your BCD, reefs don't like dangling devices.

It is imperative that you clean your gear when moving to different areas along the reef. Microbial organisms can hitch a ride on unwashed dive gear, spreading disease from dive to dive. It is important to disinfect wetsuits, masks, fins and SCUBA equipment. While on board your vessel, clean gear with non-ionic detergents and soaps. Use a diluted bleach wash once you return to shore.

Opt for biodegradable, reef-friendly sun protection. Sunscreens containing Oxybenzone and Octinoxate harm corals. If you can’t avoid Oxybenzone or Octinoxate, opt for the lowest concentration. Any small effort to reduce Oxybenzone and Octinoxate pollution could mean that a coral reef survives a long, hot summer, or that a degraded area recovers. Please do continue to wear sunscreen to prevent the risk of skin cancer, as the sun in South Florida is very strong.

Reef Conservation for Anglers and Boaters

To protect the coral reef ecosystem, it is important to learn and abide by the science-based fishing regulations established by the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (SAFMC). Please do not take more than you are allowed.

Better yet, take only what you need. Fish are not just products of the coral reef ecosystem; they are also part of its fragile ecology. Like productive citizens, they provide goods and services to the ecosystem to which they belong.

Besides abiding by fishing regulations, here are more reef-friendly fishing and boating tips:

  • Absolutely never drop an anchor on the reef. This is illegal under Florida's Coral Reef Protection Act (CRPA), and could be associated with heavy fines. Find a nice sandy bottom, drop your anchor, and float out back across the reef. If you are having trouble locating sandy bottom, check out the FDEP free phone application.
  • Use circle hooks. Fish rarely swallow circle hooks, and they are easier to remove, so more undersized and unwanted fish you release will survive.
  • Discard fishing line in proper recycling receptacles.
  • When bottom fishing, use braided line and a leader lighter than the breaking strength of the braid. If you get hung up, you’ll leave a minimal amount of line on the reef.
  • Boats can be disease vectors and transplant exotic species. Wash your boat thoroughly, including the bilge, before traveling from one area to the next.
  • Fuel up and add oil in a calm area to avoid spills. Be careful not to overflow your fuel tanks or oil receptacle.
  • Dispose of trash on shore and recycle!
  • Keep and eye out for sunning sea turtles or manatees.

Reef Conservation is something we can all take part in

Marine debris is anything man-made and discarded that enters the marine environment. Most trash comes from land-based sources. Trash on the ground may be swept into inland waterways by rain and wind, where it will then make its way into the ocean through rivers and streams. Trash left on beaches is also a culprit.

Debris can spread diseases, invasive species, become navigational hazards, endanger human health, and harm wildlife. For example, sea turtles mistake plastic for the jellyfish they feed on, and ingest it. Here are few ways how you can help:

  • Participate in marine/ beach/reef cleanup events and activities.
  • Recycle or dispose of trash and recyclable materials in the proper receptacles or bring trash and recyclables home.
  • Reduce marine debris from fishing gear.
  • Bring lost fish traps and tangles of fishing line to recycling bins. Lost nets and traps are one of the biggest problems in marine debris. Only you can prevent ghost fishing!
  • Hire local guides when visiting the coral reef ecosystem
  • Respect marine animals and their environment; leave coral and living shells where you found them.
  • Re-use and Refuse single-use plastics! Keep reusable bags handy, carry a metal straw and washable cutlery, use a refillable water bottle, consider reusable containers instead of disposable baggies.