Florida Keys Seven Iconic Reefs

United Arab Emirates’ $3.5 Million Gift to United Way of Collier and the Keys Will Launch Major Reef Restoration Program in Florida Keys

Press Release

Why is the United Way involved?

With over 60% of Key's residents directly dependent upon the marine environment for their occupation, we know that if we don’t turn this around and bring our reef back from the state of devastation that it currently is in, it will have negative economic and environmental effects on our community. We believe this project is vital to the future of our community.

The 7 Iconic Sites

The sites – Carysfort Reef, Horseshoe Reef, Cheeca Rocks, Sombrero Reef, Newfound Harbor, Looe Key Reef, and Eastern Dry Rocks – These have been deemed to have the highest chance of success for this restoration process.

How does it work?

Corals grow slowly, and this coral restoration project will take time. Mission: Iconic Reefs uses several phases to ensure that multiple coral species and other important reef species can be restored over time. This project will take place in phases and will take some time. Click the link to learn more below.

Learn More

Media Kit Info

Looking for more content? Check out NOAA's Mission Iconic Reef Media Kit

Click Here

Lifechanging Gift

"We are honored to work with the Ambassador and the Embassy as a trusted partner and look forward to this valued partnership continuing. This donation is truly transformative, providing for the hardworking families who are dependent on the reefs and marine life yet are still struggling from the effects of this devastating hurricane. We are so thankful for the outstanding collaboration and impact created through this gift." Steve Sanderson, United Way of Collier County

Restoration Collaborations

"We have government entities both at the federal and state level collaborating on Mission: Iconic Reefs. We also have academic institutions, nonprofits, and local community members that have a vested interest in protecting these resources." Sarah Fangman, NOAA's Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary

Keys Gratitude

“This wonderful humanitarian gift will galvanize the critical reef restoration work necessary to revitalize the reef upon which our Florida Keys community depends. We could not be more grateful for the United Way’s partnership with the UAE to improve our community.” Holly Raschein, Representative for Florida House District 120.

Rebuilding the Seven Iconic Reefs

This gift from the UAE is the first significant funding towards accomplishing Mission: Iconic Reefs. Currently at the Seven Iconic Reef sites identified through the project, just 2% of coral cover remains. At the conclusion of this bold, innovative strategy NOAA has developed, the reef will be back to a healthy, sustainable 25%.