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Nonprofit working to protect environment amid Coronavirus pandemic

Posted at 6:10 AM, Apr 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-15 10:29:39-04

CAPE CORAL, Fla -- Protecting paradise may seem like a distant thought during the coronavirus pandemic. That's why one nonprofit is working to keep issues like water quality top of mind.

"At some point this is going to end. The environment's still going to be here when we all come back out, it's still going to have the problems that it had, and it's still going to need the help," said David Wolff, president of Ocean Habitats.

It's a simple message from Ocean Habitats: the environment will still be here after the coronavirus pandemic is over.

That's why the nonprofit is still working to install artificial mini reefs in our area, and beyond, to improve water quality.

"We have started to partner with local area businesses around different states, like seawall, dock companies, that type of thing. Kind of setting up distributorships basically of companies that are still in business, still doing business because they're essential," said Wolff.

This accomplishes a few things.

"While it's definitely the environment's not at the forefront of people's minds like it normally is, when people hear you can also do this to help the environment while we're fixing your blank, people say oh yeah let's go ahead," said Wolff.

And it supports social distancing, by limiting the number of people at your home. If you don't have any other work being done on your property, the nonprofit can still come out on its own, and you won't even need to come outside.

"Nobody has to be there. We select the best location for the mini reef or mini reefs if there's multiple, to make sure they operate properly, and we're there and gone," he said.

As the pandemic continues, they're also making sure research doesn't take a back seat. This Friday, they'll team up with Mote Marine Laboratory.

"Dr. Lovko and Dr. Fanara, they're studying red tide. That's some of the main work they do at Mote. They're going to be utilizing our units to study a lot of the different filter feeders that live on a mini reef, how good of a job do they do filtering brevis out of the water," said Wolff.

"Kind of like the knowledge of exactly how much do each of these filter feeders filter out red tide, nobody knows, there's no published work on that, so all these things need to be answered with current research," he added.

Wolff says the research will provide answers to those questions, and more.

Ocean Habitats will be on Fort Myers Beach next week. If you'd like to learn how you can help protect our water and get a mini reef installed on your property, click here.