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On the 1st of April Key West’s Reef Relief will celebrate its 25th year of work for the improvement and protection of the coral reefs of the Florida Keys. An anniversary celebration is being held March 31st from 6pm-10pm at Salute! On the Beach with special guests Howard Livingston and the Mile Marker 24 Band.

In 1987, Key West residents Craig and DeeVon Quirolo began observing a disturbing amount of physical damage to corals in the Florida Keys from vessels dropping anchors on the reef among other degradation — destroying corals that were perhaps hundreds or thousands of years old. They founded the non-profit organization Reef Relief to take action and started to install mooring buoy fields, using a variety of designs for both large and small vessels along the reef tract.  Read more about our history

The organization sought to communicate that coral reef ecosystems are not just corals but are actually a system of interdependent and delicately balanced connections between the water and land. They communicated that coral reefs are the most biologically diverse
ecosystems on Earth and their conservation must become a global priority. This was expanded to Monroe County schools through a variety of educational programs and the creation of a Coral Reef Teacher’s Guide. In addition, the education and outreach programs were incorporated into the effort to reach out to charter boat captains, commercial fishermen, recreational boaters, divers, and local businesses involved in water sport activities to emphasize the importance of conserving and protecting the coral reef ecosystem.
Later, a Clean Water Campaign was launched to identify problems with sewage, agricultural runoff, cruise ships waste, boating impacts, and other sources of pollution that affected the water quality at coral reefs in South Florida and around the globe. Reef Relief effectively organized campaigns with other sister organizations, government agencies, the business community, and citizens. In 25 years Reef Relief’s achievements
include advanced wastewater treatment for the City of Key West, establishment of a boater No Discharge Zone for sewage in the Florida Keys, passage of a phosphate ban for laundry detergents, approval of bans on offshore oil drilling and exploration in South Florida, increased state standards for shallow injection wells, and a host of other actions. Reef Relief has, also, helped to establish coral reef conservation programs in Jamaica, Honduras, Mexico, St. Kitts, Puerto Rico, Bahamas and Cuba.
Today, Reef Relief continues to educate residents and visitors and to reach out to young people through its Key West based Environmental center, a summer Coral Camp for Kids youth program and its Discover Coral Reefs Schools Program. Last summer, Coral Camp was nationally recognized by the Marine Educators Association. Reef Relief continues to be a lead advocate for state and federal clean water policy. State Program Director Jeff Sharkey and Capitol Alliance Group keeps Reef Relief on the front line of
state water policy issues in Tallahassee.
This year Reef Relief took over management of the Key West Marine Park which they helped to create in 2001 with the City of Key West.  The marine park will be used as an education and outreach tool in Reef Relief’s work for coral reef conservation.
Reef Relief  invites the community to help celebrate 25 years of work for our coral reefs on Saturday, March 31st, at Salute! on Higgs Beach from 6 to 10 p.m. Food will be provided by Salute!, a cash bar will be available and Howard Livingston and Mile Marker 24 will be performing. Tickets are $15 before the event and $20 at the door. For more information on the party or to purchase tickets visit and click on the 25th Anniversary button.
Volunteers Help Cleanup Paradise
On Saturday March 10th Reef Relief was joined by 44 volunteers for a mangrove cleanup of Shrimp Road on Stock Island. Volunteers removed a whopping 1652 pounds of marine debris from the mangroves. Among items removed were: a massage table, plastic bags, tires, a motorcycle frame, and a damaged no dumping sign. Thanks to Stock Island Marina Village for hosting the cleanup and post cleanup BBQ celebration, all the volunteers and Key West’s own Con Leche for providing island sound for this community event.
College Students Help Florida Keys Nonprofits
Students with the Alternative Spring Break Program from the University of Central Florida spent their spring break in Key West volunteering with local nonprofits including the Key West Wildlife Center, Key West Botanical Garden and Reef Relief. Eleven students volunteered with Reef Relief and the City of Key West to stencil 62 storm drains and helped clean up our shoreline by removing marine debris.
Students from the University of South Florida, also, spent their spring break helping the Florida Keys Wildlife Refuges and Reef Relief. Thanks all our student volunteers for you help!
On Deck with Reef Relief
Tune in the 4th Wednesday of every month 2-3pm for Reef Relief’s monthly radio show, On Deck with Reef Relief, hosted by Reef Relief’s Executive Program Director Mill McCleary and Director of Marine Projects Rudy Bonn. Go to to watch or listen to the live stream. Tune in Wednesday March 28th this entire show is in dedication of our 25th anniversary.
April 14th Earth Day Celebration 9:00am-2:00pm at Bahia Honda State Park

April 24th 5 pm- Reef Relief Happy Hour Fundraiser at the Lazy Gecko at 203 Duval Street, Key West, FL 33040
Make a donation today by clicking the donate button or
– Join online by clicking the donate now button or go to
– Join by calling Reef Relief at 305-294-3100
– Mail your donation to: Reef Relief P.O. Box 430, Key West, FL 33040
– Or visit Reef Relief’s Environmental Center at 631 Greene St. in Key West
P.O. Box 430 | Key West, FL 33041-0430 US