August 14, 2022

Paul Allen is redeeming himself in the Cayman Islands

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gettyimages-476402699By Mara Siegler From Page Six

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and the Cayman Islands Department of Environment have worked together to save the 13,800 square feet of endangered coral that was allegedly hit by the billionaire’s $162 million mega-yacht Tatoosh in January.

Polaris Applied Sciences, which was hired by Allen’s company, Vulcan, has reattached 1,600 organisms, including hundreds of hard and soft corals and sponges.

The work to triage the area, which local officials say was damaged by the mega-yacht’s anchor and chain on Jan. 14, included stabilizing and removing rubble, re-creating structures, and rescuing and reattaching as much living coral as possible.

More than 30 tons of cement and sand were used, according to a joint press release, as well as eight tons of rubble to rebuild the reef structure.

The project took 300 hours over 24 days. A coral restoration expert has been hired by the DOE to continue to oversee the project and monitor the area. Vulcan is still questioning the cause and scope of the damage.

Paul Allen Photo: Getty Images

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Cayman Islands DOE and Vulcan Inc. announce completion of emergency coral restoration effort

Emergency coral restoration 2The Cayman Islands Department of Environment (DoE), and Vulcan Inc., on behalf of Paul G. Allen, the owner of the M/Y Tatoosh, have announced completion of a jointly administered emergency restoration plan to help speed recovery of injured coral in the West Bay Replenishment Zone.

Members of the Polaris Applied Sciences team, which had been secured to implement the plan by Vulcan, conducted remediation work over 24 days, totaling approximately 300 man hours. During this time, the team reattached approximately 1,600 benthic organisms including:
* 429 hard corals over 20 centimeters in diameter
* 955 hard corals less than 20 centimeters in diameter.
* 208 soft corals and sponges

More than 30 tons of cement and sand, along with eight tons of rubble, were used to rebuild and restabilize the impacted area. Work was completed on 28 March under the oversight of Dr. Harold Hudson, formerly of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and a world leader in restoration of coral habitats, who advised and assisted Polaris in their efforts.

“The reef remediation by Polaris was an experienced-based approach to help minimize the damage and improve the likelihood of coral recovery in the area,” said Dr. Hudson. “The swift implementation of this plan provides the greatest chance for recovery of the affected area and I commend both Vulcan and the DoE for their efforts to help ensure its rapid completion.”

In addition, the DOE hired Mr William Precht, a coral restoration expert with Dial Cordy and Associates, Inc. in Miami, FL, to assist with project oversight and assessment as well as to undertake the long-term monitoring of the restored site to evaluate the efficacy of the restoration effort performed by Polaris in the months and years following completion. The DOE and Mr Precht have inspected the site and are satisfied that the project was performed to the agreed specifications.

The completion of the plan included the following actions:
1. Triage the affected corals: Uprighting, uncovering, securing and moving viable corals to safe locations, while work to stabilize the reef structure was completed.
2. Stabilizing and removing larger rubble accumulations, to prevent continued and future damage to nearby living and established resources from the impacts of rubble movement; and incorporating the rubble onsite, to recreate and retain the original reef structure.
3. Recreating the lost structure, and reducing any unnatural appearance of scraping or scarring.
4. Rescuing and reattaching living coral and other live biota as practicable, to reduce the time for a full site natural recovery and to restore ecosystem services.

The DoE and Paul G. Allen are deeply committed to ocean health and conservation. Both the DoE and Vulcan have worked hard to ensure that the implementation of this plan reflects the best international standards for restoration of coral habitats and are pleased by the completion of the work and the joint partnership that made it possible.

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