Coral Reef Restoration, Key Largo Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary


Location: Key Largo, Florida

Client: U. S. Dept. of Commerce National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Tasks: Site Assessment & Mapping, Conceptual Design Alternatives, Final Engineering Design, Permitting, Construction Documents, Construction Review, Engineer of Record


Under contract to Industrial Economics Corporation (IEC), and working closely with Continental Shelf Associates (CSA) and the construction contractor, Olsen Associates Inc. (OAI) was the Engineer of Record for the world’s first large-scale structural restoration of a coral reef damaged by vessel groundings.  The restoration work included rubble relocation and boulder stabilization of the 10-m deep site of the M/V Elpis grounding and the fabrication and placement of reef-replicate units at the 2-m deep site of the M/V Alec Owen Maitland.   For this work, Olsen and CSA developed new approaches and technologies to map the site and to remotely review the underwater construction in real time, and to assess the extent and probable fate of the seabed injury.  Olsen developed a suite of conceptual engineering alternatives for the Owner’s evaluation, subsequently developed detailed drawings and specifications for the selected restoration alternative, developed the permit documents, prepared contractor selection criteria for the federal government, and reviewed the contractor’s technical submittals and construction progress.  Although the summer of construction, in 1995, was the busiest tropical storm season on record in these waters, the construction work was completed on schedule and within the $1.2M project budget, with no significant change orders and no collateral damage to the sensitive environmental resources that directly surrounded the work sites.

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