How Does Coastal Development Impact the Reefs

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How does coastal development impact the reefs?

* The growth of coastal cities and towns generates a range of threats to nearby coral reefs.

* Where space is limited, airports and other construction projects may be built on land reclaimed from the sea.

* Sensitive habitats can be destroyed or disturbed by dredging activities necessary for these developments. * Dredging for deep-water channels or marinas, and the dumping of waste materials also destroys reefs.

* Where land development alters the natural flow of water, greater amounts of fresh water, nutrients and sediment can reach the reefs causing further degradation.

* Nutrient-rich water causes fleshy algae and phytoplankton to grow in suffocating amounts known as algal blooms.

* Coral reefs are biological assemblages adapted to waters with low nutrient content, and the addition of nutrients favors species that disrupt the balance of the reef communities.

Coastal Development and Habitat Degradation

Sea turtle nesting beaches are lost each year to coastal development, leaving the females without a familiar place to lay their eggs. Noise, lights and beach obstructions are disruptive to nesting areas and threaten this critical part of the sea turtle's life cycle. Some turtles may chose to nest on less developed beaches nearby, while others may not nest at all. Pollution and degradation of their marine habitat also threaten the turtle's survival.


It is estimated that fish abundance in Hawaii has declined by 75% since 1900 due to overfishing. This is the practice of harvesting marine life at an unsustainable rate, ie at a rate that cannot be replenished naturally through growth and reproduction. This decline in fish numbers has been attributed to wasteful fishing practices, habitat destruction due to coastal...
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