Coral Restoration Project Finances

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In our last newsletter we offered a water bottle giveaway to readers for idea submissions for new blog post topics. We actually had a tie for first place! One of the winning requests, sent in by Ethan Shoe, was to write a post about the finances of our restoration projects. 

First, it’s important to state that every project is different – no two are exactly alike. However, the baseline for our type of project involves tools and materials to build three artificial reefs, wages for our team, MOC standard project fee and travel costs.

1. Tools & Materials: this is a very, very long list and some of the tools are standards that most people have. However, it’s important to have a list of exactly what is needed for three artificial reefs and scale up or down from there based on the actual project. Examples from this list include cement, sand, silica, PVC, cable ties, drill and drill bits, electric saw, sawhorses, and much more. The pricing varies (I will continue to repeat this throughout) on the scope of the project and the current economy where we are doing the project. However, on average, one can expect about $3,000 for tools and materials.

Building artificial reef components.


2. MOC Team Wages + Standard Project Fee: Wages for our team members for three trips of one week each plus a project fee that goes into the operating budget for MOC, the total on average for this category is around $12,000.

MOC Team teaching a community about corals.


3. Travel: this is the category that is the most variable. For a project we did on the Pacific coast of Panama which was less expensive since it did not involve flights, we spent about $2,000. For another project I bid in Mauritius (Africa), travel was estimated to be $20,000.

Traveling back to land after a long day working in the water.

In summary, a local project with zero travel will typically be around $15,000. However, with travel being the largest variable, a distant project could be $30,000 or more.

As we look for more economic and eco-friendly ways to perform these projects we have had 3D printing of artificial reef structures on our radar for some time. While the up front costs of procuring this type of technology will be large, the future materials and tools cost will go down and be less variable.

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