Caribbean Coral Restoration



At The Heart

The Organization

Our Vision

Our legacy is one of recovering coral reefs & fish habitats around the Bocas Archipelago. Our projects bring economic power and improved health to local Indigenous communities. Our reputation grows local & Panamanian government support for solutions that can scale to the rest of the world.

Our Mission

We are cultivators and guardians of sustainable ocean ecosystems

Our Values

We value an authentic commitment and demonstrated contribution to the greater good, transparency, respect for all with a humble willingness to learn, and an action-oriented attitude of “get ‘er done”.

Our Domain & Priorities

The ecosystem in Bocas is seriously out of balance.

Overfished, effluents dumped into the water, climate change, reef collapse, resource exploitation, an under-nourished and economically disempowered Indigenous population, inconsistent infrastructure development, erratic and disparate government control & oversight; the Bocas Archipelago in Panama has a series of interconnected and serious problems that are contributing to an ecosystem in dire need of thoughtful attention and action.

Our mission requires that we address the concept of coral reef recovery through a holistic lens. Ocean ecosystems include the management and protection of resources, the quality of life for the plant, animal and human species that live within that ecosystem. This means that our organization is more than just “putting coral structures” in the water. Our impact is measured by more than recovered reefs and healthy underwater fish habitat.

Much of the ecosystem in which we reside continues to evolve — as a culture, as a result of climate change, infrastructure, governmental shifts in legislation — and so does how we implement our mission. The science of the sea doesn’t end with our impact strategy, and we view our projects as on-going experiments, so that the impact of our

    vision continues to make a difference, with results that help us continue to evolve our organization and it’s impact in the world.

    Despite the passage of time and shifting ecosystems, our vision remains the same, with five important areas of impact by which we judge the effectiveness of our efforts. How we accomplish that vision will continue to evolve as we do.

    As an organization, we expect our efforts and impact to demonstrate change in the following ways:

    1. A series of healthy, flourishing coral installation sites

    At the heart of our organization is a profound love and appreciation for the amazing world under the surface of the sea.

    One of the key actions Caribbean Coral Restoration takes on a regular basis involves the construction, preparation and installation of artificial reef structures that help rebuild fish habitats.

    Our land-water coral nursery on Isla Solarte allows for us to gather, clone and grow genetically resilient corals that we use to seed our coral reef installations for even faster growth and recovery.

    Caribbean Coral Restoration has creative innovations and adaptations in our coral structure design that allows for an unusually high success rate for the mobility and resiliency of the coral out-plants.

    2. Economic opportunities for local & Indigenous communities in Bocas

    While installing coral is very much our day to day activity, underneath this lies a level of impact that is much bigger than reefs, fish and coral.

    We insist that our organization is part of creating significant economic opportunities and improvements for native communities in Bocas.

    Because our organization is creating structures in addition to cultivating corals, we have a unique opportunity to create a local entrepreneurial economy around restoration efforts.

    We offer paid training apprentice programs specific to fishery development and sustainability, for enthusiastic and dedicated residents of Bocas. The hypothesis is that apprentices will turn into local entrepreneurs and village employers as artificial reef suppliers for future installation projects.

    With the additional revenue going into the local communities, the impact can be felt by the most vulnerable in Bocas. The

    experiment hopes to reveal if this economic impact has a bigger ripple effect to improving the village quality of life.

    There is the potential that the additional tourism to local installation sites will also make it possible for locals to market to visitors without needing to take the (expensive) ride to town to sell beautiful artisan wares.

    With the improved health of corals and the ecosystems in Bocas, we affect a growth in ocean activity tourism, which brings an economic impact, and more attention on conservation and protection as the layers of governments of Panama see more value in supporting, developing and strengthening the ecosystem of Bocas Del Toro.

    3. Marked health improvement of Indigenous communities

    Many of the ecosystem imbalances in Bocas Archipelago impact the Indigenous villages and communities hardest. With the overfishing, local fishermen providing for their family are subsisting on a diet of mostly rice having lost many local fish habitats.

    Floating Doctors, a non-profit health organization working locally with Indigenous communities in Bocas confirms that protein deficiency and lack of access to basic infrastructure is having far reaching health effects.

    It is our intention that by creating flourishing fish habitats, we can rebuild an essential food source in the Ngäbe diet.

    With these programs, in collaboration with likeminded organizations, we aspire to develop a series of thoughtful community impact events; it is important that native Bocas residents gain appreciation and education sparking desire and action to protect and nourish local resources, while benefitting individually, economically, and as a community.

    4. Support from Local & Panamanian Government Organizations

    The officers of government, priorities of enforcement and political landscapes are shifting sands. Getting everyone on the same page can seem like a Herculean effort. And yet, without support from the local and Panamanian Government authorities, Caribbean Coral Restoration cannot operate effectively over the long term.

    In response to this, our methodology will be that of thoughtful on-boarding, over communication, and inclusive reporting.

    This means that we will have on boarding documentation and education about Caribbean Coral Restoration, our vision and

    efforts, and on-going communicative reporting to a series of specific officials, offices and entities of our actions.

    It is our hypothesis that this will help close the gap between lack of communication between various departments, gain support for our organization independent of political party or climate, and reduce our need for redundant efforts to keep Caribbean Coral Restoration in operation within existing legal parameters.

    5. Solutions that scale to the rest of the world

    The need for our type of organization grows rapidly around the globe. The imbalance issues present in Bocas are global, despite being uniquely local.

    We are an organization insistent on sharing our success and failures publicly; our transparency keeps us faithful to our mission and impact, while helping smooth and widen the path for greater impact around the globe.

    Our commitment includes sharing what we learn, collaboration over competition, and ensuring our conversations include the voices of those who aren’t sitting at table where decisions are made.

    Our Refrain

    Love for the sea begins here.

    How we champion the cause; the rallying cry for our mission, for our programs, our dream to bring health and balance to the Bocas Del Toro ecosystem.

    It explains our activism, our unmitigated desire to explore, protect and shepherd the sea. It is the siren song we sing to call our friends, talented team members, most impassioned supporters and advocates to our mission.

    Selfie-taking mermaids, turtle conservationists, tourists and beach goers, researchers, artists, philanthropists, fishermen, boat captains, and anyone who’s ever slept over the sea…

    Love for the sea begins here.


    Our Programs

    Our Initiatives

    Our Mission in Action

    Reef Installationsincludes in sea and on land coral nursery, artificial reef building and site assessment.

    Apprenticeship & Entrepreneurship Programeducating, apprenticing and matriculating future suppliers of artificial reef structures.

    Community Impact Eventsincludes collaboration with organizations to educate and grow support of the local and global community.

    Political Capital Programdevelopment and delivery of organizational on-boarding package, that includes on-going communications and reporting.

    Knowledge Sharing Programincludes products available to inspired coral savers around the globe, and “learn what we know” consulting.


    Status Report

    The Restoration Report

    PUBLIC SUMMARY: Updated February 2020

    Recent Accomplishments

    • Bocas Del Toro is designated as a Hope Spot by Sylvia Earl and Mission Blue; local organization partners include Mar Alliance, Kawi Voyage, The School for Field Studies, Sea Turtle Conservancy, Cacao Blessings and CCR.
    • Two apprentices are going through the first six-month iteration of the apprenticeship to entrepreneur program.
    • Collaboration with local partners and organizations including the Smithsonian Research Institute, SFS, Floating Doctors, Red Frog Foundation, Kawi, Diving Pirates and several others…
    • Re-branded and launched which has brought significant attention to the org in alignment with our strategic goals and mission.

    Immediate Priorities

    • Extensive expansion of the coral nursery to protect Acropora corals in the archipelago
      • 50 coral trees populated with 100 clones each of Elkhorn & Staghorn coral
      • At least 5 active in-situ nursery stations populated with at least 4 separate genotypes of both target species
      • 5 additional coral species present in the nursery and shallow water growing stations (as appropriate)
      • One fully funded in-house reef restoration project
    • On-going collaboration and coordination with local authorities and Indigenous populations to establish a sustainable fisheries management program
    • Establish sufficient funding for 2020 Operations

      Current Status

      • Panamanian government officers have extended requests to expand the existing Isla Bastimentos National Marine Park to further protect precious colonies and ecosystems around the archipelago, while including a request that CCR expands their nursery outposts into the existing park.
      • 3 nursery sites installed, containing over 2200 coral clones, have been set up for community education and in-house research.
      • Multiple education institutions are arranging for intensive restoration learning sessions with CCR.
      • At least 2 international restoration programs are CCR in a consultant role and knowledge sharing capacity to advance restoration in their locations.

      Photos & Media

      Take a Look

      Acropora Rescue

      We are on a mission to rescue coral clones from foundation, reef building species around the archipelago before the few remaining colonies collapse entirely.

      Elkhorn & Staghorn corals in the Bocas Archipelago have been given a generous estimate of 2 years maximum before these species are lost entirely. (This has already occurred in Caribbean Costa Rica.)

      WIth visitors from MIAMBIENTE, the Panama Ministry of Environment, we have expanded our connections within the local and national governments.

      Caribbean Coral Restoration has expanded our on-land nursery to cultivate and protect species we’ve cloned from around the archipelago to gather as much genetic diversity as available.

      Structures constructed, assembled, and installed on the ocean floor provides the essential presence of a healthy fish habitat. Clones are installed into a forest of “coral trees”, protected and growing in 3 separate in-ocean nurseries, where they can be cloned again and again, and installed on flourishing fish habitat.

      Our coral trees are especially modular and designed to be easily moved, cleaned and assembled. Caribbean Coral Restoration is making these tools and insights available to the world.

      Photos & Media

      1. Example of healthy Elkhorn Coral
      2. Example of healthy Staghorn Coral
      3. MIAMBIENTE visiting the nursery, and members of our team: Emilio, Krista, Doug, and Sofia.
      4. Fish habitat structures installed on the sea floor
      5. Founder Doug Marcy demonstrating the coral tree functionality
      6. A branch of the coral tree with several grown, healthy Staghorn coral clones.
      7. Krista Shoe measuring clone progress in the nursery.
      8. Staghorn coral clone growing in a coral tree.
      9. A small coral clone growing in our on-land nursery
      10. What installing a fish habitat structure looks like.
      11. What we’re up against. Send help

      Photos & Media

      1. Example of healthy Elkhorn Coral
      2. Example of healthy Staghorn Coral
      3. MIAMBIENTE visiting the nursery, and members of our team: Emilio, Krista, Doug, and Sofia.
      4. Fish habitat structures installed on the sea floor
      5. Founder Doug Marcy demonstrating the coral tree functionality
      6. A branch of the coral tree with several grown, healthy Staghorn coral clones.
      7. Krista Shoe measuring clone progress in the nursery.
      8. Staghorn coral clone growing in a coral tree.
      9. A small coral clone growing in our on-land nursery
      10. What installing a fish habitat structure looks like.
      11. What we’re up against. Send help

      What We’re Up Against

      People Engine

      Board of Directors

      Board Members

      Doug Marcy, Founder, Caribbean Coral Restoration: Organization founder, creator and org management, political support liaison.

      Brad Douglas: Contributes non-profit expertise, business strategy and marketing insights and spending guidance.

      Todd Plumber: Financial watchdog and strategic insights, operations & general management advice and non-profit records keeper.

      Mac Weathers: Fundraising support and cheerleader

      Starlight Mundy, Program Director, Caribbean Coral Restoration: program management, marketing expertise and community impact program manager.

      Jessica Perreault, Marine Biologist: Marine science advisor