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Work to expand reef may have damaged coral


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POSTED: Friday, December 04, 2009

The expansion of the Keawakapu artificial reef off Maui has been suspended because the work may have inadvertently damaged live coral.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources began submerging 1,400 concrete modules in 77 to 120 feet of water Wednesday to create additional marine life habitat.

The DLNR said yesterday that all of the modules were dropped within the designated artificial reef zone established in 1962.

However, biologists from the Division of Aquatic Resources determined 2 percent or 3 percent of the total may have landed on live coral within the largely sandy area designated for the artificial reef.

An internal investigation has been launched, and the department says it will arrange for an independent probe, as well.