SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — The U.S. Virgin Islands will build its first artificial reef to protect its coasts and help the U.S. territory become more resilient ahead of future storms. The 18-by-12-foot reef will be installed near the coast around St. Thomas and is expected to be completed by July. The islands’ department of planning and natural resources said Thursday the project will be funded by more than $760,000 in federal money awarded to the University of the Virgin Islands after hurricanes Irma and Maria pounded the U.S. territory in 2017. The project comes as oceans grow warmer, leading to more powerful Atlantic hurricanes.
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