Rebuilding Reefs Today,
Feed Generations Forever

Dear Friends,

A few years ago, I realized that the reefs around Hawaii-where I grew up swimming, sailing and diving-were no longer as full of life as they had been just a few decades before. To ensure that my grandchildren will enjoy what I experienced as a child, I dreamed of restoring some of the local reefs. That dream became a reality, when I met Dr. Susanne Otero and we created a non-profit organization, called the Legacy Reef Foundation. We opened a world-class coral restoration lab at the NELHA marine facility in Kona, Hawaii. Our mission is the restoration and conservation of coral reefs in Hawaii and around the world and to ensure critical food security for future generations.

With the help of our community, we can rebuild coral reefs globally and feed coastal communities for generations to come.

Bill Coney

Our Mission

Our coral reefs are in crisis and need our help

Through partnerships with seaside communities, Legacy Reef Foundation exists
to create healthy reefs throughout the world; ensuring that coastal residents have a
sustainable food source for generations to come.

What We Do


Legacy Reef Foundation partners with local communities to plan, develop and support coral reef protection and restoration projects throughout the world.


From school children to adult groups, visitors to our facilities learn how we depend on the ocean. Corals are the foundation of the food chain, protect our shores, and provide beauty that inspires us.


Our organization develops the technology necessary to install and run user-friendly coral restoration labs.  Using a shipping container as a starting point, these off-grid, solar-powered, and portable labs are accessible to communities with few resources.

Our History

We launched in March of 2018, after a year of planning and an extensive site search. Opening at the Natural Energy Lab on the Island of Hawaii allows easy access to the reefs our team is researching, as well as unlimited surface seawater and deep nutrient-rich seawater. Our location and determination to expand will allow Legacy Reef to grow into one of the top coral research centers in the world.

Since the founding of Legacy Reef Foundation, we have built our coral research lab, our coral tank farm and have begun the process of creating our first containerized coral nurseries. We also have established a passionate management team, a qualified national fundraising team, an educational center and a community outreach effort.

Who We Are


Coastal communities around the world will be the stewards of their ocean resources, with functional reefs teeming with sea life,  with sustainable fishing and ocean management practices that support their economies.  They will be active participants in a global network where similar communities share ideas and information with one another. 

Our Team

Bill Coney

Bill Coney was born and raised in Kailua, Oahu. Bill grew up on the water and enjoyed sailing, surfing and scuba diving as a young adult. After college in California, Bill returned to Oahu and opened Sensormatic Hawaii. LLC, an industrial security firm that designed and built high level security systems for commercial, state and federal applications throughout the Pacific Rim. Bill’s firm engineered and installed protective systems for banks, airports, prisons and missile bases throughout the Pacific Rim.

Before he sold the business in the mid 90’s, Sensormatic grew into one of the largest industrial security firms in the Pacific. Bill has since started a number of businesses & high-tech firms over the years. Bill moved to the Big Island in 2002 and has since retired, he now works as a business consultant part time. Bill resides on Kohala Coast of the Big Island, has three grown children and three grandchildren.

Dr. Susanne Otero

Susanne learned to scuba dive in 2013 here in Hawai’i. It was love at first sight – with both the ocean and the island. As a retired physician, she was looking for ways to still have an impact on people’s health. With her training in public health, she recognised that the coral reefs support all life by being an essential building block of the food chain, a potential source of new medicinal compounds and an invaluable source of oxygen for us all. She met Bill Coney during a beach clean-up in Florida where they realised they shared the same dream of healthy coral reefs teeming with life! Susanne then moved to the Big Island of Hawaii and together they co-founded the Legacy Reef Foundation, Dr. Otero has consulted in projects in the non-profit sector, focusing on establishing, streamlining and improving processes to more efficiently serve the organization’s goals. She merges her experience working in and running surgical operating rooms with training in statistics, epidemiology and public health management.

Commander Jon Ostrowski (Ret.)

Commander Jon Ostrowski (Ret.) from the U.S. Coast Guard has joined our Board of Directors!   Jon brings a wealth of experience to LRF from his many many years of management and leadership experience in the Coast Guard and  from his years of working as a lobbyist for the Coast Guard.  Please join me in welcoming Jon aboard, he will be a valuable asset to LRF! 

Andrea is our lab manager here at the Legacy Reef Foundation. She recently graduated from UH Hilo with a BSc in marine science. Andrea has experience breeding marine ornamental fish and fragmenting corals. She manages all things lab related! This includes guiding our awesome team of volunteers, creating protocols, and planning out our new systems.

Andrea Ehlers

Lab Manager

Faye grew up in Florida, in and around the water; this sparked a passion for marine biology. She then pursued her passion at the University of Maryland, gaining a biology degree. Faye has been an avid diver since the age of 16 and loves the underwater world. When she moved to Seattle, she volunteered at the Seattle aquarium doing education outreach - Now we are lucky enough to have her volunteering at LRF.

Faye La Roche

Based in Hawaii

A retired Marine Biologist and taxonomist, Dot specialized in the identification of benthic invertebrates (mostly polychaete) for community analysis for the City of San Diego and the City and County of San Francisco. She is a very talented microscopic photographer and also a keen SCUBA diver. She was the dive safety officer at the City of San Diego. Dot volunteers out in our lab helping with tank scrubbing, fitler changing, general tank monitoring, and photo-documentation.

Dorothy Norris (Dot)

Based in Hawaii

Jason moved to the Big Island 6 years ago with his wife Rachel and daughter Ridley. Rachel and Jason met on the beaches of Costa Rica, where they ran a sea turtle conservation program, protecting nesting beaches and educating the local community. They managed a successful hatchery and released 47,000 hatchlings into the sea! Jason is a professional photographer, snorkeling many times a week with a camera in hand. Since moving to Hawai'i, he has been volunteering with Reef Teach at Kahalu'u Bay, educating users of the bay about the proper way to snorkel without harming the fragile ecosystem. Jason says he has been enjoying spending time at LRF alongside his daughter Ridley.


Based in Hawaii

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