December 23, 2014

Happy Holidays from Reef Check, Thank You for a Fantastic Year!

\"\"Dear Reef Check Supporter,

It took half a million years for corals to build coral reefs like the Great Barrier Reef, but we have managed to seriously damage many of them in just the past 30 years. Thank you so much for helping us to save some more reefs this year! With your support we have had a banner year with the following accomplishments:

Overall Successes:

  • Established a new Google Earth-based database with pop-up charts for all tropical and California survey data – now in beta release at
  • Redesigned the Reef Check website for launch in 2015.

Tropical Program Successes:

  • Started new programs in Turks and Caicos, Taiwan, Negros, Philippines and the Bahamas.\"\"
  • Completed a 3-year-long, first-ever survey of the entire coast of Haiti and discovered the “best reef” in the country in an area where previous workers reported no important reefs.
  • Helped the government of Haiti to set up seven new Marine Protected Areas and recommended the establishment of 18 more.
  • Awarded a cash prize of $25,000 in the prestigious, global St Andrews Prize for the Environment competition.
  • Designed a new kids/youth training program and tested it in the Caribbean.
  • Documented that blast fishing has been stopped in large areas of the Central Philippines.

California Program Successes:

  • \"\"Trained and recertified 240 volunteers, including the first community training in the north coast region where we are part of the Marine Protected Area (MPA) baseline monitoring program. With a new regional manager in Fort Bragg, this group will grow over the next year.
  • Reef Check volunteers monitored 73 reef sites throughout California including 8 new sites in the north. We completed the MPA baseline monitoring in southern California and reported our findings that will serve as a benchmark for future MPA evaluation and adaptive management.
  • Added three new staff to help train more volunteers and better use social media to educate about and advocate for reefs.
  • Launched a Speakers Bureau to better engage the public, especially schools.
  • Presented California results at two international Conferences:
    – International Marine Conservation Congress, Glasgow, Scotland: reported how citizen scientist divers monitor California’s MPAs and how their involvement in marine conservation research informs marine management and builds a science-based stewardship ethic.
    – 2nd World Small-Scale Fisheries Congress, Merida, Mexico: showed how involving fishing communities in Baja California, Mexico in the monitoring and management of their resources can achieve sustainable fisheries and livelihoods.

Goals for 2015:

  • Raise funding to provide small grants to pay for gas and boats as an incentive for tropical teams to carry out more surveys to fill in remaining large gaps in locations and time.
  • Assist the government of Haiti, United Nations Environment and Development Programmes to design and implement a network of Marine Managed Areas in Haiti.
  • Continue to add more volunteers and sites in California and internationally to fill in gaps.
  • Collaborate on “long-term” MPA monitoring in Central and Southern California.
  • Publish results from most recent monitoring work.

\"\"With your help, we can continue the world’s only truly global reef monitoring program. Please make your tax deductible contribution to help save reefs at:

Thank you. Have a wonderful holiday and fantastic 2015!

Yours truly,
Gregor Hodgson, PhD
Executive Director