Dear Reef Check Supporter,
Coral reefs and California rocky reef ecosystems are underwater, so don't get the same attention as polar bears or elephants. Sadly reefs are “out-of-sight out-of-mind” for most people. So we need to work extra hard to raise awareness about the issues facing reefs and the solutions we are implementing. Therefore, your continued support for Reef Check is so important.
With your support this year we have moved to a new Marina del Rey office with classroom space for touch tanks for kids education programs. We also launched the redesigned Reef Check website. We continue to carry out training programs, surveys, outreach and conservation activities in California and around the world. Special highlights of 2015 include:
Tropical Program Successes:
- Carried out training and survey expeditions in Indonesia, Maldives, Oman, Philippines and re-launched RC French Polynesia;
- Worked with both the United Nations Development Programme and the UN Environment Programme to raise funds from the Global Environmental Facility to design and implement the first six Marine Protected Areas in Haiti. This includes the “best coral reef in Haiti” that we discovered in 2014.
- Co-wrote a “Consensus Statement on Climate Change” for International Society for Reef Studies then helped to distribute this to key negotiators at the COP21 climate talks and achieve lowered emission targets;
- Prepared and started to implement an “Emergency Response Plan” for the on-going Global Coral Bleaching Event. Set up and chaired a new Coral Reef Coalition with the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration in Washington DC to address the biodiversity disaster caused by bleaching.
- Worked with RC Australia to produce their 15-year report on reefs of E Australia.
California Program Successes:
- Completed 17 public, university and aquarium training programs with 162 new EcoDivers trained (an increase of 50 over 2014) and two in Baja, Mexico.
- Completed 90 surveys (up from 75 last year) including 17 new sites.
- Funded Big Sur and Channel Islands surveys through Kickstarter.
- Surveyed Magdalena Bay in Baja California, a former Marine Protected Area.
- Published scientific analyses in respected journals Ecology and BioInvasion Records and co-wrote a report on the status of rocky reef ecosystems in Southern California.
- Working with TNC to design an abalone Fisheries Management Plan for Northern California.
- Designed classroom and on-board ocean education programs for Southern California in collaboration with AltaSea and Tall Ships.
Our Goals for 2016 are to:
- Provide incentive funds for tropical small island teams to track the global bleaching event so that managers are not “flying blind.”
- Add a tracking function to better track the success or failure of conservation activities on our “Global Reef Tracker” database.
- Assist the government of Haiti, United Nations Environment and UN Development Programmes to design and implement the new Marine Managed Areas in Haiti.
- Add more volunteers and sites in California and internationally to fill in gaps.
- Develop abalone rehab program in Southern California.
- Expand our grades 4 -12 student education program in California.
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: https://my.reefcheck.org/myaccount/make_donation.php
Thank you. Have a wonderful holiday and fantastic 2016!
Gregor Hodgson, PhD