By Reef Check California Director of Science Cyndi Dawson
July brought to a close the scheduled 2009 public trainings. We successfully completed 9 trainings throughout the state and certified 95 new divers as Reef Check CA trained surveyors. All RCCA divers must undergo a yearly recertification prior to the start of each survey season. We held recertification trainings throughout the state in the early spring and recertified 71 divers for 2009. Since the inception of the program in 2006, Reef Check California has trained 400 divers to gather scientifically robust data on rocky reefs to help improve marine management in California. We have several academic partners that will complete trainings in the fall which will bring the number of active divers in 2009 to near 200 divers. All the classes this year were full and many had waitlists. We look forward to providing more opportunities for interested divers to get trained in 2010 and will be posting training dates on our website by early fall.
With the army of divers we have trained, the number of surveys completed is really starting to add up. To date RCCA divers have surveyed 31 sites throughout the state stretching from Ft. Bragg to San Diego. We are hoping to see many of the recently trained divers out on surveys the next few months and are looking to hold a diver practice and mentoring event in each region during September to encourage the newly trained Reef Checkers to get out there and survey, so keep an eye out for details.
We will be making a big push to get the rest of our sites done over the next two months, which usually bring calm and clear water throughout the state. You can view these data in near real-time on our Nearshore Ecosystem Database (NED). Many of the 2009 site data are already up on the web!
Also, you can download the entire database containing all Reef Check CA data in raw format- please click here for instructions.
If you want the inside scoop on what is happening with RCCA you can follow me on Twitter. I will continue “tweeting” throughout the season to keep everyone updated on the RCCA program and my exploits as RCCA’s Director of Science. All relevant updates will also be posted on the Forum including daily blogs when I am on the road spreading the word about Reef Check.
We continue to be on the front lines of improving marine management in California and need your support! Your donations to RCCA go directly to supporting the collection of the critical data needed to sustainably manage California’s marine resources. If you aren’t a member, please join us!