By Reef Check California Director Dr. Jan Freiwald
In June, Reef Check California has continued to train and recertify our volunteer citizen scientists. We have trained a total of 188 divers this year so far and still have several trainings coming up. About 120 of these are returning Reef Checkers, and with this dedicated group we have made much head way in surveying sites up and down the California coast. We have already added new sites this year and have started working with a new partner on Catalina, the Emerald Bay Camp, on surveying additional sites on the north end of the island. We have also surveyed several sites along the Mendocino County coast where we were lucky with the ocean conditions early in the year. With our new team of volunteers in the northern part of the state we are hoping to add more sites in this under-monitored region later this year (see report on our first training in Fort Bragg). One of the highlights of our surveys this year was the sighting of giant sea bass on one of our transects in San Diego. This is a first for us – we see these large critically endangered fish sometimes during our surveys but we had never recorded one on our transects (see technical question of the month).
We are looking forward to continuing our surveys throughout the state this season and further expand our network of sites as we have done every year to include some previously unmonitored reefs in our network of RCCA sites. If you are an RCCA diver and would like to join us for surveys, go to the RCCA forum for survey dates and locations. If you have not yet been recertified this year there are always opportunities to practice and become a current Reef Checker on surveys. Check out the dates and sites and come along for fun and exciting Reef Check surveys this diving season!