By Reef Check California Director of Science Cyndi Dawson
October has been without a doubt the most productive month to date for the Reef Check California Program. It still is hard to believe how much surveying we have accomplished in Sonoma, Monterey, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and throughout the LA and San Diego regions. In October alone we completed over 15 surveys- a new monthly record! RCCA is about to wrap up the most successful survey season ever in the most challenging budget year to date. This has been possible thanks to the help from our citizen scientists and partners such as the California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG), Humboldt State University, and the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB).
A major event this month was our Third Annual North Coast Survey Extravaganza. This year our operations base was the “Dairy Barn” at Stillwater Cove Ranch near Sebastopol, CA. It has a large bunk house, a full kitchen, and hot showers. What more could divers want? Even with a very ominous forecast of high winds and rough seas, our sites in protected coves provided us with some spectacular dives. We were able to complete 3 sites with special thanks to our Sonoma Coast A-Team: Bill Field, Ron Hunt, and the Zerbe Family, for providing tanks and the local knowledge of the sites for us to “Get ‘er Done” (the unofficial slogan of RCCA).
Another big accomplishment, in addition to two trips out to the Channel Islands in partnership with CDFG, UCSB training and surveys, and several shore surveys in southern California, was our recertification and survey in San Luis Obispo. We have a small, but very active group of divers in this area that knocked out an entire site in two dives with 7 people! Special thanks to Chuck Rawlinson and Depth Perceptions for providing logistical support, local knowledge of conditions, air and tanks.
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.
As you all know, this has been a challenging year financially for most of us and RCCA is no exception. Please consider making an end-of-the-year donation to help us finish 2009 in a healthy financial condition. We continue to be on the front lines of improving marine management in California and we need your continued support! Your donations to RCCA go directly to supporting the collection of the critical data needed to sustainably manage California’s marine resources. Please join us and help ensure the sustainability or reefs worldwide!