By Reef Check California Director Dr. Jan Freiwald
In August, Reef Check California (RCCA) continued to survey the rocky reefs along our coast. With all our new and seasoned volunteer divers, our survey season is in full swing. Our statewide staff is working with volunteers to survey existing sites and add new ones where we have opportunities.
Our North/Central Coast coordinator, Narineh Nazarian, is surveying with groups of scientific divers from Humboldt State University along the north coast as well as helping to train students from Moss Landing Marine Laboratories as scientific and Reef Check divers at the UC Big Creek reserve in Big Sur. In our northern region we have completed most of our existing sites and will start this month to work with PISCO to establish the subtidal rocky reef baseline data for the new MPAs along this section of the coastline.
Along the Central Coast, our Regional Manager Megan Wehrenberg, with the help of intern Caitlin Cooper and many volunteers, are surveying sites around Monterey and Carmel Bay. In the short time since Caitlin started at RCCA she has become a great member of the team and a leader in the field. We have completed about 50% of our sites in this region and Megan is scoping out new sites and working on extending our reach south past Big Sur and further into the San Luis Obispo area.
In Southern California, our Regional Manager Colleen Wisniewski went to Isla Natividad in Baja California to recertify local fishers in Reef Check survey methods, our fifth annual training of the community members on this island (see http://reefcheck.org/news/news_detail.php?id=644). In addition, Colleen and volunteer coordinator Laurel Fink are working on completing our SoCal surveys with over 50% of our sites done so far.
If you would like to join us for surveys in any of our study regions please visit the RCCA forum to check out the schedule and sign up to participate.