December 17, 2008

Reef Check Hawai`i 2008 Summary


Reef Check Hawai`i has had a very positive year, establishing regular monitoring teams, team scientists, team leaders and divemasters on Oahu, Kauai, Maui, and the Kona coast of the Big Island of Hawai`i. This November, we were pleased to hold our first Reef Check training and survey on Lanai. As we look forward to 2009, we aspire to establish survey teams on Molokai and the Hilo coast of the Big Island in addition to continuing and increasing our current monitoring efforts.

After a year of development with our partners at the Department of Aquatic Resources, Local Action Strategy Climate Change and Marine Disease, and the Hawai`i Institute of Marine Biology, our “Eyes of the Reef” network prepares to launch. The island-wide network of reef users will report sightings of coral bleaching, disease, and Crown-of-Thorns Sea Star outbreaks. Upon final negotiations with our anticipated partners, Malama Kai and DAR Local Action Strategy: Aquatic Invasive Species, the network will also report incidents of marine invasive species. The network is the first tier of a rapid response protocol developed by the Department of Aquatic Resources, LAS Climate Change and Marine Disease.

Reef Check Hawai`i is grateful to have been recently awarded a grant from PADI AWARE to fund our “Eyes of the Reef” training and outreach materials. We are excited to be at the core of this impressive all-island effort to raise public awareness and engage stakeholders in the monitoring and reporting of the increasing threats to our coral reefs.

As we continue to strengthen our monitoring efforts, increase our volunteer base, and establish collaborative partnerships to further educate the people of Hawai`i about the importance and value of our coral reefs, Reef Check Hawai`i further solidifies its role as a prominent reef steward and marine educator to communities throughout the Hawaiian Islands. We anticipate a productive and proactive 2009 that brings about healthier Hawaiian coral reefs and a more knowledgeable community devoted to protecting local  coral reef resources.

Total Surveys completed: 29 (2 more scheduled for 2008)
Total Trainings completed: 15
Outreach Events Attended: 5 (IYOR launch @ State Capitol, Hawai`i Conservation Conference, Kona Classic 2008 Photo Competition, Kilauea Ocean Fest, Oahu Ocean Awareness Training)
Total # of volunteers trained: 170
Total # of volunteer in-kind hours from surveys & trainings: 1321 hrs
Total in-kind value of volunteer hours from surveys & trainings: $23,778