December 21, 2009

Successful Survey Season in California

By Reef Check California’s Regional Managers Colleen Wisniewski & Megan Wehrenberg

The 2009 California survey season has come to a close and looking back at what we have done, it is really quite impressive. This year we conducted a whopping 79 surveys at 64 sites! Now that’s a lot of transects! Fortunately, we had a substantial number of top-notch volunteers. We trained 201 Reef Checkers statewide this year including recertifications for those returning from years past. Reef Check is truly a community endeavor and the program has continued to grow as supporters like you have spread the good word about what we do. Our most important goal of each season is to survey all existing sites that we have surveyed since 2006; only then can we attempt to add new sites. This year, through the dedication of our rock star volunteers we were able to add 6 new sites in Southern California: Pier 400, LA Federal Breakwater, Goldfish Bowl, Cathedral Wall, Johnson’s Lee, and Landing Cove! Way to go SoCal!

We had great end of the year parties in early December at the Long Beach Aquarium and the Monterey Bay Aquarium, where we had the opportunities to thank many of our volunteers for all they do for the organization. A good time was had by all as we were guided behind the scenes by aquarium staff, had a relaxing lunch, and viewed slide shows of photos and accomplishments of 2009. We’ve had spectacular participation by so many volunteers this year and we wanted to honor a few that went above and beyond the call of duty in 2009 with awards, broken up by geographic region. In the Southern California program, the Golden Calipers Award went to Dirk Burcham who surveyed 154 transects in 2009 (he also won the Golden Slate Award last year)! Wow! The Silver Slate Award went to Yasumichi Kato who surveyed 85 transects!  Sheree Lahey won a special Data Captain Award for entering a huge amount of this season’s data into our Nearshore Ecosystem Database (we love our data entry volunteers!). In the North/Central California region the Golden Slate Award went to Jonah Mulski who surveyed 52 transects!  David Horwich won a special Survey Captain Award for taking great initiative and organizing 3 surveys on his own. Congratulations winning Reef Checkers!  Big thanks to the aquariums for hosting us!

As we approach the last days of 2009, all of us at Reef Check are looking back on a successful year filled with beautiful dives, rare sightings, and above all else, tons of quality data. We are busy preparing for another great year in 2010!  All of our trainings and recertifications are up on the web so sign up now to take part in the fun!

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RCCA’s Bridget & Colleen with Dirk Burcham RCCA’s Colleen with Yasumichi Kato
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David Horwich & Jonah Mulski RCCA’s Bridget with Sheree Lahey