Posted by: reefrescue | December 15, 2015

End of Year Request for Support

Please consider making an end of the year, tax deductible, donation to Reef Rescue at: https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/1434187

Your support of Reef Rescue allows us to continue the work of protecting the fragile South Florida coastal ecosystem.

  • We have been monitoring the dredging in the Port of Palm Beach, on the west side of Peanut Island to ensure compliance with the project permit. So far we have not seen any turbidity problems or impacts to the world renowned Blue Heron Bridge dive site.
  • Dredging near Pauls Reef and Horseshoe off shore of Lake Worth, FL is about to begin for the Phipps Ocean Park beach renourishment. We have concerns about this project due to the poor quality of sand and the anticipated high pumping rates. The Town of Palm Beach will not let us take off or land our drone from within the jurisdiction of the town, making access to the turbidity plume more difficult and expensive since we will have to conduct our monitoring from offshore. We will also be watching the beach renourishment project in Boca this season.
  • This past summer we outfitted several shore divers in Broward County with GPS trackers that interface with their cameras allowing photos to be stamped with lat/long. This was useful in providing documentation of the recent coral bleaching and disease outbreak in that area. The divers are also using this system to capture before and after photos of near-shore reef impacts and burial from the, about to begin, Ft. Lauderdale truck haul beach projects.

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We are funded entirely by private donations. Field work, fuel, supplies, equipment and water analysis are expensive, so please help if you can!

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Remember the best place to keep up with coral reef related issues is on our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/PalmBeachCountyReefRescue/

donatetoRR

Posted by: reefrescue | December 14, 2015

Call to Action

Palm Beach County Sharks Under Attack

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has decided to open commercial shark fishing to begin January 1, 2016. This will target all species of shark including Lemon, Tiger and Hammerhead sharks.

Lemon Shark

Lemon Shark

A breeding population of Lemon Sharks aggregates each winter in the waters offshore of Jupiter, FL.  Dr. Samuel Gruber, one of the world’s most renowned experts on Lemon sharks, confirmed that this particular aggregation behavior was one of a kind, not known anywhere else in the world. This finding set in motion a highly extensive study under the auspices of Doc Gruber’s Bimini Shark Lab. Information gained from the Jupiter Lemon Shark Project was able to fill in new chapters about this shark’s natural history that were previously unknown

In 2010, findings from Dr. Gruber’s research played an instrumental part in the State of Florida passing into law and granting complete protective status for lemon sharks in state waters. But NOAA has just opened commercial shark fishing in federal waters.

Delaying the commercial fishing season until July will make a huge difference to these animals. Without your help, our Lemon sharks, Tiger sharks, Hammerhead sharks, etc. may be wiped out in just a matter of days. We desperately need your help to prevent it from happening.

Here is a like to a petition: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/406/018/017/noaa-stop-commercial-shark-fishing-set-for-january-1-2016/?taf_id=18557543&cid=fb_na#sign

But we really need you to send a letter to Senator Bill Nelson, such as the one below penned by Richard Apple of Applecorps Photography.

Honorable William Nelson
413 Clematis Street
Suite 210
West Palm Beach, FL 33401

Dear Senator Nelson,

I am writing to express my grave concerns regarding our coastal shark populations off the coast of Palm Beach County, FL. NOAA Fisheries has established Final Rules for 2016 permitting commercial shark fishing with each permitted fishing boat/permit to kill between 36 and 45 sharks PER DAY. This is to begin January 1, 2016 and continue automatically without interruption throughout the entire year unless NOAA decides to make a change. Such change would occur no earlier than their next scheduled meeting in March 2016 and, given the time to receive, study and consider changes, any enacted new rules would likely not occur any time soon thereafter.
NOAA Fisheries’ Final Rules were posted and announced November 30, 2015 and they claim that they gave proper notice of their proposed rules earlier in the year. Notification was clearly not widely observed and NOAA Fisheries did not find it within their good consciences to post their proposed rules in more commonly read publications such as local newspapers. They did not think it odd that there was barely a reply from what they know is a huge shark diving community throughout Florida.
Our Southeastern Florida and Palm Beach County economies are benefiting greatly by the draw to our areas of a seriously depleted shark population . . . a depleted shark population that is still greater than most other areas where divers can barely find any sharks to observe. Consequently, there was an immediate and vociferous reaction by our Palm Beach County shark diving operators and divers since the quotas mentioned above could, from our weekly first hand observations while diving with the sharks, serve to wipe out our local shark populations. This is particularly true in the Jupiter, FL area where Lemon and other Sharks aggregate during the start of the winter season in a rather small area.
I immediately started a Petition online which serves to ask NOAA Fisheries to postpone the start of the 2016 until the summer as they did for the last two years when the shark aggregations have ceased and the shark populations are more spread out over a much larger coastal area. In a matter of less than two weeks, my Petition has drawn over 15,000 signatures with some from states all across the United States as well as over 31 other countries. People are outraged that NOAA Fisheries, in the face of global shark populations having been reduced by up to 90%, somehow has decided that the Atlantic Coastal shark populations can withstand a normal commercial shark fishing activity. This will be a devastation to many areas within the Atlantic Coastal Area not the least of which is Northern Palm Beach County. While the State of Florida has formally banned the killing of Hammerhead Sharks, NOAA Fisheries makes no such ban or prohibition in Federal Waters.
In reaction to thousands of emails and phone calls by outraged shark conservationists and concerned citizens, NOAA Fisheries conducted a telephone conference yesterday at 2 PM. It was an insult to thousands who wished to participate since it lasted only 45 minutes, was dominated largely by their own prepared speeches, and only 7 or 8 persons were permitted to ask a question. The audio recording is now available for all to listen.
As to our first hand observations of our dwindling shark populations off Jupiter, FL and the fact that they are dominated by Lemon Shark populations, NOAA Fisheries advised that they had no interest in observing those populations with us as shark divers, believe that Lemon Sharks are not even targeted, and consider any small part of the Atlantic Coastal Area as unworthy of individual data collection no matter how sensitive. They indicated only that they would take that issue under advisement going forward. In the meantime, the quotas of permitted shark fishing would remain as averages across the entire Atlantic Coastal Area regardless of what we believe will be a devastating decimation of our local shark populations. The impact will also be felt in our eco-tourism revenues since divers come from all over Florida, the United States, and even foreign countries to dive with the shark populations which we are very lucky to have to offer.

 

A link to our Petition, a downloadable copy of the audio file from the telephone conference, and many, many other pieces of information can be found and shared on my Facebook Page, Applecorps Photography which is viewable by any and all Facebook users.

As a U.S. Senator representing the people of Florida including Palm Beach County, we are counting on you to correct this injustice to the people of Palm Beach County. We are counting on you to bring NOAA Fisheries in compliance with the U.S. support and agreement to the CITES document which recognized the plight of world-wide shark populations and to embrace the Shark Sanctuary established The Bahamas by doing the same in all U.S. waters.

Please feel free to have your staff contact me at their convenience and thank you for your prompt attention to this impending and tragic killing of sharks as will begin soon on January 1, 2016.

Sincerely,

Richard S. Apple

Posted by: reefrescue | November 10, 2015

Reef Rescue Fundraiser

The 10th annual Kayak-a-thon fundraiser is set for December 12, 2015. Paddle-Boarders Welcome.

This event contributes a significant portion to our yearly financial resources that are used to support our environmental monitoring and coral reef advocacy programs. Please join us if you can.

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The annual Kayak-a-thon is one of our the most exciting fundraising activities of the year. Not only does it raise funds to support our coastal conservation projects, it also brings together our family of supporters for a fun filled day of outdoor activity.

Like a walk-a-thon, kayakers and paddle-boarders raise money by collecting donations or pledges for completing the predetermined course. It is similar in format to other physical activity based fundraising events such as marathons and cycling races, but this low intensity, family oriented, non-competitive event is ideal for mobilizing broad-based community support.

SIGN-UP NOW!  – http://www.kayakathon.com/sign-up/

There is a limited supply of loaner kayaks available.

We need your HELP. If you can’t attend the Kayak-a-thon, please consider making a donation directly to Reef Rescue: https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/1434187. We have a lot on our plate this year. Your donation will enable us to continue monitoring water quality and permit compliance during the Port of Palm Beach channel dredging in the vicinity of the Blue Heron Bridge and the upcoming beach renourishment projects in Palm Beach, Boca Raton and Broward County.

Field work, fuel, supplies, equipment and water analysis are expensive – please help if you can!

If you have any questions about the event or becoming a sponsor contact Brian Lee (561) 843-4109

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Keep up-to-date at the Reef Rescue Coral Reef Blog: https://reefrescue.wordpress.com/

Follow us on Facebookwww.facebook.com/PalmBeachCountyReefRescue/

Posted by: reefrescue | September 4, 2015

Port Everglades Expansion – A Coral Reef Apocalypse

A dozen South Florida businesses and conservation groups challenge the Army Corps of Engineers’ expansion plan for Port Everglades.

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In a 15 page letter the group details the Corps multiple failures to protect coral reef resources during the recent Port of Miami Deep Dredge Project.

Their letter cites reports from NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service, USEPA and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection documenting coral mortality and damage to the reef habitat that far exceeded what had been permitted for during the Miami dredge project. The Miami project smothered 100’s of acres of coral reef as far as 3,000 feet beyond what had been anticipated.

Since the Port Everglades dredging project is based on the same, and now disproven assumptions the group is asking the Corps to reinitiate consultation on the effects of the Port Everglades expansion given the lessons learned from the Miami dredging project.

RRTurb

The reefs off the coasts of Fort Lauderdale, Dania Beach, and Hollywood, Florida contain invaluable, highly sensitive endangered species and habitats. These reefs generate billions(1) of fisheries, water sports and tourism dollars and are the first line of defense against hurricane waves and surge.

Link to Group Letter:

https://www.scribd.com/doc/278354710/Reinitiation-Request-Port-Everglades-Expansion

FDEP Inspection Report: http://www.scribd.com/doc/237229864/Field-Notes-on-Impact-Assessment1-8-18-14-FINAL

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FDEP Warning Letter: http://www.scribd.com/doc/237229929/Miami-Harbor-Warning-Letter-II-0305721-001-BI

FDEPReport

  1. http://www.dep.state.fl.us/coastal/programs/coral/pub/Reef_Valuation_DadeBrowardPBMonroe2001.pdf

donatetoRR

Posted by: reefrescue | July 15, 2015

Divers keep an eye out for coral disease outbreak

Updated: September 25, 2015
Coral reef experts say we may be witnessing the worst coral bleaching / disease outbreak ever documented on S.E. Florida reefs.
 

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection Coral Reef Conservation Program has renewed their request for recreational divers to report their observations and photos to: http://www.dep.state.fl.us/coastal/programs/coral/seafan.htm

Most of the bleached and diseased corals are located on the Broward and Miami-Dade reefs. Oberservations and photos of healthy corals should also be reported to help develop an understanding of the distribution and extent of the event.

Also related:

The third recorded global coral bleaching event may be underway

Sediment and Turbidity Associated with Offshore Dredging Increase Coral Disease Prevalence on Nearby Reefs

Corals off South Florida hit with severe bleaching

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July 15, 2015:

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection | Coral Reef Conservation Program is reporting: Coral disease has been reported as widespread in Miami-Dade County and to a lesser extent in Broward.

Divers report your observations with photos, date and location to: http://www.dep.state.fl.us/coastal/programs/coral/seafan.htm

We have not seen disease reports from Palm Beach County

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Photos by Kim Porter, July 12, 2015, Broward County.

Posted by: reefrescue | July 13, 2015

Join us this weekend for reef cleanup dives.

Join us this weekend in Palm Beach County for reef cleanup dives.

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Palm Beach County – Saturday – Sunday, July 18-19, 2015

Jupiter Dive Center – www.jupiterdivecenter.com

  • Date: Sunday, July 19, 2015
  • Time:  Check-in at 12:45pm; boat departs at 1:30pm
  • Location: Jupiter Dive Center, 1001 N Hwy A1A Alternate, Jupiter, FL
  • Register: Call – (561) 745-7807
  • Cost: $70
  • Pura Vida Divers –  www.puravidadivers.com
    • Date: Saturday, July 18, 2015
    • Time: Dockside check-in at 8am; boat departs at 8:30am
    • Location: Lake Park Marina, 105 Lake Shore Drive, Riviera Beach, FL
    • Register: Call – (561) 840-8750; or email – info.pvd@puravidadivers.com
    • Cost: $70
  • Narcosis Dive Charters –  www.narcosisdivecharters.com
    • Date: Saturday, July 18, 2015
    • Time: Check-in at 7:30am; boat departs at 8:00am
    • Location: Riviera Beach Marina, 200 East 13th Street, Riviera Beach, FL
    • Register: Call – (561) 630-0606; or email – divenarcosis@hotmail.com
    • Cost: $50 ($15 discount for cleanup divers)
  • Dolphin Sun Dive Charters – www.dolphinsun.com
    • Date: Saturday, July 18, 2015
    • Time: Check-in at 8am; boat departs at 8:30am
    • Location: Boynton Harbor Marina, 735 Casa Loma Blvd, Boynton Beach, FL
    • Register: Call – (561) 886-8925; or email – bill@dolphinsun.com
    • Cost: $55 ($10 discount for cleanup divers)
  • Paradise Below Diving – www.paradisebelowdiving.com
    • Date: Sunday, July 19, 2015
    • Time: Check-in at 12:30pm; boat departs at 1:00pm
    • Location: Riviera Beach Marina, 200 East 13th Street, Slip P-11, Riviera Beach, FL
    • Register: Call – (561) 267-6598 or 1 (855) YOU-DIVE; or email – info@paradisebelowdiving.com
    • Cost: $65 (Equipment and tanks extra).
Posted by: reefrescue | June 14, 2015

You can help save the reef

by selecting Palm Beach County Reef Rescue as your charitable organization to support when shopping on AmazonSmile. It’s that easy!

What is AmazonSmile?

AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support your favorite charitable organization every time you shop, at no cost to you. When you shop at smile.amazon.com, you’ll find the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as Amazon.com, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to your favorite charitable organization.

How do I select a charitable organization to support when shopping on AmazonSmile?

On your first visit to AmazonSmile (smile.amazon.com), you need to select a charitable organization to receive donations from eligible purchases before you begin shopping. We will remember your selection, and then every eligible purchase you make at smile.amazon.com will result in a donation.

 Can I change my charity?

Yes, you can change your charity any time. Your AmazonSmile purchases after the change count towards your newly selected charity. To change your charity, sign in to smile.amazon.com on your desktop or mobile phone browser and simply select “Change your Charity” in “Your Account.”

cliclk to get started

cliclk to get started

 

 

 

Please see complete AmazonSmile program details.

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Posted by: reefrescue | June 11, 2015

Sign-up Now for this Summer’s Reef Cleanup Dives

The Southeast Florida Coral Reef Initiative is hosting the 5th Annual Southeast Florida Reef Cleanup in partnership with local dive charter boats. Be part of the solution – help keep our reefs healthy.

2015 Broward

2015palmBeach

Broward County Reef Cleanup – Saturday, June 27, 2015

  • American Dream Dive Charters – www.scubafortlauderdale.com
    • Time: Check-in at 8:00am; boat departs at 8:30am
    • Location: Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina, 88 Portside Drive, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
    • Register: Call Greg at (954) 394-1488
    • Cost: $50 cash or check only (10% discount for cleanup divers). Equipment and tanks extra (call for details).
  • Sea Experience – www.divefortlauderdale.com
    • Time: Check-in at 8:30am; boat departs at 9:00am
    • Location: Bahia Mar Resort and Marina, 1801 Seabreze Blvd., Ft. Lauderdale, FL
    • Register: Call – (954) 770-DIVE (3483)
    • Cost: $45 ($10 discount for cleanup divers). Equipment and tanks extra (call for details).
  • South Florida Diving Headquarters & Force-E – 
  •  www.southfloridadiving.comwww.Force-E.com
    • Time: Check-in at 7:15am; boat departs at 8:00am
    • Location: Fish City Marina, 2621 N. Riverside Drive, Pompano Beach, FL
    • Register: Call – (954) 783-2299 or (954( 943-3483; emailinfo@southfloridadiving.com;
    • Cost: $55. Includes a 2-tank dive trip (tanks are separate).

 Palm Beach County – Saturday – Sunday, July 18-19, 2015

Jupiter Dive Center – www.jupiterdivecenter.com

  • Date: Sunday, July 19, 2015
  • Time:  Check-in at 12:45pm; boat departs at 1:30pm
  • Location: Jupiter Dive Center, 1001 N Hwy A1A Alternate, Jupiter, FL
  • Register: Call – (561) 745-7807
  • Cost: $70
  • Pura Vida Divers –  www.puravidadivers.com
    • Date: Saturday, July 18, 2015
    • Time: Dockside check-in at 8am; boat departs at 8:30am
    • Location: Lake Park Marina, 105 Lake Shore Drive, Riviera Beach, FL
    • Register: Call – (561) 840-8750; or email – info.pvd@puravidadivers.com
    • Cost: $70
  • Narcosis Dive Charters –  www.narcosisdivecharters.com
    • Date: Saturday, July 18, 2015
    • Time: Check-in at 7:30am; boat departs at 8:00am
    • Location: Riviera Beach Marina, 200 East 13th Street, Riviera Beach, FL
    • Register: Call – (561) 630-0606; or email – divenarcosis@hotmail.com
    • Cost: $50 ($15 discount for cleanup divers)
  • Dolphin Sun Dive Charters – www.dolphinsun.com
    • Date: Saturday, July 18, 2015
    • Time: Check-in at 8am; boat departs at 8:30am
    • Location: Boynton Harbor Marina, 735 Casa Loma Blvd, Boynton Beach, FL
    • Register: Call – (561) 886-8925; or email – bill@dolphinsun.com
    • Cost: $55 ($10 discount for cleanup divers)
  • Paradise Below Diving – www.paradisebelowdiving.com
    • Date: Sunday, July 19, 2015
    • Time: Check-in at 12:30pm; boat departs at 1:00pm
    • Location: Riviera Beach Marina, 200 East 13th Street, Slip P-11, Riviera Beach, FL
    • Register: Call – (561) 267-6598 or 1 (855) YOU-DIVE; or email – info@paradisebelowdiving.com
    • Cost: $65 (Equipment and tanks extra).

Martin County – 8th Annual Treasure Coast Waterway Cleanup  –  Saturday, July 25th 2015

  • Hosted by the Marine Industries Association of the Treasure Coast
  • For more information or to register, visit www.TCWaterwayCleanup.com

Miami Dade County – TBD

Posted by: reefrescue | June 9, 2015

Reef Rescue Showcases Innovative Drone Technology

Reef Rescue had an opportunity during May to demonstrate our innovative drone environmental monitoring technologies. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection hosted a turbidity monitoring field exercise in Jupiter, FL, for coastal construction contractors, consultants, Army Corps, representatives from the regulatory community and invited Reef Rescue to showcase our drone water sample collection and aerial monitoring techniques.

Reef Rescue has developed unique methodologies designed specifically for monitoring beach renourishment and dredging projects that incorporate traditional environmental monitoring tools with the rapidly developing advances in the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) industry.

Reef Rescue UAV tools improve upon currently used, often outdated and inaccurate methods and provides a higher degree of project compliance with considerable cost savings. The real-time aerial prospective allows for rapid site assessment, recording project conditions and providing the ability for proper compliance sample collection and documentation. These same UAV tools also have application at inaccessible and dangerous monitoring environments such as tracking, delineating and sampling oil train derailments and coal ash spills. UAV water sample collection reduces the need for boats, trailers and ramp access.

RR UAV water sample collection

RR UAV water sample collection

RR UAV GPS tacker

RR UAV GPS tacker

TMWG Jupiter, FL, May 2015

Turbidity field exercise Jupiter, FL, May 2015

Beach project turbidity plume

Beach project turbidity plume

Oil train spill

Oil train spill

Thank you to all of the Reef Rescue supporters whose donations allow us to continue our monitoring and protection of our fragile coastal ecosystem.

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Palm Beach County Reef Rescue is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit conservation organization dedicated to protecting the coral reef ecosystem of South Florida through research, education and public awareness.

donatetoRR

Posted by: reefrescue | May 21, 2015

Barrel Sponge Disease Alert

Divers asked to report observations of diseased sponges to FDEP and NOVA.

We may be seeing the beginning of an outbreak of Barrel Sponge Orange Band (SOB) disease again. The last outbreak began in April 2012 and affected about 20% of the Barrel Sponges from Key West to Martin County.(see: Disease attacking barrel sponges on Palm Beach reefs).

SOB_DSC02306

FDEP received a report of a diseased Barrel Sponge (Xesto), observed on 5/14/2015 at Anglin Pier Reef off of Pompano Beach. Please keep an eye out for affected Xestos and report if you see anything. You can submit reports at www.SEAFAN.net, or send Karen Bohnsack (Karen.Bohnsack@dep.state.fl.us) an email directly – just be sure to include the following information:

–          Date

–          Location (lat/long if possible)

–          Water temperature

–          Estimate of the % of sponges affected at that site

Additionally, Joe Lopez (joslo@nova.edu) at Nova Southeastern University Oceanographic Center is interested in analyzing some samples of diseased sponges, so if you observe the SOB and are so inclined, specimens can be collected with a regular fishing license. At least 3 pieces (10-15 gm pieces – about 2 fingers worth) would be appreciated. In particular he’s interested in samples from the white diseased area, boundary area, the healthy dark area, as well as a small piece from a nearby unaffected sponge – please also remember to include the above information with any samples. If you have any questions contact Karen or Joe.

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