FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 25, 2014
SUMMER MEANS SCIENCE FOR DEP'S CORAL REEF PROGRAM AND SOUTHEAST FLORIDA COMMUNITY
~Coral program staff and the local community dive in for coral reef conservation~
WEST PALM BEACH – This summer the Florida Department of Environmental Protection's Coral
Reef Conservation Program (CRCP) will gather valuable scientific information
about southeast Florida’s coral reefs through citizen science programs, as well
as staff research dives.
Community members can contribute to the effort by
becoming part of the coral bleaching early warning network and participating
in the Fourth Annual Southeast Florida Reef Cleanup. CRCP staff will also survey local fish populations and coral condition through the
Reef Visual Census and Florida Reef Resilience programs.
traditionally when coral program staff are out on the water collecting
important coral and fish data,” said Joanna Walczak, southeast regional administrator for DEP’s Florida Coastal Office. “We are excited our Marine
Debris and BleachWatch programs also allow the community to get involved in
coral reef conservation efforts.”
Local divers and
snorkelers can learn about coral bleaching, including how to detect and
report it, through BleachWatch. Coral bleaching is a reaction to stress, especially high
temperatures, that puts corals at risk. The next
class will be held at Diver’s Direct in Miami from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on
Thursday, June 26.
The Fourth Annual Southeast Florida Reef Cleanup kicks off in Palm Beach County on June 28
and will continue throughout the summer in Miami-Dade, Broward and Martin
counties. Local charter boats take divers
out for dedicated cleanup dives where participants remove trash from the reefs and
report it to CRCP.
Starting this week, CRCP staff will begin conducting reef fish surveys, and in August
will determine if any bleaching is visible on the reefs located just
offshore of Miami. Both projects are part of larger
multi-partner efforts to assess fish populations and coral condition across the
entire Florida Reef Tract from the Dry Tortugas to the St. Lucie Inlet.
efforts provide valuable scientific data on the condition of southeast
Florida’s reefs. This information is crucial for assessing the current
status of the resource and ultimately improving its management in the region.
For more information
about opportunities to participate and how to register, click HERE.