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Sanctuary Friends 
            Foundation of the Florida Keys

In this Issue:

News & Notes
April 2009

Sanctuary Friends Foundation

  Hot Issues

First Lionfish Captured in Keys

On January 7, 2009, rapid responders from the Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF) and the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS) removed the first reported non-native lionfish from the waters of the Florida Keys. The fish was successfully captured from Benwood Ledge off Key Largo less than 24 hours after its sighting. The fish, determined to be a juvenile, was euthanized and dissected to collect data for research. Watch a video of the January 7 capture.
 
On March 30, rapid responders removed the second invasive lionfish in the Florida Keys within 24 hours of its reported sighting. The 150-mm female was found at Molasses Reef off Key Largo. A few other lionfish sightings have been reported, but none have resulted in captures.
 
Lionfish decal
Lionfish are native to the Indo-Pacific and Red Sea, but are now considered established in Atlantic waters, probably introduced by aquarists. Marine invaders such as these can significantly impact native environments and are nearly impossible to eradicate. Animated map of lionfish expansion from 1992 to 2009.

Divers who sight a lionfish in Keys waters are asked to take careful precautions, as the fish is venomous. Gather as much information about the location as possible: GPS coordinates, mooring ball numbers, depth and characteristics of surrounding reef or habitat structures. Anglers who hook or net a lionfish are encouraged to cut the line over a cooler and place the fish on ice. Do not attempt to remove the hook.

Report sightings to either the Marine Ecosystem Event Response and Assessment hotline (305-395-8730) or REEF (305-852-0030). FKNMS and REEF have launched an educational campaign with divers, anglers and boaters, including the distribution of boat decals featuring the reporting hotline numbers. (See sample decal above.)
 
“Our goals in the Keys are to minimize impact of these invasive fish through early detection and rapid response,” says Lad Akins, Director of Special Projects for REEF. “As this invasion progresses, there will be training programs covering collecting and handling methods, permitting issues, etc. For now, the plan is to report all sightings as quickly and accurately as possible.”
 
 
Karrie Carnes, Communications Coordinator for the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, contributed to this article.

Our Amazing Ocean

Three New MPAs Designated in Pacific

In his final month in office, President George W. Bush designated three vast new marine protected areas (MPA) in U.S. waters in the Pacific Ocean, encompassing a total area of roughly 505,000 square kilometers. President Bush banned drilling and mining at each of the sites and placed increased restrictions on recreational fishing. More information about the new sites.

Marine Protected Areas in the KeysThe official federal definition of an MPA is: “any area of the marine environment that has been reserved by federal, state, tribal, territorial, or local laws or regulations to provide lasting protection for part or all of the natural and cultural resources therein.” If you’ve ever gone diving or snorkeling in the Florida Keys, camping in Acadia or swimming in Cape Cod, you’re one of thousands who have visited a marine protected area.

Why do MPAs Matter? The designation is one type of ocean management that, when used effectively, helps ensure healthy oceans. MPAs can provide recreation and economic opportunities for millions of Americans, help sustain critical habitats and marine resources for future generations to enjoy, and act as an “insurance policy” by helping protect marine resources from human impacts.

The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary is a marine protected area and is part of the National Marine Sanctuary System. The Sanctuary was designated in 1990 and encompasses 2,900 square nautical miles surrounding the Florida Keys archipelago.

  Programs & Projects

Coral Restoration Foundation Workshops

Many of you know the successful staghorn coral nursery and transplantation program initiated by Ken Nedimyer in the Florida Keys. The Coral Restoration Foundation (CRF) is the continuation this program and the result of the reorganization of the Keys Marine Conservancy. The new non-profit conservation organization, partially funded by Sanctuary Friends, operates a one-of-a-kind, volunteer-based coral nursery and restoration program in the Keys. The goal is to develop effective, cost-efficient restoration strategies for threatened coral reefs.

Coral Restoration Foundation Workshops

Want to get involved? CRF will lead multiple trips (one to three days) to the Upper Keys offshore coral nursery to cut and mount new corals and to clean and maintain corals at the nursery. These trips are coordinated through local dive shops and are open to certified divers of any age with any level of dive experience.

Each trip involves classroom training and diving at the nursery. The lectures provide broad exposure to problems facing coral reefs, an overview of what is being done and a summary of the CRF's work.  

The diving part of the program includes dives at the nursery where participants will undertake tasks such as: measuring and recording health data, cutting, mounting, cleaning, repairing, photographing and preparing corals for restoration projects. 

Reef Restoration Dives, where volunteers play an active role in preparing and transplanting corals from the coral nursery into their new home in the living reef, and night dives during coral spawning are also available.   

Click here for more information and workshop dates.

Clyde Butcher Event Showcases Eco-Discovery Center 

 

Clyde Butcher, Dolly Garlo and Elam Stoltzfus

Sanctuary Friends’ first “Friends in Focus” fundraising event was a great success! More than 100 guests enjoyed “eco-friendly” tapas, environmental art, music and film, and a discussion by famed Florida photographer Clyde Butcher and producer/cinematographer Elam S. Stoltzfus.

In addition, attendance at the Eco-Discovery Center during the free daytime celebration was one of the highest ever.

 

Sanctuary Friends' Chair Dolly M. Garlo is pictured with Clyde and Elam at the Eco-Discovery Center.

View more photos of the event.

blue&greenoccasions
celebrating the event...
                       honoring the earth and sea

SERVING THE FLORIDA KEYS AND KEY WEST

We invite you to hold your special celebrations, business meetings and other occasions in a meaningful way at the Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center. Our staff will help you celebrate in a green way, and your donations will help to give back to the “Sanctuary.” Call today to reserve your date and share your celebration with the earth and sea!

Call 847-612-4712 or email russellpeggy@msn.com

facebook.jpg Join our Facebook group!

 We want your input! If you have stories of note or just want to comment on our newsletter, please email: newsletter@SanctuaryFriends.org.
 
We're developing a Central Environmental Calendar for the Keys. If you have an upcoming event with an environmental focus or that relates to our fabulous Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, please email: calendar@SanctuaryFriends.org.

Sanctuary Friends Foundation of the Florida Keys is a non-profit, 501(c)(3), tax-exempt organization (Tax ID# 59-2443959)

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 Clyde Butcher Event Draws Top Attendance at EDC
Clyde Butcher at EDC
Photo by KAREN QUIST, Florida Keys Keynoter

Celebrate Earth Day
Every Day

Everyone knows Earth Day was April 22. But did you know April is Earth Month? Maybe 2009 should be Earth Year.

How will you show your appreciation for the environment?

Join Sanctuary Friends

and become a Friend of the Reef!

 From the Board

Greetings:

As the federal government declares more Marine Protected Areas (MPA) in the Pacific, I’m reminded what a significant legacy Florida Keys MPAs have bestowed on our region. One of the beauties of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary is the creation of zones of protection such as no-take zones.

Years ago we thought we had protection. Spearfishing was illegal in some areas and other areas had mooring buoys so boats didn’t damage coral with their anchors. But until certain areas became totally protected -- meaning no hook-and-line or even lobstering -- we scuba divers never really understood how diverse and bountiful the ecosystem could be.

Now we dive within “Sanctuary Protection Areas,” designated by large yellow buoys, and we see spectacularly abundant clouds of fish and their attendant predators, symbols of a coral reef in balance. They feed and breed, oblivious to our benign presence: a success story in almost every way.

Well, every way except issues with water quality or coral depletion or lionfish invasion. Yellow buoys admittedly can’t protect against some issues. But MPAs are a step in the correct direction and a sign of enlightened management. If every journey begins with a single step, MPAs are a giant step along the pathway to coral reef preservation.

Please join us as a member of Sanctuary Friends to help preserve our coral reefs.

Stephen Frink, Board of Directors

Upcoming Events

ECO MOVIES!
The last of the Cousteau Adventure Series is this week at the Eco-Discovery Center in Key West. 6:30 p.m. Fr.ee.
April 29:
Two Hour Special: AMERICA'S UNDERWATER TREASURES Parts I and II. This two-part installment will bring viewers to the rarely-visited underwater parks that constitute the National Marine Sanctuary System -- a diverse and uniquely American group of ecosystems. The episode promises to inspire an ethic of ocean preservation that will translate far beyond any national borders.

June 8 is World Oceans Day
We did it! After three years and thousands of petitions, the United Nations has officially declared June 8 as World Oceans Day. Organizations, schools, aquariums and ocean advocates have unofficially celebrated the date since 1992, but now, thanks to a new resolution, the designation is official. Thanks and congratulations to all who helped get the UN to listen.

Capitol Hill Ocean Week
When: June 9 – 11, 2009
Where: Washington, DC
Theme: The BLUE Economy: Understanding the Ocean's Role in Our Nation's Financial Future.
Goal: To highlight the inextricable link between the ocean and the economy and to suggest tangible ways sound ocean policies might impact improvements in our economy.
Complete agenda is now posted!

GLEE Upcoming Events
Green Drinks:

May 7:
Upper Keys at
Tasters Grille (MM91) in Plantation Key, 6-8 pm
May 13: Key West at Finnegan's Wake, 6-8 pm
May 21: Middle Keys at
Burdine's Waterfront in Marathon, 6-8 pm

April 29: Keyswide Sustain-Ability Project: Water Conservation Summit, Marathon
May 1:
Upper Keys Sustainability lecture series, Key Largo Public Library, 6:30-7:30 pm

Carbon Footprint Competition

The Centre for Sustainability and Excellence (CSE) in Chicago is hosting a Carbon Neutral competition to reward the organization with the most creative concept for a Carbon Neutral Event or Product.

After supporting the development of the world’s first Carbon Neutral Olive Oil GAEA, featured in this year’s Academy Awards Oscar Ceremony and seeing the impact it has had on spreading the urgency of the Climate Change issue, CSE is hosting this competition to recreate the energy around Carbon Neutral Products.

The contest winner will receive complimentary CSE supporting services (valued at $20,000) and a complimentary e-mail marketing campaign to promote the event or product.

Who's up for the contest? Sanctuary Friends challenges your group or organization to come up with the best idea in the Keys. Concept proposals are now being accepted at www.cse-northamerica.org.

Sea Turtle Lighting Guidelines

For millions of years, female sea turtles have been coming ashore to lay eggs on beaches. In the past, hatchling turtles were guided to the ocean by an instinct to travel away from dark silhouettes of dune vegetation and toward the brightest horizon -- the light from the sky reflecting off the ocean. 

In present times, however, many coastal areas are highly populated. Artificial lights can disorient hatchlings and deter females from nesting. The hatchlings travel inland, toward the artificial lights, where they often die from dehydration, are preyed upon by fire ants and ghost crabs or crawl onto the road to be run over by cars. Learn more about sea turtle hatchling behavior.

Beachfront property owners can modify their lights to prevent their view from the beach. Click here for suggestions.

FWC approved sea turtle lighting.

Our Mission

Sanctuary Friends Foundation of the Florida Keys supports the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary in the preservation, restoration, and sustainable use of our coral reef and marine ecosystems. We focus on development of community support and advancement of public awareness, education, outreach and scientific research.




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Sanctuary Friends Foundation of the Florida Keys
11450 Overseas Highway
Suite 102
Marathon, Florida 33050

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