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Sanctuary Friends Foundation of the Florida Keys

In this Issue:

News & Notes
January 2010

Sanctuary Friends Foundation

Join us for a Fun and Fury-ous Fundraiser
to Protect Coral Reefs!

Sunday, Jan. 31
5-7 p.m. at Sunset Pier/Ocean Key House
Light Appetizers & Drinks $15
Silent Auction Dockside

Sponsored by Fury Water Adventures and Sanctuary Friends
Benefits FKNMS Mooring Buoy Program
Mooring Buoys are designed to protect the coral reef!

Join us this Sunday!

  Our Amazing Ocean

What's a Mooring Buoy?

If you've ever been snorkeling or diving in the Florida Keys, you probably remember the beautiful fish and the amazing corals. You might even think fondly of the turquoise waters, the sunshine or the sail to the coral reef. Mooring buoys? Didn't even cross your mind. So why all the fuss?

Mooring Buoy

In the FKNMS, a mooring buoy is an 18 to 22-inch-diameter, round, white plastic float with a blue stripe. A 12-to 15-foot yellow, floating pickup line is attached to the top of each float. Mooring buoys are designed for short-time use and employ an embedment -type anchor that holds the buoy securely in place without causing any damage to nearby living corals. Use of these environmentally-sensitive moorings as a means of reducing or eliminating anchor damage has become a widely-accepted tool for managing the coral reef environment.

More than 400 environmental-embedment mooring buoys have been installed at the most beautiful and popular reef sites from Key West to Key Largo to protect coral from damage caused by repeated anchoring. Buoys provide a safe and secure anchorage for boaters on a first come, first served basis. Unlike in many other areas around the world, FKNMS charges no fees for the use of buoys. Find out how to correctly use mooring buoys in the Florida Keys.

Sanctuary Friends Foundation is assisting in replacing and re-installing lost or damaged buoys. We are proud to announce that our contributions to date amount to $12,430. We are pleased to assist this project that inspires people to become better stewards of our marine environment.

Hot Issues

Seagrass Meadows are Everywhere!

The greater South Florida area has the largest documented seagrass bed in the world, covering approximately 5,900 square miles. Much of this grassbed lies within the FKNMS and nearby Florida Bay, where it serves as shelter and a nursery ground for a myriad of fish and invertebrate species. Along with mangrove forests, meadows of seagrass are vital to supporting the coral reefs of the Florida Keys.

Seagrass Meadow

Scientists from Florida International University have been studying seagrass meadows for the past 14 years to see if they are undergoing changes due to higher nutrient concentrations in nearshore waters. The scientists have learned that, over time, higher nutrient conditions cause a shift in which seagrass species is most common in the area. From this knowledge, they have developed a suite of numerical indicators to show whether nutrients are affecting seagrass plants.

To find out more about the condition of seagrass in sanctuary waters, take a few minutes to read the two-page Sanctuary Science Summaries written with input from scientists. Research conducted for this program has been funded primarily by the Environmental Protection Agency as part of the Water Quality Protection Program of the FKNMS. This program is designed to help sanctuary managers make informed decisions about resource issues.

Read the Science Summary: Seagrass Meadows and Nutrients

 Programs & Projects

Friends Groups Gather for Summit
by John Morrill, Florida Keys delegate

In the closing days of 2009, NOAA's Director of the National Marine Sanctuaries, Dan Basta, invited representatives from the "Friends" groups of all 14 Marine Protected Areas (MPA) to attend a very special summit meeting in Monterey, California. This unprecedented gathering also included new leaders (staff and board) of the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, which serves as the unofficial coordinator of the 14 separate Friends organizations scattered across our nation.

The highlight of this special meeting can be summed up in one word: commonality. Attendees identified common priorities, a common vision, a common message and even a common membership model. (See "Letter from the Board" in this newsletter). One important covenant was an "oath" to participate in monthly conference calls attended by all Friends Foundations, including the National Foundation.

National Marine Sanctuaries

The common vision is one of strength in numbers, including better goals for fundraising, public education, and marketing. Marketing? Yes, folks, someday we all wish our beloved sanctuaries benefitted from the same stewardship and responsible use now seen with our National Park System. Too many people still see our sanctuaries as "out there yonder" and have little appreciation for the treasures they contain both now and for future generations.  

With our country's poor economy too often marginalizing important sanctuary matters, the timing of this summit was ideal. While we all know our economy will rebound, ignoring the spectacular coral reefs in the National Marine Sanctuaries will certainly have the effect of losing them forever. Our sanctuary is not just a beautiful and magical place to recreate, it is the absolute only reason we even have the opportunity to live the good life in the Florida Keys.

Newest Blue Star Dive Operator
FKNMS welcomes Dive Key West Inc. as the second scuba dive operator to receive the Blue Star recognition for commitment to coral conservation. Blue Star is a new stewardship program that recognizes dive and snorkel operators in the Florida Keys that work to protect the coral reef ecosystem by promoting proper reef etiquette and educating their patrons about the impact human actions can have on the marine environment. Blue Star is funded partly by Sanctuary Friends and Mote Marine Laboratory's Protect Our Reefs grants program. Recognized Blue Star operators can be found at
Eco-Discovery Center Goes Solar
The Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center has installed 209 photovoltaic (PV) panels designed to generate approximately 30 percent of the power needed to operate the 13,600-square-foot building at the Truman Waterfront. The solar project is a partnership among NOAA, the Florida Municipal Power Agency (FMPA) and Keys Energy Services.

The “peel-and-stick” technology of the panels, which are not visible from the outside of the building, is the new wave in solar technology. The 18-foot long strips are attached to the roof and are rated to withstand winds of 150 miles an hour.

In addition to the solar panels, FKNMS is developing an interactive kiosk and educational display for the Eco-Discovery Center that will provide information about global climate change and renewable generating technologies.

The PV panels will prevent an estimated 66,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions annually. The panels represent approximately 77 barrels of foreign oil that will not be needed to generate power and 3,700 gallons of gasoline that need not be burned in a given year. More information.

What's Your Sanctuary?
The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation has posed this question in their annual appeal for donations. "A sanctuary is what you make of it," says Jason Patlis, President and CEO of the Foundation. "These are inherently local places of special value, deserving special recognition." Photos from all 13 Sanctuaries are included in the full-color brochure. The mission of the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation is to create conservation-based research, education and outreach programs for our nation's underwater treasures.
Our Mission
Sanctuary Friends Foundation of the Florida Keys supports the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS) 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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We want your input! If you have stories of note or just want to comment on our newsletter, please email:
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:

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Happy New Year!

We are celebrating our first year of "News & Notes." We hope you have enjoyed receiving our newsletter.

Become a Sanctuary Friend
help support our coral reef
and marine ecosystems.

 From the Board

Dear Friends:

As the new Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors, I look forward to opportunities to interact with Sanctuary stakeholders at a time when so much is happening to our beloved "water kingdom." As you can imagine, our poor economy has the effect of marginalizing sanctuary issues to the back burner to all but the most dedicated - of which you are one! More than ever, Sanctuary Friends must strengthen our membership or we risk losing many of the gains we've realized in better years.

My biggest priority in 2010 is to promote new memberships. And you can help! I am convinced a "one gets one" method to attract new members, while slow, is the only way we will build our ranks to a truly effective group of stakeholders. We're not alone - last month I had the privilege of attending a national gathering of many "Friends" groups that are also struggling with similar issues. Hands down, the most impressive examples I saw - leading to amazing results - were membership drives executed by our colleagues at other sanctuaries.

Need a perfect tool for getting your "one extra member?" Point them to our amazing new website and I bet you will be surprised at how easy this challenge will be. While you're there, renew your membership or join us now as a Sanctuary Friend.

Thank you in advance for your help.

John Morrill, Professional Grant Writer and Live-Aboard Boater

Upcoming Events

Zero Waste Community Workshop
TODAY! Jan. 26, 6 p.m., Old City Hall, 510 Greene St., Key West
Learn how the waste management industry can transform itself into a "maximum resource recovery" industry in a workshop presented by Eco Cycle
Executive Director Eric Lombardi. Sponsored by GLEE and Last Stand. More information.

Green Living Award Nominations Due
Jan. 29, 9 p.m.
Have you, your business or employer, your organization or your municipality done something to live lighter on the land in 2009? No matter how small or how big, GLEE wants you to nominate these efforts for a Green Living Award! More information, rules and forms.

Fury Fundraiser for Mooring Buoys
Jan. 31, 5-7 p.m., aboard the Fury Catamaran at Ocean Key House, 0 Duval St., Key West
Fury Water Adventures and Sanctuary Friends are sponsoring a fundraising event for the FKNMS Mooring Buoy Program. Light appetizers and drinks will be served aboard the Fury Catamaran. $15 donation. Come by anytime between 5 and 7 p.m. Tickets can be purchased on-site or call Diana at 305-289-2288 to reserve your space. Join us this Sunday!

Green Living Award Voting
Feb. 3-18
The four Popular Vote Awardees are decided by the majority of voters on GLEE's website. Each website visitor is allowed one vote per category.

Team OCEAN Shoreline Cleanup
Feb. 13 - Mark your calendar for the first cleanup of 2010! Give the ocean a Valentine by joining Team OCEAN. Since 2007, the organization's volunteers have collected more than 9 tons of marine debris. Contact:

Coming ...
"Eco-Discovery Tours:
Discover the Florida Keys through eco-friendly and historical excursions."
Thousands of islands ... thousands of stories

The Eco-Discovery Center and Sanctuary Friends team up to take visitors on journeys that will teach them about the history and natural wonders of the 1,700 islands that are called the Florida Keys.

Learn underwater photography from an instructor who knows the secrets of the reef, experience the rich history of writers that have called Key West their home, discover nature's beauty as you kayak under the moon through canopied mangrove islands or share a gourmet dinner with local chefs who are dedicated to using organic, local and Floridian delights.

For more information, call 305-289-2288 or e-mail to request a brochure.

EcoWeek 2010
Coming! Nov. 1-14, 2010
A Keys-wide event to educate and celebrate environmental preservation. Special activities in the Upper, Middle and Lower Keys. Inaugural event in 2010 to celebrate healthy living, a healthy planet and peaceable and sustainable communities.

Welcome New Members
December 2009 / January 2010
Thank you for your support!

 Sanctuary Buddy  $30
Christophe Getts
William and Catherine Beard
Connie Beard
Marcel Damiecki
John & Lourdes Dick
David and Lynne Brooks
Don and Joanne Prince
David Cangemi
Peter Frezza
Diana Ruelens
Charles Fishburn
Joanie Huff

Sanctuary Adventurer $50
Hans Hoegh-Guldberg
Joseph Boyer
Tom Genovese
Lisa Carstarphen
Robert and Dolly Keeley

Sanctuary Donor $100
J.E. Fisher
Jason Bennis
Katharine & Marshall Simonds
Walter and Joanne Drabinski
Mark Weglarz

Sanctuary Patron $200
Billy and Laura Causey

Business Member $100
Environmental Consultant, Inc.
Dynasty Marine Assoc., Inc.

Corporate Sponsor $1,000
Environmental Moorings International, Inc.

blue & green occasions

celebrating the event...
                 honoring the earth and sea


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.

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

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