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Sanctuary Friends Foundation of the Florida Keys
May 2012
Sanctuary Friends Foundation of the Florida Keys
News & Notes


Donate Now!
Our dedicated Board of Directors, members and allies are committed to guaranteeing the future of our economically-precious treasures that are in critical danger here in the Keys. Please join us as a member, renew your membership or consider volunteering with us in 2012.

Seagrass Restoration: How It's Done

When a habitat such as seagrass is damaged by vessels or other human-induced events, the goal of FKNMS is to restore the damaged area to its prior condition. The funds collected as damages from those responsible for causing the injuries are used to implement restoration projects and monitor recovery of the site.
Restoration is a crucial component in reversing the effects of human environmental harm. Restoration techniques vary based on the type of habitat affected, the extent of damage and other factors specific to each grounding.
Seagrass Restoration & Monitoring
To prevent a seagrass injury from growing larger and to prepare the site for seagrass recolonization, the scar or hole is filled with crushed limestone rock, often called “pea rock.” Over time, fine sediments fill the empty spaces between the pea rock, creating the desired bottom habitat for seagrasses to grow. Another fill technique is to use sediment-filled biodegradable tubes, which can hold any sediment grain size. After filling in the injury holes or scars, scientists may install bird roosting stakes throughout the site so birds will naturally fertilize the sediment below.
Next, scientists can determine whether surrounding seagrasses are likely to grow into the injury or whether recolonization needs to be jump-started with seagrass transplants. When appropriate, restoration biologists collect seagrass from nearby “donor sites” and transplant them in the injury. When done carefully, seagrass transplants will grow together, expanding to fill in injured areas.
Sanctuary biologists will continue to monitor the site years after restoration to determine the effectiveness of the project. Monitoring also provides sanctuary managers with a picture of how restorations are recovering in comparison to surrounding habitats and how restoration efforts might be affected by other influences such as storms.

Marine Mammal & Sea Turtle Viewing "Code of Conduct"

Spotting a dolphin, manatee or sea turtle can be an exhilarating and intoxicating experience. You may be tempted to do whatever it takes to see the animal again or close-up. However, there are important factors to consider when viewing marine animals in their natural habitat so that you don’t inadvertently harm them or violate Federal law.
Feeding wildlife is harmful & illegal. Photo: NOAAIrresponsible human behavior can disturb animals, destroy important habitats and even result in injury to animals and people. Close approaches by humans to marine mammals may cause them to lose their natural wariness and become aggressive towards people. They are also vulnerable to injury or death from entanglement in fishing gear or boat strikes.
To promote responsible and sustainable marine animal viewing, NOAA Fisheries has developed numerous educational programs, viewing guidelines and regulations, and enforcement actions, including the Ocean Etiquette program to more effectively promote ocean stewardship.
To reduce the potential for wildlife viewing that inadvertently harms marine mammals or violates Federal laws, use the following Federal guidelines:
  • Remain a respectful distance of at least 50 yards from marine mammals and sea turtles. Bring binoculars if you want to see them closer.
  • Limit your viewing time to a half hour.
  • Marine mammals and sea turtles should not be encircled or trapped between watercraft, or watercraft and shore.
  • If approached by a marine mammal or sea turtle, put your watercraft’s engine in neutral and allow the animal to pass. Any vessel approach should be from the rear of the animal. Pursuit of marine mammals and sea turtles is prohibited by Federal law.
  • Never feed or attempt to feed marine mammals or sea turtles. Federal law prohibits feeding or attempting to feed marine mammals.
These guidelines are intended to inform the public about protection of marine mammals and sea turtles and are not a replacement for Federal legal requirements. Together we can assure marine mammal viewing will be as rewarding as it is today for many generations to come. Download the guide to viewing wildlife in the Florida Keys.
ADMIRE FROM A DISTANCE … for your safety and their protection.
Never touch, swim with, feed or harm in the wild.

Supporting Sigsbee Marine-Education Programs

Sanctuary Friends presented a check for $1,000 to Sigsbee Charter School to support their Marine and Environmental Science study programs. The money will be distributed to each grade level to be used for marine-related field trips and cutting-edge educational materials.
Sanctuary Friends presents $1,000 check to Sigsbee Charter School
The check was presented during Sigsbee’s “An Island Affair” Fundraiser at the Eco-Discovery Center in April. The event raised more than $12,000 for Sigsbee Charter School. “This was a great way for Sanctuary Friends to help reach our students who are in need with all the cutbacks,” said George Neugent, Sanctuary Friends Board Chair. “Like they said at the event, the first grade students this year may be our marine biologists in the year 2030, so it is important to help in any way we can.”
Part of the mission of Sanctuary Friends is to develop community support and advance public awareness through education and outreach.
Pictured: Key West Golf Course owner Bill Smith; Key West City Manager Jim Scholl; George Neugent; Sigsbee Principal Elisa Jannes; and Sigsbee Marine Biology Teacher Erica Baugh.


Don't Throw It Away, Give It Away!

Now you can donate your used items to people who really need them. Whether you have old sheets and towels or a discarded computer monitor, a musical instrument your child no longer plays or a bulletin board stored in a box somewhere, there’s probably a non-profit group in the Keys that can put it to good use. Your possessions will now be ReUsed.
Go to and look at the items listed – everything from appliances to school supplies and many things in between. Perhaps you’ll see something you have that has been sitting in storage. If you click on the item, you’ll find out which non-profit group needs that very thing. Then send the non-profit group an email or call to see how you can best deliver it.
In this way everyone wins. You dispose of something that has been cluttering up your house. The non-profit gets something it really needs. And we all keep these things from sitting in the dump for hundreds of years.

Sanctuary Seeks Public Comment on Boundaries, Zones and Regulation

FKNMS and its advisory council are seeking public comment on issues related to sanctuary boundaries, marine zones, Key West and Great White Heron National Wildlife Refuge's Backcountry Management Plan, and associated regulations. The comments received will guide a review of the marine zones and regulations, and shape Florida Keys marine conservation for decades to come. Public comments are being accepted through June 29. Comments may be submitted electronically and via mail, and during five meetings in south Florida and the Florida Keys scheduled for June 19-27. More information about where and how to comment.
During this initial public comment period, the sanctuary will “scope out” or solicit the public’s views on the direction the sanctuary should take to best protect and conserve the living marine resources and submerged cultural resources of the Florida Keys. This information will help define the range of issues to be addressed during the marine zoning and regulatory review. Scoping, as defined and required by the National Environmental Protection Act, is "an early and open process for determining the scope of issues to be addressed and for identifying the significant issues related to a proposed action."

Our Mission
Sanctuary Friends Foundation of the Florida Keys supports the Florida Keys and the
Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS) in the preservation, restoration, and sustainable use of our coral reef ecosystem, from the uplands to the deep sea. We focus on development of community support and advancement of public awareness, education, outreach and scientific research.

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In This Issue:
From the Board
Seagrass Restoration Methods
Marine Life Viewing Guide
Sigsbee Donation
Upcoming Events

From the Board

Dear Friends:
When the FKNMS was created by an act of Congress 20 years ago and signed into law by then President Bush, it included the mandate to create the first Sanctuary Advisory Council (SAC). Now all National Marine Sanctuaries have SAC’s based on the Florida Keys model. The overwhelming success of these councils is nationally recognized as an example of how “Place Based Management Advisory Councils” work successfully in communities.
Our SAC is comprised of 20 seats with 20 alternates. SAC members are designed to be balanced in terms of points of view, geographic diversity and advisory functions performed. Members serve three-year terms and there are no term limits. If you would like to serve on the SAC, public notice is published in local papers.
The role of SAC is to provide advice to the Sanctuary Manager and staff on issues based on the expertise of its members. Council members serve as liaisons between their constituents and or community and the Sanctuary management, as well as outreach to their respective communities.
Serving on the Council as a volunteer is a rewarding experience, but one that requires a dedication of time and resources. My personal experience the past 10 years has been outstanding! I have meet many great people, had many educational opportunities, gained a better understanding of our eco-system and hopefully made a difference in the Fabulous Florida Keys for future generations.
Bruce Popham

Upcoming Events

Please add your upcoming events to our online Florida Keys Environmental Calendar. This community-wide resource allows any organization or group to set up an account and post environmentally-related events.

Environmental Film Series World Oceans Day!
June 8, 7 pm, Eco-Discovery Center, Key West
Celebrate World Oceans Day with a free film festival. Green Fire Productions’ “Ocean Frontiers” documentary highlights important strides made in marine zoning across the country and in the Florida Keys, and includes interviews with Florida Keys commercial and recreational anglers. Doors open at 6 pm. View the complete schedule.

Ocean Life Lecture Series: The Life and Times of Top Predators
June 8, 7 pm, Nelson Government Center, Key Largo, MM102
In honor of World Oceans Day, Dr. Mike Heithaus will discuss his extensive research on how top predators such as sharks affect the dynamics of their ecosystems and how to protect these amazing animals. "Meet and Greet" with the speaker begins at 6 pm. More information.

Discovery Saturday: Humongous Hurricanes
June 16, 10-11 am, Eco-Discovery Center, Key West
Kids in kindergarten through fifth grade are invited to join the free, fun-filled program. Play games and make crafts while learning about hurricane preparedness and weather safety. Discovery Saturday is held the third Saturday of every month. For more information, call 305-809-4750.

FKNMS Sanctuary Advisory Council (SAC) Meeting
June 19, 9 am, Marathon Government Center, 2798 Overseas Highway, Marathon
The Council provides advice regarding management of the FKNMS. All meetings are open to the public and include morning and afternoon public comment periods. More information and agenda.

Public Scoping Meetings
June 19: Marathon
June 20: Key Largo
June 21: Key West
4-8 pm. Sanctuary and Refuge staff will provide presentations about sanctuary zones, regulations and the Refuge’s Backcountry Management Plan at approximately 4:15 and 6:15 pm. Attendees may provide comment at any time during the evening. Following the presentations, the format for providing input will be small discussion groups with notetakers. For meeting location details, visit the sanctuary events calendar.

Environmental Film Series  – Solar Awareness Day!
June 22, 7 pm, Eco-Discovery Center, Key West
Nova's "Dimming the Sun" will explain how the amount of sunlight reaching the earth is dropping due to atmospheric pollution. Doors open at 6 pm. View the complete schedule.

Save the Date!
Lionfish Tournament
July 22, Marathon
Details to come!

Membership Update
April / May 2012
Welcome! Thank you for your support!

New & Renewing Members ($30-$100)
Joseph Souto
Thomas N. Davidson
Bill Calvert
Benefactors ($200+)
Long Key Ladies Club
Richard S. Worthington
Robert Quill
Bruce Frerer
Matthew Forelli
Mr. and Mrs. Frank Shumway
Charles Causey
Michael Fimiani

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Sanctuary Friends Foundation of the Florida Keys
11450 Overseas Hwy., Suite 102
Marathon, Florida 33050
Tel: (305)
289-2288 Fax: (305) 289-2289

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Sanctuary Friends Foundation of the Florida Keys
PO Box 504301
Suite 102
Marathon, FL 33050

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