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Sanctuary Friends Foundation of the Florida Keys
May 2011
Sanctuary Friends Foundation of the Florida Keys
News & Notes


First Lionfish Derby Results
Ten teams participated in the first lionfish derby of the season in Long Key, bringing in a total of 531 lionfish! Teams hailed from the Keys, Miami, Ft. Myers, and Vero Beach. The winning team caught 158 lionfish. The smallest lionfish was 65 mm (2.5 inches) and the largest was 357 mm (14 inches). More information.

Sanctuary Friends: A Decade in Review

Sanctuary Friends is very excited to bring you our “Decade In Review” – It’s been ten years in the making! This new booklet details the programs and projects Sanctuary Friends supports and how each fits into our broad Mission Statement in the categories of Science, Education, Outreach, Preservation and Restoration. Highlights include:
  • Decade in ReviewBonefish & Tarpon Conservation Research Program: Making significant contributions to the conservation of three of the Keys most high-profile and economically-important sportfish: Atlantic bonefish, tarpon and permit.
  • Connectivity Conference: Attended by scientists, policymakers and citizens to discuss the state of coral reefs and surrounding marine environments.
  • Preserve America Initiative Grant: Supporting field studies to survey and map four historical shipwreck sites.
  • Research Project Funding: More than $100,000 in support for studies that were identified through the science-based peer review process.
  • Teacher Workshops: Provide new teachers with an experiential tour of various habitats and the wildlife found in the Keys.
  • Shifting Baselines brochure: Demonstrates significant changes in Sanctuary resources over time.
  • Eco-Discovery Center: Opened in 2007 with promotional assistance and resources provided by Sanctuary Friends.
  • Blue & Green Occasions: Full-service, eco-friendly event planning and use of the Eco-Discovery Center for private events.
  • Friends in Focus Film & Seminar Series: Films, guest speakers, informal discussions and fun with friends who share a common passion of preserving the oceans.
  • Support for projects such as: Coral Reef Classrooms, Team OCEAN, SEE Grants, Clean Marina, Mooring Buoy System, Blue Star, Dolphin Smart, Coral Restoration Foundation and Everglades Restoration.
Over the years, we have covered each of these projects in our monthly newsletter. You can view all our archived newsletters online. The activities highlighted in this Decade in Review would not have been possible without the financial support of corporations, foundations, and individuals – people who believed in Sanctuary Friends’ mission and supported us in helping make a difference in marine conservation. The next decade will be an uphill journey made easier with your help! Join us.

FKNMS 2010 Accomplishments

FKNMS surrounds the Florida Keys archipelago and supports one of the most diverse marine ecosystems in North America. The sanctuary is home to the continent’s only living coral barrier reef and beckons divers from around the world. The shallow waters of the 2,900-square nautical mile sanctuary also contain mangrove-fringed islands and lush seagrass meadows. Together, these complex ecosystems provide the basis for the valuable tourism and fishing industries that are vital to Florida’s economy.
Team OCEAN marine debrisFKNMS 2010 Accomplishments include:
  • More than $30,000 in settlements paid for sanctuary violations including vessel groundings, illegal anchoring and poaching.
  • Sanctuary staff responded to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill by conducting shoreline surveys, helping develop and implement response plans and collecting baseline data.
  • Team OCEAN netted more than 10,000 pounds of marine debris through 12 shoreline cleanup events conducted by staff and volunteers.
  • Sanctuary staff supported Florida Keys tarball response to address numerous reports of tarballs washing ashore at various Keys locations.
  • Sanctuary teams responded to cold-water bleaching event in January and February, the first since the late 1970s.
  • Sanctuary staff finalized a rule prohibiting waste discharge into all sanctuary waters.
  • Solar panels were installed and an exhibit on Solar Energy opened at the Eco-Discovery Center, providing up to 30 percent of the building’s energy.
  • The dive community was involved in the removal of invasive lionfish through education, training workshops and derby “roundup” events.
Click here to view the full brochure of accomplishments and a look ahead.

Marine Zone Studies Summarized

What would happen to the densities of reef fish in an area after becoming a highly protected marine zone for 10 years? Would lobsters found living in a large ecological reserve grow larger in size over time when compared to those found in nearby areas? These are some of the questions fisheries scientists asked when studying reef fish and spiny lobster populations in marine zones in the FKNMS.
FKNMS Zone Map
In 1997, with input from the public, a system of marine zones was established in the sanctuary. To find out how the highly protected zones affected reef fish and lobster, scientists studied these animals prior to and after zone establishment and inside and outside zones. The results of these long-term studies are presented in two Sanctuary Science Summaries: Coral Reef Fish and Marine Zones and Spiny Lobster and Marine Zones. An overview of the marine zoning scheme is also available.
Please send any questions or comments on the summaries to Sanctuary Science Interpreter


Volunteers Needed to Rehabilitate Pilot Whales

Officials are asking for volunteers to help with round-the-clock efforts to save four pilot whales that stranded May 5 off Cudjoe Key. As many as 25 volunteers are needed per four-hour shift to assist with a wide range of activities at the Marine Mammal Conservancy, located at mile marker 102.1 bayside in Key Largo. Support assignments include everything from actually being in the water to help hold the whales to land-based activities such as answering phones. In addition to volunteers, MMC welcomes donations of supplies ranging from bottled water and batteries to paper towels and laundry detergent. For more details or to volunteer, call 305-451-4774 or visit

Eco-Discovery Center Receives Stewardship Award

FKNMS has won a 2011 Department of Commerce Environmental Stewardship Award in the category of Energy and Water Management. The award recognizes several projects completed by the sanctuary in fiscal year 2010. Efforts were made to "green" the Dr. Nancy Foster Environmental Complex and reduce the sanctuary's environmental footprint.
Completed projects include the installation of a photovoltaic solar panel roof over the Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center to provide electricity for the building; electric hand dryers across the entire Nancy Foster Complex; automatic, motion-sensing, timed light switches in high-volume traffic areas to force timed shut-off of lights; and solar lights in key outdoor areas around the complex. Activities also included purchasing biosynthetic and biodegradable solvents, lubricants, pesticides, and cleaners for vessel and facility maintenance; replacing low-mileage vehicles with fuel-efficient, hybrid fuel vehicles; conducting vessel and vehicle audits and accessing unnecessary vessels and vehicles; conducting a water flow audit and addressing current and potential deficiencies; and replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs.

Vote for Oceana's Ocean Hero

On World Oceans Day, Oceana honors those who have made a significant, ongoing contribution to ocean conservation. This year, hundreds were nominated, and a panel of experts selected the six finalists in each category: adult and junior. FKNMS’s own John Halas was honored as the winner in 2009. Vote for your favorites today. Voting ends May 31!

Everglades Restoration of Cape Sable

Sanctuary Friends supports the efforts of the Everglades National Park restoration program because of the significant connectivity between its ecosystem and the FKNMS. In recognizing that a healthy ecosystem is fundamental to a healthy economy, numerous initiatives and construction projects are now under way to revitalize and protect the expansive south Florida ecosystem. One project is in a very remote part of the Everglades called Cape Sable and involves the plugging of two canals dug in the 1920's. This dam project was funded by the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act. Watch a video describing the Cape Sable plugging project.

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In This Issue:
From the Board
Decade in Review

FKNMS Accomplishments

Marine Zone Studies
Upcoming Events

From the Board

Dear Friends,
For the past ten years Sanctuary Friends has been working diligently at fulfilling our mission to support the FKNMS in the preservation, restoration and sustainable use of our coral reef ecosystem, from the uplands to the deepsea. We have focused on developing community support and advancing public awareness, education, outreach and scientific research.
Our newly-completed “Decade In Review” highlights the many ways we have met and exceeded these goals since our inception. In brief, this document takes you on a tour of our achievements. Read the review.
In looking forward to the next ten years, the challenges facing our marine environments are daunting. But we will continue to be a sustainable non-profit and continue our mission to protect this national treasure. We believe that every ecosystem is interrelated and, therefore, equally valued.
To stay informed about the issues most important to the Sanctuary, please visit our website, sign up for our monthly newsletter or become a fan on Facebook. The Directors formally request that if you believe, as we do, in our efforts to protect and preserve our marine resources, you become a member of Sanctuary Friends.
George Neugent, Chair
Sanctuary Friends Foundation

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.

License Free Fishing Weekends
June 4-5 and June 18-19
FWC announced that a saltwater fishing license will not be required statewide for two weekends in June. The dates correspond with the opening of red snapper season in the Gulf and Father’s Day. More information.

World Oceans Day Film Festival
June 5, Eco-Discovery Center, Key West
FKNMS will celebrate World Oceans Day early with a free all-day Environmental Film Series. Doors open at 11 am; the first movie begins at noon. Check out the schedule or call

Capitol Hill Ocean Week
June 7-9, Washington, DC
Every year, the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation brings the ocean to Washington, DC, during Capitol Hill Ocean Week (CHOW). The three-day symposium brings together members of Congress and Congressional staff; federal, state, and local government institutions; and experts from industry, academia, and the nonprofit community in an effort to shape marine policy discussions and incite lively conversation about current ocean and coastal issues. More information.

Friends in Focus Film Series: Jean-Michel Cousteau, America's Underwater Treasures, Part II
June 9, 7:30 pm, Sail & Power Squadron Education Building, 12 Loggerhead Lane, Marathon

Monthly film and seminar series co-sponsored by Sanctuary Friends and the Marathon Sail & Power Squadron that revolves around marine life and diving. Come early for a Social at 7:00 pm.

50%-off Admission to Florida’s State Parks
Father's Day, June 19
To celebrate special occasions, entry into Florida's state parks will be discounted at the 160 parks and 74 unique saltwater fishing facilities throughout the state. More information.

Lionfish Derbies
The 2011 Lionfish Derby Series has already begun. Upcoming events:
August 20: Upper Keys, Coconuts Restaurant and Bar, Key Largo.
November 5: Lower Keys, Hurricane Hole Marina, Key West. More information.

Welcome New Members
April / May 2011
Thank you for your support!
Sanctuary Advocate $200
Billy D. and Laura G. Causey

Sanctuary Benefactor $1,000
Michael Fimiani

Coming ...
Eco-Discovery Tours

Discover the Florida Keys through eco-friendly and historical excursions. Call 305-289-2288 or email to request a brochure.

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. We 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! More information.

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.

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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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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