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Sanctuary Friends Foundation of the Florida Keys
November 2010
Sanctuary Friends Foundation of the Florida Keys
News & Notes


2011 Membership Drive
Oct. 1, 2010 - March 31, 2011

Become a Sanctuary Friend or renew your membership now and become eligible for a drawing for a framed print by renowned underwater photographer Stephen Frink! Memberships start at $30 and are good until Dec. 31, 2011. Please join us!

Deep-Water Mooring Buoys Will Remain
Fragile Reef Ecology Spared from Anchor Damage

Sometimes it takes a crisis to appreciate what you’ve already got. For the FKNMS, that crisis was the possible removal of 17 mooring buoys in the Keys near popular dive sites. Until recently, buoy maintenance crews were not allowed to work in waters deeper than 100 feet, where the buoys in question were attached. In late October, the DEP amended its regulations for the divers who maintain the moorings. The DEP oversees 787 mooring buoys in Keys waters.
Mooring Buoy Maintenance
With the future of these deep-water mooring buoys secured (literally), let’s not forget what was at stake: ultimately our coral reef environment! Before mooring buoys were introduced, boats had to drop heavy anchors onto the fragile sea bottom. Anchors, line and chain can break and damage living coral formations. This repeated anchoring also affected sea life such as giant sponges. The mooring buoy system was developed to reduce anchor damage and to provide a convenient means of securing boats so everyone can enjoy the Sanctuary while preserving its natural beauty and life. Use of these environmentally-sensitive moorings has become a widely-accepted tool for managing the coral reef environment.
We need your help to preserve these unique and fragile reefs for the enjoyment of everyone. Find out how to correctly use mooring buoys in the Florida Keys.

659 Lionfish Captured in Inaugural Keys Derbies

More than 150 “hunters” captured 659 Indo-Pacific red lionfish occupying the waters of the FKNMS during the three lionfish derbies held in the upper, middle and lower keys this fall. The derbies were sponsored by The Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF).
Wanted: Lionfish HuntersLionfish off the southeast U.S., Bahamas and in the Caribbean impact indigenous fish because they eat important juvenile reef species, such as grouper and snapper, and have no known predators except man. They have venomous spines but, when properly cleaned, yield a white meat that is considered a delicacy.
By far the most successful derby was held in Key Largo in September with more than 500 of the invasive species captured. The winning team, “Team Raaw Talent” led by Captain Al Wilson, captured 111 lionfish and received the grand prize of $1,000 for most lionfish during the single-day event. The largest lionfish was taken at the Key West event by team “Got Sand” at 309 mm or just over 12 inches. The smallest of the species was captured in Key Largo by team “Full Circle” at 50 mm or almost 2 inches. Lionfish can grow to lengths of over 18 inches in western Atlantic waters where they are not native. Both largest and smallest lionfish winners at each derby received $500 cash prizes. Full results.
Many of the teams and participants had already been through REEF’s educational workshops on lionfish safety and handling and had been active in reporting sightings and capturing lionfish for research purposes. One of the benefits of the derbies is that they reward those already involved in REEF’s lionfish control programs and recruit more people to become active in lionfish control. The next derby will be held on Dec. 8 coinciding with the 50th Anniversary of John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo.

Coral Restoration Project Receives Stimulus Funding

Groundbreaking work on reef restoration has begun in the Upper Keys, as scientists started transplanting nursery corals on Davis Reef near Islamorada. The three-year project is a joint effort between the Charles Stroh Fund and family, FWC and the Coral Restoration Foundation and is partially funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. It is one of only eight projects nationwide funded by NOAA stimulus grants. The goal of these projects is to strengthen our coasts by restoring hundreds of acres of marine habitat, as well as protect shorelines from the impacts of storms and coastal erosion.
Coral Restoration at Davis ReefThis project is different than much of the Coral Restoration Foundations work because it pairs the transplantation of nursery-reared corals with rigorous science. Scientists will be monitoring the coral and documenting the project's success. "We've never really had the money to do the science and the restoration side-by-side," said CRF Founder Ken Nedimyer. "It's great to have both and really go for it."
The significance, however, reaches far beyond Davis Reef itself. The work is part of the larger effort to understand why reefs are in decline and what can be done to prevent that decline, as well as understanding how nursery-raised coral can help. Because coral reef restoration is in its infancy, the scientific information developed here will lead to restoration designs that can be used across the entire Florida Keys in the future.


Environmental Filmmaker Speaks at EcoWeek

Award-winning filmmaker Bill MacDonald was the featured speaker at Sanctuary Friend’s EcoWeek Environmental Film Festival earlier this month. Macdonald credits his childhood in Fort Lauderdale and his countless trips to the Keys for instilling a love of the ocean that he’s parlayed into a successful career.
MacDonald makes movies about beautiful dive destinations, but also documents the environmental havoc that plastic is wreaking on our ocean. In the past 50+ years, he’s seen changes that trouble him, and now devotes himself to sharing the beauty of the world’s oceans while promoting what each of us can do to make a positive difference toward restoring and protecting them. His video archive includes over 1,000 hours of educational programming on marine life and ecosystems, including underwater footage from the world’s foremost dive resorts and live-a-board dive vessels.
It’s MacDonald’s work with Capt. Charles Moore of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation that has helped raise international awareness of what’s often called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch — an alarming concentration of debris, mostly plastic, swirling in the northern Pacific Ocean. He noted that in 1999, trawls of the ‘garbage patch’ found six times as many broken down plastic particles as zooplankton, by weight in a volume of seawater. Less than 10 years later (2008), trawls in the same place (same GPS coordinates) showed that ratio as 45 (plastic) to 1 (zooplankton).
At the Film Festival, he presented five short films, interspersed with audience participation and dialogue. You can view these and other films by or recommended by MacDonald on his YouTube Channel: The Oceans’ Heart, Synthetic Sea (2010), Whales Die, Zombies Dance, World Ocean “Trashed”, The Pelagic Plastic Plague.

Sanctuary Friends on the Road

Administrative Assistant Diana Ruelens represented Sanctuary Friends at the GLEE Green Business Expo in Marathon during EcoWeek on Nov. 6. The free event was held at Crane Point Nature Center and included a variety of workshops and exhibitors. “As always, whenever GLEE is involved it is a quality program that offers much food for thought -- and real life solutions to some very real global issues that affect us here in the Keys,” said Diana about the Expo.
The winners of the drawing for an embroidered shirt and hat were Lourdes Acosta and Rick Sall. Look for Diana and the Sanctuary Friends booth (and sign up for another drawing) at the 50th Anniversary Celebration of John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park on Dec. 11.

NOAA Unveils Special Collection of Civil War Maps & Nautical Charts

Charting a More Perfect UnionIn honor of the upcoming 150th anniversary of the Civil War, NOAA has assembled a special historical collection of maps, charts and documents prepared by the U.S. Coast Survey during the war years. The collection, “Charting a More Perfect Union,” contains more than 400 documents, available free from NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey website. The collection includes 394 Civil War-era maps, including nautical charts used for naval campaigns and maps of troop movements and battlefields. The Civil War special collection is accessible through a searchable database.

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! More information. Email.
Tel: 847-612-4712.

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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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In This Issue:
From the Board
Importance of Mooring Buoys
Lionfish Derby Results
Coral Restoration at Davis Reef

Upcoming Events

From the Board

Dear Friends:
Recently there was considerable angst and apprehension among dive operators throughout the Florida Keys because mooring buoys on some of our deeper shipwrecks were going to have to be removed. The possible removal was due to regulations in the depth NOAA divers were allowed to work and the type of gas mixture they could dive while maintaining the mooring buoys.
A thoughtful compromise was reached and no mooring buoys were required to be removed. But, the passion with which dive operators and the general diving public reacted was telling. They want their mooring buoys!
Of course they do, for without these buoys, captains would first have to find where the shipwreck might be. A wreck sitting in 120 feet of water reveals nothing on the surface, but a bright white mooring buoy is visible from a great distance. Only on a very clear day might a wreck be sighted by looking down, and then you’d have to be right on top of it. Of course, GPS coordinates would get a captain close to where the wreck might be, but the pinpoint anchoring would be difficult.
Without mooring buoys, misplaced anchors would fall on the wreck, tangling lines, dragging through delicate sponge formations and eventually even damaging superstructure. Divers who just finished a deep dive on a wreck, perhaps involving decompression, might then have to go back down to untangle the anchor line, therefore exposing themselves to "the bends."
These wrecks require mooring buoys to facilitate navigation, to manage the load of divers on a wreck at any given time, to protect the sunken resource from anchor damage, and to ensure diver safety. I congratulate NOAA and the various government agencies that recognized the crucial importance of mooring buoys and found a way to keep them in place.

Sanctuary Friends is pleased to assist this project that inspires people to become better stewards of our marine environment. Join us.
Stephen Frink,
Board of Directors

Upcoming Events

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

Guided Walk at the National Key Deer Refuge
Nov. 24, 8-11 am, Long Beach Trail, Big Pine Key Join a guided refuge trail walk for birders and outdoor enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels. Meet at the National Key Deer Refuge Visitor's Center, located in the Winn Dixie shopping plaza. Participants will caravan to the scheduled trail site. Maps are provided. Tel: 305-872-0774

Sunday Environmental Film Series
Every Sunday at 2 pm & 4 pm, Eco-Discovery Center, Key West
The 4 pm show is new each week and is repeated the following week at 2 pm.
Nov. 28: 2 pm Addicted to Plastic & 4 pm Dimming the Sun
Dec 5: 2 pm Dimming the Sun, 4 pm World Water Wars
Dec. 12: 2 pm World Water Wars, 4 pm A Sea Change
Dec. 19: 2 pm A Sea Change, 4 pm The End of the Line
Dec. 26: 2 pm The End of the Line, 4 pm Atlantis Approaching
For a recorded message of upcoming films, call 305-292-0311, ext. 80.

50th Anniversary of John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
Dec. 1-11, Key Largo
Rediscover the first undersea park in the United States, Key Largo’s "crown jewel of the state park system." Experience Pennekamp's underwater attractions, beaches, canoe, kayak and boat rentals, nature trails and camping. Special Anniversary activities include a photo contest, environmental cleanup, lionfish roundup, coral restoration seminar, fish I.D. class with dive/snorkel option and boat parade. More information and Event highlights.

Friends in Focus Film Series
Dec. 9, 7 pm, the Brady 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. This month’s films are Turtle Dance & Coral Connections. Come early a Social at 6:30 pm.

Florida State Parks 75th Anniversary Signature Event
Dec. 11, 9 am-3 pm, Pennekamp Park, Key Largo
FREE Admission to the state park for the Educational Fair & Environmental Expo featuring Dr. Sylvia Earle, world-renowned oceanographer, explorer and TIME Magazine’s first “Hero for the Planet.” Fun for the whole family!

FKNMS Sanctuary Advisory Council (SAC) meeting
Dec. 14, 9 am, Marathon Garden Club, 5270 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.

REEF, Fish & Friends Holiday Party
Dec. 14, 6-9 pm, REEF Headquarters, MM 98.3, Key Largo
Join us for a break from our regular lecture series for a night of fun: eating, drinking and talking to friends. We want to show our appreciation for your support throughout the year. Paul Humann will join the festivities to sign books and meet guests!

Welcome New Members
October / November 2010
Thank you for your support!
Sanctuary Buddy $30
R.L. Blazevic
Marianne & Lawrence Benvenuti
Sanctuary Adventurer $50
Grace Brockway

  Sanctuary Patron $500
Billy & Laura Causey

Coming ...
Eco-Discovery Tours

Discover the Florida Keys through eco-friendly and historical excursions. For more information or to request a brochure, call 305-289-2288 or email.
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
Marathon, FL 33050

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