Palm Beach County Reef Rescue, Rev 1.

3, 2013

Recreational divers have a wealth of useful information that can be used to help protect our reefs. The problem is, most of what we witness goes undocumented and unreported.
Why document your dives? Contrary to popular belief, little reef monitoring is performed by environmental regulatory agencies. Most surveys are performed by consultants working for contractors seeking permits; such as for beach renourishment projects. Are football fields really white? Data collection for permit applications is often skewed. Investigations can be designed to show what consultants want to show. n e!ample often used is the football field analogy " by placing monitoring transects only on the white lines, data can be e!trapolated to show football fields are entirely white. Nobody knows the reefs better than local divers. perfect e!ample is the attempt to bury the largest stand of staghorn coral in #orth merica with the $t. %auderdale, &egment II beach renourishment project. 'he (nvironmental Impact &tatement prepared by the consultants said there were no significant resources in the area. %ocal divers knew better. Dan and &tephanie Clark from Cry"of"the")ater filed a legal action showing there were e!tensive fields of staghorn coral in the project footprint. 'hey were successful in stopping the project and protecting the staghorn coral. )ithout local knowledge and documentation the coral would have been buried. Oh no, they are killing the reef! What can I do? )ithout documentation; nothing. If it*s not documented it didn*t happen and it never e!isted. n e!ample is the March +,-- .illsboro beach renourishment project. Divers posted video of silt burial of the second reef line impacted by the project. 'he $D(/ response was, 0prove the silt was from the project and not from winter storms.1 In summary2 if you don*t have the before, after is too late. What ty es of im acts to monitor? What should I document? (verything and nothing. #othing is just as important as something, because you never know when you will need to go back and look at what was there before that something happened. 3 ft. diameter brain coral on .orseshoe 4eef was first documented in +,,5 by recreational divers. )hen a cold water upwelling engulfed the area in +,-, divers were able to go to the e!act location and photograph the brain coral and show that it had bleached from thermal stress. In +,-- divers returned to the coral head to find it re" pigmented and had survived 6$igure-7. !his sounds like work. It can be as simple as attaching a floating 8/& unit to your dive flag. )hen you return from the dive, download the 8/& data to your computer. 'here it can sit until needed. If you take video or stills you*ll be able to see e!actly where the pictures were taken by comparing 8/& data with the date9time in the photo file. (!ample2 dive :;,3, <9-39+,-,, covered ,.=; nautical miles, observed + lionfish. Dive :;+>, 39-59+,--, same dive path
Palm Beach County Reef Rescue, Rev 1.3, 2013

covered ,.3, nautical miles, observed -+ lionfish. #ot much work and now you are collecting lionfish population statistics.

"eef names not good enough. 'riple Double %edges, 8rouper .ole, &hark 4eef, do you really know where you are? Do you think anyone else will? (ven if someone can figure out on what reef your observations were made, a reef name is not an e!act location. @reaker*s 4eef is -.; miles long, where did you see that staghorn coral? )ithout e!act coordinates you are unlikely to find the colony again and certainly no one will be able to credit you with discovering the northernmost staghorn coral colony on the A& east coast. #ow to document location • $est% tow your own 8/&. • Ne&t best% work out a system with your dive operator for marking specific locations, so when you deploy a sausage float to the surface the captain will know to get the 8/& coordinates for that location. • !hird best 6but not really all that good7 get the start and stop coordinates of your dive from your dive boat. Bou need to know where you started and where the dive ended and this is only good if you went in a straight line. 'loating ()*, what do I need? • @attery powered 8/& capable of storing and downloading tracks. • /elican dry bo! or eCuivalent. • Dive flag. • 8/& download cable. • 8/& download software. 6)e use 8/& Atility software from2 www.gpsu.co.uk7 • 4eef maps.

Garmin GPS 72 in Pelican 1120 floating ry !o" attache to ive flag.
Palm Beach County Reef Rescue, Rev 1.3, 2013

#ow a ()* dive tracker works &et the 8/& to record track data points in +, second intervals, this is sufficient for most purposes. @efore the dive turn on the unit, after satellites are acCuired seal the 8/& in the housing and attach the housing tether line to your dive flag above the float. llow the 8/& to remain operating during the dive, surface intervals and subseCuent dives made during the day. 'he 8armin 5+ unit has sufficient battery and data storage capacity to remain operational for at least D to < hrs. and costs under E+,,. If a particular point of interest is found during the dive make sure the dive flag is directly overhead to get an accurate reading. lso, make a note of the time on a dive slate to facilitate locating the coordinates once the unit is downloaded. #ote2 your dive watch should be synchroniFed with the 8/& time. )hen taking photos or videos the camera time settings should also be in agreement with the 8/& unit. fter the dive trip the 8/& track file is downloaded to a computer using an interface cable. Asing 8/& Atility software 6www.gpsu.co.uk7 the spread sheet depicted on $igure + is created. 'he spread sheet presents all you need to establish your coordinates at a specific time and date. 'hese data can also be superimposed on reef maps to represent a graphic depiction of your dive path 6$igure =7. 8oogle (arth maps allow for 8/& downloads to create a dive path overlay. .owever, detailed reef resolution is not represented on most 8oogle (arth products. 'he 8/& Atility software program can create overlay tracks onto any image file. Detailed reef imagery suitable for use with the 8/& Atility software can be obtained from the following sources2 • • • /alm @each, @roward, Miami"Dade County reefs2 www.floridanearshore.com /alm @each County reefs2 http299www.pbcgov.com9erm9coastal9shoreline9beach9docs9+,,+% D&G&4.Fip @roward County reefs2 http299coastal.er.usgs.gov9flash9broward9brGlads.php

+ocumenting and re orting boats anchored in coral 'he Florida Coral Reef Protection Act went into effect in +,,>. It provides penalties for anchoring on the coral reefs of Martin, /alm @each, @roward, Miami"Dade, and Monroe counties. 'he recreational diving community has been very effective in bringing violators to justice by supplying $D(/ with documentation of illegal anchoring activity. nchoring in coral has been significantly reduced in /alm @each County by a 4eef 4escue education program and through the efforts of dive boat operators and divers collecting the documentation needed for enforcement actions.

Palm Beach County Reef Rescue, Rev 1.3, 2013

'o report a boat anchored in coral you need2 • 'o be positive it is anchored on the reef. • Hessel registration numbers and vessel description. • Date, time, water depth and 8/& coordinates of the anchored boat. • photo of the vessel, preferably with the shoreline in the background. • Bou can also provide, though not absolutely necessary, a photo of the boat*s anchor embedded in the reef. (mail these items with your contact information to2 Iena.&ansgaardJdep.state.fl.us, cc2 Iason. ndreottaJdep.state.fl.us "e orting ,arine +ebris Marine Debris is a widespread problem on southeast $lorida coral reefs. Discarded fishing line, nets, anchors, plastic water bottles and bags, household items and hurricane debris are becoming increasingly common on our reefs. Debris can cause damage to sponges and corals, entangle fish and other reef creatures, and cause injury or death to reef organisms. Divers should make every dive a cleanup dive. @ut, divers should never risk their safety by attempting to remove large or dangerous objects. )hat to do about these large pieces of debris? Document themK 'he $D(/, $)C and 4eef 4escue have established a coordinated marine debris reporting and removal program for southeast $lorida coral reefs. 'he program encourages local divers and dive shops to report marine debris. 'o report debris visit2 ###. e$.state.fl.us%coastal%$rograms%coral% e!ris1.htm 'here is an online form where location and debris specifics can be entered. #ever remove debris that has become part of the reef and is interlaced with coral or benthic organisms.
Palm Beach County Reef Rescue, Rev 1.3, 2013

"e orting staghorn and elkhorn coral locations s a result of a >5L loss of staghorn and elkhorn corals in $lorida since the -><,*s, in May +,,D, these two species were added to the federal (ndangered &pecies %ist. /rior to the (& listing it was generally reported that the northern limit of elkhorn coral in $lorida was Miami"Dade County and staghorn coral did not e!tend northward beyond @oca 4aton. During the listing review process recreational divers provided evidence of elkhorn on @roward County reefs and staghorn on /alm @each County reefs. gain, little effort was made by the regulatory agencies to document the range of these listed coral species. In fact, consultants for special interests, including beach renourishment projects, lobbied the federal government that /alm @each County was not staghorn habitat and should not be afforded (& protection. %ike the $t. %auderdale staghorn coral saved from beach renourishment burial, it was the recreational diving community that collected the data that documented the e!istence of these threatened species. $inding, documenting and monitoring elkhorn and staghorn coral colonies on our local reefs is essential for their long"term survival and recovery. 4eport your sighting to2 reefrescueJcomcast.net.

Your observations - when properly documented - are just as valid as any others. With proper documentation your photos and videos are admissible and defendable in legal challenges.

Remember, the reef you save may be your own.

Palm Beach County Reef Rescue, Rev 1.3, 2013

&orseshoe Reef Brain Coral

'igure 1

Palm Beach County Reef Rescue, Rev 1.3, 2013

(o#nloa e GPS ata Point 1)0001 1)0002 1)0003 1)0001 1)0001)000+ 1)0007 1)0000 1)0003 1)0010 1)0011 1)0012 1)0013 1)0011 1)0011)001+ 1)0017 1)0010 1)0013 1)0020 Coordinates *2+,3+.10+-. /000,01.13+0. *2+,3+.1001. /000,01.1317. *2+,3+.1100. /000,01.1313. *2+,3+.1130. /000,01.13+1. *2+,3+.1173. /000,01.1371. *2+,3+.1207. /000,01.1371. *2+,3+.1211. /000,01.1371. *2+,3+.12+3. /000,01.1331. *2+,3+.12+-. /000,01.1337. *2+,3+.12-3. /000,01.1330. *2+,3+.12-0. /000,01.1337. *2+,3+.12-7. /000,01.1330. *2+,3+.12-7. /000,01.1330. *2+,3+.12-7. /000,01.1333. *2+,3+.127-. /000,01.1331. *2+,3+.1302. /000,01.1312. *2+,3+.1320. /000,01.1317. *2+,3+.13--. /000,01.1321. *2+,3+.1371. /000,01.132+. *2+,3+.1307. /000,01.1327. Date/time 0%11%2010 10210%11%2010 10210%11%2010 1021+ 0%11%2010 1021+ 0%11%2010 1021+ 0%11%2010 10217 0%11%2010 10217 0%11%2010 10217 0%11%2010 10210 0%11%2010 10213 0%11%2010 10213 0%11%2010 102-0 0%11%2010 102-1 0%11%2010 102-1 0%11%2010 102-2 0%11%2010 102-2 0%11%2010 102-3 0%11%2010 102-3 0%11%2010 102-3 0%11%2010 102-1 Duration 0200210 020021+ 0201210 0201231 02012-7 0202222 0202211 0203202 0203210 020123+ 020-22020-2-1 020+22+ 0207200 0207220 0207213 0200210200237 0203200 Knots 0.1 0.2 0.+ 0.+ 0.1 0.0.0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.2 0.7 0.+ 0.1 0.3 0.3

'igure 2

GPS DIVE TRACK

'igure 3
Palm Beach County Reef Rescue, Rev 1.3, 2013

Palm Beach County Reef Rescue, Rev 1.3, 2013

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