By Reef Check California Director of Science Cyndi Dawson
April was the official start of the 2009 RCCA Field Season. This past month we conducted several Recertifications, including two in Monterey and one in Los Angeles. We had full boat loads of RCCA divers who had been trained in previous years who attended to tune up their survey skills for the upcoming year. We also began training a whole new cohort of RCCA Divers for 2009. Classes were completed in Monterey, Los Angeles, Bakersfield and Santa Barbara. At the end of April we will have over 100 divers ready to begin taking data for the 2009 Survey Season. We will continue to hold Recertifications and Trainings monthly through July and will have trained well over 300 divers in RCCA Survey Methods by the end of 2009.
We continue to actively engage with decision makers throughout the state to ensure that the data RCCA collects are being interjected into the marine management process. On April 8, I gave public testimony at the Fish and Game Commission meeting in Lodi. You can view the testimony (Select “Video” for April 8, 2009 and fast forward to 2:57:10) where I provided the Commission with an update on RCCA and highlighted our continued commitment to collecting high quality data to inform marine management. In April, we also took part in a workshop organized by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Ocean Service to create a map of ocean uses in the north central region of the state (Alder Creek to Pigeon Point). This was another way we were able to bring the knowledge of our volunteers into the management process by using the Site Description sheets we have for all our sites that include a categorization of the uses known at each site. I also was able to contact some of our local volunteers in the region to get additional information to include in the mapping workshop. Participants in the workshop were from a wide range of ocean users including agency staff, consumptive, and non-consumptive sectors. All were very receptive of the RCCA data and excited to learn more about the program.
There is no better way to take direct action to improve marine management in California than to become a trained RCCA Diver. There are still a few spots in some of the RCCA Trainings throughout the state. If you are an experienced certified diver please visit our training page and sign-up, the spots are going fast! If you are a non-diver and are interested in taking the RCCA Training Course, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and pricing.
We continue to be on the front lines of improving marine management in California and need your support! Your donations to RCCA go directly to supporting the collection of the critical data needed to sustainably manage California’s marine resources. If you aren’t a member, please join us!