With your help, 2016 marked Reef Check's 20th year of education, research and conservation. It has been wonderful to celebrate this anniversary with Reef Check teams from Hong Kong to the Dominican Republic.
Sadly, the loss of the northern third of the Great Barrier Reef this year, and perhaps 15% of reefs globally due to the 3rd Global Bleaching Event reminded us that our fight to save coral reefs is facing its most serious challenge yet. There is still time. But if this dramatic loss of the world's most iconic reef is not a wake-up call, then I don't know what is.
If we don't reduce the blanket of greenhouse gases that trap heat on earth, many of our favorite tropical coral reefs will be killed off during the next two El Niños over the next 15 years. While we are pleased to have helped push a coral reef agenda at the COP21 climate change negotiations, let's not wait for governments to solve this. Let's all work hard to reduce our carbon footprints and save our reefs.
We would like to thank all of our supporters for contributing to Reef Check successes in 2016.
Tropical Program Highlights
♦ Reef Check is the only standardized method used to track the health of coral reefs at a global scale. Our teams tracked the Global Bleaching Event and damage due to hurricanes based on over 500 reef surveys.
♦ Certified 529 new EcoDivers and 32 new EcoDiver Trainers.
♦ Distributed emergency relief supplies to residents of the devastated southwest peninsula of Haiti in the wake of Hurricane Matthew.
♦ Co-organized a special Townhall Meeting on the 3rd Global Coral Reef Bleaching Event at the 13th International Coral Reef Symposium, and co-chaired the scientific sessions on bleaching.
♦ EcoExpeditions to Oman, the Maldives, Malaysia, and Indonesia.
♦ Training Workshops held around the world including the launch of Reef Check in São Tomé and Príncipe (in top 20 smallest countries) and the re-launch of Reef Check in Grenada, Taiwan, China and Iran.
♦ Co-organized a training program for new ocean conservation leaders in China at Beijing University.
California Program Successes
♦ Launched red abalone monitoring program with abalone divers in northern California.
♦ Designed intertidal monitoring program with Sherwood Valley Band of Pomo Native Americans.
♦ Launched the Student Ocean Scientist (SOS) STEM program for 500 Los Angeles middle school students with AltaSea and Los Angeles Maritime Institute tall ships.
♦ Trained and certified over 250 volunteer citizen scientists for California.
♦ Expanded Marine Protected Area (MPA) monitoring network joined state-funded long-term MPA monitoring program.
♦ Trained fishing collaborative in monitoring its MPAs in La Bocana, Baja California, Mexico.
♦ Completed MPA baseline monitoring in northern California.
Reef Check Goals for 2017
♦ Launch new climate-change monitoring program by equipping monitoring sites in California and globally with sensors to monitor physical and chemical indicators, especially temperature.
♦ Use our fish data to help manage low-data fish stocks.
♦ Expand our community, school and student outreach programs.
♦ Hold regional meetings to better collaborate in each region.
♦ Grow MPA monitoring network in northern California.
♦ Integrate kelp forest monitoring across the California-Mexico border.
Now more than ever we all need to do what we can to continue Reef Check's global efforts to monitor, conserve, and educate. Your generous contributions make all that we do possible. Please consider ending 2016 on a positive, proactive note and make your tax-deductible contribution at: www.reefcheck.org/make-a-donation or by mailing in your donation to: Reef Check Foundation, 13723 Fiji Way Ste B2, Marina del Rey, CA 90292.