Tuesday, March 1, 2011
WORLD CLASS EVENT TO REPLANT CORAL REEFS IN FLORIDA KEYS STARTS IN FT. PIERCE.
On March 18th a busload of volunteer divers led by Capt. Don Voss of Marine Cleanup Initiative Inc and support crew led by Jack Hudson of Open Water Products LLC, will leave Ft. Pierce to attend intense training in underwater coral repair and restoration.
The 3-day training sessions will start on the 5hour bus trip down to the Horizon Dive Center Resort on Tavernier Key. Capt. Don of MCII in Ft. Pierce met Kevin Gaines of The Coral Restoration Foundation at an Oceans Initiative seminar held by National Geographic Ocean Initiative in Miami last December.
“We saw time lapse satellite images of massive brown plumes of chemicals and algae blooms that were discharged from the Everglades in the 1990’s coming out of the Fort Myers and the St. Lucie Inlets, that engulfed the Florida Keys.” said the Capt. This cloud of polluted fresh water rained down on our fragile coral reefs in what turned out to be one of the worst marine tragedies in Florida’s history.
The Coral Restoration Foundation has successfully grown endangered coral on private leased “farms” and has been working to repair and restore many dead reefs near Camp Pennecamp Park in Key Largo. Dr. Brian Lapointe, renowned scientist from Harbor Branch Oceanographic and long time activist for the Florida Keys will be joining the group to participate in the process and monitor the event. “Without this vital work it could take 10,000 years for the destroyed coral to come back naturally” said Capt. Don.
This training opportunity is the final session prior to divers receiving a new specialty scuba diver certification. The local divers who participate in this hands-on training will bring these new skills back to the Treasure Coast for use in our local waters. The final training will also consist of 2 days “planting” of 1,300 baby corals and repairs to numerous older colonies.
MCII has developed the Marine Debris Cleanup and Habitat Restoration Certification, the first of its kind in the world, through a grant from NOAA. Most of the 22 divers and 5 support crew attending have participated in ongoing cleanup dives of the Sebastian and Ft. Pierce Inlets and selected areas of the estuary in between.
There are still a few spots open for Certified Scuba Divers. Divers must bring their own dive gear and C card. The cost is $270 per diver, inclusive of everything except food. The bus leaves Dive Odyssea Center in Ft. Pierce Friday, March 18 at 4pm and returns Sunday, March 20 around 10pm. For more information, or to sign up, go to: www.MarineCleanupInitiativeInc.Org or call Capt. Don at 772-528-0675.
posted and written by Dyana Boyd-Voss