Florida’s Coral Program Plunges Into the New Year

Red grouper on a nearshore reef off of Broward County. Photo: Joe Marino

From Florida Dept of Environmental Protection
By Joanna Walczak

One of the best things about working with Florida’s Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP) is working with a team of dedicated staff that are not only passionate about coral reefs, but are extremely hard workers. Day after day, the CRCP staff work closely with the more than sixty partner organizations that comprise the Southeast Florida Coral Reef Initiative (SEFCRI) Team to develop projects that help us understand the complex southeast Florida coral reef ecosystem and how to protect it.

In July 2012, the CRCP began our ninth year of developing SEFCRI Local Action Strategy (LAS) projects and, to date, we have completed 127 of 140 projects brainstormed by the SEFCRI Team. We’ve come a long way, but our work is far from done. One of our 2013 goals is to wrap up the old projects and begin developing new ones. In this newsletter you will learn about how the SEFCRI Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) is helping us identify the research needs and priorities that will inform management decisions and continue to fill information gaps for this region.

You’ll also learn about an exciting new program that CRCP added in 2012 ~ the Southeast Florida Action Network, or SEAFAN. In its inaugural year, SEAFAN sponsored marine debris cleanups were incredibly successful – mainly due to the support of many local dive shops in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties. If you missed the fun last year, stay tuned ~ more cleanups are planned for the Summer of 2013!

Great things are coming in 2013. There will be some exciting opportunities for you to get involved in the SEFCRI process, so be sure to watch your inbox. We hope you’ll add your voice as we work together to protect one of our state’s and nation’s most valuable resources – southeast Florida’s coral reefs.

Wishing you all Best Fishes and a very Happy New Year!