We have been following the outstanding work of the non-profit Reef Check for several years. Being an avid fan of Kelp forests, and of the Ocean in general, the work that is being done through this non-profit to sustain healthy oceans is very near and dear to our hearts. I wanted to share just a very (very) brief outline of the six different programs that Reef Check has started.
Saving Our Kelp Forests with Reef Check
Coral Reef Program
Reef Check headquarters work with 40 countries around the world conducting over 600 surveys annually to monitor the health of coral reefs. Surveyed 5,426 Coral reefs since 1997, trained 7,221 eco divers, conducted 14,568 coral reef health surveys worldwide.
Kelp Forest Program
In California, Reef Check helps ensure the long term sustainability and health of the nearby rocky reef and kelp forests. They have trained over 2000 SCUBA divers to conduct over 1000 scientific surveys to monitor and protect these iconic kelp forests along the entire coast of California.
Kelp Forest Restoration
Since 2014, bull keep (my personal favorite) forests in Northern California have declined by over 90% due to a combination of warm water events, loss of predatory species like sea otters and sunflower starfish, and a dramatic increase in native purple urchin populations. They have been doing a ton of work off the West Coast, too much to describe in this mini blog. Click here to read the full article.
Kelp Forest Urchin Barren Dynamics
This program focuses more on kelp deforestation across the planet. When predatory species leave and urchins are left behind to devour, the kelp forests are now knows as ‘urchin barrens.’
Visit Reef Check here for a full explaination of this phenom so you can understand the importance of our kelp forests. It's a very dynamic "dynamic" so I won't even try to make Cliff notes on this...
Climate Change and Ocean Acidification
This project tracks ocean temps at 75 of their monitoring sites to begin to understand the effects of climate change in the oceans. Hidden below, a flock of oceanographic sensors collect data along the coast to capture the quiet signals of climate change in our kelp forests. They collect data on the ocean’s temperature fluctuations, with some also measuring acidity, salinity and dissolved oxygen.
More details on these canaries here.
Dive Into Science
Reef Check provides free SCUBA training to youth and adults to help with the monitoring process as well as educate people on the benefits of having a career as a professional diver. Dive into Science provides the skills and experiences necessary to create a pathway to college and careers for under-resourced youth who have a passion for conservation and the ocean. They even offer scholarships here!
How to Get Involved
Reef Check’s Vision:
Thriving reefs, cared for by communities sustained for generations to come.
This year’s “Bid for the Oceans” online auction fundraiser will run November 2-11, 2022. Get ready to bid with purpose!
Proceeds will fund Reef Check’s conservation and monitoring programs of tropical coral reefs and temperate kelp forests, as well as critical restoration efforts across California. If you can't wait for the auction and want to donate NOW, follow this link to the doantion page.
If you own a business and would like to donate an item to the auction, please fill out our donation form here.