MENDOCINO Co., 8/19/19 — The kelp forest ecosystems along Mendocino’s coastline have been changing rapidly over the last five years, and a number of marine researchers have been looking for ways to restore these “old growth” forests to health, and to reduce the impacts on invasive species, such as the purple sea urchin, on native marine life.
On Tuesday, the non-profit organization Reef Check California, which focuses on reef conservation, will be hosting two different remotely-operated underwater drone exploration dives along the Mendocino coast, and will be live-streaming the dives for the public to learn more about Mendocino’s kelp forests and how they can help with conservation efforts. The dives are organized with assistance from the Noyo Center, California State Parks, California Marine Protected Areas Collaborative, Open Explorer, a National Geographic platform, and Sofar Ocean Technologies. The dives will be live-streamed by the Noyo Center at this link, beginning at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, from Portuguese Beach.
Remotely-operated underwater drones will be used to explore two different local ecosystems: “first one of the last remaining old growth kelp forests in the area. The other, an “urchin” barren where once a healthy ecosystem flourished and now all that is left are bare rocks and starving purple sea urchins.” The public is invited to join the effort in person, or to watch from home.
More details about how to get involved with local kelp forest conservation efforts can be found in the press release below.
Please forward this to anyone you think might be interested.Press release from Reef Check California.
This is the first big one of the year and I’m sure we will want to play with the format and publication setting so please feel free to offer suggestions and help me guide the next one. If you want to schedule one around a specific place or specific goal for your org., please let me know–I’m keen on finding great places to go with my drone. Have drone, will travel.
Reef Check California
Reef Check California is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of the world’s reefs. Our mission is to empower people to save our reefs and oceans, stimulating action through a combination of education, training, research and targeted collaborations. In addition to providing a platform for divers to survey their local reefs, our training offers the public a rare window into underwater ecology, building a sense of direct personal investment in the preservation of the world’s oceans.
Sofar Ocean Technologies
A new venture from ocean tech companies, Spoondrift and OpenROV, who merged to form Sofar and accelerate a future of ocean exploration with better tools to understand and connect us with our planet. The mission of the company is to create pervasive sensor networks to understand and monitor ocean environments and provide critical data for ocean enthusiasts, industry, and conservation.
With support, encouragement, and guidance from
California State Parks
To provide for the health, inspiration and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state’s extraordinary biological diversity, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources, and creating opportunities for high-quality outdoor recreation.
The Noyo Center’s mission is to advance ocean conservation through education, exploration and experience and making our dramatic (and previously inaccessible) coastline available for innovative scientific research, hands-on education and natural resource stewardship.
California Marine Protected Areas Collaborative
The mission of the MPA Collaborative Network is to empower coastal communities to advance MPA management and encourage ocean stewardship.
Open Explorer is a community powered by our digital field journal platform. It’s for everyone: university researchers to citizen scientists, students to professional explorers. If you have a story to tell or a place to explore anywhere in the world, you can do it here.
What and Why
We’re going to be streaming a live remotely operated vehicle (drone) dive to two sites in the Mendocino area to bring people to the front lines of an important crisis developing off the coast of California.
Over the past five years, the North Coast has experienced a rapid and dramatic decline in ocean health, specifically in nearshore kelp forest ecosystems. Changes include a regional (Mendocino and Sonoma Counties) shift from a lush, diverse and bountiful kelp forest to a homogeneous, desolate, urchin barren. This is not only an environmental disaster, but the destabilization of the North Coast’s kelp forest ecosystem has destabilized our local communities and economy.
Scientists and volunteers are racing to find out why and to see if there’s a way to save them. We’re going to be diving on two places, the first one of the last remaining old growth kelp forests in the area. The other, an “urchin” barren where once a healthy ecosystem flourished and now all that is left are bare rocks and starving purple sea urchins.
Reef Check pursues four principal goals: 1) Educate the public and governments about the value of underwater reef ecosystems, and to bridge the information gap between scientists and citizens 2) Stimulate local action to protect remaining pristine reefs and rehabilitate damaged reefs worldwide 3) Create a global network of volunteer teams, trained and led by scientists, that regularly monitor and report on reef health using a standardized and scientifically rigorous sampling method 4) Design and implement ecologically sound and economically sustainable conservation projects through collaborations with community groups, governments, universities, and businesses.
We hope the live dive will help raise awareness about this and also allow us to attract researchers, divers, artists, and stakeholders to join in our efforts here on the north coast.
How can you help or join in?:
Follow the Noyo Center’s OpenExplorer Post