1) NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration was given a grant
by the Reef Ball Foundation to help a project using Reef Balls in 100-120
meters of water off the East Coast of Florida to restore the protected
Oculina coral banks. 108 Bay Balls were delivered on Sept 5th by Reef
Innovations to be used in the research. The project faces many challenges
due high currents (the site is in the Altantic Gulf Stream), deep depths,
and limited research vessel time. Oculina transplants which have been
cultured in the lab will be used to test the viability of "jump starting"
the corals since natural settlements appear to occur on average only once
every 10-20 years. The Oculina Banks are used by several species of fish
as spawning grounds.
2) The Reef Ball Foundation, The Reef Ball Development Group, Reef
Innovations, Sarasota County Marine Resources Division, The National
Estuary Program, and The School In The Park are teaming up to offer Reef
Balls for residents that own docks in Sarasota and perhaps Manatee County.
The school kids will do the public awareness campaigns, help the dock
owners determine if their dock is suitable for Reef Balls, and take orders
for the Reef Balls. Moneys will be collected by the Reef Ball Foundation
so that fees charged for the reefs will be a charitable contribution so
that they can be deducted on taxes. The Reef Ball Foundation will then
subcontract with Reef Innovations to do the actual construction and
deployment of the Reef Balls. The National Estuary Program is offering
the school an additional grant of up to $5,000 to help develop the
community awareness brochures and to help get the word out to residents.
Both Sarasota County Marine Resources Division and the NEP are helping the
kids to obtain the necessary permissions so that the resident dock owners
don't have to do any of the paperwork themselves. The remainder of the
money after construction and deployment will be donated to the School in
the Park where the kids will manage the money themselves to go on
educational trips, etc.
Reef Ball sends a special thanks to Nicole Park (marine biology teacher at
School In the Park), Mark Alderson of the NEP, Mike Solum of Sarasota
County Marine Resources, and Larry Beggs of Reef Innovations for their
contributions of time to help get this project started. The Reef Ball
Foundation hopes that this program will serve as a model for other schools
around the state.
3) Reef Innovations welcomes a new employee on board, Steve Shelton who
will begin work next month. Steve has been serving as the State
Artificial Reef Coordinator for North Carolina Division of Marine
Fisheries and over the next few weeks will be relocating to Florida.
Steve will perform a variety of functions at Reef Innovations from
marketing and sales to office management but he will also use his
extensive artificial reef experience for hands on assistance in projects.
The Reef Ball family of companies extends a warm welcome to Steve. Reef
Innovations is one of Reef Ball Foundation, Inc.'s largest mobile
contractors that provides turnkey reef ball solutions to clients
worldwide. Reef Innovations boasts building over 50,000 Reef Ball in the
last 7 years.
4) The Walker Elementary School in Atlanta, Georgia is planning a Reef
Ball project for deployment near St. Simon's Island, Georgia. The
current plan is to build and deploy 10 Bay Balls and then to annually
repeat the project. This project is being sponsored by the Reef Ball
Foundation, the school and additional funding is being sought from the
Sapelo Foundation and others.
Have a great weekend!