[Coral-List] Discovery Land Project

Todd Barber reefball at reefball.com
Wed Mar 15 15:09:56 EST 2006

Hi Michael,

First, it should be known that I have never suggested Reef Balls for Guana 
Cay.  I have simply offered to interviene between those interested in 
preserving coral reefs and the developer to get a better outcome for the 
reef.  And in fact, the Reef Ball Foundation would ALWAYS prefer to save a 
natural reef rather than having to resort to building an artificial one.

But help me out here, it seems we have a Developer that is willing to 
consider options to make the development have less impact on the reef and we 
seem to have several scientists that can suggest "low impact" technologies 
that might be appropriate.  (And it actually appears from my investigation 
that the Developer is trying to incorporate as many low impact features as 
they can).  We have you saying we need an independent (non-developer 
sponsored) baseline and monitoring program which I agree with.  Seems to me 
like everyone is in agreement on what to do to move forward.  I must be 
missing something.

You mentioned the developer "rejected" baseline & monitoring. I am not sure 
I understand who a developer could reject this or how a developer should 
even be involved in baseline data and on-going monitoring....that should be 
something the governmental agencies do or other independent scientific or 
NGO organizations do...as you stated it needs to be at arms length and I 
don't think that the developer can reject anyone doing science in the water 
near their development.  It is a public policy issue if this information 
needs to be gathered.  Certainly it is not done for every development.... 
for example, did you do a baseline and on-going monitoring on the impact to, 
for example, bird nesting impacts when you built your home?  Sometimes 
government would say it was important to do so (in the event your house was 
being developed on a historical bird nesting location) and sometimes they 
would say it was not necessary.  In the case of Guana Cay, I would say, 
"yes" we need to baseline and monitor the coral reefs around Guana Cay 
because the development is significant and the coral reef is important.  So, 
the government should bear that expense.  It should be able to more than pay 
for the studies with the increased tax revenues generated by the 

My point in all of this is that as activists, if we are going to cry out 
against development, we need to have alternatives, suggestions, and action 
plans to help guide the development to minimize the negative impacts.  Even 
if faced with the complete halt of development we don't necessary achieve 
victory and save the reef because the developer will just move to another 
island with less resistance.  That's why we need to give them assistance, 
not necessarily resistance.

I'll give you an example from my own life.  I have always known since I was 
young that the cars I drove contributes to coral reef's decline.  Did I 
drive a solar car? No, it was not practical.  But two years ago they came 
out with Hybrid cars.  So, now both of my cars are hybrids.  Science 
provided me with a reasonable alternative...cost me a bit more but I know it 
is better for the reefs.  I think developers will do the same as science 
offers then alternatives.

Is there a way to use this opportunity of an open dialog with the developer 
to accomplish something positive?


Todd Barber
Chairman Reef Ball Foundation, Inc.
3305 Edwards Court
Greenville, NC 27858
reefball at reefball.com


Direct: 252-353-9094
mobile: 941-720-7549
Fax 425-963-4119

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----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Michael Risk" <riskmj at univmail.cis.mcmaster.ca>
To: "Todd Barber" <reefball at reefball.com>; <coral-list at aoml.noaa.gov>
Sent: Wednesday, March 15, 2006 1:44 PM
Subject: Re: [Coral-List] Discovery Land Project

> Hello Todd.
> My involvement with the Guana Cay situation has been restricted to the
> writing of a short initial report, which was commissioned by the
> present inhabitants. I have no involvement at present. Nonetheless, I
> want my position on your actions to be crystal-clear to the -list:
> I am opposed to the use of Reef Balls or indeed any similar artificial
> reef structures in this case. There is no need for them when the reef
> is healthy. In fact, if you want to be of real use, try to ensure that
> Reef Balls are never needed on Guana.
> What would help is what the "eco-friendly" developer has already
> rejected. In this case, AND ALL SUCH CASES, there must be the following
> ingredients:
> 1. necessary and sufficient baseline data on fish, invertebrates, and
> nutrients. These data must be taken by qualified people, and at a
> research-grade level with proper QA/QC protocols.
> 2. there must be a long-term monitoring program established, carried
> out by an arms'-length agency (ie, NOT hired by and reporting to the
> developer).
> 3. all data must be distributed freely and archived in several
> locations.
> None of the above conditions have been met.
> Mike 

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