[Coral-List] Education/outreach and the Keys

Sarah Frias-Torres sfrias_torres at hotmail.com
Wed Jun 25 11:36:02 EDT 2008

Following on Christoher Hawkins comments on education and outreach in the Florida Keys, I'd like to add an observation.
In the Miami area, the gateway to the Keys, the first language is Spanish, the second Spanglish, maybe the third is English. If you go any weekend to a marina, about 90 % of the people launching boats in the water, armed with their fishing gears, will speak to you only in Spanish (even if they know English), and are not aware at all of the fragility of southern Florida ecosystems, or of all the fishing regulations. Now, move all that to the Keys.
What I find quite shocking is that in more than 10 years doing research in Florida, I have rarely seen outreach materials that engage the ever growing Hispanic community. And I'm just talking about written materials. Not once, I've seen a newspiece on the Spanish TV channels talking about Florida's ecosystems. When I joined a Cuban-American professional scuba diver on a short TV news program in Telemundo 51, to explain that stingrays are not mindless killers (that was in the aftermath of Steve Irvin's death), we had to fight with the producers just to add some underwater video and show stingrays in their natural habitat, including a few frames filmed in the Florida Keys. The reason given was that, since the audience have not been exposed to this before, they will not be interested. Quite an oxymoron.  There is now a new Hispanic TV channel, V-me, that when it comes to nature, it merely translates to Spanish documentaries from National Geographic and the BBC. A first step, but not there yet.
In summary, the Florida Keys is used by many people, and not all of them speak English. For the folks working on outreach and education in this area, How are you planning to reach out everyone? How are you going to move beyond the printed materials (which are nice but few read) into a format that really works? Not everyone has access to the internet... but almost eveyone watches TV, or listens to the radio (and not always English-speaking channels).   

Sarah Frias-Torres, Ph.D. 
Marine Conservation Biologist, 
Ocean Research and Conservation Association, Florida USA
 > Date: Tue, 24 Jun 2008 06:48:00 -0700> From: chwkins at yahoo.com> To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov> Subject: Re: [Coral-List] Education/outreach and the Keys> > > I have known the education and outreach staff, as well as many other folks at FKNMS, for years.  I agree with Billy that they are some of the most dedicated public servants in resource management.  I do, however, suggest that many of our coastal outreach staff, at FKNMS and beyond, are trained primarily to understand and discuss ecology to stakeholders and that fewer are trained in the social psychological aspects of attitudes, values, models of communication, or other associated research.  I also argue that there is a lack of emphasis on ensuring that such staff attend social science oriented conferences and that their sites be stocked with appropriate literature (e.g. on the linkages between education, information, attitudes and behavior – keeping in mind that the goal is often a change in behavior).  These conclusions are general and do not hold across all sites , but I do come to them via my own experience first as an education and> outreach person, subsequently as a member of a coral reef  management team, and now as a human dimensions researcher. >  > Finally, I also agree with Billy that the Keys reefs endure an onslaught from vehicular traffic (many towing boats) down US 1 from the mainland, and that many of these people have little idea of the sensitivity of the habitat they are entering or that they are even coming into the second largest US National Marine Sanctuary.  That is why I recommended (and do so again here) nearly ten years ago in my Master’s thesis that a large, pretty sign or two be installed on the 18 miles stretch (to include the national parks and national wildlife refuges found in the Keys), as well as an AM radio repeater.  The 18 mile stretch is a long, boring piece of road.  Let’s fill it with great information for drivers about Sanctuary and other resources.  If the Martha’s Vineyard Steamship Authority can maintain an AM repeater to tell people where to park, certainly the three main resource management agencies in the Keys can get together and do it.>  > Best,> Chris>  > Christopher Hawkins, Ph.D. candidate> Human Dimensions of Marine and Coastal Ecosystems Program> Department of Natural Resources Conservation> 314 Holdsworth Hall> University of Massachusetts> Amherst, MA 01003> 413.545.3749> www.umass.edu/hd> > --- On Tue, 6/24/08, Billy Causey <billy.causey at noaa.gov> wrote:> > From: Billy Causey <billy.causey at noaa.gov>> Subject: Re: [Coral-List] Macroalgae in the Keys> To: "Curtis Kruer" <kruer at 3rivers.net>> Cc: "SAC" <FloridaKeysSAC at noaa.gov>, coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov, "FKNMS" <FLORIDAKEYSSTAFF at NOAA.GOV>, "John Bruno" <jbruno at unc.edu>> Date: Tuesday, June 24, 2008, 7:55 AM> > Curtis,> I will try to respond to your note without seeming personal or> defensive, but both are difficult to manage. However, since you> have sent this message to the Coral-list, and indeed the world, I > cannot> stand by without responding this time. A long time ago, when you > moved to> Montana, I stopped reading your messages based on your snap-shot > visits to the> Florida Keys. Your passion runs high for this very special place,> no one could ever question that about you. What I take exception to is> how you seem to imply that you are the only one who cares about the > Florida> Keys coral reef ecosystem - that none of the FKNMS Team share your> passion for this place. You are mistaken.> > The FKNMS Team is made up of the most dedicated people I have ever> worked with, in state or federal government. But the FKNMS Team> is more than government employees who get paid for their work (and not> nearly enough). They are government employees who work a third to> half of their time without compensation. We are a community who cares> about this very special place we call home. The paid staff of the> FKNMS Team come from 2 state agencies and 1 federal agency who> work together, focusing on protecting and conserving the resources > of this> special area.> > The FKNMS Team is also made up of dozens of hard working> volunteers, such as those who serve on the Sanctuary Advisory> Council, or Team OCEAN volunteers, or Reef Medic volunteers, or> the dozens of volunteers who support Sanctuary operations in a> variety of ways. The Sanctuary Advisory Council has served since> February of 1992, and dozens of individuals have given of their> precious personal time and made personal sacrifices to help> protect and conserve the Florida Keys. Curtis ... you should> attend one of these meetings some time and experience the passion> and commitment that makes yours pale by comparison.> The FKNMS Team is also comprised of all of the local, state,> federal and NGO partnerships that exist. These are partnerships> that are essential if the goals and objectives of the Sanctuary are > to be realized.> Goals and objectives that were created by the Sanctuary Advisory > Council -> again, individuals and leaders in the community who have given of their> time to make a difference in this special place.> > Coral reef ecosystems around the world are facing the same major> threats: climate change, land-based sources of pollution, habitat loss> and degradation, and overfishing. And the Florida Keys are no> different. Yet there are differences. Millions of people visit the> Keys and most of them end up on the water. The coral reefs here> are the most accessible in the world and are the heaviest used coral > reefs> in the world. They are on the door-step of 5-6 million people who > live in> South Florida, many of whom trailer their own boats down a single> highway and launch them. The Florida Keys are at a cross-roads of> connectivity between the waters of the Wider Caribbean, 40% of the> drainage off North America and downstream of the South Florida> Ecosystem. It is a special place in high demand and under> extraordinary stresses from use. These facts cannot be denied, or> underestimated.> > Curtis ... you make a good point in your statement: "The job of the> FKNMS was to protect and manage the coral reef ecosystem of the Keys> _for the good of all___._" That one sentence captures the entire> challenge of managing a multiple-use marine protected area like the > Florida> Keys. Not everyone shares your values or opinions about how the> resources are to be used. Nor do they share mine or those of the FKNMS> >> Team. In fact I would say that the vast majority of those > >> visiting the Florida> >> Keys don't share our values. But they still have a right to > >> access and use of the> >> resources ... in ways that make me cringe. However, the situation > >> gets> >> more complicated. The FKNMS shares authority and jurisdiction > >> with 27> >> other local, state and federal agencies. The State of Florida is> >> co-trustee and owner of the submerged lands in 65% of the> Sanctuary.> >> They have shared authority and jurisdiction over the majority of> the> >> waters of the Sanctuary. Many who may have read your posting > >> wouldn't> >> know that there are multiple, overlapping jurisdictions ... in an > >> area> >> the size of the State of Vermont. Can you imagine ... how many> law> >> enforcement officers there are in the State of Vermont at the> local,> >> county, state and federal levels? If we had that many Enforcement> >> Officers in the Keys, we would be accused of having a police> >> state. Yet, with all of that enforcement in Vermont people still > >> speed and> >> have accidents. And we see that every day on the water in the> >> Keys. Regardless of the regulations in place in the FKNMS, people> >> still prop scar and run aground on seagrass beds. The keys > >> to the future> >> of the Sanctuary lie in the next generations. Education and outreach > >> arethe most effective management tools that we can utilize. The > >> Seagrass Outreach> Partnership in the FKNMS has gained a tremendous amount of> momentum over the past 5 to 7 years and people are working> together to address a huge problem. Flatsfishermen, agency> representatives, educators and conservationists are working> together, to bring attention to impacts to seagrass. Government > cannot do it> alone and it is in the Keys where personal ownership of resource> interests come together to work towards collective long term > solutions. In fact, the> Keys community is frequently sought out as a model for cooperative and> coordinated management.> > The problems affecting coral reefs, especially those in the> Florida Keys, are enormous. There's no question about it. It > troubles me to> see the decline at popular reefs like Looe Key Reef, but it also> troubles me to see the decline on coral reefs in remote areas> around the Caribbean, or in the Pacific. It's easy to put ones> self in an adversarial or finger pointing role, however it's more > difficult to put ones self in a role of creating positive change > through a public participatory process.> The next time you visit Florida, try to attend a Sanctuary> Advisory Council meeting and learn about passion and commitment in> the trenches. Here you would have an opportunity to provide cogent > and realistic> alternatives to our current management approaches to an Advisory> Council comprised of a diverse range of stakeholders. You have an open> invitation to attend and provide public comment at any Sanctuary> Advisory Council meeting.> > Billy Causey> > Curtis Kruer wrote:> > Hi John,> >> > If Billy Causey's job was only to manage for minimizing macroalgal> cover > > cover you might be correct. But the reality is that the Keys' coral > > reef ecosystem is a mess (for example shoreline mangroves, shallow > > seagrass, marine habitat disturbance and degradation, trap debris and > > trap impacts, loss of hard coral cover in popular dive sites, sacrifice > > zones on seagrass beds where 1000s of partying boats predictably and > > routinely congregate in shallow water, large vessels routinely > > resuspending sediment in coral areas, etc.) and has worsened > > considerably since the designartion of the FKNMS in 1990. The job of > > the FKNMS was to protect and manage the coral reef ecosystem of the Keys > > for the good of all. In my view (based on 30+ years of work there), > > and the view of many others, it has failed miserably. As your email > > arrived I was working through some routine GIS and imagery review I do > > in the Keys utilizing high resolution 2006 color aerial imagery. You > > should get a set and take a look for yourself. > >> > Geez. > >> > So that no one on the list is misinformed possibly you could clarify > > your comment - "....are in my view some of the world's most> successful > > reef managers." - and explain that it applies only to macroalgae?? > >> > Thanks. > >> > Curtis Kruer> >> > > >> > John Bruno wrote:> >> > > >> MACROALGAL COVER IN THE FL KEYS: Dear Chip, Macroalgal cover in the > > >> Florida Keys is only about 10%. A recent paper based on CREMP > >> monitoring indicates that it was 9.6% in 2000 (Maliao et al. 2008, > >> Marine Biology). My own unpublished meta-analysis based on CREMP data> > >> plus a variety of other sources indicates it was "recently"> 12.2 ± > >> 0.4% (n=1048 quantative reef surveys performed between 1996 and 2005) > > >> and macroalgal cover exceeded 50% in only 2.5% of these surveys. This> > >> is substantially lower than the average in the greater Caribbean of > >> roughly 20% and identical to the Indo-Pacific mean.> >>> >> Nobody knows what the historical baseline (i.e., the subregional > >> average, not the value on a single undisturbed reef) of macroalgal > >> cover was in the Keys (or anywhere else), but I doubt that it was any > > >> lower than 5%. So we may have seen a rough doubling of macroalgal > >> cover, but we are very far from a state that could rationally be > >> described as "macroalgal dominated" or "little more> than rubble, > >> seaweed and slime".> >>> >> Billy Causey and his team are in my view some of the world's most > > >> successful reef managers; the quantitative monitoring data indicates > >> that they have been very successful in managing the major threats to > >> reefs that they are capable of mitigating. They obviously cannot > >> prevent climate change and coral disease outbreaks, but they have done> > >> a good job at managing for low-ish macroalgal cover (which will > >> ideally, at some point facilitate coral recovery). Macroalgal cover > >> the GBR is about 7% (based on AIMS monitoring), but those reefs are > >> 10s-100s of km offshore, i.e., very isolated and naturally > >> oliogotrophic compared to the Keys, and didn't suffer the virtual > > >> extinction of their key grazer or their dominant coral species as the > > >> Keys did due to regional epizootics. All things considered, at least > > >> in terms of macroalgal cover, the Keys are in relatively good shape. > > >> Lets give the Keys management team - and all the other successful > >> local reef managers - some credit, base our arguments and discussion > >> on the facts, and focus on the real threats to reefs.> >>> >> TOP-DOWN VS. BOTTOM-UP: Dear Imam, assuming that like most of us you > > >> are not swayed by the ideology and anecdotes you have been reading on > > >> the list in response to your query, I'd start with Alina> Szmant's > >> authoritative review (2002 Estuaries) of the published science on > >> nutrient and grazer control of macroalgal biomass on reefs. You might> > >> also look at Idjadi et al (2006, Coral Reefs), which documented the > >> immediate loss of macroalgal cover (to 6%) as soon as Diadema returned> > >> to the scene on a reef purported to be one of the most eutrified in > >> the world. There are a slew of other peer-reviewed papers that > >> document similar removal of macroalgae on reefs widely described as > >> highly eutrified once grazer populations recover (e.g., Edmunds and > >> Carpenter 2001 PNAS, Carpenter and Edmunds 2006 Ecology Letters, Mumby> > >> et al. 2006 Science, etc.). Also see Williams and Polunin (2001 Coral> > >> Reefs); a very powerful and important study that documented the > >> striking negative relationship (r2=0.89) between fish biomass > >> (particularly Scarid biomass) and macroalgal cover. Finally, if you > > >> expand your search beyond the coral reef world, you'd find that in> > >> estuaries and in temperate and cold water benthic systems, urchins and> > >> other grazers are easily able to control macroalgal production that is> > >> far greater, under nutrient concentrations many orders of magnitude > >> higher than those ever seen on reefs. Just think about Jim Estes'> > >> work on Pacific otters-you remove them, urchin populations explode, > >> macroalgae disappears and what remains is an "urchin> barren"; and this > >> occurs in upwelling systems with lots-o-nutrients. This was also seen> > >> in the Gulf of Maine after Cod were removed by fishing (at least > >> before people started harvesting urchins, then the macroalgae all came> > >> back); see Steneck and Carlton's and Duffy and Hay's very nice> reviews > >> of all this the Marine Community Ecology book (eds. Bertness et al > >> 2001,> Sinauer-http://www.amazon.com/Marine-Community-Ecology-Mark-Bertness/dp/0878930574)> > >> . And look at the recent review by Heck and Valentine (2007 Estuaries> > >> and Coasts) which outlines all the evidence for top down control in > >> estuaries around the world.> >>> >> If you stick to the hard science, the answer to your question is > >> fairly clear - at least as clear as anything gets in ecology. Let me > > >> know if you have any trouble getting any of these papers.> >>> >> Sincerely,> >>> >> JB> >>> >> John Bruno> >> Associate Professor> >> Depts. of Biology and Marine Sciences> >> UNC Chapel Hill> >> www.brunolab.net> >>> >>> >> > >>> >> > >>> Dear Imam,> >>> The relationship between nutrients and algal growth is well > >>> established, and the influences of herbivory on algal growth and > >>> cover have also been demonstrated. However, as Dr. Goreau stated,> > >>> the lack of successful integration of nutrients and herbivory in> any > >>> of those studies has contributed to a disconnect. In Florida,> where > >>> a large coastal population has resulted in mesotrophic and more > >>> typically eutrophic coastal waters, we have a high % of algal> cover > >>> and biomass. Add the facts that we do not fish for herbivorous > >>> fishes, and that we have removed a fair % of their predators; it > >>> follows that Florida would have an increase in herbivorous fishes,> > >>> and therefore our relative herbivory. But we are still plagued by> > >>> macroalgal dominance, losses of coral and Harmful Algal Blooms.> This > >>> suggests that nutrients are indeed an important factor shaping the> > >>> algal community. Hatcher and Larkum (1983, JEMBE 69, pp61-84) > >>> compared grazing and nitrogen concentrations on One Tree Reef in> >>> Australia and found both grazing and nitrogen were important in > >>> limiting algal growth.> >>>> >>> Sincerely,> >>> Chip> >>>> >>> Rex "Chip" Baumberger> >>> Biological Scientist, FAU> >>> Marine Nutrient Dynamics Dept.> >>> Marine Science Division> >>> Harbor Branch Oceanographic Inst.> >>> 5600 US1 North> >>> Fort Pierce, FL 34946> >>> 772-465-2400 x398> >>> > >>>> >>> > >>> >>> >>> >> _______________________________________________> >> Coral-List mailing list> >> Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov> >> http://coral.aoml.noaa.gov/mailman/listinfo/coral-list> >>> >> > >>> >> > >> >> > _______________________________________________> > Coral-List mailing list> > Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov> > http://coral.aoml.noaa.gov/mailman/listinfo/coral-list> > > > -- > Billy D. Causey, Ph.D., Regional Director> Southeast Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Region> National Marine Sanctuary Program> 33 East Quay Road> Key West, Florida 33040> > 305.809.4670 (ex 234)> 305.395.0150 (cell)> 305.293.5011 (fax)> > Billy.Causey at noaa.gov> > _______________________________________________> Coral-List mailing list> Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov> http://coral.aoml.noaa.gov/mailman/listinfo/coral-list> > > > _______________________________________________> Coral-List mailing list> Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov> http://coral.aoml.noaa.gov/mailman/listinfo/coral-list

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