[Coral-List] Majuro airport dredging2

Todd Barber reefball at reefball.com
Mon Jun 13 13:46:07 EDT 2011

Thank Dean for documenting the reef, I think taking this directly to the
Coral Reef Task Force is one of the best ways to get the issue heard at the
Presidential level.

You might also get some ground swell by creating a facebook group to
highlight the issue and I am sure there are many on the CORAL list that
would support such a site by sharing the links with people interested in
saving corals.

A press release can also be an effective way to get your information out
there....have you created one yet?


Todd R Barber
Chairman, Reef Ball Foundation
3305 Edwards Court
Greenville, NC 27858
252-353-9094 (Direct)
941-720-7549 (Cell & Goggle Voice)
toddbarber Skype

www,reefball.org (Reef Ball Foundation)
www.artificialreefs.org (Designed Artificial Reefs)
www.reefbeach.com (Reefs for Beach Erosion)
www.eternalreefs.com (Memorial Reefs)
www.reefball.com (Reef Ball Foundation)

On Mon, Jun 13, 2011 at 12:18 AM, Dean Jacobson <atolldino at yahoo.com> wrote:

> Dear Listers
> Earlier I requested lobbying help in an attempt to save a coral reef in the
>  Marshall Islands that is about to be dredged to produce fill in order to
>  extend, at FAA's request and funding, the runway of our international
> airport.
>  I just posted a few satellite and underwater photos of this site on Flickr
>  (username: atolldino).  Thanks to those who emailed the FAA
> representative.
>  The good news is that the issue is getting attention from NOAA and the
>  Coral Reef Task Force.
> Since my earlier post I have surveyed the reef, assembling a nearly
>  continuous photographic mosaic from 250 photographs.  This vividly
> demonstrates how
>  much of this fringing reef has 100% coral cover.  At the same time I
>  fortuitously observed the massive group-spawning of Ctenochaetus striatus
> (our most
>  common surgeonfish, 1000-2000 fish in the spag) and again encountered a
>  school of over 1500 mackerel (just like one, at the same site, I had
> previously
>  videotaped). A spectacular spawning video, "airport spawning" (once you
> get
>  beyond the first minute) is now posted with my "airport reef" video on
>  Youtube.  I also encountered dogtooth tuna on two out of three visits.
>  This is
>  a special reef, as I have not seen such massive fish congregations
> anywhere
>  else in the southern lagoon (and I am familiar with dozens of sites).
>  Given
>  that this is the only lagoon site where I have found large orange seafans,
>  it appear that locally strong currents may explain the
>  profusion of life.
> Any ideas out there of how to move this along, how to light some fires, on
>  the list would be most welcome.  I cannot believe that such a short-sided
>  coral mining operation might be allowed to proceed.
> I am trying to make the point that, within the context of Majuro lagoon's
>  south shore, this is actually one of the best reefs we have left... most
> of
>  the others were destroyed by COTS in 2004-06 and now have very low coral
> cover
>  (Halimeda has covered the dead coral, preventing coral recruitment).
>  However, it is difficult to get my fellow islanders interested... they
> appear not
>  to understand the connection between reef fish and living coral.  I
>  submitted a bunch of awareness material for this weeks local paper.  Coral
> abuse is
>  a widespread problem, of course.
> To make matters worse, the contractor, PII, has a lot of economic and
>  political clout, and they may make life unpleasant for me (as I noted
> before, when
>  I snorkeled at the airport fire station ("ARFF") site, when they were
>  suction dredging another 100% cover reef, they attempted to have me fired
> from
>  CMI... When this suction dredging for the ARFF site occurred, outside the
>  process and unregulated by EPA, I vowed never to
> allow it to be repeated.  But here we are again!
> I am giving FAA the benefit of the doubt, that they do intend to be
>  environmentally sensitive.  I understand that some of what happens on far
> away
>  atolls is out of their control, but I hope FAA will refrain from putting
> pressure
>  on whoever is controlling the purse strings of this project (I was told it
>  is Leo A. Daly) so that there is time to find a less destructive source of
>  fill.
> thanks,
> Dean Jacobson, Ph.D.
> College of the Marshall Islands
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> Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
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