[Coral-List] Fwd: FL Legislature and SEAKEYS

Billy Causey billy.causey at noaa.gov
Thu Mar 8 12:24:38 EST 2012

Jim ...
First of all, I need to correct something here.  Nearly half of the SEAKEYS
stations are in State waters.  The Tortugas Station and Sand Key are for
sure and several others are close.  But that's not the question when we are
all suppose to be using an ecosystem approach to management.  Anyway ...
it's good to hear so many people care about the fate of SEAKEYS.

I have been following this SEAKEYS thread with great interest and as you
well know a feeling of desperation.  I won't go into a full history of the
SEAKEYS concept, it's development and it's champions... but suffice it to
say there have been many, but John Ogden stands out among the rest!

In 1988-89, a group of scientists and managers held a workshop at Ian
Koblick's Marine Resources Development Foundation in Key Largo.  A side
note is that it was the infamous workshop where it was announced by a
scientist that the corals in the Keys would be dead in 10 years and it was
on the heels of massive Caribbean-wide coral bleaching events with the Keys
receiving the brunt of a number of major catastrophic perturbations.  The
workshop produced a proceedings and "A Blueprint for Action" was part of
the title of the proceedings that were edited by James Miller, previously
the editor of the first NOAA Dive Manuel.  Way too much detail!

Among the recommendations from the workshop was that we needed measurements
of the oceanographic parameters along the Florida Keys. The coral bleaching
vs nutrients debate was in full-swing and we needed answers as to why the
reefs had turned stark white twice (1983 and 1987) in the Florida Keys, and
elsewhere.  John Ogden, the fairly recently appointed Director of the
Florida Institute of Oceanography, took the recommendation seriously and
submitted a proposal to the MacAruthur Foundation who funded the start-up
and operations of SEAKEYS for the first 3 years.  After that, finding
the funding was always a challenge from year to year, but we used South
Florida Ecosystem Restoration funds, periodic funds from National Marine
Sanctuaries, funds from ship groundings when it could be linked back to
specific reefs, and an alphabet soup of other funders and sources.  SEAKEYS
has been on the chopping block many times, and each time we were able to
find the funding to move over to FIO who has been the very capable and
long-term sponsor of the project.

The need has not gone away .... and it is good to see how many people care
about and utilize data from the SEAKEYS system. However, I am concerned
that funding will not come in time to save SEAKEYS.  When the IOOS era
began emerging, I always thought we were home free ..... because SEAKEYS
had been in place well over a decade and a half when the IOOS initiatives
became popular. Where-else could we demonstrate the need and effectiveness
of ocean observing systems?  Yet, funding did not flow toward FIO to
maintain the largest array of oceanographic stations along the east coast.

I don't have an answer at the moment, but I am concerned for coral reef
managers and scientists all over South Florida and the Wider Caribbean and
hope we can cobble together another "life-ring" for SEAKEYS.  Who wants to
step up and be a champion?

Cheers, Billy

On Thu, Mar 8, 2012 at 7:27 AM, Jim Hendee <jim.hendee at noaa.gov> wrote:

> Coral-Listers,
>   The (previous) Field Operations Manager of SEAKEYS, Jon Fajans, sent me
> a reminder about why the State of Florida has declined supporting the
> continued maintenance of the network:
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: Jon Fajans
> Date: Wed, Mar 7, 2012 at 12:31 PM
> Subject: FL Legislature and SEAKEYS
> To: Jim Hendee <Jim.Hendee at noaa.gov>
> Hi Jim,****
> ** **
> The State of Florida has been asked repeatedly for funding for the SEAKEYS
> program, and each time they have declined, pointing out that the stations
> (and the reef for that matter) are in federal waters outside the State’s
> three mile boundary.****
> ** **
> Jon Fajans****
> _______________________________________________
> 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
NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries
33 East Quay Road
Key West, Florida 33040

Office:  305 809 4670 (ex 234)
Mobile: 305 395 0150
Fax:     305 293 5011
Email:  Billy.Causey at noaa.gov

Will Our Grandchildren Remember Us For What We Conserved and Protected or
For What We Let Slip Away?

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