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Friends of Our Florida Reefs news letter
FtMyersTom - 12/20/2017 7:09 AM
Category: General
Replies: 0

Hello Friends,

2017 was a busy year for Friends of Our Florida Reefs (FOFR) in our second full year as the dedicated 501c3 nonprofit citizen support organization for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Coral Reef Conservation Program.

Our main area of concern is the over 100-miles of vital coral reef ecosystems just offshore between Miami-Dade and Martin Counties (north of Biscayne National Park to Port St. Lucie), detailed in the map image below. This reef tract is part of the ancient Florida Barrier Reef extending thru the Keys to the Dry Tortugas. However, this 100+ mile northern section, directly east of over 6-million people living in 4 coastal counties, was relatively recently designated as "reefs", hence their management by governmental agencies is being developed methodically over time.
FOFR was established in 2015 to help complement and enhance the programs & activities of Florida’s Coral Program, assist with agency budget gaps, and develop a rapid response fund for emergencies for this large region of our Florida Reefs.

In addition to sponsoring critical regional meetings and routinely conducting outreach & education in the counties and cities, in 2017 FOFR was charged to help produce the United States Coral Reef Task Force Meeting in Florida, the first gathering of this national body in Florida since 2011 and 2004. With the generous support of several proud sponsors, partners and volunteers, FOFR was able to help fund a wonderful week-long meeting in Fort Lauderdale for over 250 registrants, which included several field trips for the experts who came from all over the United States, including distant island territories.

On the direct action side, FOFR helped to sponsor the second in-water SEAFAN BleachWatch training (photo gallery here). The BleachWatch training is geared to help citizen divers file basic scientific reports to Florida’s Coral Program about coral bleaching and disease they see on recreational dives. SE Florida is unfortunately experiencing multiple bad years of severe coral bleaching and disease outbreaks claiming the lives of countless coral colonies up and down the coast, and citizen scientists are key to help monitor and see where help is needed most. Recently, we also co-sponsored a BioBlitz in Dania Beach. Much more hands-on and direct action to come in 2018!

Please visit our FOFR’s Participation Page to see what we’ve been up to in 2017 and the past years. FOFR thanks all our sponsors, donors, and volunteers for their generous support!

2018 is shaping up to be another big year for FOFR with lots activities in the works, and we rely on support from the public and corporations. If you would be interested in making a tax-deductible gift of any amount, or want to contact us to potentially volunteer, please visit FOFR’s DONATION PAGE, where you can see all the options to help, including donating digital currency. And if you’re still shopping for Christmas presents via Amazon (or anytime), please click on the link below where your purchase can passively help support FOFR!