Common Sea Fans (<em>Gorgonia ventilina</em>) are one of several species of sea fans found in southeast Florida. Sea fans are also classified as soft corals or gorgonians.

Common Sea Fans (Gorgonia ventilina) are one of several species of sea fans found in southeast Florida. Sea fans are also classified as soft corals or gorgonians.

Photo: Chantal Collier

Juvenile bluehead wrasses swim along the reef in Palm Beach.

Juvenile bluehead wrasses swim along the reef in Palm Beach.

Photo: Joe Marino

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Southeast Florida Reef News

New Manager for Florida’s Coral Reef Conservation Program

Joanna Walczak
Manager, Coral Reef Conservation Program

Joanna at the 2009 US Coral Reef Task Force Meeting in Puerto Rico
Joanna at the 2009 US Coral Reef Task Force Meeting in Puerto Rico

Greetings! As the new Manager for Florida’s Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP), I wanted to extend my heartfelt thanks to all of you for your support of the CRCP over the past eight years.  I joined the CRCP over five years ago as the Coordinator for the Southeast Florida Coral Reef Initiative’s (SEFCRI) Maritime Industry and Coastal Construction Impacts (MICCI) Focus Team, and have worked closely with the SEFCRI Team and CRCP partners furthering Florida’s efforts to balance the use and conservation of southeast Florida’s coral reefs.

I have also been designated as Florida’s Point of Contact to the US Coral Reef Task Force and the US All Islands Coral Reef Committee.  By participating in these meetings, I am able to ensure that Florida’s coral reef priorities and issues are integrated into national level conservation efforts. Here at the local level, there are also many ways to engage in efforts to protect the Florida Reef Tract. Currently, the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary is seeking public comments on its sanctuary marine zones and regulations. Feedback provided during this scoping period will shape Florida Keys marine conservation for the next two decades. See the announcement below for more details on how you can submit comments.

As you can see by all of the updates in this newsletter, CRCP staff and partners are hard at work on southeast Florida projects that range from filling priority data gaps to actively restoring coral reef sites that were damaged by vessel groundings. CRCP staff are some of the hardest working and dedicated people I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with; each one of them brings a unique perspective to the CRCP Team and I encourage you to stop by our community event booths to meet them all!

Again, thank you for your continued support of southeast Florida coral reefs and all of the efforts of the CRCP and SEFCRI. I am thankful to be a part of such an amazing group of people and I can’t wait to see what the next five years will hold!



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