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Buoy System Invented in the Florida Keys Helps Protect Reefs Everywhere

Buoy System Invented in the Florida Keys Helps Protect Reefs Everywhere

Tim Grollimund[
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Author: Tim Grollimund

Date Published: March 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-3703452-1-2

Publisher: Shakespir Edition

Copyright © Apex Global Solutions LLC 2017. All rights reserved. This material may not be reproduced, displayed, modified or distributed without the prior and express written permission of the copyright holder. All inquiries via timgrollimund.com

Table of Contents

  1. Buoy System Invented in the Florida Keys Helps Protect Reefs Everywhere
  2. Acknowledgments
  3. Introduction
  4. The Reporter
  5. Mooring Buoy System
  6. About The Author
  7. Other eBooks, Prints and Keepsakes
  8. Articles I used to write this column

Acknowledgments

To Dad, who knew I loved the sea, and always encouraged me to pursue my passion.

Introduction

When I moved to the Florida Keys in 2009, I had one objective in mind. Simply, to become highly proficient as an underwater photographer. For the previous several years, I had helped my brother take care of our ailing parents. A few days before our Dad passed away (Mom had passed several weeks before), my Dad said something to me that was simple, yet profound. “Go get in the water where you belong”. I will never forget that. He knew how much I loved the sea, and for fifteen years I had not been in the water. I honor my father’s wish every time I jump off a boat.

My first foray in underwater photography was in the 1980s and 1990s. Dad loved seeing my seemingly endless slide shows in that [film/E-6] era. He knew, in my heart of hearts, I needed to be by the sea. So after he passed away, I came to the Florida Keys – and I don’t plan on living out of sight of the ocean, ever.

There are 75 ebooks in the collection. My goal is to produce one per week, which will run through all of 2017 to the middle of 2018. I will post new releases on my blog site: timgrollimund.com. Stay tuned, it’s going to be an entertaining ride! 

The ebooks will be priced at a discount during the Pre-order period ($0.99). On the Release Date the prices will increase to $2.99 – so get ‘em while they’re discounted! Make sure you go to my blog and get on the list for the Pre-Release Discounts!

The Reporter

The column as it appeared in The Reporter on May 27, 2011

The following image shows how the column was presented in The Reporter.

Mooring Buoy System

A DIVE TIME Column[
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When I was growing up in a small town in the Shenandoah Valley, we had a few hometown sports heroes.  Some were known in the town, others escalated statewide when they went to college and had a good college career, and we even had a guy make it to the major leagues and become the MVP for the Baltimore Orioles.  But not often do you have the privilege of talking with hometown folks whose efforts have had – and still do have – worldwide implications. 

Mooring buoys on dive sites help mitigate anchor damage

Start with an idea, implement it on a small scale, and grow it to become a world dominating practice.  Weather the bumps and bruises along the way, but never give up and always think in terms of the benefits to your constituents.    

Anchor damage on Molasses Reef

In this context I would compare John Halas to Bill Gates.  While Mr. Gates was transforming the personal computer software market, John Halas was transforming the way we interact with our coral reefs.  Pretty much the same time frame, too.  Although Mr. Gates’ company has made him a personal fortune, John’s efforts have made all of us who dive richer for the experience.

Mooring buoy attachment to the reef

In the mid 1970s, John assisted Harold Hudson (The Reef Doctor) of the U.S. Geological Survey with taking coral samples in the Keys.  They were taking core samples and plugging the holes with cement.  At the time John had a dive shop, and there had been some discussions locally with other dive operators on how to reduce anchor damage on the reefs.  

Mooring buoys put divers on great dive sites

John told me that as an employee of the Key Largo National Marine Sanctuary in 1981, the light bulb went off, and he thought through his idea, presented it to the powers that be, and got permission to set 6 experimental mooring buoys on French Reef using Harold Hudson’s core sampling technique.  Those first 6 mooring buoys, with years of maintenance, are still on French Reef today.   

Another great dive site!

In that first batch, different materials were used to gauge durability, strength and maintenance issues.  Within that first test year, plans were made to set forty additional  mooring buoys in the Upper Keys.  Over the next several years numerous reef protection nonprofits and other national and international government agencies picked up the theme, and we now have a worldwide system that has made giant strides to mitigate anchor damage and protect coral resources.   

Descending the mooring line to the reef

Today in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, we have nearly 800 mooring and special use buoys.  The number worldwide is over 4,000.  You can see where all the dive site mooring buoys are located by visiting this web page: www.floridakeys.noaa.gov/mbuoy/. For example, here is the map for Molasses Reef:    

Molasses Reef mooring buoy deployment

At the time of this writing, the Mooring Buoy Specialist Team for the Upper Keys consisted of Hank Becker, Robert Snyder and Brady Booton.

NOAA mooring buoy team at work

While there was some concern and reluctance to accept the system among some of the dive operators in the early days of the program, mooring buoys have developed into the preferred method.  Now it seems the discussion centers more on the buoy system as a management tool as much as a preservation tool. 

Ascending the mooring line on the Spiegel Grove

But that is an entirely different discussion.  Those dialogs  are about traffic levels on the reef, and placing the buoys in pristine versus frequently used sites.  There are many studies that examine reef quality, usage and the implications for tourism, so it is important for us in the diving community to understand the ramifications of the mooring buoy system.

In a modern era where most of the world’s reefs are in trouble, the implications for reef conservation from the mooring buoy system are incalculable.  A few weeks ago I said I would update you with new information about the state of our reefs.  The new report, called Reefs at Risk Revisited is available, and you can download it on the World Resources Institute web site.  On that main page you can easily find the Google map.  You can zero in on the Keys, or anywhere else in the world you’d like to check reef conditions.

Back to the dive boat!

When you put all this in perspective, and have the ability to take a world view, it’s even more apparent just how valuable the Mooring Buoy system is to reef ecosystems.  Now I call that a hometown hero.  And so did Oceana in 2009, honoring John with the inaugural Ocean Heroes Award.  I would equate that with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Oscars.

Hang time on the mooring line

And once again, the Florida Keys prove to be a world class place.  Not only for our reef system, but also for the efforts to preserve it.  Couple that with organizations like Reef Environmental Education Foundation and the Coral Restoration Foundation, and we really are a world class destination with local talent willing to excel in ideas, technologies and processes to preserve submerged resources.

About The Author

About Tim

I am a freelance photographer and PADI divemaster based in Key Largo, Florida. After a career in banking, marketing and consulting I moved to Key Largo in August 2009 to pursue my passion for underwater photography.

In December 2010 I won the underwater photography contest conducted during the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park 50th Anniversary Celebration. That led to a gig as the scuba diving columnist for the local newspaper.

It also led to a direct involvement with the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary as a member of the Ecosystem Protection Working Group and as an Alternate member of the FKNMS Advisory Council.

From January 2011 to April 2014 I wrote a bi-weekly column called DIVE TIME for The Reporter in the Upper Keys. Each time I wrote a column, I included a collection of images for the editor to choose from for the print edition. The editor did not have space available in the print edition to run all the images. I always felt a little “short-sheeted”, since all the photos I selected, to me, belonged with the column. I have always wanted to publish the columns as ebooks, and include all the images.

As the newspaper column developed, I became enamored with the behaviors of the critters I was spending many hours with on the reefs of the Upper Keys. As an extension of that curiosity, I ended up spending over a year as a representative on a working group for the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, and for a short while, as an Alternate member of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council.

I spent endless hours reading the science and interviewing any scientist that would talk to me, with the objective of conveying their findings to the public in understandable language. As all this progressed, I wrote more and more about the science. I have compiled these as a series, which I call the “Sanctuary Science Series”.

Thank you for your interest in the ocean. It has been a great learning experience for me to find a subject, go through the discovery process by reading the science, and now, through this ebook format, to expand on the concepts and the images from the original columns published in The Reporter.

All the best to you as you dive with me to learn more about marine life.

Best Regards,

Tim

Email: [email protected]

Connect with me:
Gallery Site: http://timgimages.com
Blog: http://timgrollimund.com
Shakespir Interview: https://www.Shakespir.com/interview/timgimages
Shakespir profile page: https://www.Shakespir.com/profile/view/timgimages 

Other eBooks, Prints and Keepsakes

By Tim Grollimund

Wreck Series

The Key Largo area has several wrecks that attract divers from all over the world. 

The wrecks that get the most attention in the Key Largo area are the Spiegel Grove, Duane and Benwood. 

  • Spiegel Grove: the most popular wreck in Key Largo. Over 500 feet long, diving depth from 65 to 130 feet. 
  • Duane and Bibb: Sunk as artificial reefs in the 1980s, these were the trend setters for using decommissioned Navy ships as artificial reefs in the Florida Keys. The exposed prop on the Bibb is a highlight of that deep dive.
  • Benwood: A great spot for diving and checkout dives for newbies. It’s a shallow dive, also well known for quality night dives.

See all the titles here: Wreck Series on timgrollimund.com

Sanctuary Science Series[
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Bonus: The first ebook in this series if Free! Look for “Aquarius Habitat is unique in the world”

This series focuses on a wide range of scientific topics. Several of these were associated with my trips to Aquarius Reef Base. The others were primarily from the time I spent as a Working Group Member and an Alternate Representative for the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council. 

There are 25 ebooks in this series. A loose generalization of the topics includes:

  • A summary of the FKNMS Conditions report that formed the basis of information for the Working Groups 
  • The connectivity and resilience of the reef system
  • The size, shape and placement of protected areas in the Florida Keys
  • The relevance of spawning areas and the importance of temporal restrictions during spawning seasons
  • The food chain, and how fishing pressure has potential unintended consequences

Over the years I wrote the newspaper columns, these topics generated the most spirited discussions in the Working Group meetings. Only time will tell if the conservation or the commercial interests prevail. In the next couple of years new regulations and boundaries will be released. Based on my experience, extreme opposition from some groups to increase protected areas may have a negative environmental impact on the health of the reef. The Florida Keys are in trouble. It’s all outlined in the Sanctuary Science Series.

See the full list here:  Sanctuary Series on timgrollimund.com

Marine Life Series

There are over 30 ebooks in this group. Many of the columns were species-specific. These were the most fun to write, since they were based on an innate curiosity for something I saw or wanted to know about a particular animal.

Here are some of the topics in this group:

  • Iconic species: eels, eagle rays, Goliath groupers, whale sharks, angelfish, barracuda, octopus, and more… 
  • Coral restoration efforts in the Florida Keys
  • Behavior: cleaning stations, schooling, relationships on the reef
  • Small critters: hamlets, butterfly fish, trunk fishes, wrasses, blennies, damsels, and more…
  • Gamefish and others: hogfish, permit, porgies, scorpionfish, snook, spadefish, trumpetfish, filefish, and more…

The variety of life on the reef can be quite exhilarating. I hope you share my enthusiasm as you dive deep into this abundance of species. See the full list here: Marine Life Series on timgrollimund.com

Wall Art and Paper Prints

The images you see on these pages are available on my website. Each image in the ebook has a link to the order page on the site.  

There are many sizes and styles of prints. Personally I prefer the Metal Prints. They are the most durable, bright and crisp presentations of the image, and come ready to hang. 

When you click on any of the images in the text, you will see the one you selected and many more to check out. Visit the gallery website at: www.timgimages.com

Keepsakes and Phone Cases

The coffee mugs, mouse pads and phone cases are the most popular items.

You can also make post cards, key chains and coasters if that floats your boat!

Have some fun when you order the images and keepsakes – I certainly had a lot of fun
creating the images and writing the columns!

These make great gifts for your scuba diving friends! Visit the gallery website at: www.timgimages.com

Advertising and Editorial Uses

Need images for your ad campaign or editorial piece?

Contact me directly and we can discuss your specific use.

Email me: [email protected]
or Click to Call: 305-508-5545

Articles I used to write this column

Here are the references I used to write this column…

Here are three references for the Mooring Buoy ebook. If you are interested in learning more about this topic, click the link below to go to the page on the website to download the PDF files.

  • Reefs at Risk Revisited Fact Sheet: Atlantic
  • Reefs at Risk Revisited Executive Summary
  • Mooring Buoys as a Management Tool for Controlling Visitor Impacts: An Introduction

Buoy System Invented in the Florida Keys Helps Protect Reefs Everywhere

The Mooring Buoy System started with an idea, was implemented on a small scale, and grew to become a world dominating practice. John Halas told me that as an employee of the Key Largo National Marine Sanctuary in 1981, the light bulb went off, and he thought through his idea, presented it to the powers that be, and got permission to set 6 experimental mooring buoys on French Reef using Harold Hudson’s core sampling technique. Those first 6 mooring buoys, with years of maintenance, are still on French Reef today. Today in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, we have nearly 800 mooring and special use buoys. The number worldwide is over 4,000. In a modern era where most of the world’s reefs are in trouble, the implications for reef conservation from the mooring buoy system are incalculable.

  • ISBN: 9781370345212
  • Author: Tim Grollimund
  • Published: 2017-03-02 21:20:21
  • Words: 2578
Buoy System Invented in the Florida Keys Helps Protect Reefs Everywhere Buoy System Invented in the Florida Keys Helps Protect Reefs Everywhere