Things are starting to shake in our tiny reef building world. Have received several generous donations of late -- the Foundation is 100% recovered from the Iron Lady Project.
Now to build more reef..
There are buoys at two reefs we're working on - marked off for our small barge. We take approximately 1/2 to 3/5 of a full tractor trailer load on each run aboard the 40 ft barge. It's slow to get loaded & deployed, but creates reef.
Slower still, (but not really because we're always after it!) are block deployments. Just did get a load of chimney blocks from Capt. Jeff Bauer with Potomac Valley Brick - those blocks make a wonderful 'tog condo' unit. Put enough units in one spot, rapid colonization is inevitable ..not just for tog, of course, but everything we want in a reef. Should cross the 20,000 block mark by May..
Soon the Morning Star will be doing dedicated winter block trips -- the kind where we load about 6.5 tons of block, set up on two anchors & let fly. Send volunteers home with a backache & do it again another day.
Spent a few days surveying with side-scan sonar this winter, especially at the Queen site. Then spent many-many hours doing chart corrections with the printer - especially for the Queen & Great Eastern Reefs. All corrections (there are many!) & new deployments will be highlighted in yellow in the 2018 Reef Charts..
Ace Printing in Berlin claims new charts should be in hand for the Seaside Boat Show this weekend. While a $50.00 donation secures a set of charts, all of your donation is plowed back into reef building -- be generous! (No president's salary, no secretary's salary - I couldn't guess how many hours I donate a year. Saves money!)
Also have an upcoming scuba monitoring trip. (Yup, there are people who will jump off a perfectly good boat in February - especially Nick Caloyianis http://www.nickcaloyianis.com/ & https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HE_9NQNi8U0 for Nat Geo video of Nick's shark attack)
One trip in May 2017 we deployed 7 tons of block in units where the big boulder reef is slated to go. Have to dive/video there for a close inspection to gauge how deeply boulder might scour-in. Scour where, 50 and more years ago, was once natural reef. Should be minimal as it was once hardbottom..
We lose a lot of substrate to scour -- same effect as your feet burying in as a wave recedes. Have to build a reef at least 3 feet high, but usually more, so the material creates its own foundation while the remaining exposed rock/concrete/steel becomes reef substrate.
The Nature Conservancy is still onboard with a $50K grant to assist with buying boulder. They're also committed to monitoring work -- the study of new reef colonization..This boulder reef, essentially a widely spread submerged jetty in an area where corals are already known to grow, is going to be a huge project.
I calculate there were nearly 4 square miles of good sea-whip meadows lost to the surfclam fishery in the 1960s & 1970s. Time to start putting it back. Gonna take a while.
Meanwhile, new charts & new t's/sweats coming. Going to go big on reef!