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Reef Relief's 25th Annual
Member Meeting
Reef Relief’s 25th Annual Membership Meeting is Monday August 6th at the Pier House Caribbean Spa Room located at One Duval Street in Key West. Please join us this evening as we recognize our accomplishments over the past year and outline this year’s programs. Presentations include Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary’s management plan revision process and The Nature Conservancy’s Coral Restoration program.

All members are welcome or you can join at the door. Go to to renew online, join by phone at (305) 294-3100, mail your check to Reef Relief, PO Box 430, Key West, Florida 33041-0430, or renew your dues at the annual meeting. Join us this evening as we celebrate our marine environment together as one Reef family united. We hope to see your there!  Free food and a cash bar.

Petition to list 82 Species of Coral as Threatened or Endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA)
The communities of South Florida like many others around the globe rely on coral reefs economically and environmentally. They support the majority of the local economy through tourism and the fishing industry.  They protect our shores from storms and provide habitat to a diverse community of interconnected species. The well-established value of coral reefs makes it essential for all possible efforts be undertaken to protect these precious assets. We strongly urge the National Marine Fisheries service to determine that Endangered Species listing of all 82 petitioned species of coral is warranted including the seven species found in the Caribbean; Lamark’s sheet coral (Agaricia lamarcki), Rough cactus coral (Mycetophyllia ferox), Pillar coral (Dendrogyra cylindrus), Elliptical star coral (Dichocenia stokesi), Boulder star coral (Montastraea annularis), Mountainous Star Coral (Montastraea faveolata) and Montastraea coral (Montastraea franksi).
Over the last 25 years, our organization has completed extensive photographic and video documentation that has helped scientists report on changes to the coral reef tract, and discover new coral diseases. We have seen first hand the progressive loss of corals and visible damage to the coral reef ecosystem in the Florida Keys and the Caribbean. Since the 1970's it has been evident that corals across the Caribbean are diminishing. 
Coral polyps are sensitive to temperature changes. Increasing temperature extremes have resulted in coral bleaching and mortality. These extreme events are expected to increase from the effects of climate change. Atmospheric levels of CO2 have risen dramatically from 280ppm at the begin of the Industrial revolution to 390ppm in 2007. Increased atmospheric CO2 pollution causes our oceans to become more acidic as the ocean absorbs greater amounts of carbon dioxide. Ocean acidification slows coral growth rates that have already been diminished from water pollution and other stresses. Ocean acidification erodes the coral structure and makes them more vulnerable to storm damage from storms that are expected to become stronger and more frequent. Extensive losses have already occurred across the Caribbean from White plague, White-band, Yellow-band, and Black-band diseases. Increasing global temperatures are anticipated to cause more disease outbreaks. The massive population losses of important reef species such as Long-spined sea urchin (Diadema antillarum), and the Federally Threatened Elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata) and Staghorn coral (Acropora cervicornis) have fundamentally changed the coral reefs of the Caribbean.
Federal, state and international regulatory mechanisms have been inadequate to control the growing emissions of CO2 and other green house gases. In fact emissions have now surpassed projected worst case scenarios. The effects of this pollution are increasingly evident across the globe. The petitioned coral species continue to face intense human impacts resulting in lowered water quality; nutrient enrichment, sedimentation/ turbidity and pollutants. Corals globally are already weakened.  
Reef Relief urges the National Marine Fisheries Service to extend the additional protection of inclusion on the Endangered Species List to the 82 petitioned coral species so that efforts can be established to help these species recover from losses that have already occurred, to address greenhouse gas emissions and to increase efforts to help coral become more resilient to the effects of projected ocean acidification and climate change.

Coral Camp: Parrotfish, Turtles, Sea Urchins and Polyps
by, Maggie Allen, Reef Relief staff
After a week off for the 4th of July, Coral Camp is back in session and spots are filling up fast for the rest of the summer. We’ve had some crazy weather and experiences the last few weeks out at the reef and here in the center. Before our week long break, a couple tourists were standing on the coral reef, ignoring the fact that they were hurting millions of tiny polyps. After a few of us yelled at them to get off the coral, they only hunkered down and pretended not to hear us. One of our campers announced that was “very rude of them.” We wholeheartedly agreed.
We were finally graced with good weather this week and enjoyed three days of snorkeling at Ft. Zachary Taylor State Park, Western Sambo, and at Eastern Dry Rocks. At Western Sambo, we saw huge midnight and rainbow parrotfish, a variety of angelfish, spiny sea urchins, and a few barracuda. With perfect visibility and warm water, it was clear we were snorkeling in paradise. We got even luckier at Eastern Dry Rocks on Friday. A couple of the groups saw a 4-5 foot bull shark, a couple hawksbill sea turtles, more barracuda, and even larger parrotfish chomping at the coral.
We finished our successful week with thoughtful and intricate posters produced by the kids and an awesome video made by our very own summer staffer Morgan Knowles, which can be viewed on Reef Relief’s YouTube page!
West Marine Community Day on Wednesday, August 8th 
From 8am to 7pm 5% of sales will be donated to Reef Relief to support our Coral Reef Conservation Programs. Come to West Marine in Key West and enjoy barbecue and activities.
West Marine  is located at 725 Caroline Street in Key West. Call 305) 295-0999 for more information.

Conched in Key West Bar Crawl

Only going into our second year for the Conched in Key West Bar Crawl and we have taken huge strides towards bringing you all an amazing event.  We have teamed up with some great companies and I personally can’t wait till September 22nd!!
Currently we have The Cork and Stogie, Rum Bar, Pearl’s,  Kelley’s,  Bottle Cap, Bogarts, Cowboy Bills, Willie T’s, and Smokin Tuna signed on!  Each bar is offering different drink specials from a free drink to $2 and $3 rum punches!
Also Jodi and Starfish Travel have joined our team and will be offering some great travel packages! So if you are trying to figure out your arrangements give them a call and let them know you are part of our event!
Don’t want to go straight down to Key West? Want to take in some scenery on the way? Why not ride down with Rum Shop Ryan on the Key West Express? Enjoy a few cocktails and ride down on this fast boat, arriving in style!
Proceeds benefit Reef Relief this year!!

– Join online by clicking the donate now button or go to  
– Join by calling Reef Relief at 305-294-3100
– Mail your donation to: Reef Relief P.O. Box 430, Key West, FL 33040
– Or visit Reef Relief's Environmental Center at 631 Greene St. in Key West

P.O. Box 430 | Key West, FL 33041-0430 US