Coastal Steward Opens a Branch in South Florida
The Founder and Board of Director of New York Coastal Steward, Captain David Johnson has recently opened a branch office of the Coastal Steward in Miami, Florida (CSF). This is a very exciting time for the Coastal Steward with the opportunity continue the Adopt-A-Beach and Educational Programs and develop two new programs, the Coral Reef Restoration Program and the Lionfish Reduction Program. Captain Dave is looking to add more members to the CSF Board of Directors and funding to establish the CSF as an important contributor to the fight against the environmental problems facing Florida’s marine ecosystems.
There are some unique issues facing Florida’s coastal ecosystems and adjustments in how the CSF plans to perform the Adopt-A-Beach Program’s task of removing debris from mangroves. Most of the beaches in the Miami area are cleaned by the property owners, agencies or municipalities such as hotels and parks so the focus will be on areas that are not currently being cleaned. The CSF will also be working with the agencies and municipalities at select locations. The mangroves present a more difficult challenge to removing debris, basically you have to get in there by foot and carry everything out or canoe or kayak in with long poles with hooks on the end to get the debris out.
The Coral Reef Restoration Program is being developed and should be up and running within a few months. Coral reefs worldwide are under tremendous pressure from human interaction and global climate change. The way the program will address the loss of coral reefs is by growing small pieces of coral on hard objects and transplanting them in areas that have damage. This will be the CSF version of aquaculture instead of the Shellfish Restoration Program that the Coastal Steward in New York (CSNY) is doing. This will be a very interesting program with many challenges but extremely rewarding. There are also plans to develop a Mooring Program (MP) which would provide moorings to boaters to tie up to instead of throwing out an anchor which is a main cause of reef damage.
The Lionfish Reduction Program will involve a two prong approach, first we will be attempting to help develop a marketing plan to restaurants and retail fish outlets encouraging people to try eating Lionfish which are delicious. These efforts will coincide with working with local fisherman to target Lionfish and give them a new source of income. The second approach will be to organize Rodeos with dive shops, bait stores and restaurants that end with a fish fry and awards. Lionfish have very few predators and the local fish populations have no natural instinct to escape the Lionfish’s method of feeding. They also breed frequently and are causing a lot of damage to the reef populations.
The CSF is already registered in Florida and the IRS has provided us with the same 501 (c) (3) status as CSNY. We are actively seeking people to join the CSF and help implement and develop our programs. If anyone is interested they can contact Captain Dave at 516 946-6560.