New Coral Restoration Site In Town

Last week, Coral Restoration Foundation Bonaire began transplanting corals at a brand new restoration site! Volunteers, interns, and team members worked diligently to transplant the first 150 corals at the new site in town, which is located on Playa Lechi, near the recreational swimming area. Easily accessible to snorkelers by shore, this is the first of four sites that will be restored with the Dutch Government fund, “Natuurgelden BES”, received this year to further develop the foundation’s activities.
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The project, that will continue throughout 2017, includes the restoration of the population of staghorn corals at four different sites for a total area of 600 m2, at which more than 5000 healthy, nursery-reared, staghorn corals will be transplanted. The survival and growth will be closely monitored over time.
With this project, Coral Restoration Foundation Bonaire will take the next steps in actively restoring Bonaire’s coral populations and will continue raising awareness about the urgency of protecting our reefs.

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Gooodive Bonaire Joins Reef Restoration Efforts

Coral Restoration Foundation Bonaire is thrilled to announce the addition of Gooodive Bonaire to the Dive Shop Members. Gooodive Bonaire joins Eden Beach Resort, Harbour Village Beach Club, and Buddy Dive Resort as a partner and educational center for Coral Restoration Foundation Bonaire.
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Installed at the dive site Something Special, Gooodive’s nursery has five trees with the capacity to house a total of 500 corals, a combination of both staghorn and elkhorn corals. Gooodive will now take on the responsibility of maintaining their nursery, transplanting corals, and becoming a valuable partner in working toward Coral Restoration Foundation Bonaire’s mission to restore staghorn and elkhorn corals on the shallow water reefs of Bonaire and Klein Bonaire.
Dive Shop Members are paramount in Coral Restoration Foundation Bonaire’s efforts to educate the public about the continuing efforts to preserve and restore Bonaire’s finest assets: its coral reefs. Gooodive will follow the example set by the other three partners, educating people about Coral Restoration Foundation Bonaire’s restoration efforts and training recreational divers through the PADI distinctive specialty course.
The nursery installation and Gooodive’s first year of membership were made possible thanks to the nature fund, “Natuurgelden BES”, allocated by the Ministry of Economic Affairs for the BES islands. In addition, funding is still available for one more dive shop to become a part of the Coral Restoration Foundation Dive Shop Members.

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Meet the CRFB Team

Francesca Virdis
Project Coordinator

Raised into a family of avid divers Francesca received her scuba certification at early age. Her passion for the underwater world sparked a constant interest which she carried with her to school, receiving in 2004 her MSc in Marine and Environmental Science from the University of Bologna, Italy. On June 2008 she decided it was time for a lifestyle change and a closer connection to the ocean, so she moved to Bonaire where she began working as a Dive Instructor. In 2012, Francesca was asked to get involved in initial coral nursery set up and since then she has been dedicating herself to the CRF Bonaire project development.
Francesca’s love for the ocean and her passion for the restoration project is a wonderful combination that leaves divers and volunteers happy to help, inspired to continue and excited to be part of the future of our reefs.

Bridget Hickey
Project Assistant Coordinator 

Bridget comes to Coral Restoration Foundation Bonaire from the United States with a Bachelor of Science in Marine Science-Biology from The University of Tampa. Before becoming a CRF Bonaire team member, she focused her time on reef conservation while also working within the diving and resort recreation industries. CRF Bonaire’s passion for experiential education is one of the many reasons Bridget is so excited to be working with an organization dedicated to innovative, effective, and inclusive ocean conservation.

CRFB Receives Onetime Government Funding

 Coral Restoration Foundation Bonaire is happy to announce it received a onetime funding from the Dutch government to further develop the foundation’s activities. The CRF Bonaire project started in 2012 with the original support of Buddy Dive Resort Bonaire and the Coral Restoration Foundation USA. The foundation’s main goal is to restore coral reefs on Bonaire and increase awareness of it.

 

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CRFB newly funded pickup track

Increasing involvement of the dive community, developing a world class nursery site to attract international attention and increased production of corals and the development of at least four snorkel accessible sites to increase visibility and generate income for the foundation. All this will eventually lead to the most important objective; develop a more structural manner of funding and become a financially independent foundation.
Today the foundation consists of three partners; Buddy Dive, Eden Beach and Harbour Village and is depending on the resources of these partners. With the government funding the foundation can purchase some important basics like a dedicated CRF boat and car and make a big step towards becoming an independent, financially self-supporting foundation. The first step has been made, with the purchase of a dedicated car.

Transplanted corals 2011 - 2016
Growth of elkhorn corals

Another investment the foundation would like to do with the funding is to set-up a restoration site accessible to snorkelers at the cruise terminal. By creating awareness and extending accessibility the foundation hopes to involve more tourists, other than only divers. Other individual donations and the ‘Adopt a Coral’ program will stay vital to the further development of the foundation into the future.

So far the Coral Restoration Foundation Bonaire installed 4 nurseries, consisting of 70 trees with a hosting capacity of 9000 corals. More than 8000 corals have been already transplanted back to the reef and thanks to the Government Funding the foundation will plant 4000 corals more within the next year. A PADI Coral Restoration Diver Distinctive Specialty Course was developed in order to train volunteers and already 350 divers received their certification. The goal is to increase these numbers and doubling the transplanted corals in the next couple of years.

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