By Craig Dahlgren
Earlier this year, Atlantis Blue Project Foundation released a coral reef report card on the status of reefs around New Providence and Rose Island (see: http://blueprojectatlantis.org/coral-reef-report-card/, based on AGRRA surveys conducted in 2011 and 2012. It is hard to believe but it is already time to start surveying those reefs again as part of a long-term monitoring effort. How time flies! In July we started surveying some of the reefs that were initially surveyed in 2011 with the support of the Atlantis Blue Project Foundation and a grant from the Global Environmental Facility. These surveys were just the first of several planned for New Providence and Rose Island over the next 6 months. Several of the sites surveyed were ones that were initially surveyed in 2011 and some new sites were added to fill some gaps where surveys were not able to be conducted earlier. As we move forward with more monitoring, we will be able to see how reef condition has changed over the past 4 years. We will be able to see how impacts like this summer’s warm waters have had on corals, which can die when exposed to high temperatures. We will also be able to assess the effects of local threats like the Clifton Oil spill. After all of the surveys have been conducted, an updated report card on the status of reefs around New Providence and Rose Island will be published some time in 2016.