Reef Renewal Foundation Bonaire is a non-profit organization founded in 2012 and is dedicated to preserving Bonaire’s coral reefs. They partnered with the Bonaire National Marine Park and launched a reef restoration pilot project. The project focused on restoration of the shallow reefs by establishing staghorn and elkhorn coral nurseries and restoration sites and still does today.
The Mission of Reef Renewal Foundation Bonaire is to protect and restore coral reefs in Bonaire by developing new and innovative ways to restore reefs that are supported by research collaborations and shared worldwide. By training, engaging, and inspiring the community locally and internationally through volunteering, educational events, and outreach. By demonstrating that through community efforts there is still hope for coral reefs.Reef Renewal bonaire
I first learned about this amazing organization when I got certified as a Padi Open Water scuba diver in Bonaire. I was was so excited to learn then about the work Reef Renewal was doing for Bonaire. However, as a short-term visitor and newbie diver, I wasn’t able to volunteer with them at the time. Despite that, I’ve followed their work and progress – donating and cheering them on – ever since.
Recently, I ran across this video documenting their work and progress and learned something really exciting and new (to me) about photomosaic documentation for monitoring reef health and restoration progress. In the past, restoration organizations like this had to rely on laborious, time-consuming documentation and physically invasive transect monitoring techniques.
This new photomosaic technique uses software to stitch together hundreds of sequential photographs taken by divers moving slowly around the reef to create a 3-d model of the coral and physical structures of the reef. This is incredibly exciting! It means monitoring is easier, faster, more accurate, and totally non-invasive. Even better, it can be used to show progressive changes to the reef over time.
You can watch the whole video (it’s really great!) or jump to time index; 4:10 where they introduce and explain the photomosaic monitoring technique in detail.
I should also mention that they have since developed a wide range of opportunities for new and visiting divers to get involved with them – to volunteer, learn about their work, or just come to admire the wonderful reef they’ve helped sustain!
I really hope I get to go back there again someday soon!