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The 90 Day Plan

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Preservation Paddle Out For Naples Reef

elow the Surface Teams Up with Other Nonprofits to Raise Awareness on
Gaviota Coast

Monday, June 21, 2010

On the Gaviota Coast this past Saturday morning, a crew of stand-up
paddleboarders and kayakers could be seen far off on the horizon,
making their way against the current toward Naples Reef, an underwater
treasure they believe is worth holding onto. Comprised of people
committed to preserving offshore hotspots that harbor significant
levels of biodiversity and recreational opportunities, the team
included members of Below the Surface, Santa Barbara Channelkeeper,
The Ocean Conservancy, Surfers Without Borders, the Natural Resources
Defense Council, and Ocean Futures.

John Rose/Brooks Institute

Paddlers gather off the Gaviota Coast on Saturday to raise awareness
about the Naples Reef.

"The importance of Naples Reef — from both a biological and cultural
perspective — can't be overstated," said Michael Sheehy of
Channelkeeper. "Naples Reef is one of the most biologically productive
and diverse marine habitats in all of Southern California and offers
Channel Islands-caliber diving and snorkeling just offshore from Santa
Barbara. This paddle-out was designed to raise awareness about the
once-in-a-lifetime chance we have to protect local treasures like this

Saturday's paddle from El Capitan Beach to Naples was prompted by
Below the Surface, a nonprofit that is teaming up with organizations
to highlight critical offshore habitats. Their statewide tour is
hitting nine such spots from La Jolla to the Humboldt Bay, which are
in line to be considered for the next round of Marine Protected Area
designations. That process — which is designed to stop or limit
fishing in areas so that often overfished marine life has a chance to
rebound — begins in October.

John Rose/Brooks Institute

Channelkeeper's Mike Sheehy (left) and The Ocean Conservancy's Greg
Helms get ready to check out the Naples Reef on Saturday.

Below the Surface cofounders Kristian Gustavson and Jared Criscuolo
explained: "We wanted to come out, and travel to these areas and show
the importance of people, and their role in improving the quality of
ocean life, and provide future recreational experiences for paddlers
and surfers. We will go across the nation to team up with similar
organizations such as the ones you see today, and get these areas

According to those involved Saturday, the biggest threats to Naples
Reef are habitat destruction, climate change, and overfishing. They
say that the scientific data shows that the preservation of this area
will not only increase overall population growth within the reef and
preserve fish nurseries, but will provide a refuge for larger pelagic
fish and species threatened by overfishing. Naples is also in a unique
transition location offshore, where a mix of organisms from both
northern and southern regions of California live, and provides
visitors with an incredibly rare experience to witness this merger of
life underwater.

Brian Hall/Ocean Futures Society

An underwater view of the Naples Reef from Saturday reveals a diverse
ecosystem of sea stars, urchins, perch, and other marine life.

Explained Greg Helms of The Ocean Conservancy, "The most heavily
studied and biologically prolific spot on our coast, Naples Reef is a
true fish production powerhouse, housing more biodiversity and
productivity than other areas — even compared to the rest of the
globally significant Gaviota Coast."

Those interested in helping advocate for protection of Naples Reef can
visit the Save Naples Reef organization's Web site at

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