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Shining a light below the waters of St. George Reef with the Del Norte MPA Collaborative

May 7 2018
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St. George Reef is situated six miles offshore of Crescent City, California. While much of this reef lies submerged below the ocean’s surface a small portion named “Dragon Rocks” peaks through the turbulent waters. We plan to release our mini-ROV, the Trident, into these waters to explore the reef in order to bring images and video of what lies beneath the waves to those who have never had the opportunity to see it.

May 7 2018

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Expedition Background

Upon Dragon Rocks sits the lonely St. George Reef Lighthouse. Built after a wreck of the steamboat Brother Jonathan in 1865, the lighthouse cautioned mariners of the feared Dragon Rocks of St. George Reef for almost a century.
Though the lighthouse is now decommissioned as a navigational aid, it still stands as a reminder of a time past when mariners would go to great lengths to ensure they avoided Dragon Rocks. But now, instead of avoiding this Dragon, we would like to get a closer look by shining a light on what’s beneath…

The coastal waters along the North Coast of California are cold, murky, and often shrouded in fog, creating less than inviting conditions. However, for those of us that live along this stretch of coast, we know that these waters are home to an amazing host of creatures. We want to head out to the reef because many of the people in our community have yet to see all the life below the ocean’s surface. Some, including commercial and recreational fishermen, may have some ideas especially after a successful haul of Dungeness crab or limiting out on salmon, but many of us rarely get an opportunity to glimpse the ocean habitats in our own backyard. We plan to release the Trident in the areas surrounding Dragon Rocks. Following the reef from surface to depth will allow us to see a range of habitats and species. We anticipate needing a calm summer day in order for best deployment opportunities.

The Del Norte Marine Protected Area (MPA) Collaborative is excited to begin expeditions that further our understanding and build awareness of marine protected areas in and along our coast. We draw our membership from the rich scientific and nonprofit community, tribal governments, fishermen, and agencies active on the North Coast.

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