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WFCRC Cook Island Project

January 14 2018

The World Federation for Coral Reef Conservation (WFCRC) has been invited to join Ocean Guardian et al in its humanitarian effort to bring health care, engineers, environmental science, coral reef and coastal conservation action plans, plastic removal from the ocean and fishing regulation enforcement to The Cook Islands, South Pacific. It is proposed to and accepted by the manager of the marine protected area and the Prime Minister of New Zealand to provide this program on a yearly basis. With the notoriety already generated by this project, other countries like The Christmas Islands, Jamaica, and the Dominion Republic has expressed an interest in the program.
WFCRC’s mission in this consortium will be to provide a comprehensive coral reef and coastal conservation action and monitoring plan for these seven islands, Suwarrow, Penrhyn, Rakahunga, Manihiki, Pukapuka, Nassau and Palmerston with in the time allotted. Should there be an interest in other islands we already have the GIS data for them. It is the main goal of our program to identify coral health and stressors and coastal conservation issues as identified by line items outlined by the missions aim to fulfill the core goals of the PICI, that is first and foremost, quality scientific research, and secondly, the promotion of conservation through inclusion and education. WFCRC’s overall goal is to support the entire program and to lay down the ground work for future projects.

January 14 2018


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Expedition Background

The key goals of the research mission will cover these areas, and include:
GIS mapping for seven islands Drone Lidar, IR, NIR image acquisition Coral Reef monitoring and decline WFCRC (and partners) methods for reef assessments to ensure the data has the widest applicability Coastal morphology A feasibility and needs assessment on each island for a coral nursery time permitting.

Previous experience has shown that to involve residents in actions that effect their own wellbeing could achieve the long lasting results needed for sustainability now and well into the future. With that in mind the ESRI GIS software and data base information gathered along with training to monitor and survey each island will be donated to a representative of the Cook Islands to continue and duplicate the data gathered as a base line for comparison over time. Participation from local constituents as well as an understanding of local traditions and life styles are paramount in how the program will be executed. It is not our effort to reinvent the wheel in our executions but to use existing local and digital knowledge and previous work for a seamless project delivery. The data model we create will provide a single, user friendly resource to monitor and manage local resources. Previous research on the islands will be merged into with our GIS database as much as possible and is a common format to be used by other researchers and we encourage interdisciplinary data sharing. WFCRC Major Objectives and Key Goals:

  1. Research and report the causes of, and solutions to coral reef decline
  2. Implement strategies to promote conservation and sustainable use of coral reefs locally and internationally.
  3. Capture hi res 4k drone visual, Lidar and NIR geo referenced imagery of entire coastal areas along with various other island locations
  4. Establish control points around each island for survey which will allow for follow up surveying covering the exact same transects to be performed at given time intervals.
  5. Create a GIS base map to contain all data gathered Turtle nesting surveys and in-water observations where time allows
  6. Locate turtle nesting sites and identify restricted areas on gis base map and by mobile WFCRC Mobile application.
  7. Shark population surveys using remotely deployed camera arrays using geo referenced photos with possible ARGO tracking for GIS base map.

G'day Vic,

I will be watching your progress with keen interest.

You may also be interested in some of the work being undertaken and proposed for the Great Barrier Reef by the Queensland Government here in Australia...take a look at one initiative here:

Kind regards, Jason