GUE Netherlands Promotes Project Baseline at Annual Event

Cas Renooij, volunteer Site manager of PB: Netherlands, was invited to be a presenter at the annual GUE Netherlands Wreck and Cave night on January 18th, 2013. The event was well attended. Below is a summary of Cas's insights into participating in Project Baseline as well as the event itself.Pictured: JP Bresser (left) and Cees den Toom (Right)
About GUE Netherlands and PB: Netherlands Volunteers
We are just divers with an interest in both diving and caring for our environment. When we dive, we want to see the underwater world at its best. Most of us enjoy dives with great visibility more than dives with bad visibility. Also we don’t like to see rubbish where it doesn’t belong. When you combine a love for diving and sense of responsibility for the environment, you have the perfect ingredients for a Project Baseline diver.

How to "Add depth to your Dive"
Divers all over the world enjoy the world below the surface of both fresh and salt water bodies. We observe fish, corals, plants and other animals, but also wrecks and other artificial reefs. Most divers keep records of what they observe if the form of a logbook. The information in those logbooks can be put to good use when collected over a longer period of time and made accessible to the public. The purpose of collecting this information is to provide the community with a log that shows the state of the underwater world through time so that generations from now, we can compare the records to data that has been collected earlier and report changes observed or preferably see improved conditions.

This is in short what Project Baseline is about. Volunteers monitor the environment using simple methods. And, when appropriate, our group of divers enjoy leaving our favorite dive locations a better place for all to enjoy by cleaning up trash we find along the way.

PB: Netherlands Contributions to Visibility Readings and General Observational Data Collection
Visibility is the most unreliable piece of information divers talk about. After a dive, one diver may state that the visibility was 5 meters while another will say that it was 3 meters, so without a standardized method of measuring, it is not very useful. Members of Project Baseline Netherlands developed a visibility meter that has proven to be reliable and easy to use to solve that problem. Tests have shown that measurements taken by different divers in the same circumstances gave results that were consistent enough to trust the measurement device. On the Project Baseline NL Facebook page you can watch a short film on how to use the visibility meter.

All this sounds a bit scientific, but the opposite is true, all basic measurements are really easy to collect. To participate in Project Baseline, all that is required are basic diving skills. Proper trim, buoyancy and being a team diver are the most important tools.  Additional useful skills are underwater life determination, photography, and filming. The more consistent, defensible data you collect, the more valuable your data becomes.

But Project Baseline is more than just gathering information; it is about using your diving skills to reach a goal. It is about teamwork but most of all it is doing something for the environment while doing something you love with like minded people.

To get all divers interested in Project Baseline in The Netherlands we organize cleanup dives to get rid of unwanted debris. We also conduct project dives if we want to identify something specific about a certain dive site. The results of these dives are posted on social media and in dive magazines. Besides diving we also organize lectures at dive clubs and dive shows.

Recent Outreach Event Summary

During Cave and Wreck night, a yearly event organized by GUE Netherlands we were given the opportunity to present the audience with an update of what we accomplished in 2012. Among these accomplishments are contacts with local official organizations, large scale tests with the visibility meter, a research project on magnetic aberrations in one of our sites, one of the teams started with a SETL ( ) setup and another team celebrated their 100th measurement.

Project Baseline has been at the forefront of increasing awareness of Florida reef decline as well as monitoring the health index for nearly 70 marine and freshwater environments world-wide since 2009. Watch as Project Baseline takes CNN underwater for special media coverage on Florida reefs -