Project Update from PB: Smitty's Cove

Submitted to the Project Baseline blog by Brandon Hunter, volunteer Project Manager for PB: Smitty's Cove, Alaska.

I was recently asked what motivates me to participate in Project Baseline as a Project Manager. The reason is simple and tied to the same explanation for why I enjoy diving so much - It's the joy of discovery. Every dive brings a new and exciting observation, with an infinite world of experiences still out there.
Since our Project's inception in May of 2015, we've identified and placed 4 underwater monitoring stations in Smitty's Cove. We've established a robust set of data collection procedures and are gathering a wide variety of data ranging from the typical temperature, depth and visibility estimates, to transect surveys and population counts of marker species. While many of us have dove this site hundreds of times previously, our inquiries as citizen scientists cast Smitty's Cove in a new light and we find ourselves learning more about its unique environment on each subsequent dive.
It's truly a privilege to share our observations with others, many of whom instantly experience the same joy and wonderment that we do as divers. Very few ever suspect that our cold and often dark Alaskan waters hold such a collection of vibrant and bountiful marine life. With each picture and video we share, or each story we're able to tell, awareness for our local waters increases, and it's my hope that once people understand what a rich and wonderful resource we have, they'll be driven to protect it. This is what motivates me, drives me forward, and keeps me passionate about diving. Project Baseline provides a framework to harness that energy and use it to promote positive change, and I'm very excited to be a part of this effort.
The following video is a collection of marine life we've seen in Smitty's Cove over the past year. It's not all inclusive by any means, but if you find this anywhere near as fascinating as we do, you'll likely understand just one of many reasons why our oceans are a resource worth conserving for future generations.

Marine Life of Smitty's Cove from ADIEU on Vimeo.

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 - http://www.cnn.com/videos/us/2016/06/26/florida-dying-reefs-sanchez-nd.cnn