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Ocean Currents

News, opinions, photos and facts from Ocean Conservancy

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New Leadership for Ocean Conservancy’s Gulf Restoration Program

Posted On August 8, 2016 by

Gulf Restoration Program staff Kara Lankford and Bethany Carl Kraft on Monterey Bay in California. Credit: Rachel Guillory

Bethany Carl Kraft has been the eloquent voice and thought leader of Ocean Conservancy’s Gulf Restoration Program for the past five years. Her leadership has taken our team through milestones such as the implementation of the Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act (RESTORE Act), a global settlement with BP that includes over $1 billion dedicated to restoration in the open ocean, and a Programmatic Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan that lays out the strategy for restoring the Gulf in the wake of the BP oil disaster.

We have accomplished so much as a team, and it is with a heavy heart that I announce Bethany’s departure as the director of our Gulf Restoration Program. Anyone who has spent five minutes with Bethany understands her love for the Gulf of Mexico and her passion for restoring it. This passion has led her to her new position as the Senior Project Manager, Gulf Coast for Volkert & Associates which she begins this week. In this role, she will be getting her feet muddy once again managing on-the-ground restoration projects across the Gulf region.

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Exploring Icebergs in Our Nation’s Capital

Posted On August 6, 2016 by

When the heat index is well over 100 degrees, Washington, D.C. locals will do whatever it takes to stay cool. This summer, the National Building Museum is making it easier than ever to escape the heat—by bringing an icy environment straight to our backyard.

Their new exhibit, Icebergs, is a massive installation that allows visitors to immerse themselves in a polar ecosystem. Designed by James Corner Field Operations, the tallest iceberg stretches 56’ high to the third story of the museum and allows panoramic views from high above the “ocean” surface. The entire system is built from re-usable construction materials, such as scaffolding and polycarbonate paneling.

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World’s Best Ocean Athletes

Posted On August 2, 2016 by

All eyes are on Brazil this month, but you won’t find all of the world’s top athletes in Rio. Some of the fastest, strongest and flashiest athletes live under the water—and aren’t afraid to show off. From manta rays to blue whales, check out ocean athletes who could challenge the top Olympic gold medalists.

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Announcing the Winners of the 2016 Marine Wildlife and Seascape Photo Contest

Posted On August 1, 2016 by

This summer, we asked all of you to submit your best photos to our 2016 Marine Wildlife and Seascape Photo Contest. We were amazed by all of the beautiful images that you submitted and incredibly grateful for those of you who voted. After weeks of deliberation, our judges have spoken! Here are the winners from this year’s photo contest!

A hearty congratulations to Tracey Jennings and Daniela Hill for claiming the top two prizes!

“In the Blue,” the photo by Tracey Jennings, is a stunning shot of a whale shark in the waters of Indonesia. Judges loved the “simplicity of nature outlined by patterns and shapes”, and the use of light in the image, earning her the “Judges’ Choice” award.

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A Road Map for Ensuring BP Dollars are Well Spent in the Gulf

Posted On August 1, 2016 by

For many people, buying a house or a car is one of the biggest purchases you’ll make in your lifetime. Which is why you hire an appraiser or mechanic to inspect that house or car before you sign the contract—you want peace of mind that it’s a good investment.

The principle is pretty much the same whether you’re spending $28,000 or $20 billion. Last year BP agreed to pay more than $20 billion to the American people to help recover from the impacts caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster. This week the National Academy of Sciences published a report with recommendations that will help ensure the $20 billion is well spent.

The report walks through how to build a monitoring program that will ensure we are getting what we pay for when we invest in Gulf restoration projects, such as rebuilding important marsh and dune habitats that were devastated by the oil. Or, restoration projects that provide first responder services for bottlenose dolphins that are still exhibiting health problems from the oil. Or, projects that protect Kemp’s ridley sea turtles, which were oiled in the disaster.

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Restoring Endangered Coral Reefs

Posted On July 28, 2016 by

With mass coral bleaching in the Great Barrier Reef making headlines all over the world this summer, we wanted to check in with Tripp Funderburk of Coral Restoration Foundation to learn how corals in our part of the ocean are faring.

First, what is the big deal about coral reefs?  

Coral reefs are the rainforests of the sea. They provide three-dimensional habitat for an astonishing variety of plants and animals. While they occupy less than one percent of the ocean floor, coral reefs support more than 25% of all marine life. They also shelter shorelines from storms and erosion, and provide food and jobs for coastal communities dependent on tourism and fishing.

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Senator Hirono Speaks Up for Coral Reefs

Posted On July 27, 2016 by

Written by Hawaiian Senator Mazie K. Hirono

Last month, 2,500 people from 97 countries flew to Hawaii–not for vacation, but to address the international crisis facing coral reefs around the world.

Participating in the 13th International Coral Reef Symposium, these world leaders, scientists, activists and students issued a powerful call to action to address the growing threat of coral bleaching around the world.

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