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Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary  

NPR/NGS Radio Expeditions
Jun 1997

    Geography
  • United States
    Georgia
    Locality
  • 32.0 km E of Sapelo Island; Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary
    Latitude/Longitude
  • 31.4   -80.93333
    Channels
  • Stereo
    Sampling Rate
  • 48kHz
    Bit Depth
  • 16-bit
    Recorders
    Microphones
  • Sennheiser MKH 30
  • Sennheiser MKH 40
    Accessories
    Equipment Note
  • Stereo=1; Decoded MS stereo

NPR/NGS RADIO EXPEDITIONS
Log Gray's Reef--Intv Reed Bohne
DAT# 1

SM = Sarah Mitchell
RB = Reed Bohne
EG = Erv Garrison
AC = Alex Chadwick
CJ = Carolyn Jensen

ambi. water, birds chirping, background conversations (off-mic)

0:52 eg -and most of the ones we find in the savannah river, are dredged up so there'll be chips, they're not perfect, there'll be a chip missing here, and a chip missing there, but their really... it's always great to find one of the big ones

1:06 bc -yeah, the big ones are exciting... there's some weight to them

1:14 eg -they're easily that long

1:17 bc -i get alot of the horse teeth too

1:22 eg -macedon teeth, camel teeth, ... (bc talking in background) horse teeth, all those you find in the savannah river.

1:33 bc -i found a canine last time some kind of shh, i don't know what it was ... it's cool, kids love it, always give kids the shark teeth

1:53 eg -last time we went hunting, we had friends down from north georgia, and they wanted to go and chuck says "i just hope i can find a big one" and i set the anchor in the boat and i look down and there was one laying right by my foot on the beach, I gave it to him as a souvenir from our trip.

2:11 bc -what's up sarah?

2:13 sm -good morning!

2:14 bc -how ya' doin'?

2:16 sm -could be better (laughs) could be calm wind (off mic-nvg)

2:20 cj -"dirt-sicles" ... from erv.

2:44 eg -we have a series of cores that we've taken out of the sanctuary to look at the paleo-environmental conditions and the sediments and dr. garrison has been working with us, one of his graduate students to try and characterize the environment of grays reef from 10-20 thousand years ago the way we do this is hammer in long 15-ft aluminum tubes which when brought back out provide a sample of the sediment back through time. and what we're finding in these cores is the characteristics that was terrestrial during the ice ages when the sea level dropped some sixty miles off shore og where it currently is gray's reef was an estuarine an terrestrial area we find that from looking at pollen and small fossils in the sediments certain depths in the sand and we are combining that info w the fossils that we're finding out at the sanctuary dating those fossils to look both at the plant life and the animal life 10-20 thousand yrs. ago we know that there was humans out on the gA coast at that time as well other Clovis points have been found

4:22 eg -*and part of this study is to find out whether we might be able to uncover or discover evidence of human habitation at gray's reef that long ago (g)

5:49-6:10 jn 2, windy day, cancel plans, all interview day

6:22 trying to pick up some palmetto(?) noise

6:30, 6:38 fx -high pitched bird chirp

6:39 ambi. water; fx -birds chirping

7 :44 stop-down. MS Senn 30/40

7:53 -14:10: ambi. motor, background chatter, water

3 cj things: 1) take-off 2) motor start-up 3) water blow-by

14:40 -stop-down

14:55 -fx - wind, shifting, clanking equipment

15:48 -15:50 fx. wind (vg)**

15:59 -motor start-up

16:16 - ambi. water talk about sanc. managers spending time on water (ng)

17:33 check background talk

20:00 ambi. on board, boat background chatter beginning of rb interview

20:23 cj tell me what you do at noaa

20:25 rb i'm the manager of the gray's reef nms, which is 1/12 protected areas in the nms program, we have a small staff of three that manage the site which is 20 miles off-shore the GA coast, its an area of limestone and snad stone reefs that uh are 60-70 ft below the surface, our objective is to both educate people about the habitat, marine habitats and also to conduct
research to better understand the ecology of this region, we're blessed here in GA w a fantastic coastal environ. that's been protected by state and federal measures and many of the islands are largely undeveloped and Gray's Reef is equally protected and also one that is not threatened currently by a lot of activity off-shore

21:38 cj -the idea of in essence a park off-shore, a park that's underwater is a fairly novel idea how do you know how to conserve such a place?

21:50 rb -its v. different from what most people are familiar with in terms of a terrestrial park there aren't gates there aren't visitors centers off-shore and its a very dynamic environment the seas are constantly changing, the resources the fish and invertebrate are undergoing constant change so our efforts are focused on understanding the charco of those resources and those changes and monitoring the human uses there to detect trends that may be harmful or destructive to the resources and provide educa. through a variety of media television and the dev. of curricula that educates the population about the beauty of these areas.

22:45 cj -part of the mission of the sanc. is to protect biodiversity, protect the environment, protect this part. ecology, do you understand the ecology enough to go about that job?

22:58 -23:42 rb -it's a real challenge, uh, its v. difficult to study areas off-shore in 60-70 ft of water, we have a basic understanding of the ecology of this region and that is why we continue our long-term monitoring to better understand the changes that occur in these resources, we hope that over time we will get a finer appreciation for the kinds of dynamics that occur there but we're also trying to balance that with the uses that are underway at the sanc. and measure the human uses to the natural resources at the sanc

pause in intv as wait for boat to pass

24:51 obviously it is a sp. place how was it chosen of all the places along the coastline of the country, why gray's reef?

25:00 in the early days of the sanc program, we were looking to identify not only unique areas but also areas that were rep. of sp. habitats along the coast of the us, Gray's Reef is similar in many respects to other live bottom hard ground reefs found from nc down to north. fl but its the largest reef and closest to shore in this area and its also been an area that had a fair amt of research in the early 60s and 70s that made designation as a sanc. appropriate in early 1981

25:48 cj -you call it a live-bottom, what does that mean?

25:51 rb -**well, it's a local term that reflects the productivity of the area most of the off-shore environment here in ga is sandy, broad fairly barren flats that is occasionally interrupted by outcroppings of rock, limestone, sandstone that juts up 6-10 ft up from the bottom and where you have this hard-surface you have this area of colonization of invertebrates and the dev. of a a food chain to sm fish larger species its an area that attracts life on up through the right whale and sea turtles congregate in this area of productivity

26:38 cj -so its a very sp. place

26:37 rb it is indeed, but one that is not well known or understood* and that is largely our mission and our objective to provide info to the coastal communities about the sp. nature of an area like Gray's Reef

27:00 cj -i'd like to know a little bit more about what distinguishes Gray's Reef from other types of reefs and from other sanc

27:10 rb -w/i the sanc program it is the only are that is what is known as a live bottom or hard-ground reef, it is uh much more expansive and larger in area than many of the near-shore reefs, you'll have similar situations further off-shore when you get out into the edge of the continental shelf you have great outcroppings of rock uh but those are in depths of 200-300 ft at 60 ft Gray's Reef is very accessible and has been a popular area for a # of years for sport-diving and fishing that's what makes it different in that it is one, accessible and two, still a v. productive area

28:00 cj -and yet its fairly pristine, it hasn't been damaged too much, it hasn't been fished too much

28:08 rb -no, our re (reef?) fish monitoring and studies have shown that it is still quite a healthy reef we have not witnessed evidence of damage to the reef uh fishing we're seeing fairly healthy trends in re-fish populations we don't see damage to the invertebrate communities from anchoring uh so the, the health of the reef is quite good and our job is to maintain a vigilant presence there and monitor the activity over time to ensure through our monitoring that changes don't turn for the worse

28:55 cj -urn, you spend alot of time above and below the reef, what's it like to be there? what's your feeling about being at the reef, this is yr. baby

29:07 it's a very special place, you uh dive in the water and the visibility in the water can change drama. sometimes you can see 60 or seventy ft. that's fairly rare, that occurs when you have some gulf stream water curling in back over the reef other times you may be able to see only 15 or twenty ft, but as you pass through the water you are often encircled by barracuda and other pelagic fish, mackeral, and as you proceed down you go through pelagic, invert., sea jellies until you arrive twenty ft. above the reef and it appears before you and its enormously colorful large vase sponges, purples and tunicates that are white draped over the edge of the reef and what you notice right off is the profusion of reef fish under the ledges around over the top alot of bate fish, tom tates, cigar minnows, swimming around uh being chased by black sea bass and grouper and in the summer you'll have tropical species come into the reef angel fish and carpenter fish that change the composition and the color of the reef fish over the course of the year***

30:33 cj -why is this part. area so diverse, why are there so many diff kinds of sea animals?

30:41 rb -it's uh, it's...diverse and prod. b/c the ga coast provides an enormous amt of nutrients from the salt marshes that dom this coastal environment, ga and sc have about 1/3 of the salt marsh environment along the whole east coast and that v. prod. environment feeds an area like Gray's Reef only 20 mi off-shore so you have this en. flux of planktonic species and nut. that are washing over the reef and it is an area with its hard grounds that allows other organisms to attach and populate and feed off this this food that's being washed over it, it also provides shelter and habitat for species to hide from predation so it gives them some refuge as well as food resources and keeps the area in a productive and diverse uh setting.

31:45 cj -so there's no place else in this country quite like that?

31:49 rb -no, there's uh this kind of mix of on-shore productivity and off-shore diversity is v unique and special we see similar levels of diversity further off-shore uh but their different species and diff. sp. assemblages than you'll find on Gray's Reef.

32:19 cj -the law that was passed that created the sanctuary was passed in 72

32:37 cj -i wonder has it been difficult, has there been resistence to this novel idea of creating parks underwater?

32:45 rb -the first sanctuary in 1975 was the site of the wreck of the uss monitor and that designation was fairly easy to accomplish it only took it was less than a year to designate that site but as we moved into areas of much broader geographic expanse such as the fl keys and many of the areas off ca it the implications for regulation or control of uses over broad areas of the ocean raised some ?s in many diff political arenas about the benefits and costs of protecting areas off-shore i think we have an example of what we have done in the park service that has been helpful in the marine environment the first park was est. back in 1872--at yellowstone over the course of 100 yrs we have created a legacy of protecting terrestrial environments resonates with the political and cultural value of this country and we in the marine environment were able to translate that to the same principles of protection for these spec marine vistas canyons as deep as the grand canyons of ca and monterey bay the extensive tracts of corral off the fl keys the third largest barrier reef in the world and there was political difficulties in moving forward in some of these larger areas but i think the images of the uniqueness and the specialness of these habitats has been the defining element in creating marine parks and marine sanctuaries.

34:58 obviously to get public support for these you have to give the public some idea what its like there how beautiful how different and how unique its quite easy to take somebody to old faith. or to yellowstone to show them how mag it is., how do you do the same with a marine environment because most people don't dive most people aren't going to see this

35:25 and, and most people weren't able to see that until fairly recently--technology has helped the program grow and expand we're now able to uh tape video of areas underwater at great depths that we weren't able to before the tech for undersea diving has advanced trem. in the last 20 30 yrs and the number of individuals able to dive and exp 1st hand areas like Gray's Reef has grown trem so w the ability to rec visually and get people physically to these areas an appreciation for these areas has grown at an equal level and that has been the way to uh create the influence and create the political interest in preserving these spec areas off-shore

36:57 cj -but the idea of the sanc is not just to conserve its also to educate of course but you're supp to allow for a diversity of uses has that proved difficult?

37:17 rb -at Gray's Reef it hasn't proved as difficult as it has in other sanc. uh when the sanc was est. here off ga comm. activities were prohibited, comm. trawling and uh wire fish traps and long lining some of the more destructive pot. destructive activities were prohibited at the on-set so that what the visitor can doat Gray's Reef is scuba dive and sport fish and we have not though we've been monitoring it for some time have not seen a sig. increase in levels there that have shown any commensurate decrease in resources at the sanc.

38:05 cj -Gray's Reef was est when?

rb -1981

38:09 cj -what have you learned in the 16 yrs that Gray's Reef has been a sanc about how to manage such a unique piece of property

38:18 rb -i think the key thing that we've learned is that it is vital to involve the people that are the users there the fisherman, the sport diving comm we have initiated programs to bring the div comm more in the scientific work in the sanc. training them to id reef fish participate in reef fish counts we're also working with the sport fishing comm to enc catch and release and also enc part. in reef fish tagging as our constituents become more involved in the scientific and conservation activities of the sanc. support for the sanc grow and has enhanced ...

40:15 sounds of passing shrimp boat (waiting for it to pass)

bg talk about shrimp

42:03 repeat of the rb's answer at 38:18 about imp of involving users of sanc in sanc activities ... (first take better)

43:12 rb -this summer we'll have a group of divers joining us at the sanctuary counting reef fish and adding to the data base, and we'll also be combining that w a photo contest so that ... in which the winning photos will be displayed in wash dc we're trying to enc an app. of the visual beauty of the sanc and also an understanding of the imp of conservation and participating in scientific research at these marine protected areas

43:55 cj is the fut of Gray's Reef secure? or are there threats to it?

44:01 rb -we feel that the fut for Gray's Reef is fairly secure we have fairly broad supp throughout the community for the act of the sanc and its place in the realm of the protected areas along the ga coast it fits in well with the strong cons. ethic protec. the islands and this is the marine counterpart to that conservation philosophy that exists along the ga coast

44:33 cj -that's an answer in terms of money i think but what about environmental threats fishing threats are there and threats to the reef and any other of the sanc that you foresee?

waiting for boat jetskis to pass ....

45:30 rb -well one of the unforeseen but anticipated threats to Gray's Reef and the coast of ga is fairly rapid pop growth along the coast the state has fairly recently adopted a coastal zone management program to monitor the activities along the coast and provide a comprehensive framework for dealing with long-range threats uh we believe that our best app is to work in str. partnership w the state and fed agencies to anticipate these threats and ed people about those threats and take whatever management measure are app to minimize poss damage to resources at Gray's Reef or other islands along the coast

46:30 cj -and the sanc in general, what would you say the biggest threat is to them?

46:38 rb -to all the sanc i think we're all faced with a movement in pop towards the coast and attendant in that pop growth is the myriad of comm and recreational municipal act. that change the resource base of the coast is part true of places such as the fl keys where there is an enormous influx of population
and the effects of act even up in the everglades that are effecting the water quality of the corral reef tract down in fl so i think all of the sanc are looking in the long-term towards how growth occurs along the coast and how best we can work together to maintain the integrity of the resources that we manage ...my name is reed bohne ...

name id

48:03 best id rb -my name is rb i'm the manager of Gray's Reef nms

describe where and what Gray's Reef is

48:51-50:36 rb -the ga coast lies in the w most portion of the se us, the atlantic comes into an apex along ga and the tides from that dev the en salt marshes that feed areas like Gray's Reef we're located 20 mi off-shore, 20 miles from the nrst island, sapplo(?) island which is also a nat. estuarine research reserve Gray's Reef lies basically in the middle of the ga coast and as such is accessible form all points on the coast, its an area that covers 20 sq nautical miles its rect in area and the reef itself lies 60 - 70 ft below the surface. but what is unusual is the rock outcroppings that emerge rise up 6-10 above the bottom and provide the habitat for an enormously diverse array of invertebrates and reef fish populations uh its also home to the threatened loggerhead sea turtle and is an area used by the most endangered Gray's Reef. whale the northern right whale and our program in combination with the ne aquarium and the st of ga and fl is monitoring the movement of the right whale when it visits these waters in the winter for its calving

50:54 ambi. water hitting side of boat, waves ...

52:03 end of dat

notes: sound quality during rb intv consistent throughout.

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