The City of Dunedin is excited to partner with Blue Green Connections, Mission Blue, and Dr. Sylvia Earle on the Florida Gulf Coast Hope Spot project. This project will bring more research, education, and protection to our local waters.
What is a Hope Spot?
According to Mission Blue:
"Hope Spots are special places that are critical to the health of the ocean — Earth’s blue heart. Hope Spots are about recognizing, empowering and supporting individuals and communities around the world in their efforts to protect the ocean. Dr. Sylvia Earle introduced the concept in her 2009 TED talk and since then the idea has inspired millions across the planet. While about 12 percent of the land around the world is now under some form of protection (as national parks etc.), less than six percent of the ocean is protected in any way. Hope Spots allow us to plan for the future and look beyond current marine protected areas (MPAs), which are like national parks on land where exploitative uses like fishing and deep sea mining are restricted. Hope Spots are often areas that need new protection, but they can also be existing MPAs where more action is needed. They can be large, they can be small, but they all provide hope due to:
- A special abundance or diversity of species, unusual or representative species, habitats or ecosystems
- Particular populations of rare, threatened or endemic species
- A site with potential to reverse damage from negative human impacts
- The presence of natural processes such as major migration corridors or spawning grounds
- Significant historical, cultural or spiritual values
- Particular economic importance to the community
The idea is that anyone can nominate a site special to him or her—a site that gives HOPE. Collectively all of these Hope Spots will create a global wave of community support for ocean conservation that leaders and policy makers can’t ignore."
Photo Credit: Mission Blue
The Florida Gulf Coast Hope Spot
The Florida Gulf Coast Hope Spot spans from Apalachicola Bay to Ten Thousand Islands.
"Pictured is a map of our Florida Gulf Coast Hope Spot with one of the reasons it is so special identified in coral.
The area consists of elevated limestone now covered with quartz-rich sand forming the barrier islands. The underlying bedrock topography defines the orientation of the barrier islands further to the north (Caladesi, Honeymoon, and Anclote), which are situated on a submerged rock ridge.
These offshore rocky hard bottoms support an extensive living benthic community which includes the sponges for the Greek sponge diving industry of Tarpon Springs.
The Northern Boundary of the Hope Spot contains oyster habitats that are in critical need of protection.
The Southern Boundary is the lower point of the large section of Coral Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) and unique Hardy Rocky Bottoms. It also includes an area that sustained a significant impact from both red tide and the possibly related contaminated water from Lake Okeechobee.
The Western Boundary was selected to cover the Middle Grounds, EFH and many Blue Holes."
-Blue Green Connections
Photo credit: Blue Green Connections
Hope Spot Celebration
The community recently celebrated this designation at Pioneer Park in downtown Dunedin.
Dr. Sylvia Earle spoke to the project, along with the founders of Blue Green Connections, and City Commission. It was a wonderful day of education, games, speakers, events, and more!
Check out the video link below on the Dunedin TV's YouTube page to see the festivities.
Blue-Green Connections is a non-profit organization whose goal is to educate, inspire, and motivate local individuals, businesses and organizations to protect our lands and waters. Blue-Green Connections facilitates collaboration between their supporters and enables valuable research information to be shared and dispersed. Their organization knows the time to act is now.
To contact Blue-Green Connections, visit their page.
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