The Turks & Caicos Reef Fund has invited Dr. Melanie McField, Director of the Smithsonian Institution’s Healthy Reef Initiative (HRI) to visit the TCI and conduct a workshop.

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The workshop, to be held from 9 am to 4 pm on January 29 at the Ocean Club Training Center (next to the Opus Restaurant), will focus on how the HRI has established a decade long coral reef monitoring program for the Mesoamerican Reef. The Mesoamerican Reef includess the second largest barrier reef system in the Western Hemisphereworld, second only to the Great Barrier Reef. It runs from Mexico, through all of Belize, Guatemala and northern Honduras.

Over ten years ago, the Healthy Reef Initiative was established with the mission to:

• Promote the application of Healthy Reefs Indicators by managers, policy makers and other leaders concerned with the integrity of the Mesoamerican Reef

• Provide standardized analysis of reliable scientific data to improve reef ecosystem management

• Serve as an open forum for information sharing and networking among science and conservation partners.

HRI now includes 69 partner organizations including NGOs, academia, government and private sector and They produces a biennial report card on the health of the Mesoamerican Reef. The 2018 Report Card and the most recent one was just released, demonstrating that this decade of management and . This ongoing monitoring effort has resulted in conservation efforts that have resulted in the health of the Mesoamerican Reef to improving from a poor rating in 2008 to a fair rating in 2018.

Dr. McField will share with the workshop attendees the process they have gone through to set up the monitoring of over 300 sites throughout the Mesoamerican Reef, how they evaluate the data gathered and prepare the report card and also how they have funded the effort. The goal of the workshop is to assist TCRF and interested stakeholders, including the Department of Environment and Coastal Resources, in establishing a similar monitoring and reef health reporting program for the TCI barrier reef system, the third largest in the worldone of the largest in the Western Hemisphere. Anyone interested in attending the workshop is invited to attend.

Questions and RSVPs should be directed to Don Stark at or via phone at 649-347-8455.