New York City drain project approved that will severely damage ten year old Biorock salt marsh, mussel, and oyster restoration projects that could save the City billions of dollars in climate change adaptation costs.

DEC Approves MacNeil Park Outfall Pipe

Staff Writer : Queens Tribune

A proposed city Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) storm water outfall pipe on the northern shoreline of College Point’s MacNeil Park has been granted a permit by the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), despite the months-long outcry by local environmentalists.

The pipe would empty out near DEC-protected wetlands that are currently being restored and preserved by the College Point-based conservation group the Coastal Preservation Network (CPN). CPN has been restoring the sea marsh at the site for years, growing an ecosystem of oysters, mussels and shoreline grasses that the group argues helps reduce shoreline erosion caused by increasing sea levels. In October, the group led a protest, claiming that pollutants found in the stormwater flowing from the pipe could kill the carefully preserved marine life.

But the DEC disagreed after responding to 222 public comments. The permit was effective as of April 13.

“DEC carefully analyzed the substance of the city’s application, application materials and plans for the outfall; conducted multiple site visits to inspect the project area; and reviewed the responses shared during the public-comment period for this project—and found no potential for significant adverse impact to wetland habitat, oysters or water quality would result,” said DEC spokeswoman Erica Ringewald.

The pipe is part of a $132 million infrastructure project to reduce sewer drainage into Flushing Bay. Currently, three combined sewer outfalls in different locations overflow into the bay during heavy storms, releasing untreated sewage and rainwater. The new pipe, which would allow for the decommissioning of the three combined outfalls, would emit only stormwater—not sewage—creating less pollution in the bay overall.

But while CPN president and marine biologist James Cervino approved of the reduced sewage, he argued that the stormwater would still carry pollutants that would fall directly into the sensitive ecosystem.

“It’s not pretty little rainwater that comes off people’s drains,” Cervino said. “It goes into the street. There are oil slicks in the street; there’s animal feces in the street; there’s salt, de-icing chemicals on the street.”

In its response to public comments, the DEC acknowledged that the stormwater has some pollutants, but added that those pollutants are already being discharged at the site and that the water would be generally cleaner than water emitted from the combined outfalls.

But as the Queens Tribune reported in March, Cervino’s own tests of water near clogged storm sewers in College Point found levels of lead and zinc that exceeded regulatory levels. This is a sign, he argued, that the water entering the pipes may not be as harmless to the habitat as the agencies let on. He argued that the public comments were made by specialists in marine immunology who know the risks of such pollutants firsthand, and feared that no such specialists were consulted by the DEP.

Among the public comments was one from Dr. Thomas Goreau, who has worked on the project with Cervino, serves as president of the Global Coral Reef Alliance and was an advisor to the United Nations.

In an interview with the Queens Tribune, Goreau explained that the project was the “most successful that’s ever been done of its kind” since it pioneered a new method using solar panels to speed up the growth of oysters, salt marsh and mussels. Since those habitats can slow erosion, Goreau argued that the technique could provide an alternative to sea walls and other costly artificial structures for protecting shorelines from global sea rise. He said that the pipe would destroy his group’s work.

“I don’t know how they plan to absorb the toxic levels, illegal levels, of pollutants that are going to be in storm runoff, even if no sewage goes into it,” Goreau said.

The DEC told the Queens Tribune that “trained biologists” from the Division of Marine Resources and Marine Habitat Protection carefully reviewed the application and conducted site visits. The agency also added that the plan includes a splash pad—which serves to prevent erosion caused by the outflow of water—and 8,607 square feet of new sea grasses extending west of the new pipe, although Cervino and Goreau both said that pollutants could threaten the sea grasses already at the site.

Both Cervino and Goreau had also suggested that the outfall pipe be extended a few 100 feet farther out, so that the stormwater runoff doesn’t fall directly onto the habitat. In response to these comments, the DEC argued that installing the extended pipe would cause more extensive damage.

“But they’d avoid all the long-term damage that’s going to happen from destroying the environment right at the coastline,” Goreau countered.

In a statement, Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside) said that he was unhappy that the DEC had not agreed to extend the pipe.

“While we appreciate the closing of the combined sewer overflow, which will increase the quality of the water in the area, the situation could have been further improved by including any of the pretty basic concessions that were ignored,” Vallone said.
On Monday, state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) said that he was also disappointed, but understood the situation.

“I trust DEC,” Avella said. “I spoke to the commissioner several times about it and he assured me they did a careful review of the application and permit.”

Reach James Farrell at (718) 357-7400 x 127, or @farrellj329.

NYCDEP about to destroy historic 10 year NYSDEC salt marsh, oyster, and mussel restoration at McNeil Park, College Point, Queens

March 31 2017,
To: NYS DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos State Senator Tony Avella

New York City Department of Environmental Protection is racing ahead with irresponsible plans to destroy the most successful oyster, mussel, and salt marsh restoration project ever done in New York City, or anywhere else.

These projects, approved by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, have for 10 years pioneered new methods for restoring these valuable ecosystems, providing habitat for birds, fish, and shellfish, protecting shores from erosion, and improving coastal water quality, which could save the City billions of dollars in adapting to and mitigating global warming and global sea level rise (please see current photos attached).

The MacNeil Park projects have shown for the first time how to restore vibrant marine ecosystems to barren shores where everything had died from toxic waste dumping at the site for more than 50 years. They not only restored life to a wasteland, but showed for the first time how to grow these organisms under extreme stress conditions that they normally could not survive. Our team is now expanding the project to fill in all the gaps.

10 years of work will be destroyed if DEP puts the storm drain where they intend. This will not only flush water shown by chemical analysis to have illegally high concentrations of toxic lead, copper, zinc, hydrocarbons, and untreated sewage, but the water flow will wash away the beach sediment and cause severe local coastal erosion at a site that is a designated public recreational area and entry way for kayaks.

Using the Biorock restoration method, we had 100% survival of oysters during the winter when 93% of control oysters died. The few surviving control oysters stopped growing in winter, and their shells were chalky, crumbly, and dissolving due to cold acidic water, but Biorock oysters grew all winter, and their shells were bright and shiny with no dissolution.

The Biorock restoration method has grown salt marsh lower in the intertidal zone than salt marsh grass can tolerate, it grows taller, faster, greener, and spreads faster than controls, grows back in larger spreading patches after every winter when controls die, and has prolific root growth and mussel populations which bind sediment and prevent erosion by waves.

The mussel growth has been so extraordinary that in a few years we have raised the height of the beach where we are growing them by up to a foot, much faster than the rate of global sea level rise, about an eighth of an inch a year. Therefore, we are able to grow beaches upwards at places where they are now washing away from erosion.

Oysters have spontaneously settled near our projects, but not away from them, showing that oyster settlement is increased by the Biorock process. These oysters have shown exceptionally high growth and survival.

These incredible results show for the first time that it is possible to extend salt marshes seaward to protect coasts from erosion. All salt marshes in the US are rapidly eroding and collapsing into the sea due to global sea level rise and increased storm wave strength caused by global warming. Jamaica Bay is the worst example of this. The methods pioneered at the McNeil Park project could save Jamaica Bay salt marshes, and help protect Kennedy Airport from flooding by the sea and storm surges (remember Sandy!).

This destruction of a historic restoration project is entirely un-necessary! There is an existing storm drain at the site that runs out past the project to the low tide mark, built long ago to prevent contaminated water washing directly onto the beach. But instead of using it or upgrading it, DEP plans to dump polluted water directly at the shoreline high tide mark, and flush away 10 years of extraordinarily successful work with polluted water!

The bulldozers are right at the edge of the project, ready to move into action unless DEC can get them to responsibly act to save New York City’s precious green shorelines! We urgently appeal for your help to save the projects that will make New York the leader in natural shore protection.

Sincerely yours,
Thomas J. F. Goreau, PhD, President, Global Coral Reef Alliance

Follow up to September 14th 2016 letter:
Please Stop College Point storm drain killing world’s most important salt marsh and oyster restoration projects

McNeil Park is an important recreational area in Queens, that is now a pioneering environmental restoration and public education site. All photos were taken on March 29 and March 30 2017
Wildlife is now returning to a devastated area because of the restoration projects. These Green Shoreline ecosystems provide the best and cheapest protection of the coast against erosion and storm surges
The proposed discharge point for water polluted with unacceptable levels of lead, zinc, copper, and hydrocarbons, will also dump untreated sewage at the shore line onto the beach during storm events. right onto the public kayak entry area.
DEP has dumped pipes to flush contaminated water onto the beach right next to the restoration project signs (left), even though DEC has apparently not approved the drain project. So DEP cannot be unaware of the restoration projects!
This rock near the projects has about a dozen oysters growing on it, as well as many barnacles
This rock near the project has had around 20 oysters settle, grow, and survive on it. Such density of oysters is not found away from the projects
Mussel populations have dramatically expanded in recent years in the project area, and now cover the bottom in many places. They rapidly filter the water and clean it.
We are growing salt marsh lower in the water than it can normally grow, and the dense roots hold back the beach sediment and prevent it being washed away during storm waves. New leaves are now starting to spring up, and in a month there will be bright green salt marsh grass all over the area, unless it is killed by polluted storm runoff
The dense mussel and salt marsh growth has raised the height of the bottom by up to a foot in a few years
The salt marsh and mussels we have restored have raised the beach level by holding sand in place. Where they don’t grow, the sand and mud are washing away. Our goal is to fill the gaps and cover the entire area with growing habitat and fill in the spaces in between the clumps we have grown. The storm drain will flush polluted water right on top of the project, kill them, and wash away the sand. Eventually the sea wall will collapse because of erosion. Green shores are the cheapest and best protection
An old storm drain runs all the way from the shore right at the site of the new DEP storm drain. The new drain should do the same
The old drain goes all the way out into deep water past the low tide mark in order to avoid polluting the shore. Incredibly, DEP does not plan to do the same with the new drain, so they will destroy the habitat!

Biorock electric reef restoration projects to start in India

Scientists to use solar energy to regenerate locally extinct corals

Joydeep Thakur
Hindustan Times

Biorock, Bali
Photo by: Eunjae Im

Marine scientists will use solar energy for the first time in India to regenerate corals that become extinct from the Gulf of Kutch off the Gujarat coast thousands of years ago.

Scientists across the world are trying to come up with various methods that can regenerate bleached and locally extinct corals. One such technique, popularly called biorock, has helped scientists in many countries to conserve and protect coral reefs also known as underwater gardens.

Pemuteran in Indonesia has the world’s largest coral regeneration project where biorock has been used.

India has four major coral reefs — Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Gulf of Mannar and Gulf of Kutch. While the reefs in Andaman are considered the richest and most diverse, the ones in Kutch area are the poorest. Only 30% of the coral in Kutch area are alive, albeit in a degraded condition.

“We have identified a site in the shallow waters near Shivrajpur in Dwarka area of Gujarat where the pilot project could be carried out. There are some challenges such as siltation and high tidal fluctuations which we have to address. Using solar power is under consideration and the technical details are being worked out,” Shyamal Tikader, chief conservator of forest in Gujarat, said.

A steel structure would be first installed on the seabed and could be of any shape ranging from a simple arch to as complex as that of a motorcycle. Photo by: Eunjae Im

Coral reefs are like underwater gardens and one of the most diverse ecosystems on earth providing food and shelter to millions of species. They are under threat because of climate change-induced ocean acidification, pollution and human activities among others.

“We will be using electricity to re-grow corals for the first time in India. These corals had become locally extinct from the Kutch region long ago but can be found in other reefs across India. Plans are going on to start the pilot project in April with the help of solar power,” Chowdula Satyanarayana, a coral scientist with the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) who is leading the project, said.

A steel structure would be first installed on the seabed and could be of any shape ranging from a simple arch to as complex as that of a motorcycle. Cables would connect the structure to a power source such as solar panels, which would float on the surface of the sea.

Very low doses of electricity – less than 12 volts – would then be run through the structure via the cables. The electricity would trigger a chemical reaction in the sea water, similar to that of electrolysis. Minerals, mostly calcium carbonate (limestone), would get deposited on the steel structure.

“Divers would attach fragments and twigs of corals brought from other reefs like Gulf of Mannar to the steel structure. The structure, which now will have a layer of limestone on it, can act as a base for the corals to grow again,” Satyanarayana added.

Scientists have selected five species of branching corals for the project which grow very fast and once used to dominate the Kutch reef. The zooxanthellae – tiny plant-like organisms that make live corals colourful – return automatically helping the corals to thrive.

The coral polyps, which are animals, and zooxanthellae share a mutual relation. The corals provide shelter to the zooxanthellae and compounds these tiny algae need for photosynthesis. The algae in return produce oxygen and help the corals to remove wastes.

They also supply them with glucose and amino acids which the corals use to make fats, proteins and carbohydrates and even calcium carbonate. Most importantly, the zooxanthellae give colours to the otherwise white corals.

Scientists have selected five species of branching corals for the project which grow very fast and once used to dominate the Kutch reef. Photo by: EunJae Im

Under stressful conditions such as pollution, high temperature and ocean acidification among others, the coral polyps expel the zooxanthellae. Without the colour, the corals turn white a process which is popularly called coral bleaching.

With a base of limestone and low doses of current supplied at regularly, the corals could grow nearly 20 times faster and have better chances of survival, experts claimed.

“It is just like giving oxygen to an athlete while he is running. With oxygen, he would be able to run faster and for a longer period. Similarly, it has been seen that providing small doses of electricity helps the corals to recuperate faster and survive longer,” Satyanarayana said.

The ZSI is trying to rope in Thomas Goreau, a US-based coral expert who along with Wolf Hilbert developed and patented the biorock method.

“We have helped many countries in setting up biorocks. Next, I would be providing special materials and help Satyanarayana. Biorock doesn’t just help corals but have helped to restore the fish population, which often takes shelter in these structures,” Goreau told Hindustan Times over email.

Original article: Hindustan Times

United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization Global Symposium on Soil Organic Carbon, Rome, March 21-23 2017

Live Coverage of the Global Symposium on Soil Organic Carbon #GSOC17

Soil4Climate Facebook:

Presentations by Tom Goreau, Coordinator, Soil Carbon Alliance

Poster: Regenerative Development to Reverse Climate Change: Quantity and quality of soil carbon sequestration control rates of CO2 and climate stabilization at safe levels


Coral bleaching prediction capacity may soon be destroyed by US Government, Great Barrier Reef bleaching imminent

For nearly 30 years we have been able to predict mass coral bleaching accurately with the Goreau-Hayes Satellite SST HotSpot method (Goreau, 1990 US Senate Hearings on Climate Change; Goreau et al., 1993; Goreau & Hayes, 1994). We have routinely predicted, and confirmed, bleaching events that have never been documented by the coral list or NOAA. There were many such bleaching events last year in places that were hotter for longer than the GBR, but dive shops are now routinely concealing bleaching as “bad for business”.

In one large area of the Pacific where bleaching was certain last year, only one single dive shop would admit it had happened, but did not send photos, not one of the other dive shops would respond to a request for confirmation if bleaching was happening.

The NOAA data base and the web site that documents the HotSpot data is still up, but this may simply be an accidental oversight, as all US Government sites documenting climate are being shut down because the data contradicts the politically-motivated lie that climate change is not happening!

It is very important that other countries take the data leadership role that the US regime is now destroying, because otherwise no-one will have warning when their corals are about to bleach or die.

We can only hope that the European Union, Japan, and China take up the responsibility of real time HotSpot mapping needed to provide alerts.

If there is no database documenting coral death from heat stroke, Governments will continue to falsely say that 2 degrees C further warming is “acceptable”, they will continue to sentence coral reef ecosystems to death, and billions of people living along low lying coasts to become desperate migrants, so many that no walls will be high enough.

Below is the latest Pacific HotSpot map. In case it is the very last one that we will ever see it is important to realize that a large area of the South Pacific from the Great Barrier Reef, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji, Samoa, and Tonga is warming rapidly and now is at or just below bleaching thresholds, although of course it will take about a month at present conditions for it to be generally noticeable, sooner if it continues to warm up, as normal at the very start of the hot season.


The current rate of warming is greatest in the GBR, bleaching temperatures have been reached unusually early in the season, and the hot season in Australia has not even started yet!

Barring miraculous cooling, there may be little coral left in the GBR later this year.

Ray Hayes and I have always pointed out that it is extreme events that cause bleaching, not mean changes, and the model based predictions of bleaching, which are based on mean rates of change, which say that bleaching might be a problem in the GBR in another 50 years, have proven falsely optimistic yet again.

When lies trump truth, the new dark ages begin.

In Memoriam: Dr. Nora Goreau April 25 1921 – December 18 2016 – Mother of Coral Reef Science


nora goreau
In Memoriam: Dr. Nora Goreau; Mother of Coral Reef Science          April 25 1921 – December 18 2016

Dr. Nora Goreau died peacefully at 95 on December 18 2016 in Old Waterford, Vermont.

Nora Isabel Arango de Urriola was born in Panama City, Panama, the middle of 9
children from a distinguished Panamanian family related to national heroes of several Latin American countries.

Nora was top student at the University of Panama Law School when an unexpected scholarship offer came to study biology in the United States. She attended Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Iowa State University, De Paul University, and did doctoral research in neurophysiology at the University of Chicago, publishing her first paper in 1949 on Inhibition of Brain Dehydrogenases by Acetylcholinesterases. There she met and married Thomas F. Goreau, a visiting researcher who was simultaneously doing a PhD in Ecology at Yale University and a MD at University of Pennsylvania.

Soon after they moved to Jamaica, where Tom taught Physiology at the new
University of the West Indies Medical School, training a generation of doctors for a
region with very few. He was the first diving marine scientist in the world, the first
to study the zonation of the reef, doing fundamental cutting edge work in every
aspect of coral reef biochemistry, physiology, ecology, and geology. While Nora
was not herself a diver, she was an equal partner in the research, specializing in
the anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, and histology of coral reef organisms Tom
found. Working in the field on weekends under primitive conditions without
funding while they taught in Kingston during the week, Nora identified the
specimens Tom collected in the microscope and set up experiments to understand
their biological roles in the reef.

To support their scientific research she also worked as a biology teacher in two
Jamaican girls’ high schools, Wolmer’s and Immaculate. Her ability to inspire
students was such that all her students achieved highest First Class Distinctions
in the British university entrance exams, except for one who got a Second Class
Distinction. This was despite the fact that she took on classes with no biology
background less than a year before the examination, and the schools had no copies
of the examination syllabus or curriculum, so she had to cover all aspects of
biology. Her students went on to become Jamaica’s first women scientists.

Jamaica was surrounded by pristine coral reefs, which were the first in the world
to be explored by diving, and they moved systematically all around the island to
study every reef. Tom and Nora founded their first marine laboratory in abandoned
naval warehouses in the old pirate capital, Port Royal, badly damaged by Hurricane
Charlie in 1951, which caused massive destruction to the coral reefs, and carried
away the roof of their home. They founded the Discovery Bay Marine Lab to expand
their research to the North Coast, which had some of the most magnificent reefs in
the Caribbean, with vertical canyons a hundred feet deep covered with corals (now
graveyards). Discovery Bay was named for Columbus’ arrival in Jamaica, but the
Admiral disappointedly called it Puerto Seco, or Dry Harbour, because they nearly
died running over the coral reef into the protected bay, only to find none of the
fresh water they were desperate for.

Tom and Nora built a laboratory in the abandoned toilet of the Puerto Seco
Fisherman’s Beach, useless to the fishermen because there was no water. They
arranged with a nearby resort to get water piped in for a lab they built, and for the
fishermen to rinse their catch and gear, building the toilet up with research space
and lockers for the fishermens’ gear. There they did the fundamental research that
made the Lab the world’s leader in tropical marine biology working next to the
fishermen, who were grateful for the knowledge they gained.

Their path-breaking scientific work resulted in Sir Maurice Yonge, leader of the
1920s Cambridge University Great Barrier Reef Expedition, and founder of modern
coral reef research, adopting them as his intellectual successors. Maurice had
been the world’s top expert on coral reefs although he had stopped working in
reefs in the 1920s, but he was re-invigorated by the way Tom and Nora constantly
pushed the science ahead with new methods. Maurice joined them out of
retirement to do fundamental research on coral nutrition, giant clams, on bizarre
symbiotic clams living inside coral skeletons, and returning to the Great Barrier
Reef with Tom in the 1960s to look at the changes there 40 years later.

Sir Maurice Yonge and Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone, the great aunt of
Queen Elizabeth II, kindly helped them get support from the Wolfson foundation in
England to build a modern research laboratory on the other side of Discovery Bay,
on land they got donated to the University of the West Indies by a bauxite company.
They designed the lab to be the best research facility for tropical science in the
world. Tragically, just before the lab opened, Tom suddenly died at 45 from severe
cancer, induced by exposure to nuclear radiation in 1947, when he had been the
diver who collected radioactive specimens from Bikini Atoll after the first nuclear
bomb test. Nora was left with three children to support.

The pace of their constant field work exploring the unknown world of coral reefs
left little time for writing, so Nora proceeded to publish their key findings in a series
of classic scientific papers on the ecology, geology, and biology of coral reef
ecosystems, describing how reef organisms interact and how they function at the
fundamental level of the carbon biogeochemical cycle. As the person who knew
more about corals than anyone, she single-handedly preserved and passed on the
knowledge of the past, and throughout the 1970s and 1980s trained new
generations of coral reef researchers who came from all over the world to
Discovery Bay to learn from her deep knowledge of coral reefs and seek her
research advice and constructive criticism.

A partial list of her many pioneering scientific accomplishments include:
Nora, the first Panamanian and Central American marine scientist, was the world’s
top expert on coral anatomy, histology, physiology, cell biology, developmental
biology, and biochemistry, an equal partner with her husband, who specialized in
diving, ecology, and geology of reefs. She and Tom pioneered understanding of
the complex symbiosis between corals and algae by developing analytical and
experimental methods to use radioactive isotopes to trace the complex pathways
and interactions of carbon through photosynthesis, feeding, excretion, and skeleton growth, gaining fundamental insight into coral physiology and reef
ecology that could have been gained no other way.

Nora was the first to discover the sclerosponges, from specimens Tom brought
back from caves in the reef 300 feet down. These living fossils had built reefs
hundreds of millions of years ago and were thought long extinct. After Tom’s death
her name was unconscionably omitted from the scientific papers describing her
discoveries, written by his US colleague.

She inspired graduate students from all over the Caribbean and the rest of the
world to learn from her at the Zoology Department of the University of the West
Indies, in Mona, Jamaica, and at Discovery Bay Marine Lab. With Dunbar Steele at
the University of the West Indies she did fundamental work on the regulation of the
symbiotic algae, and with Raymond Hayes, working at the University of the West
Indies, University of Pittsburgh, Morehouse University, and Howard University she
worked on coral immunology and discovered with electron microscopes how
corals form the minute embryonic seed crystals of their skeleton inside their cells
and then extrude them to continue to grow beneath them.

She saved and maintained the definitive scientific collections of Caribbean coral
skeletons, microscope tissue slides and preserved specimens, papers, field notes,
and the world’s largest collection of underwater coral reef photographs from the
1940s, 1950s, and 1960s. These are in the hands of the non-profit Global Coral Reef
Alliance, which is seeking funds to preserve her legacy by scanning the entire
collection and making it available on the web as the definitive record of a now-
vanished world of pristine coral reefs.

Nora inspired everyone who knew her with her warmth, compassion, dignity,
humility, love of knowledge, insistence on rigor and excellence, and quiet
persistence despite hopeless adversity. For single-handedly preserving the entire
field of coral research, documenting it, and training new generations to build on
past knowledge, she is regarded as the Mother of Coral Reef Science.

She is deeply missed by sons Tom, Peter, and Stefan, daughters-in–law Margaret,
Clare, and Cheri, and grandchildren Maya, Marina, David, Lodi, Tara, Erik, and
Emma. Her ashes will be buried in the family tomb in Panama.



GCRA is a global network of volunteers working for more than 25 years on fundamental research on coral threats and on direct action projects to reverse environmental degradation, especially coral reefs. GCRA has done far more to save coral reefs and reverse climate change than all of the Big International Non-Governmental Organizations (BINGOs) put together. Unlike the BINGOs, GCRA does not have millions of dollars in the bank, has no big donors or benefactors, relies almost entirely on very small and scarce donations, has no fancy offices or salaries, and does not peddle glossy brochures, posters, coffee cups or T-shirts, so that we can put all of our efforts to work directly in the field with those who ask for our help to show them how to solve their own local problems.

We could get vastly more accomplished if we had donations! If you genuinely care about the future of the planet, please help us to help those who need to know how to manage their environment with more production and less destruction, instead of giving donations to BINGOs who will waste it on fat salaries, luxurious offices, glossy brochures claiming false credit for effective environmental protection, and TV ads with “celebrities”. Below are some of the major program areas GCRA will pursue in 2017 if we have any funding at all.


Indonesia has the largest and most biodiverse coral reefs in the world, it is the heart of the heart of marine biodiversity. While Indonesian reefs that are still undamaged are the most remarkable reefs anywhere, around 95% have been severely damaged by the entire range of anthropogenic threats at the local, regional, and global scales. In 2016 Indonesia suffered severe coral mortality from heat stroke caused by global warming, and many of the finest reefs lost up to 95-99% of their corals. Temperatures have not cooled down significantly and continue to hover around the bleaching temperature thresholds, so corals have little chance to recover, and new severe bleaching in 2017 is practically assured unless there is a sudden and unprecedented decrease in temperature. Micronesia was similarly affected, but dive shops are now refusing to report bleaching to protect business.

Despite the massive death of corals from high temperature in 2016, Biorock reefs in Indonesia maintained under 24-hour power suffered no noticeable mortality at all, making it the only method that protects corals from dying from global warming.
Because the current pattern of extremely high temperature will almost certainly cause severe bleaching when the 2017 warm season hits Indonesia, it is urgent to set up as many properly maintained Biorock Coral Arks across Indonesia as possible in order to maintain the species until global warming can be reversed. We are already growing around 80% of all the coral genera in the world, but we want to save all of the species.

GCRA has held 11 Indonesian Biorock training workshops and trained hundreds of Indonesian students in the new methods. They are eager to go out and use their skills to support community-based restoration and management projects, so every Indonesian fishing village can restore their reefs and fisheries the way we have done in the world’s two largest coral reef restoration projects in Bali and Lombok, with no funding at all from any international agency or government, purely with local support and small donations from tourists. But there are no jobs for them to use their knowledge and skills, because Indonesia is not yet supporting large scale community-managed restoration of fisheries habitats.

80% of Indonesia’s protein comes from the sea, but coastal fisheries are in collapse. GCRA urgently seeks donations to expand the Indonesia Biorock coral reef and fisheries restoration projects to the many subsistence fishing villages that need and want it. Vanuatu is also a major priority for these efforts.


Global sea level rise threatens all beaches and low lying coasts nearly as much as global warming threatens coral reefs and fisheries. GCRA has developed the only method known to result in rapid natural restoration of severely eroded beaches, by restoring coral reefs, oyster reefs, sea grasses, salt marshes, and mangroves at extraordinary growth rates in places when ecosystems would die from severe stress, or where there has been no natural recovery at all. Yet there remains no serious effort to protect coasts against the inevitable impacts of global sea level rise that will flood coastlines for hundreds of thousands or millions of years if action is not urgently taken to reverse global climate change. Policy makers are simply pretending the problem does not exist, because we have so far hardly felt the effects compared to what is inevitably to come unless atmospheric CO2 is reduced around 40% to safe levels.

GCRA is seeking funds to help communities losing their beaches to grow them back quickly and naturally, while restoring their fisheries and biodiversity at the same time. Our first focus is Negril Beach, Jamaica’s largest and most important tourist beach, whose loss would seriously impact the national economy. Another is St. Jean Beach in Saint Barthelemy, where millions of dollars have been spent pumping sand on the beach that washes away. These have been chosen because GCRA scientists know these areas intimately, and have been asked by local communities and governments for help.


Despite all the publicity about the Great Barrier Reef bleaching in 2016, many more places around the globe were more badly affected by extreme high temperatures. GCRA invented and developed the HotSpot method for accurately predicting coral bleaching from satellite sea surface temperature, and has been able to warn people of impending coral bleaching before it can be seen on the reef since 1990, when we first warned the US Senate Hearing on Impacts of Global Warming that high temperature is the major cause of coral bleaching and mortality and that we are already at or above temperature levels that will quickly drive coral reef ecosystems to extinction in a few years if urgent action is not taken to reverse climate change. Deliberate failure of governments to act on global warming now places this catastrophe only a few years away.

The urgency cannot be understated because more than 100 countries will lose most of their marine biodiversity and ecosystem services such as fisheries, tourism, shore protection, and sand supplies for beaches, and billions of people will be forced to migrate away from flooding coasts. Yet instead of taking action, many governments are simply sticking their heads in the sand and pretending that the problem does not exist. GCRA will work with communities who realize that their future depends on their own actions, not waiting for hand-outs that could largely be stolen by politicians and the cronies they serve.

GCRA, through its affiliate, the Soil Carbon Alliance, has been a leader in showing how the global carbon cycle can be stabilized at safe levels to prevent runaway global warming and sea level rise, and the critical factors that determine how quickly this can be done. GCRA works closely with the Commonwealth Secretariat Regenerative Development to Reverse Climate Change Initiative, which represent 52 countries including most Small Island Developing States, and 2.5 billion people, a third of the world’s population. Major initiatives will be presented at the next United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change negotiations in Fiji.

GCRA is seeking funds to set up training programs in community-managed whole-watershed and coastal zone ecosystem restoration and management, especially in developing countries and islands who need it the most.


GCRA places top priority on working closely with indigenous cultures, especially sea peoples, around the world, to give them access to the best scientific knowledge and new techniques for restoring their own ecosystems, preserving their ancient knowledge, while acquiring new concepts and methods that can empower them to adapt to global climate change on their own terms. GCRA works for little or no money (but expenses) to help the First Peoples acquire the best methods to restore their lands, waters, and cultures. Working with poor indigenous cultures is more important to us than helping rich countries who could afford climate change adaptation measures if they chose to. Details of 12 of the different indigenous communities around the world that are the GCRA’s top priorities are listed in a separate document that can be found in the related document on Indigenous Restoration.

GCRA is urgently seeking support to help these ancient, but threatened peoples, to preserve their knowledge and cultures, while adapting to climate change, and using the most appropriate modern methods under their own terms for their survival and advancement.


GCRA has the world’s largest collection of underwater photographs of coral reefs from the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, taken by the inventor of macro-photography who took the first good underwater photographs, Fritz Goreau (Goro) and his son Thomas F. Goreau. These include the first underwater photographs to document reef ecology and health of the Great Barrier Reef, the Bahamas, Jamaica, the Red Sea, the West Pacific, and many parts of the Caribbean. It also includes nearly a thousand hours of digital video transects of coral reefs taken all around the Caribbean, Pacific, Indian Ocean, and Southeast Asia by Thomas J. F. Goreau since the mid 1990s. The photos include the first underwater quadrat and line transect data for quantitative marine ecology. It also contains several other historic underwater photographic archives donated by the original photographers and their heirs. None of this material has been scanned or archived due to lack of funds. It provides the only global archive of a lost coral reef world, showing how the reefs looked before their damage and before any other marine researchers saw them.

GCRA also has the worlds’ most important historical photographic archive of the development of science in the 20th century, taken by Fritz Goreau from the early 1930s through the late 1980s. He invented many fundamental macroscopic and microscopic methods for photographic documentation to reveal previously invisible phenomena, and was regarded by all his colleagues at LIFE Magazine as the finest photographer in the world. Only a tiny fraction of these photographs were published by editors who were interested only in pretty pictures and not in intellectual information content. The archive is unique in the extraordinary way that every aspect of each fundamental phenomena from all branches of science is explored is complete explored, along with detailed documentation, making a unique encyclopedia of science of unequaled historical, educational, and scientific value.

GCRA is urgently seeking donations to scan, archive, safely store, and post the entire image archive on the web, linked to the metadata.