Archive for » June, 2009 «

June 29th, 2009 | Author:
*** Make Navarre Snorkelicious ***

*** Make Navarre Snorkelicious ***

Registration is now open for the Run for the Reef 5k Race and 1 Mile Fun Run on October 10th.

Register Online at or download the registration form here and drop it off with check to our of the drop off locations listed below.

Check out the details here on our site

Don’t miss out on the fun.  T-Shirts,  Age Category Awards, Party and Awards Ceremony at Juana’s.

Full coverage by the event sponsor – Navarre Press.

June 28th, 2009 | Author:

Claudia Kremer of Thrifty Tropical Shirts on Navarre Beach (8460 Gulf Blvd # 102) is taking a novel approach to helping Make Navarre Snorkelicious  by asking patrons to  Kiss The Fish.

Kiss The Fish

Kiss The Fish

Customer posing for a picture of them kissing the fish will get their pictures posted on Thrifty’s  website and for a $5 donation to the Navarre Beach Marine Sanctuary customers will receive a FREE floral lei.

What a  fun way to help support the Marine Sanctuary.  When you are at the beach stop by Thrifty Tropical Shirts to Kiss The Fish and don’t forget your donation.

June 23rd, 2009 | Author:

Mike Sandler found this neat informational nugget.

Electrified artificial reef moves forward

The Associated Press 22 June 2009

LAUDERDALE-BY-THE-SEA, Fla. — A federal agency is giving the green light to a proposal to install an electrified artificial reef on the ocean floor.

The Army Corps of Engineers says the town can work with Global Coral Reef Alliance to install a $65,000 cluster of metal structures that would use a low-voltage current to stimulate the growth of corals, creating habitat for fish and other marine creatures.

The group has built artificial reefs in several other countries, including Mexico, Jamaica and Indonesia.

Lauderdale-by-the-Sea is known as one of the best spots for beach diving because the reefs are accessible from shore.

June 21st, 2009 | Author:

Here are some views that excerpted from the Gulf Side Reef drawings – these are taken from original reef design drawings done by the state dept of parks and recreation when the state park was being constructed. Thanks to Roy Larsen we also now have the original two AutoCAD drawings of the Gulf Side Reef converted to a pdf format.  You can view them under the two drawing links listed on our Plans and Documents page.

Gulf Reef Pilings Profile View

Gulf Reef Pilings Profile View

Piling Cluster Detail

Piling Cluster Detail

Shape of Area - Gulf Reef

Shape of Area - Gulf Reef

Gulf Reef Locational Drawing

Gulf Reef Locational Drawing

June 15th, 2009 | Author:

Building a snorkeler’s sanctuary
Group installing reefs to draw tourists, sea life

By: Louis Cooper • • June 15, 2009 PNJ.COM

When Hurricane Opal shut down the Navarre Pier in 1995, fishermen were put off, but snorkelers rejoiced.

Navarre resident Brenda Stokes called the underwater environs around the quieted pier “a wonderland.”

“Because the pier is there with the shade, it’s phenomenal what comes there,” Stokes said. “I think we documented over 50 different kinds of fish, and there’s the sponges and sea grasses that grow on the pilings. Each piling is like a little ecosystem. There’s even juvenile octopus.”

Once the pier was repaired and fishing resumed, the snorkeling had to stop. But Stokes and others birthed the idea of building reefs and platforms to create an underwater recreation area that would welcome sea life for snorkelers to appreciate. Thus was born the idea behind the Navarre Beach Marine Sanctuary.

Although the project has been discussed for years, it recently has received starter money from the Santa Rosa County Tourist Development Council and the blessing of the Santa Rosa County Commission. The project could be completed by July 2013.

“This is not common in the state of Florida,” Stokes said. “One on the east coast of Florida was so popular, you couldn’t get into the park on the weekend. The ones that are in shallow waters are really popular. This is completely geared toward the beginner snorkeler — anyone who can put on a mask.”

Tourism and education

The sanctuary will consist of three components — Gulf Side Snorkeling/Diving Reef, Sound Side Snorkeling Reef and Gulf Side Observation Pier, said Mark Griffith, chairman of the Navarre Beach Marine Sanctuary Committee. That committee operates under the Navarre Beach Area Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

“Environmentally, the reefs will improve water quality in the Sound, increase marine biodiversity and provide essential marine habitat for juvenile fish species,” said Griffith, a Navarre technology consultant and recreational fisherman. “Educationally the reefs will encourage more marine research, study, and grant activity by providing a centerpiece amenity complementing the (new Navarre Beach Marine Science Station) at the park.”

The sanctuary could pump as much as $1.17 million annually into the local economy, the committee predicts. That’s based on two National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration studies of the impact of near-shore reef facilities and the study of the impact of the sinking of the Oriskany south of Pensacola as an artificial reef.

The committee believes the sanctuary will generate at least a 3 percent increase in Santa Rosa tourism.

Kate Wilkes, executive director of the Santa Rosa County Tourist Development Council, called near-shore diving and snorkeling an “up-and-coming” area of tourist activity.

“It’s not like you have to go way, way out, like the Oriskany. It’s close by,” Wilkes said. “It’s another thing to offer, enjoying our natural resources, getting in the water, whether it’s in the Sound or in the Gulf.”

Charlene Mauro Fearon, a marine science teacher at Navarre High School who has been active in the project, looks forward to using the sanctuary in the coursework at the Navarre Beach Marine Science Station.

“We will do a study of habitat and type of fish that want to call it home,” Fearon said. “I hope to run a partnership with the marine sanctuary and include my students on surveys on the biodiversity that occurs. It’s real research that we can do over years.”

Aquatic life that Fearon expects will call the sanctuary home include yellow tail, sheep’s head, gobies, blennies, sea anemones, jellyfish, squid, sea turtles and nurse sharks.

Project seeking money

The sanctuary carries an estimated cost of about $2.3 million. The Tourist Development Council has allocated $6,000 to be used for permit applications for Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The project has collected about $400 in private donations, but Griffith has high hopes for more.

“Our goal is to fund the bulk of the project using private and corporate donations and grants,” he said. “We are very interested in partnering with local corporations for both monetary support and in kind contributions for things like meeting space, printing, advertisement” and more.

The committee plans to raise money through its Web site,, as well as events like the Run for the Reef 5K, scheduled for Oct. 10. The committee also is applying for an IMPACT 100 Pensacola Bay Area grant.

The Santa Rosa County Commission approved a resolution giving the sanctuary its blessing in May, smoothing the application process for project.

“It will be a unique attraction in Santa Rosa County and Northwest Florida,” said County Commissioner Gordon Goodin. “In an area surrounded by water, the facility will be a natural and appropriate part of life in Northwest Florida.”

But Goodin doesn’t see the project getting significant money from the county.

“I haven’t seen a budget or scope of the project that details costs,” he said. “I’m certain the county may have some costs that it will bear (like in kind donations and administrative expense), but I would expect most of the funding to come from grants and legislative appropriations.”

Navarre Beach Marine Sanctuary Details

The Phase I: Gulf Side Reef

— Planned as 22 clusters of seven concrete pilings, sunk about 30 to 35 feet below the surface in 10 to 25 feet of water. The reef area encompasses a 263-foot-by-71-foot area about 300 feet south of the shoreline at the near the center point of the Navarre Beach Park. The top of each piling cluster will be about 6 feet below the water’s surface and lighted marker buoys 100 feet from the southernmost cluster will mark south east and south west corners closed to watercraft.

— Estimated cost: $300,000 to $400,000.

— Completion: Between June 2011 and February 2012

The Phase II: Sound Side Reef

— Planned off the northern shore of the park in 7 to 10 feet of water in Santa Rosa Sound. There will be 105, three-tier, ecosystem-type reefs in clusters of five, providing 93,360 square feet of reef surface. Four marker buoys on the corners of the area will indicate the area closed to watercraft.

— Estimated cost: $133,000.

— Completion: Between August 2011 and February 2012

The Phase III: Observation Pier

— Planned to extend into the Gulf and partially over the northern end of the Gulf Side Reef to allow pedestrian access to view the reef and the snorkeling/diving activity.

— Estimated cost: $1.8 million to $1.9 million

— Completion: Between November 2012 and July 2013

For More Information See

June 10th, 2009 | Author:

The grant application package for the 2009 Impact 100 Grant is complete and has been delivered.  The Marine Sanctuary has submitted the grant package in the Environmental category.  There are five categories, each with an award of $102,800.   The grant specifically targets using the funds for the Phase II sound side reef due to the ability to actually complete all the Phase II work before Fall of 2010 should we get the grant.

A site visit will occur where two to three of the Impact 100 grant reviewers visit with us to learn more about our project and the Chamber Foundation (the 501 c 3 that we opperate under).  The site visit should occur in the July/August time frame with finalist selected the latter part of September.

Finalists make a presentation in October immediately prior to the final selection of grantees.  Think good thoughts and spread the word about our great project and the wonderful community benefits with regard to Environment, Economy and Education.  We feel it’s definitely grant worthy.    Here’s to hoping Impact 100 helps us to “Make Navarre Snorkelicious”.

June 05th, 2009 | Author:

Congratulations Charlene.  Charlene is also a committee member and former chairman of the Marine Sanctuary Committee.

From the Pensacola News Journal – dateline June 4, 2009….

Navarre High School marine science teacher Charlene Mauro Fearon has been named the recipient of the 2009 National Marine Educators Association’s Outstanding Teacher Award.

Fearon will be honored at a ceremony at the association’s annual conference on July 1 in Asilomar, Calif.

The National Marine Educators Association is a national professional organization founded in 1976 for all educators of marine and aquatic science.

Fearon, who has been at Navarre High since 1997, is opening the Navarre Beach Marine Science Station this summer at Navarre Beach Park.

Her past honors include 2007 Florida High School Science Teacher of the Year, Florida Teacher of the Year finalist 2005, Santa Rosa School District Teacher of the Year 2005 and Santa Rosa’s 2001 Rookie Teacher of the Year.

June 02nd, 2009 | Author:

Revision 3.3 of the Marine Sanctuary Plan has been posted.  Updates were made in multiple sections to reflect progress to date.

You can view the entire plan here on our Plans and Documents page.

June 02nd, 2009 | Author:

Here are some great pics from previous snorkeling and surfing outings at the Navarre Pier hosted by Brenda Stokes and others.   Pictures compliments of Mike Sandler and Jason Stokes



Something fishey going on here

Something fishy going on here

Mom and the girls

Mom and the girls

To surf or to snorkel...That is the question.

To surf or to snorkel...That is the question.

Beachside Touch Tank

Beachside Touch Tank