SAND DOLLAR REEFBALL PROJECT

BONAIRE, NETHERLANDS ANTILLES

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The Sand Dollar Reef Ball Project:








What Are Reef Balls?





When Can You See Them?






A Grassroots Project To Be Proud Of!



Thank You To STINAPA And The Marine Park!


How Do I Help?

Sand Dollar Condominium owners, hotel staff, dive staff and marine enthusiasts on the island of Bonaire have joined forces with the Bonaire Marine Park to institute a pilot program dedicated to the production of artificial reefs.

Although
Bonaire lays claim to one of the most healthy fringing reef systems in the Caribbean , it lost some of the hard coral formations that thrived along its shallow terraces in a rare storm surge six years ago. To help speed up the regeneration of this coral, Sand Dollar is now building and will shortly place a total of twenty, 600 lb. reef balls as part of a pilot project with the Bonaire National Marine Park. Most of these reef balls will be placed directly in front of the Sand Dollar Condominiums (http://www.sanddollarbonaire.com/) adjacent to Bari Reef.  The remaining reef balls will be placed in front of Boca Slagbaai in the the Washington Slagbaai National Park.

The reef balls being built at Sand Dollar are actually "bay balls" according to the manufacturer.  Approximately three-foot high structures, which resemble upside down tea cups, these structures are made of a special concrete mixture whose Ph levels are closer to that of the ocean than normal concrete, thereby stimulating early marine assimilation and growth.  These reef balls contain anywhere from eight to thirteen holes, making each one unique and, more importantly, attractive to
Bonaire ’s diverse marine life.  The surface of each reef ball has also been designed and prepared to encourage the adhesion of new coral polyps.

Sand Dollar will be placing these reef balls directly in front of the resort in 10 feet of water in late January and early February.  These balls will provide an immediate habitat for many different species of marine life and will be easily accessible to snorkelers and scuba divers alike!  Every reef ball will be identified with a number stamped on a brass tag affixed to each ball. As part of the project, snorkelers and divers alike will also be able to log the different marine species they find on each ball in books that will be kept at Bonaire Dive & Adventure, the Sand Dollar dive shop. Local naturalists Dee Scarr (Touch the Sea) and Jerry Ligon (Bonaire Dive & Adventure) have also volunteered to help monitor the project.

From the start, this has been a grassroots project that got off the ground thanks to the dedication and hard work of many individuals who believed they could make a difference in the already spectacular marine environement known as Bonaire!  To cover the cost of this project, visiting scuba divers and owners at Sand Dollar
are sponsoring individual reef balls for $300.  These sponsors will be identified on plaques mounted in the Sand Dollar lobby. 

This pilot project is also being conducted with the full support of STINAPA and the
Bonaire National Marine Park.  A total of 5 reef balls will be placed in the Washington Slagbaai National Park and can be sponsored at $200 a ball.  These proceeds will be donated directly to the Marine Park.  Special recognition must be given to Ramon de Leon with the Bonaire National Marine Park, and Elsemarie Beukenboom who is the director of STINAPA.  Their support for this pilot project is greatly appreciated.

Supporters who are interested in aiding the project can buy a reef ball t-shirt at the Sand Dollar office or sponsor a reef ball by contacting Jorgen Weterrings at jweterrings@yahoo.com. You can also learn more about reefballs at http://www.reefball.org/