Reef Check Video by Bill Briscoe

  • Reef Check

By: Alan Throop and Bill Briscoe

Our own Bill Briscoe, one of the Aqua Tutus volunteers for Reef Check, produced a well-done video about the urchin barren issue. Below is a link and an excerpt from Reef Check’s email newsletter, followed by some background information from Bill. Congratulations, Bill, for producing this video and having it recognized!

Reef Check – Transect Line, Nov-Dec, 2019

Video Spotlight: Urchin Barren to Kelp Oasis: Hope for California’s Kelp Forest

Reef Check volunteer Bill Briscoe filmed this movie to raise awareness of the plight of California’s kelp forests and what can be done to preserve and protect these iconic ecosystems. Featuring interviews with leading biologists in the field, this movie provides an in-depth look at the causes and consequences of the recent dramatic shift of these lush ocean forests to barrens full of urchins and little else.

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Bill Briscoe Writes

In 2017, during our first Reef Check outreach meeting, with an agenda primarily focused on the end of season party, Dan proposed making a video about the urchin barren issue. Mainly because the information available about the urchin issue in Northern California was too simplistic and didn’t fairly represent all the factors involved.

As California divers, we should take notice of the major changes happening on our rocky reefs. The main question lies in how did it become this way? There are many different theories about what specifically caused it, but the reality is, it has no single causation. Most often with ecosystems, the root issue is complex. A priority of Reef Check, this video is an attempt to try and capture the data to answer these questions and convey the whys’. In addition, the efforts being made to help mitigate the issue from being a larger problem in future. However, as it took many events to create urchin barren ecosystems, there are no clear solutions to getting our kelp forests back. In hindsight, we are making progress. The purpose of this video is to educate and inform those who are passionate about our ocean’s ecosystems and want to help.

It took two years to complete a 16 minute video. I  want to thank my son, Cayden, who was instrumental in mentoring me on video production, from interviewing subject matter experts to processing the footage. Without his help, this video would have been 2 hours.