Thursday, December 19, 2013

 

2013 Fourth Quarter Update

As 2013 winds down, Surfrider California Chapters have a lot to be proud about.  They scored many victories to protect California’s 1,100 miles of coastline—and their success wouldn’t be possible without your support.  Thank you for engaging with the Surfrider Foundation to protect our oceans, waves and beaches. 

Enjoy this statewide update and have a wonderful holiday season!   

Sea Level Rise on The Rise

Surfrider views Sea Level Rise as one the biggest challenges California will face in the coming decades.  A recent report by National Research Council estimates that sea levels could rise two feet in many parts of the state by 2050. Super-Storm Sandy offered a window into what we can expect from climate change. Given accelerating Sea Level Rise and the increase in sever storms, we can no longer overlook climate change connections along our coast. 

Fortunately the Coastal Commission released a draft Sea Level Rise guidance document to work with local municipalities and planning agencies to implement strategies that can protect coastal resources and communities. Surfirder and our colleagues attended the Commission hearing to discuss the document.  Read comments made by Commissioners during the hearing.  

Today in State History

It has been one year since California established a network of marine protected areas (MPAs).  On this one-year anniversary, it’s time to reflect on this milestone and celebrate California being the only state in the nation with a complete system of MPAs.  Studies show MPAs improve ocean health and resiliency.  But did you know MPAs are also considered some of the best places to surf?  Check out this recent article about surfing in MPAs and click to here to see a new video produced by our friends at the Ocean Conservancy.  Happy Birthday, California MPAs! 

Think Coastal Act Local

Surfrider recently joined forces with other coastal advocates to launch ActCoastal—the California Coast Accountably Project.  ActCoastal will empower millions of Californians who support coastal protection to engage effectively with the California Coastal Commission and have a voice in important decisions that matter to them and to the future of the state.   The campaign will monitor and report on recent and pending actions before the Coastal Commission and will publish a monthly scorecard as well and an annual vote chart.  Check out our new website

With a Grain of Salt

After nearly ten years of the Surfrider Foundation and local residents raising concerns about plans to build a seawater desalination facility in Huntington Beach, the Coastal Commission reviewed the project and sent it back for improvements. The Commission made it clear to Poseidon that new facilities must be designed with modern technology to avoid impacts to marine life and water quality whenever feasible. Here is a great article about the hearing.   

Keep Informed and Help!

We’re committed to keeping you up to date on California's coastal issues. We send an email every quarter with important statewide policy issues and high profile  campaigns.  The idea is to provide our supporters with more substantive content.   Please consider actively supporting Surfrider’s work by becoming a member or making a donation

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

 

Sea Level Rise Planning.

Climate change is now a reality--but what does that mean for our coasts?   One only needs to harken back to "Super Storm Sandy' to see how larger, and more powerful storms, wreck havoc on coastal resources.  But how will incremental changes unfold?

Sea Level Rise (SLR) will inevitably impact coastal resources.  Surfrider Foundation is striving to better understand exactly how climate change will alter our coast and what we can do to mitigate harm to nearshore ecosystems, public access and recreation.

Fortunately the Coastal Commission is also taking climate change seriously and has recently released a SLR Guidance document.   This document will help local municipalities and planning agencies implement policy changes that will not only protect coastal resources, but will also safeguard California's pocket book by implementing long-term, comprehensive land management.

The Commission is taking comments from the public on their document.  We strongly encourage people to get involved.  Surfrider will be submitting a formal comment letter on the document and will be presenting testimony at the December hearing.   If you want to better understand the issue,  read the document and sign up for a webinar the CCC is hosting.

We will keep you updated as the process unfolds.









Tuesday, October 22, 2013

 

2013 Third Quarter Update


Fracking Unfolds  

Surfrider, along with the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Environmental Defense Center (EDC), recently broke the news that fracking has be used off California’s coast for decades.  EDC obtained internal documents from the federal government clearly showing fracking was conducted more than a dozen times in the Santa Barbara channel and some frack-fluids were directly discharged into the ocean.   As we struggled to understand how fracking could occur without regulators knowing, we decided to write a letter to the California Coastal Commission (CCC) asking for an investigation.  As we were putting the final touches on that letter, our friends at CBD discovered fracking was also happening in states waters.  We immediately launched this press release.  Fortunately our request was taken seriously and the CCC is currently investigating all fracking.  Hear more here and see more here.  

Legislative Season

The legislative season often feels like the World Series of baseball—there are always curve balls thrown and the games leading up to the final playoff are always nerve-wracking.  Surfrider monitored nearly a dozen bills this legislative season.  In the end, our coast didn’t win the World Series—unfortunately special interests came to Sacramento with a heavy hand.  This biggest loss (read: curve ball) was the defeat of AB 976—a bill that would have given the Coastal Commission authority to administer fines to violators.  Surfrider worked hard on this bill and we are hopeful we can successfully pass it next year.  On a positive note, two small victories came when the Governor signed:
  • AB 691requires an assessment of sea-level rise impacts to public trust lands.
  • — AB 754—that puts “check-off box” on the state tax return allocating money to the fund that pays for Whale Tail grants.
California and International Conference

125 Surfrider activists from California, Europe, Japan, Australia, Peru, Jamaica, and Canada recently spent a weekend discussing current issues impacting our protect our oceans, waves and beaches.   Topics included:  plastic pollution, offshore oil drilling, climate change/sea level rise, offshore fracking, wave protection, volunteer training and our CEO provided an excellent “state of the state” of Surfrider is and where we are going.  These conferences are the heart and soul of Surfrider.  Get more involved with your local chapter so you can attend fun events like this. 
  
 In Case You Missed It: 
  • The Tides are a Changing (no Bob Dylan pun):  The Coastal Commission recently released a document providing an overview of science on sea-level rise and steps to combat the growing issue.  Surfrider is delving more into understanding the implications of sea-level rise and recently attended a training held by NOAA to actively plan for climate change adaptation.
  • Boom, Boom, Boom…Surfrider submitted a comment letter to the State Lands Commission regarding the process of conducting seismic testing off our coast.   You can read it here
  • Oil Drilling Precedent: There is a new proposal to drill for oil off Hermosa Beach (if city voters approve a ballot measure).  If this project moves forward it would set a horrible statewide precedent.  We recently submitted this letter to express our concerns. 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

 

2013 Second Quarter Update


Here’s what California Surfrider Chapters have been up to.  Remember, this newsletter only highlights a fraction of what is taking place.  With 20 Chapters, it’s impossible to capture everything these do-gooders are doing in one publication!   To find out how you can plug into a local Chapters go here

STATEWIDE UPDATES






Ocean Day Swells on The Capitol. 

Surfrider, along with several statewide organizations, plans an annual “Ocean Day” where advocates hit the Capitol to speak with decision makers.  This year was particularly exciting for Surfrider because 25% of our Chapter leadership attended the lobby day.  In all, over 70 activists from various organizations visited 100 Senate and Assembly offices to discuss: climate change and sea level rise planning; ocean ecosystem protection; plastic pollution solutions; and various pieces of legislation that will help protect our ocean and coastline.   Go here to see more about the day. 


State Park Fees

Surfrider chapters have been monitoring and commenting on proposals to increase fees at State Beaches.  Surfrider understands the Department of Parks and Recreation (the Department) is suffering during hard economic times, and we believe reasonable park fees may be necessary to maintain our parks and keep them open.  However, we are concerned about how the process of increasing fees has been handled thus far—especially in Sonoma County where a plan calls to implement fees at 80% of Sonoma State Beaches.  In southern California, where many beaches already have fees, Surfrider is concerned the Department is not conducting current revenue analysis to plan for new fees.  We recently submitted a comment letter to the Coastal Commission as they were considering fees in So Cal.  At the end of the day, we call upon the Department to re-double its efforts to work with the public and assuage concerns.  Our Sonoma Chapter has put a tremendous amount of work into ensuring maximum public access at State Beaches.  Here is a current article about the situation.  And here is an AP article that provides good background. 

Plastic Bags on Their Way Out. 

Kudos to our South Bay and West LA/Malibu Chapters for helping pass a bag ban in Los Angeles.  LA is now the largest city in the U.S with a bag ban.  This victory has been years in the making.  Check it out!   Sonoma County (where it is estimated that 260 million plastic bags are used annually) is getting closer to banning bags. The County Supervisors voted to support an ordinance and directed Sonoma County Waste Management Agency Board to vote in support of adopting a countywide ordinance.  See more here.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • Toll Road Gets “Water boarded”:  Surfrider and partners defeat toll road developers (again) at a recent Water Board hearing.  See more.  
  • Surfrider Planting the Seed.   Ocean Friendly Gardens hitting So Cal. Learn how
  • Dude Where’s My Beach?:  San Diego Chapter helps stop a massive sand replenishment project.  
  • Long Walks on the Beach:  The Long Beach Chapter successfully weighs in on pedestrian path. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

 

2013 First Quarter Update.


This first part of 2013 has been exceptionally eventful for California Chapters.  It would be impossible to capture everything happening at the statewide level, or within all 20 California Chapters in a simple blog post, however, below is our “top pick” of important issues.

“Look, You Gotta Follow the Law”

That’s what the California Coastal Commission (CCC) told the Navy when they unanimously rejected a proposal to conduct explosives and sonar training program off Southern California.  The CCC concluded the Navy has refused  to mitigate harmful impacts in the past, and currently they lacked enough information to back up their argument that testing would be "negligible" to marine life.  Surfrider specifically opposed the Navy sonar testing because we were also concerned the testing would impact newly established Marine Protected Areas. Here is some news coverage on the issue. 


California’s Landmark Law Under Attack

The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) is one of California’s most important laws.   CEQA protects our environment and allows citizens to participate in local decision-making.  Unfortunately developers and polluting industries have been attempting to weaken CEQA through legislation.  Surfrider is concerned that a “weakened CEQA” would negatively impact coastal resources, and at the same time, shift the balance of power away from local communities to developers.  Read more about what Surfrider is doing to protect CEQA.  




Save Trestles FOREVER.

We know, we know...everyone thought the road was dead.  And it IS.  However, toll road developers will not give up their plan to build this zombie-road.  We recently wrote a blog about their attempts to obtain a permit for building the first 5 miles of the road.  Surfrider and our Save San Onofre Coalition presented formal arguments at the hearing and we are awaiting the Board to vote in May.  While we wait, we are calling upon all of our supporters to help us continue fighting this road.  We stopped them in 2008 (when thousands of surfers and activists generated the largest and most organized turnout to public hearings in state history).  Here is an Editorial that will inspire you to continue the fight.   

Strategic Planning for Ocean, Waves and Beaches

When people think about California they often think about our beautiful beaches.  When Surfrider thinks about our coastline we often think about State agencies that are tasked with keeping beaches healthy and accessible.  That’s why we were eager to provide recommendations for the California Coastal Commission’s (CCC) 5-year Strategic Plan.  Surfrider submitted this comment letter detailing ways the CCC could continue to ensure public access, plan for climate change, and protect our coastal resources in an integrated fashion.  Many of our recommendations were mentioned in the their final plan.   Surfrider Chapters are engaging in local campaigns that focus on these important issues.  Plug into your local chapter to see how you can help. 




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  CA Policy Manager:
Stefanie Sekich-Quinn
ssekich@surfrider.org

Southern California Field Manager:
Nancy Hastings
nhastings@surfrider.org

Legal Director
Angela Howe
ahowe@surfrider.org


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