Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Sea Level Rise Planning.
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
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 691—requires 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.
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.
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.
- 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.
Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Nov and Dec Updates
Surfrider finished 2012 with a bang! We had one of the most successful years EVER—exceeding many of our personal goals. Typically within a year, we secure roughly 28 victories that protect our oceans, waves and beaches; in 2012 we obtained over 40 coastal victories. Spare 10 minutes to watch this video featuring our CEO going over Surfrider victories (many of them occurring in California).
Wild Blue Yonder
Surfrider Foundation Chapters in northern California are celebrating the Obama Administration's plans to expand the Gulf of Farollones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries to protect the coast from offshore drilling. Under the proposal, the sanctuaries would be enlarged by nearly 2,800 square miles, more than doubling their size. The new boundaries would extend 50 miles north up the coast to include Sonoma County and much of Mendocino County. Read more here.
California became the first state in the nation to establish a network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). On Dec 19th, the final set of MPAs went into effect—completing a 10 years process under state legislation called the Marine Life Protection Act. Surfrider was proud to be involved with the MLPA process and we share our account of this historical milestone here.
State Treasure Launches Investigation of Toll Road Agency.
Die-hard Surfrider supporters probably remember when we became involved with the Save Trestles campaign (over 10 years ago) to stop a toll road from ruining San Onofre State Beach. We won the battle, but unfortunately, the toll road agency is still making missteps—this time, with their finances. Here is a recent blog about the investigation. Be sure to regularly visit our Save Trestles website. As you may recall, the toll road agency is proposing to build their road in “segments”. Surfrider and our Save San Onofre coalition partners are monitoring the agencey to ensure they do not build the road in small, chunks.
Seismic Testing Blasted Down
On November 14, 2012, Surfrider witnessed and participated in one of the biggest coastal victories of the year. On this monumental day, the Coastal Commission unanimously voted down a proposal to conduct seismic testing off the coast near Diablo Canyon Power Plant to map fault lines. Surfrider Foundation rigorously fought the proposal because we questioned the overall value of the project given that the testing will have devastating effects on marine life, threatens the health of ocean users (fishers, surfers, swimmers and divers) and the testing would not answer key questions regarding seismic risk. All of the Coastal Commissioners expressed concerns that the risks were too great. Read more about it in the LA Times.