Wednesday, July 9, 2014


2nd Quarter Update for 2014.

State Budget Gives the Coast a “Bang for the Buck”

Who ever said ‘balancing the budget’ is not exciting? Certainly not coastal advocates—and especially this year!  The recently passed State budget includes three exciting coastal initiatives that will help California progressively plan into the future to safeguard our coastline. This budget provides:
  • The establishment of the “Climate Resilience Account” which gives $3 million to coastal agencies to address Sea Level Rise and Climate Change.

  • The Coastal Commission will receive $3M in funding to partner with local governments to complete and update Local Coastal Programs.
  • The Coastal Commission will receive authority to fine Coastal Act violators. Previously, the Commission was unable to levy fines against illegal efforts that block coastal access (such as when a private landowner posts illegal “no parking” or no “beach access” signs). 

Marine Protected Areas Continue to Succeed through Community Efforts

The Surfrider Foundation is working with local organizations, regional agencies, and the Department of Fish and Wildlife to foster a statewide network of “community-based” councils to manage and protect Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) throughout California.  Since MPAs were officially established, local “collaboratives” have been budding around the State and creating projects such as: conducting education and outreach, biological monitoring, and helping the State install informational signs. Go here to learn more about MPAs.

Coastal Oil Drilling is Not the Answer
There is a proposal to drill for oil off Hermosa Beach (if city voters approve a ballot measure).  Voters will have a chance in the next several months to cast their vote and squash this project.  Our local Chapters are engaging in efforts to stop the project and are out nearly every weekend working with “Keep Hermosa Hermosa” and Heal the Bay to educate the voters about making the right choice. To find out more about the project go

Let it Go, Let it Go….
Surfrider’s flagship campaign “Save Trestles” is still ticking despite toll road developers saying they are
“withdrawing their environmental plans of its proposed 16-mile toll road.”  After saying they were abandoning the full project, they contradicted themselves by deciding to spend $750,000 on lobbyists and consultants to secure approval of the failed road.  The toll road agency has already wasted more than $300 million on this ‘road to nowhere’ and they plan on spending $25 million this coming year on their failed project.  Really?  Just let it go.

Room to Grow

NOAA is proposing to expand the Cordell Bank/Gulf of the Farallones Marine Sanctuary.  Surfrider strongly supports the proposal to extend the boundaries of the two sanctuaries to add the northern area from Bodega Bay, Sonoma County to Alder Creek, Mendocino County. Surfrider has been actively working with a myriad of stakeholders to protect these special, biologically rich places and ecosystems. Read our comment letter here.

High and Lows of Law Making

We are halfway through the legislative season.  Unfortunately, the fracking moratorium bill to halt offshore/onshore fracking died due to heavy industry pressure.  On the positive side, there are many great pieces of legislation still moving that include: banning single use plastic bags; opening Martin’s Beach in the Bay Area after being closed off by a landowner; a resolution establishing “Safeguard Our Coast Day” (which celebrates the state’s leadership in coastal  management); a bill that eliminates a section of state law that will allow for oil and gas exploration off Santa Barbara; a bill that allows people living in communities with Home Owner Associations (HOA) to plant drought tolerate plants without being fined by HOA; a bill to preserve the right to have camp fires in Newport Beach; a bill to require “rapid water quality testing” along the coast, and many more.  Stay tuned; we will produce a synopsis of our victories at the end of the law-making season. 

P.S. We’re committed to keeping you up to date on California's coastal issues. But, we need YOU to help turn our campaigns into victories for California's coastline.  Please consider making a donation today--
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First Quarterly Update 2014

Welcome to our first 2014 newsletter.  

Our Chapters hit the ground running this year and we are excited about recent victories.  Before we jump into our update, we need your help. Please take 2 minutes to send an action alert to the Coastal Commission asking them to deny a mega-resort in Monterey Bay.  This project does not belong on a sensitive habitat area that is subject to erosion and sea level rise.  To read more about Surfrider’s concerns view  a recent letter we submitted.  And please send a message to the Commission here.  

Pack it Up…Pack it In…
Our South Bay Chapter has been working full steam on banning plastics that foul our beaches. Last month, all the Chapter’s hard work paid off when the Manhattan Beach City Council voted to prohibit restaurants from distributing single-use carry-out plastic bags and to extend its ban on polystyrene products to include utensils, straws, cup lids and foam coolers.  Check out the story and a great quote from out Chapter Chair. 

Take Down that Gate Mr. Khosla.
Martin's Beach, south of Half Moon Bay, has been loved over generations by local families and tourists who have spent countless hours there. That came to an end in recent years once billionaire venture capitalist, Vinod Khosla, purchased the property adjacent to the beach and decided to keep the public out.   In addition to the initial action of blocking public access, he cloaked his identity as the property owner, refused requests to meet and discuss the matter, hired security to patrol the property and ward off beach goers, and sought a restraining order to keep the public from the beach. Send a letter to Mr. Khosla asking for his cooperation.  Surfrider is also supporting legislation that will help resolve this matter.   

What the Frack?
  As we mentioned in a recent quarterly update, fracking has been occurring off California’s coastline with little to no oversight.  Surfrider and partners wrote a brief report outlining how we think the State ought to be regulating offshore fracking.  Check out this piece from the Huffington Post that explains what Surfrider is asking for. 

Helps Us Understand How Sea Level Rise Will Affect Surfing 
The ocean is changing. Waves are changing. Surfers are on the frontlines of these changes. Who better to help document, explain, and predict these changes than surfers – no one else watches the ocean as carefully as we do! This is what science4surfing is all about. Giving surfers the opportunity to contribute their wave knowledge will improve our understanding of the threats facing the ocean, coasts, and waves. With this knowledge, we can better protect what we all share and love. Help by taking  the survey here

7th Annual Ocean Lobby Day a Success.
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.   Legendary author David Helvarg wrote a great piece for National Geographic highlighting the day. Photo of Speaker Perez Meeting with Coastal Advocates   

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. 


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Stefanie Sekich-Quinn

Southern California Field Manager:
Nancy Hastings

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