Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Park Protection News: Bills Awaiting Governor's Signature and the State of State Parks

The past few weeks have been interesting for California State Parks. Two very important bills (that Surfrider actively supported during the legislative season) passed out of the Assembly and Senate and are now sitting on the Governor's desk waiting for his signature. He has until Oct 11 to sign. SB 679 (Wolk) protects Parks by setting a requirement that parklands used for "non-park purposes" must be replaced by other park lands that are of equal environmental, recreational, and fair market value.

SB 372 (Kehoe) simply requires the Legislature to make a final decision about allowing any "non-park" use in a state park system (i.e. the Legislature finally has a say in horrible projects like a toll road through a state park). Please take one minute to contact the Governor and ask him to sign the bills.

Finally, as you may have heard last week, the Governor released a statement saying the State would avoid permanently closing several state parks. In the statement, he also proposed major changes to the state park system in order to "close some of the budget gap". While it's fantastic news parks will not be permanently closed, some parks will be partially or seasonally closed. He also proposed major reductions in seasonal staff, reductions in hours of operation at most state parks, and reduced maintenance.

This all means having fewer lifeguards on state beaches, poorly maintained facilities (i.e. restrooms, kiosks, etc), that will inevitably impact the health and safety of our parks. Our friends at the California State Parks Foundation say it best"

"We all want to see our state parks open, and it's been the efforts of advocates that have kept the Governor's feet to the fire since late May. But California State Parks Foundation isn't fully celebrating this news yet. While the Governor has found a clever way to get political cover on this issue, it's not clear that this plan won't actually leave Californians with just as limited access to their state parks as if they had been fully closed".

Review their statement and learn more about parks closures.

Check back here on Oct 11 to view an update about the bills sitting on the Governor's desk!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Explore Maps of Marine Protected Areas with the Surfrider Foundation!

Decades of overfishing, coastal development, and pollution have taken a toll on Southern California's ocean environment. To help improve our ocean's health, the State is setting aside protected zones similar to state parks so that marine life can thrive.

After a year of map-making and planning, the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) process is in the home stretch. Local stakeholders are putting final touches on the maps and will come up with three different proposals. The three proposals will ultimately be forwarded to the Fish and Game Commission where they will vote on one map they think will work best for southern California.

This is one of your last chances to give meaningful input on where marine protected areas should be located! Please join Surfrider to learn more about the Marine Life Protection Act and to discuss the proposed maps. After the community forums, Surfrider will compile all constructive comments into a letter that will be sent to decision makers before the final vote. We need to hear from you!


  • 7:00-7:10 Welcome and brief overview.
  • 7:10-7:20 Summary of Surfrider's outreach efforts over the past year and what we learned from local communities and Surfrider supporters.
  • 7:20-7:40 Overview and discussion of each map.
  • 7:40-8:00 Questions & Answers.

WHEN: Four different forums will be held in the following areas: Orange County, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles and San Diego. All forums will be from 7-8pm.


  • Sept 23. San Clemente Senior Center: 242 Avenida Del Mar. San Clemente, CA 92672.
  • Sept 24. Watershed Resource Center: 2981 Cliff Drive. Santa Barbara, CA 93109
  • Sept 29. Santa Monica Library—Ocean Park Branch: 2601 Main St. Santa Monica, CA 90405
  • Sept 30. Encinitas Community Center: 1140 Oakcrest Park Drive. Encinitas, CA 92024

About the Marine Life Protection Act

The MLPA is a law that requires the state to establish a "network" of marine protected areas from Oregon to the Mexican border. The goals of the MLPA are to: "set aside" areas of the ocean to increase fish populations, enhance marine habitat, and to improve recreational and educational opportunities. Over the past year, Surfrider has been working with diverse groups of people including recreationalists, fishermen, environmentalists, and Chapter activists to ensure the law is effectively implemented.

To learn more about Surfrider's MLPA activities go here: or email


Environmental Groups Decry Legislative Attempt to Circumvent State

AB 1570, Introduced as Veterans Affairs Bill, Now Seeks to Circumvent Coastal Commission Authority

A coalition of more than 70 local, state and national environmental and fishing groups has joined together to oppose proposed amendments to AB 1570, which seek to supersede the authority of the California Coastal Commission to protect the health of California's environment. AB 1570, originally drafted to improve social services for veterans, was amended this week to provide a special legislative extension to an existing coastal development permit (CDP) for Poseidon Resources' Carlsbad Desalination Project.

Though the bill's proposed language would apply only to Poseidon's proposed Carlsbad desalination plant, environmental groups are concerned about the precedent set by the Legislature taking away the review authority delegated to the Coastal Commission.

"Whenever you have the legislature providing special treatment to any one company, it raises a red flag for us," stated Joe Geever, California Policy Coordinator for Surfrider Foundation. "Writing law to circumvent regulatory agency review creates a slippery slope where any influential corporation can bypass longstanding environmental protections and public review."

Poseidon has indicated a need to pursue this "urgent legislation" as the company's coastal development permit was originally set to expire in November 2009, and could have become invalid if they have not begun construction at this time. However, Coastal Commission staff has indicated that Poseidon submitted an application for a permit extension in June, which has the effect of tolling the clock on the permit's expiration date. As a result of this extension application, Poseidon's permit will not expire any time soon.

"Not only will this legislation set bad precedent," added Geever, "but it is totally unnecessary to Poseidon's efforts to build their proposed plant in a way that is good for San Diego."

According to the County Water Authority, water consumption countywide plunged 21percent in June and 16 percent in July compared with the same months last year due to aggressive conservation measures. Meanwhile, the City of San Diego in partnership with local environmental groups is proceeding with a pilot project and regional assessment to determine the potential to reclaim wastewater for potable and non-potable uses.

To voice your opposition to AB 1570 click here.

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