Thursday, October 28, 2010


Southern California One Step Away from a Network of Marine Protected Areas.

Last week, over 700 surfers, students, divers, business owners, and elected officials turned out in record numbers to the Fish and Game Commission hearing.   This hearing was the last Fish and Game meeting before the Commission officially adopts a network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in December.  Here’s a great article about the meeting.  

Just a handful of Surfrider representatives (Bill Hickman, Joe Geever and Julia Chunn) amongst the hundreds of people who attended  the meeting. 
At the hearing, Surfrider representatives and local volunteers spoke in favor of implementing a strong network of MPAs and adopting the Integrated Preferred Alterative map (which the Commission has chosen to go forward under the State environmental review process; via the California Environmental Quality Act).   After 2 years of planning, thousands of letters, and hundreds of hours of public meetings, the Fish and Game Commission will finally implement a network of MPAs at the Dec 15th meeting.  Don’t miss your opportunity to attend the last hearing and speak in favor of Marine Protected Areas, AND witness the Commission make its historic decision.  

If you are interested in attending this hearing (in Santa Barbara, please contact Stefanie at: 

Friday, October 8, 2010


Coastal Commission Voting Trends for 2009

Today marks the release of the 2009 California Coastal Commission Conservation Voting Chart, which measures the pro-conservation scores of the California Coastal Commission, the State’s most powerful land use agency, charged with the protecting our 1,100 mile coastline. The voting chart is produced by Surfrider Foundation, California Coastkeeper Alliance, Sierra Club, Coastal Protection Network, and League for Coastal Protection. The Chart reports and analyzes the most important coastal votes of 2009. The 25 votes in this year’s chart involve significant coastal issues decided by the Commission during their twelve monthly meetings in 2009, including the shoreline armoring efforts in Capitola and Santa Barbara, as well as the final go-ahead for largest desalination facility in North America. The voting chart is designed to illuminate individual Commissioners’ voting sensitivities. In addition, the report illustrates the relative successes and failures of the appointments made by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Senate Rules Committee led by Darrell Steinberg, and then Speaker of the Assembly Karen Bass. The scoring information in the 2009 chart is also intended to inform the upcoming Commission appointments. Commissioners seats up for appointment or reappointment include those of Commissioners Sara Wan, Bill Burke, Pat Kruer and Ross Mirkarimi.

This year's Chart clearly displays a trend toward conservation voting amongst the Commissioners. The total Commission Conservation Voting score went up markedly from 38% in 2008 to 66% in 2009. This is an increase of 28 percentage points, which is undoubtedly due to the wisdom of the new appointments to the Commission in 2009, including three of the top four scores of Commissioners Mark Stone (100%), Ross Mirkarimi (95%), and Ester Sanchez (75%). Importantly, the appointments of Stone and Sanchez helped to reflect on the Speaker of the Assembly's appointment score, which increased from 31% in 2008 to 69% in 2009.

This year's Chart reports on several important votes that included Surfrider Foundation participation. Beach management and shoreline armoring issues were featured in the Santa Barbara Goleta Beach and Pacifica Swan Valley decisions. Even though the Commission voted favorably on these projects in order to prevent future armoring and sand loss, the Commission has failed to come up with a proactive alternative to "emergency" seawall permits. These emergency permits continue to allow for armoring the California coastline with minimal public input, analysis of alternatives or redress. As evidenced by the Mariposa Land Company decision in this Chart, these "emergency" permits can allow seawalls to persist for years or even decades, without proper forethought or review.

Nonetheless, Surfrider will continue to monitor the activity of the California Coastal Commission and ensure that the Commission is fulfilling its legislative charge to protect, conserve, restore and enhance environmental and human resources of the California coast.

To view the 2009 Chart, click here.

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Friday, October 1, 2010


South Coast MLPA Updates

Mark your calendars!  The Fish and Game Commission will be holding the final 'discussion hearing' about the MLPA process in San Diego on Oct 20-21 (we are still not sure what day they will specifically discuss the south coast MLPA, but mark your calendars, regardless). The final 'adoption hearing' will be in Santa Barbara (Dec 15-16).  

In other Commission news... this week, the Commission held an "emergency meeting" to discuss delaying the final environmental review process--which would have been a set back for the implementation date.  Fortunately the Commission voted to only postpone comments for the Draft Environmental Impact (DEIR) by 15 days instead of 45; so the hearings in San Diego and Santa Barbra are still on track.

In the next few days Surfrider will be re-launching our Action Alert asking the Commission to adopt the IPA (the final map that is before them).  Surfrider spent the past 2 years meeting with a diverse community of people invested in the MLPA process and we believe the IPA map meets MLPA guidelines; contains viewpoints from conversationalists and fishermen alike; and in the end, the IPA will produce productive Marine Protected Areas in the future (which is vitally important to both the Surfrider Foundation and the Fish and Game Commission).

If you have questions about the upcoming hearings and would like to testify in support of the IPA, please contact Stefanie at:


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  CA Policy Manager:
Stefanie Sekich-Quinn

Southern California Field Manager:
Nancy Hastings

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