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Thursday, June 29, 2006

Panhandle Chapter Makes First Waves

The new Panhandle Chapter in Florida held its first event June 17th at Destin Beach. The chapter saw about 50 new people. Even Destin's Beach Patrol took part in the beach clean up event with the local. The amount of trash collection was enormous since some of the young guys competed to get the surfing mag subscriptions.

Tropical Storm Alberto, non existent anywhere else in Florida, graced the groups events so there were some rides to be had.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Florida Surfrider Member Receives Burke “Biff” Lampton Outdoor Writer of the Year Award

The Florida Wildlife Federation Honors Terry Gibson among 15 conservationists.
On Saturday, Florida surfrider member, surf journalist, and Florida Sportsman/Shallow Water Angler editor Terry Gibson received the Florida Wildlife Federation’s award for the Outdoor writer of the year.

“Terry Gibson’s work not only educates hunters, anglers, divers and surfers about techniques and honey holes, but places an emphasis on the role recreationalists can play in influencing environmentally proactive change,” said FWF director, Manley Fuller.

Fuller went on to say that, “It is often the user that is first aware of the problems for pollution or over-development when one of his or her favorite spots is spoiled. And presently one of the issues Terry is working on is ‘beach re-nourishment’ and the ecological damage that can result from overly zealous application of this process. Additionally he is very concerned about the declining state of our coral reefs and the need for more turtle friendly beach projects.

We are indeed fortunate to have a person in the communications field who cares do deeply about our coastal systems and the threats to their longterm well being.”


Tuesday, June 27, 2006

International Surfing Day in Victoria, Canada

On June 21st, we celebrated International Surf Day like only the Victoria Crew could do! With extremely high winds, we managed to get our tent and banner up; without it blowing away, and we carted down to the beach, a full size bbq from my place with the manly muscle help of Chico! Steve pulled the backseat out of his van, while everyone else set up their camp chairs and coolers. Good thing my portable battery charger was all juiced up and that Graham travels with his guitar and amp, because we were treated to the awesome sounds of Pacific Sound Wave!

We had intended to do a beach clean up, but that didn't happen due to the high tide and waves! And we also intended to do a paddle out, that also was thwarted by the high winds. So all that was left to do was to eat, drink and visit with one another. Quite a few people stopped by our tent to inquire about Surfrider, and in his usual fashion, Steve was quick to chat it up and hand out a few pamplets! Awesome!

With about 25 Surfriders in attendance, our first International Surf Day was a huge hit! Because this Crew has been doing so much to see to the success of this Chapter, it's nice to just be able to enjoy each others company and to sit down and share some food!

Mahalo to all that came out!
:) Brooke

Monday, June 26, 2006

Newport Chapter Oregon That Is

Newport Oregon, population 9,500, home of the Oregon Coast Aquarium, the Hatfield Marine Science Center (OSU extension), one of Oregon's largest commercial fishing ports and Oregon Surfrider's oldest Blue Water Task Force has created its own chapter. Thanks to all those longstanding water testing volunteers and supporters the Chapter has more capacity than most burgeoning chapters. The group will continue work in a pollution solution workgroup with city councilmembers and the public works department, a BWTF program in collaboration with the Oregon Coast Aquarium, and numerous other issues. The Aquarium will receive an upgraded lab thanks to Surfrider and Aquarium staff efforts and funds from the recent west coast Packard grant. The BWTF has been Newport's rallying campaign and these funds have helped to secure this Chapter. Thanks to everyone who helped make this happen.

Friday, June 23, 2006

International Surf Day in South Jersey

The South Jersey Chapter's 2006 International Surfing Day event was an incredible success. Over three hundred people show up to clean the beach and enjoy the perfect day, delicious international food and live music until well after sunset. And, they even had waist high waves, which is pretty unusual at this beach. The Philadelphia Outrigger Canoe was also there in addition to boogie boarders, kite surfers, kayakers, wind surfers, little kids building sand castles and digging holes and barefoot seniors enjoying all the fun. The chapter had so many things donated that they made sure everyone who participated went home with something.

According to Chapter Chairman, Steve Mullen, it was tough for the South Jersey Chapter crew to be sticking their heads into smelly trash collection bags, serving food, and giving prizes to the kids while beautiful clean lefts and right were happening just yards away. Most of the volunteers drove over forty five minutes and took time off from their jobs to help out. The event was a textbook example of grass roots activism serving the community while giving back to the sport that we care so much about. Thank you to everyone who made this event so great with their hard work, generosity and dedication.

Treasure Coast & South Florida Victory on Corps Project

Sand off Fort Pierce coast won't go south to Miami
By SUZANNE WENTLEY June 23, 2006

After petitions circulated and a powerful state senator came out against the project, federal officials Thursday announced they have dropped a plan to use sand off the Fort Pierce coast for a beach renourishment project in Miami-Dade County.
But critics say the fight isn't over.
Barry Vorse, a spokesman for the Army Corps of Engineers, said the federal project managers decided against dredging one million cubic yards of sand from the St. Lucie Shoal after public meetings last month drew fierce opposition.
"We will no longer be pursuing borrowing sand for Miami-Dade from that area," Vorse said. "It was decided by the Jacksonville district of the corps to no longer pursue that particular idea."
Calls to Miami-Dade County for comment were not returned Thursday, and Vorse said he did not have any further information on the decision.
Miami-Dade County officials had wanted to use Treasure Coast sand for renourishment after exhausting their own offshore sand. Refusing to have inland sand trucked in to their beaches, they also explored using sand from the Bahamas, but that was off limits under federal law.
State Sen. Ken Pruitt, who opposed the project at public meetings in Stuart and Fort Pierce, said credit for the plan's defeat should go to the Surfrider Foundation activist group and other Treasure Coast residents who fought the idea even before a long-term federal feasibility study could get started.
But he said the fight to protect local sands has only just begun — and lawmakers might work in the next session to change the way healthy beaches are preserved throughout the state.
"This is an awakening for the Legislature to take a fresh approach to how we do this in terms of beach renourishment," he said.
"Just because we stopped them from taking the shoal sand doesn't mean they can't go someplace else, and that's not right."
Ericka D'Avanzo, the Surfrider Foundation Florida Regional Manager, agreed more work needs to be done until sands near the St. Lucie Shoal — which she said protected against local beach erosion — can be permanently protected.
Still, residents should be proud of their work, she added.
"We've done what we've set out to do, to have it stopped at the end of the scoping process," she said. "But it's not over yet."
• Miami-Dade County wanted to dredge one million cubic yards of sand from the St. Lucie Shoal 30 miles off Fort Pierce for a 13-mile-long beach renourishment project.
• On Thursday, Army Corps of Engineers, the agency that had meetings on the controversial plan last month, announced that sand source was no longer under consideration.

TCPalm.com article link.
Palm Beach Post article link.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Bush Plans Vast Protected Sea Area in Hawaii

I have always thought that it was nothing short of a tragedy when the environment was reduced to a partisan, one-sided issue.

The environment is too important of an issue for it’s supporters to be cut in half or divided in any way. We should find every possible way to have all political factions understand and support initiatives that protect our collective ecosystems. We must challenge those that vote against the environment and step up and acknowledge individuals when they vote in favor of the environment.

Jim Moriarty
Executive Director

Bush Plans Vast Protected Sea Area in Hawaii
The New York Times
Published: June 15, 2006

President Bush will create the world's largest protected marine area today, designating as a national monument a 1,200-mile-long chain of small Hawaiian islands and surrounding waters and reefs that are home to a spectacular array of sea life, senior administration officials said last night.

83% decrease in San Diego sewage spills

The city of San Diego will continue to upgrade its sewage collection system over the next year under a partial legal settlement with environmentalists that was unanimously approved by the City Council yesterday.
Since the lawsuit was filed, sewage spills have dropped from 365 per year to about 60 annually, a decrease of more than 83 percent, Coast Law Group attorney Marco Gonzalez said.

Monday, June 19, 2006

International Surfing Day in Argentina

Our Surfrider Foundation activists in Argentina celebrated International Surfing Day in Mar del Plata on Saturday, June 17. According to representative Laura Marin, it went off with moving speeches about the importance of our coastal environment, the history of surfing, etc., a beach cleanup and best wave surfing contest. Keep in mind it was actually the middle of winter when this amazing group of activists got together!

The photos are a group shot and the winners of the best wave contest: Rodolfo Puente (a member of the Argentina national junior surf team) won first place, with second going to Marcelo Quintela Bruenoli and third place to Brian Mazmut who at only 11 years of age demonstrated the potential of Argentina's next generation of surfers.

For more information about International Surfing Day and how you can participate, check out www.surfingthemag.com/international-surfing-day-2006

Leave Only Footprints

Mayor Jim Mathias presents the "Key to the City" to the Ocean City Maryland Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation during the ribbon cutting ceremonies for the " Please, Leave Only Footprints"Campaign. The Chapter received the award for it's ongoing work to protect the local beaches and ocean. After the presentation Mayor Mathias cut the ribbon to officially kick off the Footprints Campaign which is a join effort of the local Surfrider Foundation Chapter and the Town of Ocean City to encourage visitors to help keep our beaches clean.

New Special Places Protection

NW Hawaiian Islands Coral Reefs Get Special Protection

In the on-going effort to protect "Special Places" in our marine environment, the federal government has recently designated the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument.

Surfrider Foundation has been active in designating special places like this for several years. To get a quick overview of our position on Marine Protected Areas, please visit: http://www.surfrider.org/whatwedo2c.asp

On June 15, 2006, President Bush signed a proclamation that created the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument. The monument will be managed by the Department of the Interior’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, in close coordination with the State of Hawaii.

The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve lies WNW of the larger and more familiar eight main Hawaiian Islands.

To learn more about this milestone in protecting one of the world's most precious examples of marine biodiversity, and to view a wonderful array of information, photos and graphic illustrations, visit: http://hawaiireef.noaa.gov/welcome.html

Peter's Point

City & County of Honolulu (C&C) should respond to the desires of the public

Currently, the Oahu Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation is busy responding to the sewage spills, and opposing two developments at Kaka’ako and Turtle Bay. The Kaka’ako development by A&B circumvents any involvement by the C&C of Honolulu, while the outcomes of the other two events are very much controlled by the C&C of Honolulu. While we very much oppose the total authority given to the HCDA on future developments at Kaka’ako Makai, the subject of this letter is how pressure from the Honolulu Corporation Counsel on both the Mayor’s administration and the City Council, has caused a less than adequate response to the island wide sewage problems, and also, has influenced the Honolulu Department of Permitting and Planning (DPP) to grant all permits requested by Oaktree regarding the Turtle Bay expansion. Both of these outcomes ignore the overwhelming public opinion that the sewage spills must be minimized and that the Turtle Bay expansion must be stopped until adequate research and planning take place to better assess the changes in the environment and infrastructure since the zoning approvals and associated unilateral agreement took place twenty years ago.

The C&C is hiring an expensive mainland lawyer for over 2.5 million dollars to defend against a benign lawsuit filed by the Hawaii Chapter of the Sierra Club, Hawaii’s Thousand Friends and Our Children’s Earth at the end of 2004. The lawsuit addressed sewage spills from the city’s wastewater system and persistent violations of minimum pollution standards from the EPA and State DOH. Rather than focusing on implementing needed improvements to the overall sewage system, the city is focused on defending itself against a suit brought on by citizen groups more interested in pressuring the city to comply to EPA and State DOH guidelines than in receiving any money from winning in the courts. The 2.5 million dollars would be better spent improving the wastewater system.

The DPP intends to grant all of Oaktree’s subdivision and associated permits with no public inputs because of the possibility that Oaktree will sue the city unless they get their permits based on a twenty year old unilateral agreement and twenty-two year old Environmental Impact Statement. The public believes that this would be a travesty of unequal magnitude. The City Council could take the appropriate action to void both the EIS and Unilateral Agreement because of the long time period during which very little compliance to the agreement has transpired. However, the Council appears to be caving under the threat of an Oaktree lawsuit.

What we see is a city government that is deliberately spending a large sum of money to defend against a beinign lawsuit, while on the other hand bending to the threats of an aggressive developer while deliberately ignoring the wishes of a large majority of the public.

Read more articles from Peter Cole at http://peterspoint.blogspot.com/