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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

ASBPA Part 2

In ASBPA Part one you saw a very public protest on the first day of the American Shore and Beach Preservations Association's conference. The dredge and fill lobby knew we were there as did the press and the public. It was quite a different stroy the day before. Those who arrived early to the conference on Sunday were treated to a bus tour of the fabulous replenished beaches of Northern Monmouth County, NJ. The chartered bus drove by dozens of private beach access points en route to their first stop where the bus unloaded on to a big, wide, sterile beach, with absolutely no surfing, and impaired fishing and swimming opportunities due to beachfill. It was a beautiful day, but the beach of course was empty due to the access restrictions. At their first stop, as an Army Corps official gave a speech, two activists from the Jersey Shore Chapter walked within 20 feet of the crowd with signs saying, "WARNING Hazardous Beachfill Ahead", and "This Surf Spot Ruined By Beachfill."

The bus then went up to Sandy Hook where Surfrider and SEA saved a great wave from being buried under tons of sand. The bus tour was met with signs like "Modified Beachfill Works - Modifications Saved this Surf Break" The scene on the beach couldn't have been more different: lots of people, lots of surfers, a good right hander working under a chest high swell. The big bus group was given the same sign treatment as before and more. As surfers passing by learned who the big group was, they went over and gave them a piece of their mind.

They read this sign on their way back to the bus. "Beachfill - Temporary, Budget Busting, Expensive"

This simple tactic using only a few people and a few signs worked because it was outside the experience of the targets. We definitley got thier attention.

- John Weber

Anonymous Howard Marlowe said...

You certainly did get our attention John. ASBPA invited you and three others into our Board meeting to air your viewpoints, which you each did quite eloquently. After you left, the ASBPA Board voted unanimously to create an Outreach Committee to work with the Surfrider Foundation and its members. The next day, Michael Walther, the Chair of that committee, and three ASBPA members including myself had a very useful meeting with you and your colleagues at which we found some clear areas of agreement on changes that needed to be made in the overall beach nourishment process where we can work together. I know that we have differences of opinion, but it was good to deal with you and your colleagues who were professional, passionate, and eloquent. Let's hope this good beginning leads to gains for everyone who uses America's public beaches.


5:01 PM  

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