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Monday, November 27, 2006

South Bay Chapter Overview


Weekly Surfing Column: Surfrider works to keep oceans surfer friendly
By Doug Green
Daily Breeze

It's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it.

The Surfrider Foundation is trying hard to protect our coastline, improve water quality and pass the stoke of surfing on to the next generation.

The South Bay Chapter is working on all three of these fronts for the benefit of people who use the ocean as a resource.

Alan Walti, South Bay chairperson, is keeping an eye on next Tuesday's closure of the Hyperion Plant's 5-mile outfall pipeline. At about 3 a.m. Tuesday, the "effluent," that is secondary-treated sewage will be channeled into the Imperial Highway sewage plant's 1-mile outfall pipe. For the next two days the beach will be closed as the pipe is inspected inside and out. For the first time in the pipe's 46-year history, it will be inspected from the inside by a team of divers. A remote-operated vehicle will inspect the pipe from the outside.

Beaches from Ballona Creek to Manhattan Pier will be closed until Thursday as teams of Department of Water and Power technicians monitor the "effluent plume" from the 1-mile pipeline. (I love the euphemisms for sewage: "wastewater," and "effluent." In a nice "plume." This is how bureaucrats dress up reality for us.)

Secondary-treated sewage has all of the solids and metals removed from it. It still has plenty of organic stuff: enterococcus and e. coli: stuff from the excrement of warm-blooded animals. The reality is that surfers get several ounces of "this plume" up their noses when they surf.

Tertiary-treated is so pure that you can drink it.

Walti, 62, a former head of the DWP's Safety, Health and Environmental Division, says despite the beach closure the water probably won't make anyone sick, but it's better not to take chances.

The project may be delayed by large surf or other inclement weather.

Surfrider is taking this in stride as it works on other fronts. It is part of a number of environmental organizations taking on further development in Playa Vista.

Surfrider is studying the possibility of creating new "treatment wetlands." This concept would bring the fermented runoff from the concrete Ballona Creek into a man-made wetland.

"Right now the polluted stream just goes directly into the ocean," Walti said. "The idea is to re-create the wetland to allow the water to slow down and sink in. When it comes out it is relatively pollution-free."

Walti said Surfrider is working on finding properties upstream of Playa Vista to acquire for the pollution-fighting scheme. It is also suing against further building in L.A.'s last open spaces without adding the "treatment wetland" concept to future development.

Surfrider has also joined a lawsuit against development at Toes Beach, which is at the end of Culver Boulevard in Playa del Rey.

Walti says the proposed condominium project there would destroy the last existing "fore-dunes" in Los Angeles County. These are small dunes that used to line South Bay beaches, which were covered by ice plant and bike path.

But "the program closest to my heart is the teach and test program," Walti said.

It involves teaching students at five South Bay schools how to monitor water quality.

Students from Chadwick School and South Torrance, Redondo, El Segundo and Westchester high schools take a course that involves testing ocean water and logging on Surfrider's Web site.

They use the accredited Sea Lab facilities on Harbor Drive in Redondo Beach.

Walti said they take a water sample and "cook it" for 24 hours before examining it under the microscope.

"The kids get technical lab experience, they get to see the environment firsthand. The results can be presented to their school or city council," Walti said.

He said the students love the hands-on work with the tools of science.

"It's a real good deal for these kids, they can put it on their resume and use it to get admitted to colleges and universities."

Surfrider is also promoting ocean-friendly gardening, which requires using less pesticides and growing drought-resistant and low-water-consuming native plants. Surfrider activists are doing demonstrations coming up next month.

Walti worked for L.A.'s DWP for 30 years and was environmental manager for five of them.

The mechanical engineer said after retiring he decided to continue working on environmental issues "on the other side of the fence" as an activist.

He takes courses in marine biology, geology and "anything ocean-related" at Cal State Dominguez Hills.

He works for the Algalita Marine Research Foundation "studying pollution from trash, particularly plastics." His latest interest is studying environmental damage caused by oil and gas exploration at sea.

He's been an avid surfer all his life. Still is.

"I just sort of decided for the rest of my life to do something for the environment," he said.

Doug Green is a Daily Breeze copy editor, writer and surf instructor. Contact him at green4surf@yahoo.com.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Nye Watershed Partnership

Surfrider members are partnering with City of Newport, Oregon Coast Aquarium and other partners to monitor, source, and reduce bacterial contamination of Newport, Oregon beaches. On Nov 6, the Newport City Council unanimously passed a motion supporting the city's participation in this unique collaborative effort with Newport Chapter. Volunteers are researching options for DNA analysis of pollution sources, as well as education initatives and best management practices (BMPs) for addressing non-point sources. Blue Water Task Force testing by Newport Chapter has indicated significant levels of bacterial contamination of Nye Creek and Nye Beach. Thanks to Charlie P and Newport City Council/Staff for their leadership on this important effort.

Partnership for Monitoring, Sourcing, and Reducing Non-Point Source Bacterial Contamination of Newport Beaches

Task 1 Implement enhanced monitoring program for bacteria in Nye Creek (# sites, frequency, etc)

Task 2 Conduct DNA Analysis to determine source(s) of bacterial contamination

Task 3 Develop public education and outreach initiatives

Task 4 Implement Best Management Practices (BMPs) to address pollution sources

Save Trestles Fundraiser - Dec 7 2006 in Dana Point

Thursday, December 7 - 6-11pm
Hennessey's Tavern, Dana Point

You're invited to join the South Ornage County Chapter at Hennessey's in Dana Point to help support the Save Trestles Campaign! $10 cover will get you in the door.

Inside will be live performances by Jim Fuller & The Beatnik (Jim was an original member of the Surfaris) and the Blues Offenders. The Cram Bros will start the evening on the outdoor patio.

The evening's silent auction will feature 20 uniquely painted surfboard fins by local surf artists including Drew Brophy, Rob Havassy, Rick Rietveld, Rick Reese, Howard Kirk, Nathan Paul Gibbs, Jason Macaya, and Kim "Danger Woman" Hamrock... among others! Just when you think this event can't be any cooler... there's going to be some pretty sweet surf stuff and miscellaneous other goodies in the raffle.

This is going to be the primo holiday party for the surf crowd this winter - don't miss it! This is the night to pick up all your Christmas gifts for your dearest surf friends... and your cash will be going towards a really important cause. For more information or to donate to the auction or raffle: nhastings@surfrider.org

Monday, November 20, 2006

Good news on Topanga Beach water quality from Surfrider efforts!

Surfrider Foundation--Malibu Chapter volunteers have been working hard over the past year to try to solve the mystery of the poor water quality at Topanga Beach. Topanga has rated an "F" in water quality 75% of the time during 2005 and most of 2006, making it one of the lowest scoring beaches for water quality in Southern California.

Well, there's good news to report! And it shows what volunteers can do on specific ocean-related projects in our region. So, if you want to get involved too with Surfrider, let us know. Here's the good news on Topanga:

1. STATE PARKS DEPT. AGREES TO TEST ITS SEPTICS AT TOPANGA LAGOON! Surfrider wrote to Gov. Schwarzenegger in September urging that he get the State Parks Department to act on the poor water quality at Topanga Lagoon and Beach, including testing state-owned septic systems near the lagoon and beach. Malibu Chapter volunteers had discovered scientific studies on Topanga Lagoon earlier in the year showing that the old state-owned septics could very well be causing the poor water quality. Malibu volunteers had been frustrated by six months of little action on the problem by the State Parks, and the volunteers were preparing to organize a public protest and press conference at Topanga Beach if needed. To the credit of Governor Schwarzenegger and the State Parks Dept., prompt action was taken after receiving the Surfrider letter. In early October, State Parks agreed to test all of the active septic systems it owns in the Topanga Lagoon area, and to repair any malfunctioning systems. This was great news on a very important item!

2. TESTS SHOW ONE SEPTIC SYSTEM LEAKING INTO TOPANGA LAGOON. REPAIRS ORDERED. In late October, the first tests came back showing that, indeed, one state-owned septic system in the lagoon area, at the Cholada Thai Restaurant, was not working properly and was leaking human waste into the lagoon via an underground culvert. State Parks promptly ordered the system’s leech field closed, and ordered that the septic tank at the restaurant be pumped clean three times a week until a new, properly working leech field is installed. No one knows how long the Cholada septic system had been leaking, but this test result confirmed the suspicion of Malibu Chapter members and others that at least one septic system around the lagoon must have been malfunctioning to cause the persistent poor water quality problem at Topanga Beach.

3. FUNDING SECURED TO DEAL WITH ABANDONED SEPTICS AROUND LAGOON. the Malibu Chapter is concerned about several dozen septic systems left in the ground unpumped and unsealed when the houses around Topanga Lagoon were abandoned over the past few years. (The houses were purchased by the State Parks Dept. to be demolished in order to create an expanded lagoon and park in the future, which should ultimately benefit water quality at Topanga Beach). However, having full septic tanks in the ground could pose a future problem when the lagoon is expanded, or even now under certain conditions. Based on the concerns raised by Surfrider, State Parks has allocated $100,000 in special funding to study this situation and take initial steps to deal with the abandoned septics.

4. LIFEGUARD STATION SEPTIC SYSTEM TO BE TESTED. The County of Los Angeles has just agreed to test the septic system for the heavily-used County Lifeguard Station restrooms. That septic system overflowed on July 4, although the spill was contained in the Topanga Beach parking lot. Monitoring wells will be drilled around the septic system to measure over time whether it is leaking and whether it should be repaired or replaced.

5. WATER QUALITY RATINGS RISE AT TOPANGA AS SUMMER ENDS. After many months of “F” water quality at Topanga Beach, ratings have risen to “A” for most of the time since early August. See http://www.healthebay.org/brc/gradehistory.asp?beach=14 for current and past ratings on Topanga. This is most likely a result of a dry summer reducing the amount of water in Topanga Lagoon and thus reducing the number of breaches of the Lagoon into the ocean. If the Lagoon water is still polluted, we would notice a return of poor water quality when winter rains cause the Lagoon to breach more frequently in the coming months. But Surfrider volunteers are hopeful that the discovery and elimination of the Cholada septic problem in October and the other actions that State Parks and others are now taking will mean that water quality will stay good even when the rainy season returns.

Our work is not over! Malibu Chapter volunteers plan to continue monitoring the Topanga situation closely and to work with State Parks, Los Angeles County, and others toward the goal of the best possible water quality at Topanga Beach. We are hopeful that in the future we will be able to look at the above actions and their results as a good news story for water quality in the Santa Monica Bay.

If you want to get involved with other volunteers fighting for a clean and healthy ocean in our local area -- and in our world as a whole -- contact us, and keep visiting our website.

Aloha for now,

Surfrider Foundation -– Malibu Chapter

Save a lighthouse, move it. (New York Times Op Ed)

No. 32. Surfer's Point, Ventura

Friday, November 17, 2006

Victory in Ventura

The California Coastal Commission unanimously supported a Surfrider Foundation Ventura Chapter project to relocate a crumbling bike path from Ventura's coastline and rebuild the shore with cobble and sand. The Ventura Chapter was represented by Larry Manson, Julie Niceswanger, and Paul Jenkin at the Coastal Commission meeting in Huntington Beach on November 16th.

At around 7:30pm, the item came up on the agenda. But since the meeting was running so late, commission staff skipped their presentation, instead giving a brief salute to those who had spent the past decade working towards a solution to the erosion problem at Surfers Point in Ventura. Although the Ventura Chapter activists did not have a chance to deliver there carefully prepared comments, Peter Douglas, Executive Director of the Coastal Commission commended the project, calling it an excellent example of progressive coastal management.

The commission's approval of the coastal development permit clears the way for completion of the final design, and applications for grant funding to construct the project. The project cost is estimated at $4 million. The city has about $2 million for the project and has applied for federal and state grants to fill the gap.

This marks a major milestone in the Ventura Chapter's 15 year effort to solve the erosion problems at Surfers Point. Many thanks to the City of Ventura and all who have contributed their time and support to this effort over the years. This was a great day for Ventura!

See the Press Release and a history of this historic project.

Pueblo Limpio

As a teenager spending my summers surfing in San Diego in the early 1990’s, I distinctly remember watching an episode of “Surfer TV” that featured Nicaragua. After a half hour of absorbing warm, playful waves being savored by a few friends a stone’s throw from relatively pristine coastline, it was clear to me why the production staff chose, and my brother and I instantly came to associate, “Alternate Roots” by the Cardiff Reefers as the theme song for such special occasions! Nearly 15 years later, I have just returned from such a trip to Nicaragua, and was delighted to find that despite the swarms of foreigners that are gobbling up the land, it is still possible to escape the crowds, surf to your heart’s content, and appreciate the novelty of savoring a culture intact.

We stayed at the Hidden Bay Surf Lodge (http://www.nicasurf.com/) in a little fishing village on the shores of Bahia Gigante. Population about 200, a single dirt road thoroughfare, and pigs and dogs sleeping side-by-side in the tire ruts at night; yes Toto, we’re definitely not in Tamarindo anymore! Although an all-inclusive package, the pampering was predominantly having clean beds and air conditioning at night, and a generator to keep the AC and the water flowing (which actually became a guilty pleasure when our generator pierced the otherwise silent dawn on one occasion). And while some travelers might have expected more resort treatment for paying resort price, in our eyes it was money well spent to be able to use broken Spanish to communicate; to feel serenity in and out of the water; and to meet and subsequently bond with the local people.

Considering that our lifestyles could easily be misunderstood by those who are not as fortunate to be able to travel for recreation, the opportunity to leave a favorable impression with the residents of Gigante was paramount. Although our first instinct was to leave things like magazines and surf wax, it didn’t take long to realize that there were more pressing needs and better ways to go about addressing them. Amongst the animal waste and garbage that lined the road like some twisted version of “Hansel and Gretel”, several brightly colored and decorated trash cans labeled “Pueblo Limpio” stood out. Upon discovering that “Pueblo Limpio” (pueblolimpio1@gmail.com) was an effort supported by local merchants to establish a garbage service in the town, it immediately became clear that we should organize a beach and town cleanup to give this program a boost. So, on our last lunch break of the week, we got together with some of our new friends, and conducted what is definitely my most memorable beach cleanup ever.

There are numerous Gigante’s out there, and many more surfers who will visit them. In almost the same amount of time needed to make a bad impression (take for example the gringo who carelessly clipped one of the pigs in the road with his SUV a few months earlier), a favorable one can be made instead. So the next time you are lucky enough to seek out and hopefully find waves abroad, minimize your footprint and give something back. Bring your water bottles back home to be recycled (great board-bag padding!). Leave your bi-lingual dictionaries, other school supplies, or First-aid supplies that are in high demand and short-supply. Like the Cardiff Reefers said, “Seeing comes from the heart and the soul; feeling is more than touch, it’s the product of an open mind; my eyes no longer see the same world, but a brave new world, with passion on the horizon.”

Editor's Note

Intelligence, Passion and Action

I've never been impressed by the smartest person in the room, I need more than that. Those people whose lives only revolved around acing the SATs or having the highest GPAs always seemed ... boring to me. I've always felt that intelligence alone isn't a good barometer for success, a meaningful measure of value or, in the end, the defining attribute of someone I want to spend time with. One-dimensional people get stale fast. Sure intelligence is notable, but what impresses me more than that is the potent mix of smarts and passion. The only thing better is an insatiable intellect combined with a seemingly endless supply of passion and a strong bent for action. Pow. That's when the superpowers seem to kick in.

The mix of intelligence, passion and action is the essence of the Surfrider Foundation.

Erika D'Avanzo has that mix. Erika was instrumental in many New York metropolitan campaigns. She moved to Florida, studied the unique local issues tirelessly and has set records of action to fend off an onslaught of challenges on the Florida shores.

Eugene Alper has that mix. He started the Eastern Long Island chapter by straightforwardly applying our chapter resource guides and helped build local coastal conservation muscle. A year or so later the local successes came rolling in.

Sergio Mello has that mix. He came to our International Affiliate meeting last year, was chatting with global Surfrider supporters via Skype weeks later and managed to coordinate a Jack Johnson / Samba-fueled beach cleanup in Rio a few months after that.

Pete Stauffer has that mix. He went from Maui-based windsurf instructor to Washington DC-based policy wonk, all the while dipping his toes in the Surfrider Kool Aid. Today he's one of our Pacific Northwest powerhouses driving policy changes that will help keep his new home of Oregon the Pacific Northwest gem it is today.

Marco Gonzalez has that mix. Marco may never have turned down an opportunity to argue a point; he's a smart lawyer with adrenaline and a love of our coasts. His mix of smarts and action has enabled him to help build our San Diego chapter into the powerhouse it is today.

Dr. Rick Wilson has the mix. Rick isn't a doctor but the title seems to fit ... his work at Surfrider is an endless study ... with one heck of an output. He is the core author of the annual 500-page State of the Beach report, highlighted in this issue. It is the seminal source for a national report card on our nation's beaches.

What about you? You have the ingredients to make a large impact in your region if you brought the elements together. Go to the next chapter meeting: find that unique place to plug in.


Jim Moriarty
Executive Director, Chief Executive Officer

Thursday, November 16, 2006


Awards Given at North Shore Makahiki Festival at Haleiwa Beach Park

Lifetime Achievement Award receipient Peter Cole with O'ahu Chapter Co-Chair Scott Werny (photo Sylvia Werny)

Haleiwa Beach Park, North Shore, Oahu (Nov. 12, 2006) – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
On Sun. night, the Oahu Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation presented the 4th Annual John Kelly Environmental Achievement Awards to recognize those who have made the greatest contributions towards protecting or enhancing our coastal community and environment. This year, the awards were given at the North Shore Makahiki Festival right before the Sunset on the Beach screening. The Festival featured the Hawaii film premiere of Stacy Peralta’s new film Pipeline Masters at Haleiwa Beach Park.

The Oahu Chapter seeks to promote environmental activism by honoring the efforts and achievements of inspirational individuals and organizations. Award categories are Lifetime Achievement, Professional Surfer, and Oahu-based company. This year, big-wave pioneer Peter Cole was given the Lifetime Achievement Award for his work as an environmental activist for over 40 years; Pancho Sullivan won the Professional Surfer Award for his efforts to stop overdevelopment of the North Shore; Schnitzer Steel Hawaii Corp was honored as the Most Environmentally Friendly Oahu-based Company for their recycling campaign, headed up by James Banigan..

John Kelly, for whom the award is named, was the original recipient of the Lifetime Achievement category. For decades, Kelly led many environmental crusades on Oahu. The John Kelly Perpetual Trophy is a small koa surfboard, beautifully shaped as a board from the early days of Waikiki, when the water and the sand were clean, there were no groins or jetties, and there was plenty of beach access. The trophy has been on display at the Patagonia Store in Haleiwa.
Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the Surfrider’s Oahu Chapter has been very busy this year working with other environmental groups to help save Pupukea-Paumalu and Waimea Valley. They also helped stop the commercial development of luxury condos on state lands in Kaka’ako, and continue to fight the large scale expansion of the Turtle Bay resort. After the disastrous Ala Wai sewage spill, the chapter held public meetings and formed a Wastewater Spill Response Committee that meets to improve Oahu’s water quality and reduce the impact of future spills. Founded in 1984 by a handful of visionary surfers, the Surfrider Foundation now maintains over 55,000 members and 80 chapters across the United States and Puerto Rico, with international affiliates in Australia, Europe, Japan and Brazil. For more information on the Surfrider Foundation go to: www.surfrider.org/oahu/ or call 531-SURF.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Does the world need yet another podcast?

Does the world need yet another podcast?

Yes it does.

The story of Surfrider is the story of people following an idea. Those people are extremely diverse, they come from all walks of life, they represent the entire political spectrum, they live all over the globe and they represent all age groups.

What they have in common is a simple, many times indescribable love of oceans, waves and beaches. Many of them have made decisions that enable them to stay close to... oceans, waves and beaches on a daily basis.

Before I came on as staff here I knew of this “unifying Surfrider truth”. Before I came on I loved how a single subject brought so many people together.

Now that I’m here I want to tap into that vein a bit... I’m talking with people from all over and delving into that unifying theme... via a podcast.

Click here for the podcast details.

I view this as nothing more than yet another tool to carry our message... we need lots of tools, lots of onramp into people’s craniums... we have a movement to build.

- Jim Moriarty, CEO/ED

PS. Big props to the SD Crew, So. Texas Chapter and others already using tools like these... paving the way and helping is connect with more beach people.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

North Shore group loses legal battle over Environmental Impact Statement

North Shore group loses legal battle over Environmental Impact Statement (KHON.com)
By Andrew Pereira
The battle cry of "keep the country, country" suffered a defeat Monday when Circuit Court Judge Sabrina McKenna ruled Kuilima Resort Company is not required to conduct a new Environmental Impact Statement before it begins construction of five new hotels from Kawela Bay to Kahuku Point on Oahu’s North Shore.

The ruling came after months of protests, petition signings and community education by several grassroots organization like Keep the North Shore Country which filed suit against the City and County of Honolulu and KRC.

As the debate over the proposed development moved to Honolulu Circuit Court, Judge Mckenna was charged with deciding whether a supplemental environmental impact statement was needed to replace one done more than 20 years ago.

The Honolulu City Council approved the project in 1985 one year after the original EIS was completed. The proposed project, which includes condominiums and time shares, would bring the number of total units at Turtle Bay to four thousand and has no expiration date.

During the hearing McKenna often referred to the law passed in 1974 which requires an EIS for all state and county projects.

"At times you folks have gone through a supplemental process,” she quizzed Kuilima Resort attorney Terence James O’Toole, “I'm just wondering what triggers that."

Attorneys for Keep the North Shore Country argued there are several triggers -- most notably timing, changing traffic conditions, and the filing of new subdivision papers by Kuilima Resort.

"The subdivision application in itself requires some discretionary approval by the city,” argued William Hunt, an attorney for the plaintiffs. “When they get that they have to decide, 'Is there a change in this project from the last time we approved it some twenty years ago,' Duh!"

However attorneys for Kuilima Resort said that argument, like Hunt’s rhetorical “Duh” is too simplistic.

They say the scope of the project and the timing of the proposed build-out have not changed and the city's Department of Planning and Permitting has already said so.

"There has to be a burden on somebody who comes in and seeks to say there is a substantive change,” said O’Toole. “Substantive is defined as essential."

Judge McKenna agreed with the legal arguments presented by the defense and ruled in favor of Kuilima Resort, a huge defeat for those concerned about keeping the North Shore country.

"I think that Kamehameha Highway is just at its max,” said Laura Couch, an attorney for the plaintiffs. “We've got to look at how that project is going to affect traffic in the present day."

Couch said she and her fellow attorneys would sit down with their client and decide whether an appeal of the judge’s decision is “appropriate.”

O’Toole who celebrated the decision with his legal team in the court corridor said there have been a lot of misconceptions about the project.

"We'd like to see some dialogue,” he said. “Let’s put the sticks and stones down for a while and have some respectful intelligent conversation. The presumption is that the developer is big and bad and is going to rape and pillage, that is not the case."

O’Toole said the project, which includes 50 acres of parks and new beach access is “exceptionally low density” and no building will be higher than a coconut tree.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Hungtington/Seal Beach Chapter talks to Pegasus kids

The Huntington/Seal Beach Chapter was chosen as the lead environmental group for the Pegasus School's annual "Beach Walk" event on Friday, November 3rd. The chapter gave 20-minute presentations to K-2, 3-5, and 6-8 grade students and parents. The presentations covered the cycle of water, urban runoff, beach trash, and most importantly, "doing your part" to help keep the local beaches and ocean clean.

High School kids do their part to help Save Trestles

Amanda Mener, Co-President of the Dana Hills Surfrider Club (as well as a member of the Dana Hills newspaper staff) went to a the South Orange County Chapter's Executive Committee meeting in October. Their club talked about what could be done about the Save Trestles campaign, and the other members said that they wanted to help build more awareness, such as the article in the Saddleback College newspaper.

So Amanda did something about it! In last month's issue of the Dana Hills School newspaper (The Paper), she wrote a Save Trestles opinion article.

You can view the article at www.dhhspaper.com on page 10 of the November issue.

Thanks Amanda!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Sick Surfers

Surfrider Foundation Europe has come out with some great video PSA's. Subscribe to our Youtube page for more from Surfrider around the world.