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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Joint Ocean Commission Initiative releases its U.S. Ocean Policy Report Card for 2006

Today the Joint Ocean Commission Initiative released its U.S. Ocean Policy Report Card for 2006. The report card provides a retrospective evaluation of our national progress in 2006 toward ocean policy reform consistent with the recommendations of the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy and the Pew Oceans Commission. The report card is available at http://www.jointoceancommission.org along with other Joint Initiative materials.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Beachgoers Find One Man’s Trash is Not Another Man’s Treasure

January 26, 2007
By Katie Mulvaney

Journal Staff Writer

SOUTH KINGSTOWN — The beach replenishment project is surely bringing sand to Matunuck’s shores, but along with it is coming reams of rope, rubber gloves and pop-top beer cans galore.

Lobster bands littered the beach like confetti yesterday as concerned citizens and environmental officials inspected the coastline near Deep Hole, a prime fishing and surfing spot. It appears that the dredging project under way at the Harbor of Refuge is digging up three decades of trash that has fallen or been thrown off boats. Now that waste is landing on the beaches as a result of a plan to dump the dredged material just offshore to restore Matunuck’s storm-stripped beaches.

“This was supposed to be clean sand and gravel from Point Judith Pond. … We were under the understanding there was no garbage,” said John Torgan, Baykeeper with Save the Bay.

Save the Bay, which was contacted by the Rhode Island Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, is asking that work be suspended until it is determined to be safe to proceed.

“We may need to stop this dredging project until this is all sorted out,” Torgan said.

Laura Ricketson, spokeswoman for the state Coastal Resources Management Council, said the refuse was not hazardous.

“None of it’s contaminated. This is all stuff that has been either lost overboard or tossed overboard,” she said.

A tour of the beach in the vicinity of Deep Hole and the Ocean Mist found fishing nets, rubber gloves and boots, hoses, a leather belt and hundreds of pop-top beer cans, some apparently dating to when the harbor was last dredged 30 years ago.

Ricketson said there were no plans to stop the dredging. The CRMC is the state sponsor of the dredging operation, which is being overseen by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“If we pull out now, the channel will not be navigable,” she said. “We have to weigh having non-hazardous material wash up on the beach and having the channel not be safe.”

Work began last month to remove 90,000 cubic yards of sand and sediment from about 20 acres encompassing the harbor channels and anchorage areas. A natural buildup of silt and sand in the port’s channel was making navigation hazardous, according to the Army Corps.

Under local pressure to help replenish the area’s eroding beaches, the Army Corps agreed to dispose the dredged material at two locations in the intertidal zone off Matunuck. On average, a dump scow has been releasing two loads a day.

By contract, Newborn Construction Inc., the contractor, must separate the trash from the fill, said Michael Walsh, project manager for the Army Corps. While workers are detecting larger items, smaller debris, such as beer cans, is getting through.

Walsh said he had heard only one other complaint about debris which followed a coastal storm about a month ago.

“Our hope is what’s washed up is a pocket,” Walsh said. “In the harbor, some people throw stuff away. I think we hit a spot where people were being irresponsible and dumping offshore.”

The debris is believed to have been pulled from the dock area, Ricketson said.

Newborn has agreed to clean the beaches in the coming days, weather permitting, Walsh said. The project must be completed by March 15, in time for winter flounder to spawn.

“At this point we’re going to have it cleaned up, as necessary,” she said, describing the work as “manageable.”

The debris has proved upsetting to those who frequent the beach.

A friend told Peter Manning, a local surfer, about old beer cans washing up earlier this week. A collector, he was shocked by what he found.

“I wanted to vomit,” he said. Waste that he and others spotted included radiator hoses, fan belts and an oil filter.

“They need to stop dumping so close to shore. This is toxic stuff,” he said.

Manning spent yesterday morning alerting state and environmental officials, along with members of the Rhode Island Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation. The foundation raised concerns in the planning phases of the project about the makeup of the dredged material. The Army Corps has said it tested clean.

“We understood that this area had to be dredged. We just wanted to make sure pollution wasn’t added to the water column,” said David Prescott, chairman of the state chapter. “Our biggest concern is that this is done in the right way and that this isn’t going to affect our beach in the wintertime.”

“This was supposed to be clean sand and gravel from Point Judith Pond. … We were under the understanding there was no garbage.”

John Torgan
Baykeeper with Save the Bay
“This was supposed to be clean sand and gravel from Point Judith Pond. … We were under the understanding there was no garbage.”

John Torgan
Baykeeper with Save the Bay

Surfers Protest Gambling Ship Sewage Dumping Off Palm Beach Coast

Members from five local Surfrider Foundation chapters – including Sebastian Inlet, Central Florida, Treasure Coast, South Florida and Palm Beach – gathered on Saturday, January 27, 2007 at the Port of Palm Beach in Riviera Beach for a portside and in-ocean protest to denounce the dumping of partially treated sewage by the Palm Beach Princess gambling ship just 3 miles off the coast.

Members young and old followed the gambling ship out to sea in two motorized watercraft, carrying signs reading “Pump, Don’t Dump,” “Dilution Is Not The Solution” and “Stop Cruise Ship Sewage Dumping.” An airplane flying a large banner with the phrase “Got Sewage? Game Cruises Dump It Daily” circled the gambling ship during the mid-morning event and additional chapter members and interested spectators lined the shores of the port’s jetty with banners and surfboards to lend their voices to the protest. And in a show of support for the demonstration, the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Department provided a police escort to Surfrider’s boats, ensuring that they could safely make the gambling ship’s passengers aware of the sewage situation.

“Gambling ships, like the Palm Beach Princess and SunCruz Casinos, dump thousands of gallons of partially treated sewage directly into the ocean on a daily basis. The environmental impact is extreme, to say the least,” said Rick Hayes, Sebastian Inlet Chapter Chairman. “The sewage is dumped into prime fishing locations, adversely affecting an important Florida industry and recreational pastime, and the waste washes to shore, leaving the ocean an unsafe place for surfers, their families and tourists to spend their time.”

The protest was in conjunction with Surfrider Foundation’s support of the Clean Oceans Bill. Sponsored by Rep. Bob Allen and Sen. Mike Bennett, if passed, the bill would make the gambling boats running “cruises to nowhere” pay a fee for getting their sewage treated even if they continue to dump it. It also assesses fines for dumping sewage within three miles of the coast, with exceptions for emergencies, and has each ship register with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Copies of the bill, HB-57 and SB-444, were provided to Surfrider members and interested citizens during the portside portion of the demonstration and everyone was encouraged to contact their local government representatives to raise awareness of the bill. A copy of the bill with a brief description can be found here – www.surfrider.org/sebastianinlet/gambling.html

See related article: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/palmbeach/sfl-psurfrider28jan28,0,4048643.story

Friday, January 26, 2007

Snow in Biarritz?!?!?!

Biarrtiz, where Surfrider Foundation Europe is based, found itself the victim of a rare snowstorm yesterday. The creative team at Surfrider Europe and their partner Young & Rubicam France, dressed up this photo of Boris Masserson, who manages Surfrider Europe's chapters. Go Surfrider! 戦いの気候変動!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

One Man Spreading the Word for Surfrider Foundation

When it comes to ocean issues, "we're at a real critical time right now . . . . almost a tipping point," according to John Weber.
A recent report indicated that "the world's fisheries, so many of them, are about to collapse," said Weber, East Coast regional manager for the nonprofit Surfrider Foundation, an environmental group.
Global warming is "affecting ocean ecosystems like coral reefs," said Weber, 38, a Bradley Beach resident since 1991.
"These could have catastrophic consequences," he said. "So that's why it's a tipping point, because I think we're still at the point we could do something if we act now, and if we act now (we might be able to make a difference)."
Weber's job with the international organization is to help volunteers in seven Surfrider chapters in five states, including New Jersey, he said.
Surfrider's "mission is to protect and preserve the world's oceans, waves and beaches for everybody to enjoy," Weber said.
And he said he thinks "we've been incredibly effective at winning local victories that make a real difference," including several that gained access to surfing spots in New Jersey.
Another plus involved preserving the surf off Sandy Hook, Weber said.
The Surfers' Environmental Alliance and the Surfrider Foundation sought changes in a beach replenishment project at Sandy Hook several years ago, preserving the popular Big Cove surf break.
Meanwhile, the separate Monmouth County ocean beach restoration project wiped out other surfing spots, according to Weber.
It took a few years for surf to return in some places, Weber said. In others, "it's been struggling to come back," he said.
"As we go forward, with all . . . the beach fills planned, we'd like to take what we've learned and see future beach fills done in such a way that doesn't impact the surf so much," as well as fishing and swimming safety, he said.
Tim Dillingham, executive director of the American Littoral Society, a coastal conservation group based on Sandy Hook, said he thinks Weber has brought a new energy and focus to "long-standing problems and issues along the Jersey Shore."
They include beach replenishment, public access and overdevelopment, Dillingham said.
Clearly, Weber's "focus on community outreach and . . . working with kids is central to . . . changing public perceptions about these problems" and getting people to listen to possible solutions, he said.
Born in Paterson, Weber grew up in Bergen County.
And for as long as he can remember, his family has had a house on Long Beach Island.
"Summers on Long Beach Island — that's basically what got me hooked," Weber said.
He began surfing, which has "grown incredibly in popularity," when he was 12, he said.
He now surfs a couple of times a week when the waves are good, he said.
Once he was in high school and then in college, he wanted to focus on something that would "allow me to study or work in the environment," said Weber, a biology major.
Since then, he's worked pretty much exclusively for nonprofit organizations, including the New Jersey Environmental Federation and New Jersey Citizen Action, Weber said.
He began volunteering for Surfrider in the mid-1990s and "just enjoyed it," he said.
"There are a lot of opportunities . . . to get the public involved" and reach people with the Surfrider message, Weber said.
He began his new job in May 2005 and has been busy helping Surfrider chapters from South Jersey through Massachusetts, he said.
While ocean water quality in New Jersey generally is pretty good, at least in the summer months, based on Surfrider reports, public access has been "spotty," Weber said.
But he thinks access will improve if the state adopts proposed rules, he said.
"The Jersey Shore is a great, great place, and what we really need to keep an eye on is making sure that development does not make it unrecognizable," he said.


Friday, January 19, 2007

The Tide Chandelier

London-based designer Stuart Haygarth knows now to turn mass amounts of trash into awe-inspiring treasure. With training in design and photography, Haygarth conceived of the Tide Chandelier while collecting debris that had washed up on the shores of the Kent coastline. The enormous light fixture, measuring nearly five feet in diameter, is composed of a cornucopia of clear plastic refuse, from water bottles to sunglasses

See more >>>

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

There's something in the water in Morro Bay...

For more than two decades the Morro Bay/Cayucos sewage plant has dumped sewage containing high levels of bacteria and other pollutants into the ocean, and the bay's surrounding waters have become a hotspot for sea otter deaths. These pathogens, parasites, fecal bacteria and other contaminants also threaten other marine life, pose a danger to public health, degrade coastal habitats, cause beach closures and damage the local economy. The plant knows it must upgrade its facilities, and even though the necessary construction time is less than two and a half years, the plant proposes to complete the project and improve water quality by March 31, 2014. It's time that something be done.

That's why the San Luis Bay chapter of Surfrider has joined up with NRDC, Sierra Club, ECOSLO, and Coastkeepers to launch a media campaign to raise awareness and put public pressure on the cities to make the necessary upgrades to tertiary standards and include water reclamation as quickly and efficiently as possible. To take action yourself, please check out the action alert under "Take Action" on Surfrider's home page. Here you can sign onto or write your own letter to local officials to make sure these upgrades happen in a timely manner.

Go Here to Take Action on this issue

Surfrider Foundation Continues to Fight Desalination Plant


Environmental Group Continues to Fight Desalination Plant

Thursday, January 11, 2007
By Jenn Harris

While the proposed Huntington Beach plant faces opposition, another in Long Beach receives receives a long-awaited patent.

HUNTINGTON BEACH - Even after the rejection of its lawsuit against the city, the Surfrider Foundation will continue to fight plans for the proposed Poseidon seawater desalination plant.

The Surfrider Foundation and the Sierra Club filed a lawsuit against the city of Huntington Beach, arguing that the required environmental report of the proposed plant was inconclusive. They did not believe the report adequately addressed the dangers the plant could pose to marine life in the area.

Orange County Superior Court Judge David C. Velasquez ruled on Nov. 27 that there would be no environmental challenge to the report on the plant. The environmental report was already given approval by the Huntington Beach City Council in September 2005. Permits were granted for the project the following March.

The proposed plant is planned to be located on Coast Highway and Newland Street. It would be capable of desalinating 50 million gallons of seawater a day.

The Surfrider Foundation said it will continue to challenge the Southern California Regional Water Quality Control Board on this issue. It plans on disputing the plant's coastal development permit that was previously granted by the city, as well as a future permit that the commission will most likely consider in Spring 2007.

In related news, a new desalination process that could significantly increase Long Beach's water supply was given a patent Nov. 28 by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

The patent was put into effect Dec. 5, nearly four years after the city first applied for it.

Diem Vuong, the Water Department's recently retired assistant general manager, invented the two-step filtration method.

The process is capable of producing 300,000 gallons of desalinated water a day. The city of Long Beach plans to build a larger system, capable of producing 10 million gallons of desalinated water a day, if further testing goes well.

-Jenn Harris

250 students to clean up OC's beaches

Jan 15, 2007
Classes suspended for a day at Lutheran High for schoolwide service effort

Students will be dispatched across Orange County for hands-on community service

ORANGE, CA, January 2007 — Forget homework, quizzes, and soccer practice. On January 26, Lutheran High School will be fully devoted to helping the community.

On that Friday, students will be dispatched in groups all across Orange County for a hands-on opportunity to serve others. It will be the seventh schoolwide Service Day since Lutheran High School began the program in 2004.

Some groups will be small, like the thirty students who will tidy up the grounds and perform trail maintenance at the Oak Canyon Nature Center in Anaheim Hills. Other groups are much larger: the entire freshman class of 250 students will work all day with the Surfrider Foundation to remove trash and debris from Orange County’s beaches.

View the full article here - http://www.lhsoc.org/219982.ihtml

Surfshelter.com donates 1% to Surfrider Foundation

Surfshelter.com, Site Dedicated To Searching Out Surf Spots And Accomodations, Launches

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 16 January, 2007 : - - Opening today is an amazing website dedicated to searching spots & accomodations. Surfshelter.com is made by surfers for surfers. Our aim is to gather together all available accommodation in the world spot by spot, facilitating research if you are a traveller and enhancing the status of your business if you are interested.

The availability of accommodation is limited for the moment but a vast marketing campaign in the major media will lead to rapid expansion of the site. We have the latest satellite locating systems at our fingertips offering you an aerial view of all main surf spots on the planet. Additions to these spots are obviously welcome and will be vital to the development of the site (however, if a spot is secret, keep it secret!) You can also add photos to existing spots.

We are particularly concerned about the protection of the environment and we have therefore chosen to donate 1% of our annual turnover to the Surfrider Foundation. We are also thinking about bringing out a green flag programme soon for each ecologically-friendly accommodation listed. Fly & zoom !


Monday, January 15, 2007

Greening the Surf Industry

Action Sports Retailers Story

ASR is producing a fully wind powered, recycling friendly trade show, as brands join in with a shift to organic and sustainable product lines

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 13 January, 2007 : - - San Juan Capistrano, CA – ASR is taking its Green Steps program to the next level at the January 25-27 event in San Diego. The Green Steps environmental initiatives at ASR include; a fully wind energy powered event, expanded recycling efforts sponsored by OP, the ASR Line Up printed on recycled paper, recycled paper badges printed with soy ink, recycled show bags and recycled aisle carpet.

Within the aisles of ASR, established and emerging surf, skate, snow, swim and youth culture brands are launching expanded lines of sustainable and organic product for fall 2007. The combination of sustainable event production efforts and sustainable product lines will give ASR January a lower impact, ‘green’ glow.

“ASR’s program was created 3-years ago out of the need to increase sustainability within our event and the action sports industry as a whole. With a commitment from some ASR exhibitors and vendors to join the effort,

Green Steps is a growing success,” says Andy Tompkins, ASR Show Director. “We’re proud to continue putting on a 100% wind powered event. Wind is a clean power alternative that helps protect the oceans, mountains and forests, vital parts of our customer’s lifestyle.”

ASR has partnered with 3 Phases Energy, a company that provides renewable energy services for businesses, utilities, governments and institutions. The 5 VNU Sports Group Expos, including ASR, will purchase renewable energy credits to offset standard electricity usage for seven expositions per year with 100% wind powered energy.

Wind power purchases equal close to 622 megawatt hours each year, which is enough energy to power 57 United States homes for one year. The CO2 emissions offset would be equivalent to the environmental impact of taking almost 81 cars off the road for an entire year or planting 106 trees annually.

Reused, reduced and recycled materials will be available to exhibitors in every aspect of ASR. Along with GES, a major exhibition and event services provider, ASR is providing recycled aisle carpet and makes recycled booth carpet available for exhibitors to order. GES also provides booth displays that use fibrex for the booth panels rather than conventional petroleum based panels.

The plastic covering and carpet padding used at ASR will also be recycled. Picking up an ASR Line Up, the essential guide to the action sports industry, attendees will notice that it is printed on recycled paper.

Within the recycled walls at ASR, brands are working hard to create products that are more earth friendly, while staying trend savvy. Action sports’ most established names including Quiksilver, Volcom, Etnies, Roxy, IPath, Planet Earth and Element among others will be expanding organic and sustainable product lines for fall 2007.

Many who had introduced limited sustainable lines focused mostly on organic cotton tees for spring 2007, will introduce wider selections of denim, knits, wovens, footwear and accessories at the January event. From these lines, most brands are donating 1-3% back to environmental causes.

Satori Movement and Hippy Tree, which can be found it ASR’s Goldbox Mission presented by Boost Mobile, are two new ASR brands that have an eco-friendly twist. The men’s line Satori Movement features mostly hemp fabrics, while the women’s Satori Divine is comprised of all bamboo and organic-cotton materials.

Finally, keep an eye out for products from Reef, Billabong, Nixon, Electric and DaKine benefiting the Surfrider Foundation through the newly launched project BLUE. Surfrider will receive $2 from the sale of every BLUE product. Don’t Miss ASR in San Diego, January 25-27th!

About ASR
ASR, a division of VNU Expositions, is a full service tradeshow whose goal is to create, market and produce high quality tradeshows and educational conferences. ASR is the leading action sports industry trade event, bringing together top manufacturers, retailers, industry advocates and media to conduct the business of surf, skate, snow, swim, style, moto and youth culture.

Now in its 26th successful year, ASR gathers over 500 action sports brands and approximately 7,000 retail buyers and decision makers three times a year, with Spring and Summer season shows in San Diego and ASR Holiday at the Orange Country Fairgrounds. For additional information regarding ASR, please contact Lora Bodmer at Deep Communications by phone, 949.200.7134.


Monday, January 08, 2007

Paddle for Pulp Mill Awareness

Tasmania, the island off of Australia, which is home to glorious forests, fabulous food and wine and, yes, that crazy Tasmanian Devil, is facing a tremendous fight to retain its pristine beauty. The Tamar Valley, located on the Northern Coast is the targeted site of a pulp mill proposed by Gunns, Tasmania’s largest company.

While the pulp mill has potentially positive attributes such as creating 1617 jobs and making 6.7 billion, the potentially negative results are startling. For instance, it is reported that the pulp mill will:
• Consume 5 million tons of Tasmanian forest a year
• Pollute the Tamar valley, contributing to deaths from lung disease
• Pump 30 billion liters of dioxin laden effluent into the Bass Strait, poisoning seafood and killing marine life in the Strait and up the Coast of Victoria
• Increase deaths from logging truck accidents

One man, Simeon Michaels, is trying to bring awareness to this development by paddling his kayak from Sydney to Tasmania. His journey began on January 2, 2007 and will continue for two months and encompass over 2,000 kilometers. Along the way he will be stopping to sleep at night and welcome other paddlers to join him for legs of the journey. All the while, bringing attention to the Pulp Mill Project and motivated others to ask the important questions involved in this project such as:

1. What is the cost of the mill to the rest of Tasmania’s Industries?
There are many people and industries that depend on the pristine air, water and image of the Tamar Valley for their livelihoods. Will fisherman, farmers, abalone divers, food and wine producers lose livelihoods as their air and water is polluted? What will be the net result for Tasmania’s economy? Is it true that the mill will be good for Tasmania’s economy, or might the mill be an economic as well as an environmental disaster?

2. Is there a better way?
There aren’t many places, which have the natural beauty and resources of the Tamar Valley. Instead of taking an industrial path, can the Tamar develop a high-value, high-margin, diversified economy? What wealth-generating possibilities do sustainable industries offer, and is there a way for the Tamar to generate equivalent wealth, but without the environmental destruction? In other words, does the Tamar really have to choose between environmental and economic gain, or can it have both?

We don’t have the answers to these questions yet, but we are determined to find out!

For more information on the pulp mill, Simeon’s Quest and to follow him on his journey go to http://www.paddlewithsim.com

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Protect the Oregon Beach Bill

In 1967, the historic Beach Bill was passed by the Oregon Legislature which protects public access and enjoyment of our ocean beaches. Only one other state in the country besides Oregon (Hawaii) guarantees full protection for ocean beaches from the surf line to the vegetation line.

Unfortunately, these beach protections are now threatened by an unanticipated consequence of Measure 37 which may allow coastal property owners to file claims to develop beach dunes or recieve financial compensation for not doing so. On July 31, a beachfront property owner in Cannon Beach filed a Measure 37 claim to construct a motel on top of beach sand dunes long protected by the Beach Bill. Several Cannon Beach volunteers have helped develop written comments urging mayor/city council to deny claim.

If you're an Oregon resident, you can help protect the Oregon Beach Bill by letting your state representatives know that you care about public access to the shoreline and protection of Oregon's sandy beaches. Send a letter or email urging your state representative to reform Measure 37 legislation to exempt our beaches. Legislative session starts Jan 8 so please do this SOON. Sample comments and representative info can be found below. Or see action alert under "Take Action" of Surfrider website. Mahalo

Find your legislator: http://www.leg.state.or.us/findlegsltr/

Dear Representative

I urge you to protect the Oregon Beach Bill of 1967 by reforming Measure 37 to exempt claims along our state's beautiful coastline.

In Cannon Beach, a beachfront property owner has filed a Measure 37 claim to construct a motel on top of beach sand dunes long protected by the Beach Bill. This claim represents a threat to the public's right to use and enjoy Oregon's ocean beaches up to the vegetation line. More claims like this are likely to follow.

The Beach Bill is an integral part of Oregon’s culture and heritage as a state. Governor Oswald West first promoted the idea of public access to Oregon's coast back in 1913 and Governor Tom McCall later secured this legacy through leading passage of the Oregon Beach Bill.

The Beach Bill guarantees that all land within sixteen vertical feet of the average low tide mark belongs to the people of Oregon and protects the public's free and uninterrupted use of the beaches along Oregon’s 363 miles of coastline. Only one other state in the country besides Oregon (Hawaii) guarantees public access from the surf line to the vegetation line.

Please do the right thing this legislative session and make sure that Tom McCall's vision of public use and enjoyment of Oregon's beaches is not tarnished. Support reform of Measure 37 to exempt our beaches!!


Saturday, January 06, 2007

The beaches are moving!

The Charleston Chapter's successful campaign to preserve Morris Island

Meanwhile, the Eastern Long Island Chapter is advocating that the Montauk Light house be moved back from the eroding coast.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Chair of Surfrider Europe in Surfing Championship!

The 2007 ISA World Masters Surfing Championship will feature some of the best master’s surfers from around the globe competing for their respective countries January 20-28, 2007 in Rincon, Puerto Rico. Our own Gilles Asenjo, the Chair of the Board of Directors for Surfrider Europe will be representing! Good luck Gilles! We'll be watching your heats on the webcast. http://www.isasurf.org/