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Monday, February 26, 2007

Surfers Protest Sewage Dumping Off Madeira Beach

Members from the local Sebastian Inlet Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation traveled to Madeira Beach on Saturday, February 24, 2007 for a successful demonstration to protest the dumping of partially treated sewage by gambling ships just off the west coast.

Members young and old met with interested citizens and surfers alike for a beachside and in-ocean protest. More than thirty protestors gathered on the Johns Pass Bridge, on the beach, and in two boats holding signs and surfboards reading “Pump, Don’t Dump,” “Dilution Is Not The Solution” and “No Poo in the Big Blue.” Local citizens also stopped by during their morning beach walks to see what the event was all about and joined the demonstration by holding banners and recruiting other passerbys. An airplane flying a large banner with the phase “Got Sewage? SunCruz Dumps It Daily!” circled the gambling ship during the mid-morning event. Following the protest, Greg Gordon from the Sebastian Inlet Chapter demonstrated the minimal steps currently used by the casino ship industry to treat and dump partially treated sewage directly into the Gulf of Mexico and into the Atlantic Ocean.

“Gambling ships like the SunCruz Casino 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 establish a fee for waste removal by the ports that gambling ships have to pay, even if they still dump their waste in the ocean. The bill would also require the ships to register with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP). Copies of the bill were provided to Surfrider members and interested citizens after the demonstration and everyone was encouraged to work with their local government representatives to raise awareness of the bill. The response from citizens and surfers who live on the west coast was so positive that the Suncoast Chapter of Surfrider Foundation is currently in re-development.

Photos of the event: http://pond.totallylocalmarketing.com/surfridersi/madeiraBeach/

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Oodles of Nurdles

When I was a kid, my friends and I would comb through the sand of Laguna Beach and find these small pellets. They were translucent and almost rubbery. We would chew on them -I have no idea why - I guess we too thought of them as everlasting jaw breakers. We also endlessly debated what they were. The lense of a fish eye... cartiledge from a shark...etc. Little did we know they were actually little piece of plastic polluting the ocean and absorbing toxins!

Chad Nelsen
Environmental Director

Officials trying to keep tiny pellets out of waterways

Plastic makes up 60% to 80% of ocean trash

By Alex Breitler
February 19, 2007
Record Staff Writer

Nurdles: They sound like a Willy Wonka invention.

Indeed, these BB-sized plastic pellets - used by manufacturers to make containers, lids and even cell phones - are like everlasting jawbreakers when lost in California rivers and the Pacific Ocean.

They might drift with the currents for hundreds of years unless first eaten by fish. And there are likely billions of them out there, spilled into waterways over the years by sloppy workers.

Wildlife experts, state officials and plastics manufacturers this month are putting more emphasis on keeping nurdles out of the environment. The California Ocean Protection Council passed a resolution calling for manufacturers to keep closer tabs on the pellets; and a bill proposed in the Legislature would require increased monitoring of businesses that use nurdles improperly.

Many nurdles come from inland sources, officials say. It's not clear how many funnel through the Delta, which drains most of Northern and Central California.

"It's a serious thing. We know that these pellets and these pieces of plastic do absorb toxins" and can cause cancer, said Bill Macdonald of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation, based in Long Beach.

Nurdles, of course, are only one piece of the plastic problem. Worldwide, plastic makes up 60 percent to 80 percent of ocean trash. In parts of the Pacific Ocean, researchers have documented up to six times more floating plastic than plankton, the microorganisms that feed nearly all aquatic creatures.

Read more:

Friday, February 16, 2007

Al Gore to Sound Off On Climate Change With Concert Event

Al Gore's next gig: concert promoter.

Al Gore with Queen Latifah at Sunday's Grammy Awards. The former vice president is reportedly planning a single-day series of concerts to raise awareness of global climate change. (By Mark J. Terrill -- Associated Press)
Special Report

Using popular music to bring attention to his pet issue of global climate change, the former vice president is planning a single-day series of concerts modeled after Live 8.

Gore is scheduled to announce the concerts today in Los Angeles. He's expected to be joined there by rock stars Jon Bon Jovi and Sting, rap musician Pharrell Williams and media executive Kevin Wall, who served as worldwide executive producer for Live 8, the 2005 concerts that drew attention to African debt relief.

The Gore-promoted event will be held July 7, according to published reports, with seven major concerts on seven continents. Producers are said to be considering Washington as the North American host city, but one likely venue -- the Mall -- might be unavailable to them, a National Park Service spokesman said yesterday.

A Gore representative declined to comment, as did Yusef Robb, a spokesman for the concerts.

Gore's profile has been rising in the entertainment industry lately: He was a presenter at Sunday's Grammy Awards, and "An Inconvenient Truth," his movie about global warming, is nominated for Best Documentary Feature at the upcoming Academy Awards.

Details of the July 7 event have been guarded as closely as a National Intelligence Estimate. The event's official name has not yet been announced (it will be either "Live Earth" or "Save Ourselves," according to Advertising Age), and no performers or host cities have been publicly confirmed. A bare-bones Web site, http://saveourselves.com, offered little beyond the 7/7/07 date and a logo of dots and dashes -- Morse code for "SOS."

The Financial Times, which reported the event last week, listed London; Shanghai; Rio de Janeiro; Cape Town, South Africa; Kyoto, Japan; and Washington among the host cities.

But if Gore is hoping to make musical noise about global warming here, the former Democratic presidential nominee might have to consider staging his concert in a stadium. National Park Service spokesman Bill Line said the Mall is already filling up on July 7, with applications under review for two events -- including the Smithsonian Folklife Festival.

"The organizations are estimating 200,000 people between them," Line said. "Given the large number of participants expected, it would be difficult if not impossible to reasonably accommodate any additional large-scale events."

Gore's group, Live Earth LLC, has yet to apply for a use permit, Line said.

Would the National Park Service give special treatment to a former vice president and allow him to jump the queue?

"We treat everyone the same," Line said. "We process applications for events on the National Mall in the order in which they were received."

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Surfing for a Cleaner Sound

January 2007
Surfing for a Cleaner Sound
An interview with a Northwest surfer
By Sierra Smith

Ryan McEliece’s love of surfing has taught him a lot about what is happening in our waters.
“Every time I surf up in the Northwest, I am awestruck,” says McEliece, describing his experience in Washington’s waters. “Moments of solitude when the water will go dead calm, you are in a lull and a bird will fly over head. You just look back at the shore, the dark green water, majestic mountains covered in snow…”

After hearing McEliece’s words about surfing it isn’t hard to see how the sport inspired him to move in an environmental direction. Dirty beaches or murky water can easily interrupt moments of solitude.

As a freshman at Western in Bellingham, Ryan McEliece thought he’d study business. But after volunteering with Surfrider, a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world’s waves, he shifted his academic focus to a degree in Environmental and Resource Management. A surfer since his teens, McEliece is now an environmental specialist for the Department of Ecology’s Environmental Assessment Program.

Surfing in Sewage

“Surfrider definitely opened my mind a lot,” he admits. “I was first intrigued by the water quality monitoring with the Blue Water Taskforce. I didn’t think about water quality being an issue up here.”

McEliece explains that after a heavy rain, our sewage systems can discharge. Most of us aren’t swimming around in the 40- to 60-degree water, so the overflow can go unnoticed. Unless, of course, you are a surfer.

“At the time, there really wasn’t any monitoring and I was intrigued by that,” he says, describing his early experience with the non-profit. “Surfrider was influential and led the way to where I took my education, my career. ”

For many water enthusiasts, Surfrider provides an opportunity to give back to the community and the environment they love to play in.

“It’s important because [Surfrider] helps keep beaches clean and monitors water quality,” says McEliece, who dons a 6mm wetsuit, hoody, gloves and booties to surf the Northwest’s chilly water. “There are some surf spots near sewage outfalls that pose a risk to surfers—coastal erosion and population growth are also problems.”

Surfrider gives surfers a unified voice.

McEliece explains, “Before, it was just a bunch of guys saying things, now it’s an organized body, we have a voice and we can actually do a lot and get a lot done this way.”

Surfers as Stewards

Since joining Surfrider, McEliece has cleaned beaches and painted over graffiti-covered bathrooms. The experience helps him feel like he is part of something, instead of simply enjoying the ocean and then leaving.

McEliece points out that one of the biggest challenges surfers in Washington face is beach access. Only a small percentage of our beaches are accessible to the public. He hopes the surfing community will work with Tribal Nations and government agencies to build a healthier relationship and improve access.

“The biggest challenge is to take care of things now, with monitoring and mitigation, before they become a bigger problem.”

Sierra Smith is a Seattle-based writer.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Snowrider Event in Vermont

All Photos by Claire Hassett

Well above sea level, well below freezing

On a frigid Friday night in the northeast, members from three east coast Surfrider Foundation chapters braved the elements and ventured north to Vermont for the 2007 Snowrider Project. Held at Sugarbush Resort, the weekend-long event on January 26th and 27th brought activists together to educate mountain-goers about the hydrological cycle and to enjoy some quality slope riding themselves. In temperatures well below freezing, Surfrider members from Massachusetts, New York City and Central Long Island gathered outside the Sugarbush lodge, next to the homemade waffle stand, and greeted a steady stream of snowboarders and skiers interested in learning more about our environmental mission.
The Snowrider Project seeks to inform people about watershed from higher elevations on toward the oceans, and teach about the effects of pollutants traveling through streams and rivers. The negative environmental impact of polluted watershed is especially harsh in the northwest, where chemical and biological pollutants from several large cities accumulate and drain into a relatively compact ocean area. It is therefore extremely important for the Snowrider message to resonate with as many people in the region as possible, and our weekend in Vermont was an incredible opportunity to make so many more people aware of the watershed issues in their communities.

Mountain mavens of Massachusetts Carol Tobian & Marc Angelillo

After a day of promoting Snowrider and shredding in a surreal white landscape of gnarly and snow-shrouded bare tree branches, Surfrider members from all three chapters wound down with a party in Sugarbush’s Castle Rock Pub. Complete with a silent auction benefiting the Surfrider Foundation, the evening was an excellent opportunity for members to mingle with fellow activists. Sunday brought more terrific Vermont slope riding and bonding between east coast Surfrider members, a perfect end to this very successful adventure in extreme conditions, environmental awareness and true camaraderie.

~Adriana Jovanovic
Vice Chair, Surfrider NYC

Three Chapters, one great event

Saturday, February 10, 2007


Surfrider Foundation activists in Mar del Plata, Argentina held a 2km coastal paddle protesting the continued destruction of their beaches by the government’s practice of installing groins and jetties to retain sand. The leaders of Surfrider’s Organizing Committee here have been working to educate government officials on the damage that these shoreline structures do and are asking for alternative solutions to be considered.

The paddle out protest was featured on two national television news broadcasts and was covered live on the radio.

Following the paddle, the public joined in a huge beach cleanup set to music provided by a well-known D.J. Today marked the first of several Ocean Initiatives that the Surfrider Organizing Committee here in Mar del Plata have planned for 2007.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Surfrider Spreads The Word Through Music

Photo (Right): Mike Childs (Surfrider), Nicole (Surfrider), Randy Schwartz (drums), Brett Dennen (vocals, guitar), Matt Montee (road manager), Jason (Surfrider), Steve Adams(bass)

Photo (Left): Jason holding up Surfrider's Dec 2006 "Making Waves" magazine, featuring an interview with Brett Dennen

By Nicole Parisi-Smith


I volunteer with the Surfrider Foundation’s Washington, DC Chapter, where I am in charge of tabling at Surfrider-friendly shows. This usually involves identifying Surfrider-friendly musicians, watching venue calendars to determine when the musicians are coming into town, and then contacting them to ask if we can table.

But Brett Dennen is far from typical- he is outstanding! Brett has a non-profit coordinator for his “Love Speaks” Tour. Sarita researched non-profit organizations who work in the communities that the Love Speaks Tour would visit, and contacted those organizations to invite them to table at Brett’s show in their town. In addition to tabling, each organization gets to speak on the mic during the show and receives a financial contribution from Brett. This is Brett’s way of giving back to the communities he visits. We (my Surfrider Chapter) were invited to table on Jan 30th at Jammin Java in Vienna VA, and on Jan 31st at Rams Head On Stage in Annapolis, MD.

On January 30th, two of my friends from the Chapter, Mike and Jason, and I set up our Surfrider gear on a table already provided for us, next to a wildlife conservation organization. Brett, Randy Schwartz (drums), Steve Adams (bass) and Matt Montee (road manager) stopped by the tables before the show started to check in and contribute to our Save Trestles Campaign (www.savetrestles.org ). Their interest and support meant a lot to us!

The show was great. It was a sold out seated show, with lots of very appreciative fans. Brett invited us to speak on the mic before he came on stage. Jason got up there and spoke about Surfrider for a few minutes. So great! Brett, Randy and Steve played a great show, opening up with “Ain’t No Reason”. Brett talked a lot between songs, and he was hilarious. Everyone loved it!

After the show the non-proft organization reps caught up with the band backstage. It was so nice to see Steve, and to meet Brett, Randy and Montee. Yes, they are fantastic musicians- but more importantly, they are incredible people. I can’t put it into words- you just had to be there- and SHOULD be there when they come through your town on this tour.

On January 31st, my friend Blake helped me table. This was another seated, sold out show, full of dedicated Brett fans. Montee helped me orchestrate the Surfrider table set up, and made sure to get me on the schedule so that I could speak on the mic about Surfrider. I got up there, told everyone about Surfrider, our chapters, invited everyone to stop by the table to sign the Save Trestles petition, and gave a sincere thanks to Brett and crew. I also mentioned that trash discarded on our streets flows from the curb into the sewers, then into the nearest river, and then flows into the ocean- the stuff is never filtered/cleaned. There is a mass of plastic trash, twice the size of TX, floating around in the Pacific Ocean. Please don’t litter, and if you see litter then please pick it up!

The show was great. Started off with “Ain’t No Reason” and closed with a really nice acoustic encore. The audience was so respectful- no one spoke during the performance and people were looking for Brett to get autographs following the show. It was so nice to see!

Hung out a little after the show ended, helped pack the RV, and then said goodbye. So sad to see them go, but hey- they might be coming to a town near you soon, and so you can experience it, too- def check the show schedule!!
A BIG thanks to Brett, Sarita, Montee, Randy and Steve for all of their support and for being soooooooo great:)!!! Hope to see you all again soon.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Palm Beach County Chapter Assists in Victory Over Sewage Outfall

The sewage treatment plant in Delray Florida, sending an average of 13 million gallons of partly treated wastewater onto endangered corals and reef tract, will now be the first outfall of six in South Florida to discontinue the practice dumping over the next few years.

Thursday night the utility board members made the vote to make the outfall pipe carrying the waste of Delray and Boynton Beach residents to go out of regular use. The decision also represented a major step toward a resolution of the plant's 18-month-long expired permit in the face of mounting public resistance and criticism from county environmental officials.
The decision was the culmination of a four-year struggle led by the nonprofit Palm Beach County Reef Rescue and more recently the assistance of the Palm Beach County Surfrider Chapter to draw attention to the effects of the outfall on the nearby coral reef system, which has been suffocating in recent years under a pollution-fed toxic algae bloom. Local member Kerri Smith lead the campaign overseeing legal research, outreach and education.

The chapter is also deciding whether or not to pursue local Rep. Richard Machek volunteering to present a legislative bill to limit the amount of potentially algae-feeding nitrogen that is discharged through the 5 other pipes.

While the proposed alternative for the plant to use a deep well injection to dispose of more highly treated waste is not ideal, it is the lesser of two evils at this juncture. There is ongoing research as to how to eliminate the use of deep well injection as well and the chapter will be moving forward by implementing an education program for this at the Sandoway House education center in Delray.

See article for more info.

Snowrider at Mt Hood

Portland Chapter's Snowrider program is back in full swing for the winter season. The chapter has established a partnership with Mt. Hood Meadows ski resort to educate skiers and snowboarders on watershed issues. Each spring, winter snowfall that accumulates in the Cascades begins to melt and starts its long journey to the sea. As this water travels down creeks and rivers to the ocean, it picks up a variety of pollutants including pesticides, fertilizers, organic toxins, and litter. Portland Chapter's Snowrider efforts are designed to remind snow users and the public that what happens on land has an impact on the ocean!

On January 6, Portland Chapter sponsored a tent at the "Next Snow Search" event - a search for the next generation of riders. Kyle, Jocelyn, Eric and other chapter members spent the day promoting the Snowrider message of watershed stewardship, as well as ongoing campaigns and programs. They also managed to sign up a number of new members and volunteers.

Portland Chapter will continue to parner with Mt Hood ski resorts for the remainder of the winter season on upcoming watershed education and outreach events. If you're interested in helping out, please contact Kyle Silon kjsilon@gmail.com. Also, Kyle is taking the lead with rounding up donations to raffle off at the mountain to raise money for the Portland Chapter's water quality lab at West Linn High School. If anyone has any contacts please let us know!

New Trestles Campaign Blog is up... Stay informed...

New Trestles Campaign Blog is up... Stay informed...
We're gonna try to keep you up to date and informed on what's happening with the Save Trestles Campaign. We expect lots to happen in the coming year where you'll have the opportunity to voice your opinion on the Toll Road with various government agencies including the CA Coastal Commission, the Regional Water Quality Control Board and the Federal Highways Admin. We'll be looking to get large turnouts at public hearings, so you'll get plenty of notice in case you want to take the day off to attend. Expect to see legislation in Sacramento where we'll ask you to contact your state representative to get them to vote to protect Trestles and San Onofre.

I'll also be posting videos and artwork created by our supporters. Lots of pieces like this are already there.


-Mark Rauscher

Access Victory in South Florida!

Surfrider Foundation Exposes Illegal Deals Between Bal Harbour Village and Developer WCI

Bal Harbour Village, Florida (December 11, 2006)-- After enduring 4 months of illegal public beach access closure the Miami-Dade Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, a non-profit grassroots organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of our world’s oceans, waves and beaches, exposed illegal deals and transactions between WCI Communities, developer of the One Bal Harbour project, and Bal Harbour Village. The above parties were found guilty of ignoring Florida Statute Chapter 161.105 which requires adequate and comparable access and parking during construction and protects citizens’ rights to access the beach. In addition, volunteer activists uncovered an illegal exchange of over $200,000 in illegal land use-rights to State land between WCI and The Village.

Village Manager Alfred Treppeda appears to play a critical role in this lack of citizens’ rights protection. He received a certified letter from the Florida Dept. of Transportation (FDOT), who leases the land to the Village for $1 a year, specifically directing him not to sub-lease the land to WCI. Surfrider uncovered copies of the illicit checks and the illegal agreement the Manager exchanged with WCI to exclude the public from the State property.

Surfrider discovered the illegal deals didn’t stop there. While hiding the illegal sub-lease from one FDOT Division, The Village and WCI went to another division within FDOT and wasted hundreds of hours of State personnel time seeking permit approval to permanently reduce the public’s ability to access the beach at Haulover Inlet. In addition, WCI and The Village ignored Surfrider’s concern that their proposed changes would reduce the public’s ability to access Bal Harbour’s beaches, while at the same time increasing the Dade County taxpaying public’s costs share for future beach re-nourishment projects if parking capacity is reduced.

Surfrider informed FDOT District 6 Secretary Johnny Martinez, whose agency was deceived by The Village and WCI, about the illegal transactions. While Surfrider recently received a phone call from FDOT District 6 personnel suggesting that a resolution to the backroom deal will be announced shortly by the District Secretary, an example needs to be made of The Village and WCI that their abuse of the public trust will not be tolerated in the future by them or others.

The Surfrider Foundation looks forward to regaining full beach access and parking as it was prior to construction.

More info on the campaign

Friday, February 02, 2007

Grand Opening of the Malibu Civic Center Stormwater Treatment Facility

Surfrider Foundation thanked by the City for their involvement and letters of support

As part of a much larger project that will address bacteria reduction in stormwater, nutrient reduction in wastewater, restoration/development of riparian habitats, and development of open space for recreation and environmental education, the grand opening of the Malibu Civic Center Stormwater Treatment Facility (MCCSTF) today marks an extremely important milestone in the City of Malibu's efforts to improve water quality in the Santa Monica Bay. City of Malibu - MCCSFT info.

The MCCSTF is located at the west side of Lower Malibu Creek and Malibu Lagoon, and will treat runoff from an approximate 300-acre area. Dry-weather and first flush runoff flows from 3 major storm drains in the area will be pumped to the facility and treated in a 3-step process of screening, filtering and disinfection at a rate of up to 1,400 gallons per minute. The City plans to use the treated water for irrigation in the Civic Center area.

Looking into the future, The Malibu Legacy Park Project will include construction of a stormwater detention system (or more simply put, constructed ponds or wetlands) that will expand the capacity of the treatment facility from dry-weather flows to wet weather flows. This project will divert and treat stormwater before it reaches Malibu Creek or Lagoon. City of Malibu - Legacy Park info.

Surfrider Foundation was included in the list of thanks given during the ceremony, for inviting the City to present early plans for the MCCSTF and Legacy Park to the Malibu Chapter's general membership, and for the Chapter's continued letters of support, commending the City for doing their part to reduce pollution in Malibu Creek, Lagoon, and the world-famous Surfrider Beach.

Hosted by:
- Ken Kearsley, Mayor
- Jeff Jennings, Mayor Pro Tem
- Sharon Barovsky, Councilmember
- Pamela Conley Ulich, Councilmember
- Andy Stern, Councilmember

Guest speakers included:
- Honorable Sheila Kuehl, State Senator, 23rd District
- Honorable Julia Brownley, State Assembly Member, 41st District
- Honorable Zev Yaroslavsky, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, 3rd District
- Laura Peters, Senior Water Resources Control Engineer, State Water Resrouces Control Board
- Bob Thiel, Project Manager, California Coastal Conservancy
- Dr. Mark Gold, Executive Director, Heal The Bay, and Member, Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission

Thursday, February 01, 2007


As someone recently pointed out, we're one of the few institutions out there with the word "joy" in the mission statement (protection and enjoyment...). We tend to focus on that first word... protection. Yet the second word is one that the general population associate with the beach.

This is why I love this picture of Darryl Hatheway (Surfrider BOD 1996-2000 and longtime activist). It is of a picture that most people associate with the protection side and showcases the enjoyment side.

Ride on Darryl.
- Jim Moriarty