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Friday, February 29, 2008

Wave-Riding Tragedy: For Many of Us, the Best Wave Days Have the Worst Water Pollution

It's a tragic fact that all-too-frequently the BEST, MOST ATTRACTIVE SURF is accompanied by HIGHLY POLLUTED COASTAL WATERS. How can that be?

Well, the same windy, over-the-ocean storms that generate the waves often reach our shores and dump substaintial rain in the coastal watershed, and that rain picks up not only polluted runoff from the surface of our land, but can also mix with sewage coming from spills and leaks in our inadequately maintained sewage system before flowing into our near shore waters. Who or what's to blame? For the most dangerous type of water pollution -- sewage -- we can blame our local, state, and federal governments for not investing enough money in sewage infrastructure. For polluted runoff, we can blame many, from developers to property owners to government on every level that approve development that paves over large portions of our coastal watersheds and for the most part refuse to take polluted runoff into proper consideration when designing systems for dealing with rainfall once it hits the ground. 

Oh, and who's to blame for the 2 young bodyboarders (in the photo above) who are unknowingly risking their own health while enjoying the good waves 18 hours after recent rain storms? Perhaps we can put a little blame on the well-meaning, local county government that nevertheless refuses to post water pollution warning signs on the beach when the water pollution is worst after rain storms. The same county government will, strangely enough, post warning signs during lesser pollution events during dry weather, creating the public impression that the lack of beach warning signs on a beach means safe ocean water quality, even after a significant rainfall. Which begs the question: if the county doesn't post beach warning signs after rainfall, but does post signs for lesser pollution events, would it be better never to post any warning signs at all?

Posted by Mark Babski, down the street from Surfrider Foundation headquarters in San Clemente, CA.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Trestles Toll Road REJECTED by CA Coastal Commission

Yesterday was a great day for the coast!! The California Coastal Commission voted 8-2 to reject the planned 241 Toll Road and to protect Trestles and San Onofre State Beach. Thousands turned out for this historic meeting in Del Mar, making it clear to the commissioners that the destruction of state parks and coastal resources is unacceptable.

The record-breaking crowd was comprised of a diverse cross-section of beach users including surfers, students, families, seniors, fishermen as well as a large number of Native American tribal representatives. Also on hand was a massive contingent from the surf industry, including various manufacturers, shapers, media representatives and pro athletes.

Photo: Branimir Kvartuk

“Our supporters have logged countless volunteer hours on this campaign over the last several years,” said Moriarty. “Last night’s decision was an incredible affirmation for their efforts, and a testament to the power of grassroots activism.”

Many of you sent letters to the Commission and to the Governor asking that this road be blocked. Many of you told the Commission on YouTube to protect our state park and beach. And many of you showed up to the meeting prepared to demonstrate to the commission and the world that our parks and coasts are not to be destroyed.

Of course Surfrider Foundation didn't do this alone. We want to thank our partners with the Sierra Club, CA State Parks Foundation, Natural Resources Defense Council, Endangered Habitats League, Sea and Sage Audubon Society, Defenders of Wildlife, WildCoast and countless others.

While this decision is likely not the death knell for the toll road we would like, there will be a major uphill battle for them to overcome. We will be there at every step to trip them up and we will need your continuing support. If you haven't, please consider joining Surfrider Foundation and getting involved in your local chapter.

Thank you for protecting the coast.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Suncoast Chapter Creates "Pete" to Stop Stadium Expansion

The Suncoast Chapter has joined the ranks of a number of community activists, non-profit and environmental organizations, and concerned citiziens opposed to the dredging and filling of the Tampa Bay. The coalition of organizations is called POWW (Preserve Our Wallets and Our Waterfront) . They are rallying to oppose the proposed site, as well as the proposal itself, of the new Tampa Bay Ray’s Stadium for the reasons of tax subsidy, dredging and filling in Tampa Bay, and the overall environmental and city infrastructure impacts. To create enough room for the stadium, the Rays say they need to dredge and fill about six-tenths of an acre of Tampa Bay.

Its about two big Es - Environment and Economics. PETE is the symbol that the chapter has chosen to represent THEIR voice in opposition. Chapter Activists Julie Pappas and Chris Shield are actually making the 6-foot PETE out of wire and duck tape. A warm-water spring that attracts manatees is near the proposed dredge-and-fill area, so Pappas says Pete is a perfect symbol for their cause.

TampaBay Channel 10 Interview

News Article Link

More information on POWW

Fox Channel Breaking News

Monday, February 04, 2008

Largest Florida Beach Access Protest in History

It has been more than 18 months since private developers and government officials illegally closed the Haulover Inlet/Bal Harbour public beach a ccess, one of the nicest beaches in Dade County, shutting out tourists, surfers, fishermen and others who prize this unique area.

Since the Surfrider Foundation uncovered these shady dealings in June 2006, Bal Harbour Village has consistently refused to return beach access and parking to the general public. (An “alternate” access point – offered only recently and grudgingly by the Village – has no parking and requires fishermen & surfers to carry equipment through a dangerous mconstruction site to reach the beach.)

This past saturday, in the largest protest in Florida history, 200 Surfrider Foundation South Florida Chapter members and beachgoers lined up on both side of the Haulover Bridge and demanded that Bal Harbour surrender their ill-gotten gains to FDOT and be denied oversight authority of the area.
Of course MONSTER props to new Chapter Chairman Shane Close who spearheaded this whole effort, less than a month into his new duties! Shane’s “Local’s Wanted” ad campaign was a rallying point to make this Ground Hog Day protest a smashing success.

Chapter Protest Video by Rob Lyon

Protest Photos by Lou, Oscar & Shrimpcreole

Check out the Chapter Site with all the relevent press info