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Monday, June 23, 2008

International Surfing Day Sea Turtle Miracle!

By Robert Nixon, South Padre Island Chapter

International Surfing Day began with a tremendous if not miraculous surprise this year. I got to Isla Blanca Park on South Padre Island, TX around 7:15 in the morning and started lugging all the tents and tables to the beach. On the second trip I noticed 2 or 3 people looking down and poking at something about 20 feet away from me. I went over to them and, to my astonishment, saw 15 or twenty brand new hatched sea turtles scurrying for the water! I started to look around for the nest and almost stepped on another solo turtle that I thought was dead but as soon as I leaned down he hauled ass to the water!
I called our Chair, Stuart Diamond, and asked him to call Sea Turtle, Inc. About twenty minutes later, Texas Parks and Wildlife showed up and began looking for the nest. They found it right in front of the seawall at the first parking lot! They collected 50 or more eggs and carried them off to safety. They then released them later that day in a safer area.
This event was incredible for two reasons! The first being that the nest survived in Isla Blanca Park for the 40-60 days it took for the hatchlings to emerge. Anyone who has been there on a Saturday or Sunday knows that there are literally thousands and thousands of adults and children digging all about in the sand. The second reason this is amazing is how fortuitous it is for preserving Isla Blanca Park the way it is! With the documentation of a nest and the resulting implication that turtles come to nest there, it will make it very difficult for any large scale development to get permitted to come in and take over the park as has been attempted in the past.
Texas may get a bad rap for being a huge oil and gas state with no concern for environmental issues, but when it comes to sea turtles the state is on point! The Texas General Land Office is very reluctant to issue permits for construction and dune mitigation on beaches that are known turtle nesting areas and they require that all sand hauling and beach fill projects be suspended during the turtle nesting season!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Florida Ocean & Coastal Coalition Takes on Global Warming

Florida could, and should, take specific steps immediately to deal with the anticipated – and the already occurring – damage that global climate change is causing to beaches and marine systems. The Florida Oceans & Coastal Coalition, a group of nationally and internationally recognized environmental organizations, urged for action in their new report “Preparing for a Sea Change in Florida: A Strategy to Cope with the Impacts of Global Warming on the State’s Coastal and Marine Systems.”

The coalition – whose scientists and experts are active in global warming issues in Florida and
around the globe – includes the Caribbean Conservation Corporation, Environmental Defense
Fund, Gulf Restoration Network, Natural Resources Defense Council, National Wildlife
Federation, Ocean Conservancy, Reef Relief, and The Surfrider Foundation.

Florida is in a unique position to set an example for the rest of the nation and world by
following the coalition’s comprehensive recommendations, include specific steps that may be taken to protect coastal and marine ecosystems against stresses associated with higher temperatures, ocean acidification, rising sea levels and extreme weather.

“Florida can and must be a leader not only in curbing the build up of CO2 and other greenhouse
gases in the atmosphere, but also in implementing smart, common-sense coastal and ocean
policies that will help preserve the state’s natural coastal and ocean heritage,” biologist Dr. Sylvia
A. Earle, a former chief scientist of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration,
observes in the preface to the report.

To view the complete report, please go to www.flcoastalandocean.org/PreparingforaSeaChange

Check Recent Media

Capitol Report Interview

TV Interview

St. Petersburg Times

Bradenton Herald

Naples Daily New

Daytona Beach News Journal

WCTV, Channel 6 site: http://www.wctv.tv/home/headlines/19318769.html#

WJXX Jacksonville http://www.firstcoastnews.com/news/news-article.aspx?storyid=110134

Florida Today http://www.floridatoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=200880528041

Ft. Myers News-Press http://www.news-press.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2008805290364

WPTV West Palm Beach http://www.wptv.com/news/local/story.aspx?content_id=63d2ad46-e123-483a-88ff-fe1def07e99a&rss=762

Suncoast Chapter Takes Charge on Upham

The Suncoast Chapter wants the (five) 5 Geotextile tube experimental project removed from Upham Beach – with a promise of no future permanent structures. So, after a year of unsuccessful negotiations with the County and being blamed without proof for the recent tube slashing, the Chapter decided to take their campaign to the next level. On Friday, May 9th, the chapter launched the Free Upham Beach Petition.

The Suncoast Chapter plans to rally support for their campaign by educating the public – one person at a time. Members will be seen patrolling neighbors in Pinellas County armed with pictures, copies of DEP records, and a position paper where 43 PhD’s from Western Carolina University have published a statement against the use of erosion control structures.

“I worked with USGS and USF St.Pete campus on the original erosions studies for Upham Beach placing a beach camera on the condo at the jetty to monitor the conditions overtime. The conclusions then were that nothing would correct the problem of erosion caused by man’s building and maintaining the pass/jetty. This is a known situation not only at Upham but at all beaches where we continue to alter natural processes”, Randy Johnson commented on the petition.

Supporters are logging countless hours on this campaign – and they have only just begun. Over 400 electronic signatures have already been collected toward the chapter goal of 1,000 in under a month.

On,Saturday June 7th there will be a Free Upham Party & silent auction!

Ricky T's.
6110 Gulf Blvd
St. Pete Beach. Fl
Live Band! Full Bar! Great Staff!
Food and Fun!

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Monday, June 02, 2008

Surfrider Foundation 2007 Scholarship Recipient

Dear Surfrider Foundation-
As a recipient of the 2007 Surfrider Foundation Scholarship, I have been honored by your understanding
and support for my work investigating the transport of the pathogen Toxoplosma gondii to sea otter
populations in the Monterey Bay. I am very proud of this recognition because I have been a part of
Surfrider for more that a decade; Surfrider represents many of the issues that inspire me to continue
working in this field. No other award could have been more personally moving - thank you!
In some detail, I wanted to share with you how the scholarship has contributed to my growth this past
year The following is a summary of how I have applied the funds:

Summer session tuition ($1,100) - By finishing coursework during the summer of 2007 at UC
Santa Cruz, I have been able to accelerate the completion of my degree requirements and more
rapidly focus on my research activities. I am now hoping to finish my Ph D. by mid-2011,
whereas before I'd expected it to be during 2012.

"Surf rig" ($400) - Perhaps one of the most appropriate uses of my scholarship funds was to
rescue a sad 9'0" afflicted with an enormous air bubble on its deck from the used board rack at
a Capitola surf shop and give it a new life. With a few bolts and re-configured oceanographic
instruments, the board's underside is now a surface water sampling unit to be towed alongside a
small boat. Although more elaborate systems can be purchased and mounted on boats, these
are expensive and are not readily transferrable from one vessel to another - my version is
inexpensive, portable, and can be adapted to use the instruments I already have access to- This
permits me flexibility for sampling under variable conditions and questions in my research,

Complete tool set including a power drill, boat gear and computer accessories ($1,400) - I
wanted to invest part of my award in equipment that would continue to support my research in
the years to come- I purchased a good set of Craftsman tools for use in the field when I'm
working on oceanographic instruments and aboard small research vessels. My investment not
only ensures that I will have well-maintained tools available when needed but that I needn't
monopolize the limited resources shared among our lab group. In fact, I am able to share my
resources when needed! I've aiso put together some of my own boat gear (handheld VHF radio,
handheld GPS unit) and computer accessories (adapters, cables) for working with research

Digital camera with underwater housing ($1,000) - I similarly invested in a small digital camera
and an underwater housing to document my work in both still and video formats above and
below the ocean surface. This will be important as I begin to present my work more and more.

Books and software ($500) -As another investment, I added to my personal library a variety of
policy books that will supplement my studies and interest in becoming a more p politic allysophisticated
scientist". Much of this literature focuses on the management of public resources and I am eager to continue learning about this academic avenue so that I can be more effective in what I d o In addition, I purchased several reference books and statistical software for my laptop.

Ocean Sciences Conference 2008 ($300) - In March 2008, I attended the biennial meeting of the
American Society of Limnology and Oceanography and The Oceanographic Society in Orlando
(FL) where the theme was "From the Watershed to the Global Ocean". I presented a poster of my
preliminary oceanographic studies (conducted during Summer 2007) as a way to get professional
feedback from other experts. I am enclosing a printout of this poster for you as well Although
my registration, flight and accommodations were covered by another research grant, I used part
of my scholarship to pay for food and miscellaneous expenses during the week-long trip.

Dive insurance ($100) and SCUBA equipment maintenance ($200) -These expenses are not otherwise provided for but are required of all scientific research divers at 1JC Davis. My
regulator and buoyancy compensator received their annual inspection and servicing, and my dive
insurance was renewed.

I'd also like to update you on some of my research progress Some of my Summer 2007 work is
summarized in the poster printout I've enclosed, this mostly emphasizing my nearshore oceanographic
studies Along with the data I continue to collect, it will be merged with the work of other colleagues
who are evaluating watershed transport to build a model that predicts where sea otter exposure to
Joxoplasmo is the greatest This Spring, I have been conducting similar studies at another location, near
the San Lorenzo River mouth in Santa Cruz This coming winter, I will be part of an informal
collaboration with the US Geological Survey and other local academics aimed at more thoroughly
understanding the river's influence on the local coastline. I also plan to extend my studies into the
adjacent kelp forest ecosystems of this region.

Additionally, I have been testing the method for shore-based plume tracking that I'd proposed in my
application. The idea was that we could take temperature-salinity measurements along the shore as a
way to better understand where different water masses were coming from/moving towards and predict
where likely polluted waters were being transported in the ocean environment- Based on preliminary
results for the main beach in Santa Cruz, CA, I am very pleased to say that the method is clearly usable
- I have been able to track water from the San Lorenzo River as it moves alongshore with changing tides
and am beginning to see consistent patterns that appear to reflect those of the Santa Cruz County's
beach advisories- I plan to continue this work in addition to my other studies and will soon discuss
further possibilities with County Health officials. I also hope to eventually initiate a broader program
beginning with my local chapter in Santa Cruz.

Last, I'd like to note that I wrote a short article for the Santa Cruz Chapter's newsletter "The Ocean's
Roar" last fall concerning sea otters and Joxoplasmo - I have enclosed a copy of this.
Thank you again for your generous support - it has meant much to me and I'm certain that as an
activist, I will maintain a life-long relationship with the Surfrider Foundation. I hope that in the coming
years I will also be able to increasingly work with the organization as an academic and professional.

All The Best--
Lauren Garske
2007 Surfrider Scholarship Recipient