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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Marine Reserve Planning Moves Forward in OR

Surfrider Foundation chapters in Oregon are participating in the state’s marine reserve & marine protected area (MPA) process. The planning effort is being guided by nearshore action teams, comprised of coastal residents, ocean users, and other interested parties. On October 1st, the proposal period closed for recommending potential sites for designation in Oregon’s Territorial Sea.

Surfrider members participated in the development of five marine reserve proposals, including nominations off Florence, Lincoln City, Cannon Beach, Port Orford, and Pistol River. The proposed areas incorporate multiple habitat types (e.g., rocky reef, kelp canopy) and are intended to minimize impacts to ocean users. All proposals received by the state are now subject to several phases of evaluation based on ecological and socioeconomic criteria.

Marine protected areas (MPAs), including fully protected marine reserves, are part of an ecosystem-based approach to management, and have been used around the world to help protect and restore ocean ecosystems. MPAs function as a safe haven for marine life and provide places where the ocean can rebuild. Scientific research shows that MPAs typically boost the abundance, diversity, and size of marine species living within their borders.

To read Surfrider Foundation’s Policy Statement on Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) please click here. To find out more about Oregon’s planning process, please click here. click here. Please join a coalition of ocean users participating and supporting these processes.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

ASR removal in El Segundo, CA

Removal of the artificial surfing reef that was constructed in El Segundo has begun.

The artificial surfing reef was built as mitigation for lost surfing resources when Chevron built a groin and added sand to the beach north of the El Segundo Refinery. Tom Pratte, a founding member of the Surfrider Foundation, convinced the Coastal Commission to include conditions in the permit for construction of the groin with associated beach fill to include monitoring and mitigation of the nearby surf if it was adversely impacted.

After 6 years of independent monitoring the California Coastal Commission determined that the surfing resources had been adversely impacted and they required Chevron to mitigate for the lost surfing. After years of negotiation between Chevron, the Coastal Commission and the Surfrider Foundation it was agreed that the mitigation would be through the construction of an artificial surfing reef.

The reef was constructed in 2000 and 2001. Surfing and nearshore coastal processes were monitored extensively for 2 years and then annually thereafter.

The experimental reef was permitted for a 10-year period ending in 2010. In addition to not improving the surf quality of the break, some of the geotextile bags that make up the artificial reef are beginning to deteriorate.

The Surfrider Foundation believes that the removal of this artificial reef is necessary to be consistent with our mission to protect the world’s oceans, waves and beaches. Because some of the bags are damaged and others are beginning to decompose we want to remove them before the synthetic materials that make up the reef bags are discharged into the marine environment.

While the artificial surf reef did nothing to improve the surf in El Segundo, the project highlighted the need for protection of existing surf breaks, and helped the California Coastal Commission recognize surfing breaks as natural recreational resources that are worthy of protection.

Here are some additional details about the artificial reef removal:

The removal process will begin on Tuesday, September 30 and finish Friday, October 17th.

The removal project is being directed by Coastal Frontiers Corporation, a Los Angeles-based coastal engineering firm with extensive experience in the installation and removal of geotextile containers from the marine environment

A professional dive crew from American Marine Corporation will conduct the underwater portion of the artificial reef removal process

Personnel from Morrissey Construction Company will bring the bags ashore and assure of their proper disposal

Click here to learn more.