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Friday, February 27, 2009

Humboldt Chapter Wave Energy Forum

On Feb 21, Surfrider's Humboldt Chapter hosted an informational public forum on wave energy development in response to community interest and concern over PG&E's proposed WaveConnect projects off northern California. Presenters included PG&E Representative Ian Caliendo, FERC's Jim Hastreiter, HT Harvey Ecologist Peter Nelson and Surfrider Foundation's Pete Stauffer. Humboldt State University Professor of Economics Steve Hackett joined the panel for a question-and-answer session following the presentations. Over 70 members of the community including elected officials, environmental professionals, surfers, and fishermen attended, as well as members of the Mendocino Chapter who trekked up in support. During the panel, Caliendo (PG&E) noted California's mandate that 20 percent of the state's energy come from renewable energy sources by 2010, and provided an overview of PG&E's pilot Wave Connect proposal which would be sited north or south of the Humboldt Bay harbor entrance (photo). Hastreiter (FERC) expressed confidence in FERC's role as lead agency, and reiterated that the preliminary permit granted to PG&E only allows the company to reserve the area and creates a timeline during which studies much be completed. Stakeholders will have many chances for input, he assured the audience. Nelson (HT Harvey) described potential ecological effects of development, and illustrated the importance of scale. Stauffer (Surfrider) provided an overview of Surfrider's Policy Statement on Alternative Ocean Energy, and acknowledged both potential benefits, as well as the need to proceed incrementally and cautiously. Since this was the newly reconstituted chapter's first forum, members were quite pleased with the event's success. A video of the forum is expected to be available soon.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Bike Riders for Surfrider

Two men, two bikes, a couple of tents and a hell of a lot of coastline...Dave and Foulsh are two Surfrider supporters who have given up a summer of surf trips in the car, to ride their pushies around the coast of Oz. Dave from Sydney to Adelaide and Foulsh from Sydney to Perth.

Introducing David Barrett-Lennard and Ian Foulsham and their epic cycle ride along the Australian south coast which commenced on Sunday 1 February from Cronulla, Sydney.
The aim of the trip is to bring attention to, and raise funds, for Surfrider Foundation. The guys are stopping at a number of significant spots along the way,such as Bastion Point, Mallacoota), aiming to raise awareness of prominent coastal issues (for details of their epic journey, blog and to make donations click on the this
link: www.daveandfoulshadventures.com: Dave's employer has generously agree to match donations up to a total of $5,000 so if you have some spare cash to put toward Surfrider's activities this would be a great way to show your support to the boys and help Surfrider.

- Julia Chunn, General Manager, Surfrider Foundation Australia

Friday, February 13, 2009

Help The Surfrider Foundation Get a Better Understanding of YOUR Community and Surrounding Marine Areas.

The Surfrider Foundation is currently working with a wide variety of individuals and organizations on the Marine Life Protection Act--or MLPA. The MLPA is a state law that requires establishing a "network" of marine protected areas along the California coastline. This law is currently being implemented in Southern California.

Much like our National Parks protect special places on land, these Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) offer heightened protection for marine life to thrive and people to enjoy. In short, MPAs protect special places for their "intrinsic value"--preserving ecological abundance for generations to come. MPAs around the globe have become popular attractions for people to enjoy nature's beauty and abundance.

Establishing MPAs can also help restore healthy fisheries. Studies show alarming declines in fish populations worldwide. Fishermen are now catching half of what they did in 1990 and the fish they do catch are 45 percent smaller. Some local fisheries may take 50-80 years to recover. MPAs allow marine life populations to increase and individual species to grow to full maturity--which increases the number of off-spring from protected areas. These larger populations may "spill over" the boundaries of MPAs and provide improved fishing in areas adjacent to MPAs.

The state of California adopted the MLPA in 1999 and created the opportunity for members of the public to participate in identifying special places worthy of heightened protection. Surfrider Foundation members represent a broad spectrum of people who enjoy time in the ocean surfers, fishers, divers, kayakers, sailors and others who just love the natural beauty of our coast and ocean.

Our collective knowledge from this experience can help design an effective network of MPAs. The Surfrider Foundation is gathering information and recommendations from local communities to help formulate a regional network of MPAs. Our goal is to balance our members' commitment to restoring and protecting our coast and ocean for generations, with our support of sustainable and accessible fishing opportunities.

Help establish successful Marine Protected Areas by completing this survey (all responses are anonymous) . To learn more about MLPA go to: www.dfg.ca.gov/mlpa and http://www.caloceans.org/ Or email Stefanie at: Ssekich@surfrider.org

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Google Earth adds Oceans - Go Explore!

The newest version of Google Earth, now available for download, has made a huge jump forward for ocean education and exploration by adding a multitude of fun, interesting and amazing data layers. The Earth is 70% covered with water, and with the addition of seafloor bathymetry in 3D you can now travel below the surface of the seas to see wondrous mountain ranges and canyons, much larger than anything on land.

Through collaborations with Oceanographer Sylvia Earle, the National Geographic Society, and many ocean researchers around the globe you can see photos and videos of amazing animals, shipwrecks, dive sites, natural structures and even surf spots.

Surfrider's CEO was at the unveiling recently, visit his blog to read all about that experience.

Here are a couple interesting videos provided by the folks at Google Earth to get you started