Thursday, October 28, 2010

Southern California One Step Away from a Network of Marine Protected Areas.

Last week, over 700 surfers, students, divers, business owners, and elected officials turned out in record numbers to the Fish and Game Commission hearing.   This hearing was the last Fish and Game meeting before the Commission officially adopts a network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in December.  Here’s a great article about the meeting.  

Just a handful of Surfrider representatives (Bill Hickman, Joe Geever and Julia Chunn) amongst the hundreds of people who attended  the meeting. 
At the hearing, Surfrider representatives and local volunteers spoke in favor of implementing a strong network of MPAs and adopting the Integrated Preferred Alterative map (which the Commission has chosen to go forward under the State environmental review process; via the California Environmental Quality Act).   After 2 years of planning, thousands of letters, and hundreds of hours of public meetings, the Fish and Game Commission will finally implement a network of MPAs at the Dec 15th meeting.  Don’t miss your opportunity to attend the last hearing and speak in favor of Marine Protected Areas, AND witness the Commission make its historic decision.  

If you are interested in attending this hearing (in Santa Barbara, please contact Stefanie at: 

Friday, October 22, 2010

ACOE is Trashing Mission Beach

Media Contact: Bill Hickman 619-804-6264 or

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Trashes Mission Beach with Dredging Project. Surfrider Foundation San Diego Chapter calls for cleanup and more testing.

San Diego, October 20, 2010 – Often it’s the tourists that trash Mission Beach, now an Army Corps of Engineers project is adding to it. Mission Beach residents and beach-goers have been shocked by debris left behind by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and its contractor, Manson Construction (headquartered in Seattle, WA). Right now a top concern is beach safety as many sharp objects are turning up.

The United States Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) through their contractor are in the middle of a dredging project in Mission Bay to make it safer for boat traffic. The name of the approximate $5.3 million project is “Mission Bay Dredging and Beach Nourishment”. As the name of the project implies, material that is dredged up from Mission Bay is being pumped up the beach through large pipes to various sections of Mission Beach.

Unfortunately, the material being dredged up has included an abundance of debris with apparently no attempt to clean it up. Beaches should be barefoot friendly but right now we are advising everyone to watch their step on Mission Beach near the dredge and fill project. When I walked the tideline on Tuesday I found armfuls of debris, everything from outdated soda and beer cans to old fishing gear to degraded lobster traps wrapped with wire to leftover caution tape from the project. At first glance it did not look bad but once I got on the beach I was pretty shocked.”, said Surfrider Foundation San Diego Chapter Coordinator Bill Hickman. Photos can be found here:

The trash (which includes beer cans, sharp metal objects, discarded fishing material and more) is being pumped out right at the water line, allowed to drain, and is then graded into the existing sand. There is no apparent effort by the ACOE or Manson Construction to screen their dredge material to make sure that they are only depositing “clean, beach quality sand”, as their own construction sign indicates.

Multiple residents and beach-goers have been appalled to see old trash and debris being deposited on their local beaches and are concerned about its long term health, environmental, and financial impacts to the surrounding community and businesses.

“Surfrider is calling on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to stop trashing our beaches and to clean up the mess that they’ve already made. In addition they need to increase testing of the water and sand near the outfall to make sure it’s up to health standards.”, said Hickman.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Time and Date Set for Important MLPA Meeting. Please Attend!

October 20th is the date for one of the most (if not THE most) important meetings for the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) in the south coast region!

We need supporters of the final map (the Integrated Preferred Alternative (IPA)) to attend the hearing and show your support.  

The meeting begins at 10am and they will take ‘public comment’ shortly after.  You will more than likely have one-two minutes to share your support for the IPA.  If you would like to attend and speak in support of the IPA, and need help with talking points, please contact Stefanie at:  

If you haven’t already, please take 30 seconds to fill out our action alert asking the Fish and Game Commission to adopt the IPA here.   

Fish & Game Commission Meeting
Date:                     October 20th, 2010
Arrival Time:      9:45am
Start Time:          10:00am
Location:             Four Points by Sheraton
                                8110 Aero Drive, San Diego 92123 map

Actual Agenda: Click here 

Friday, October 8, 2010

How Do We Feel About Prop 23? We are Philosophically Opposed.

There's been some confusion on how Surfrider Foundation feels about Proposition 23. Some previous posts were a bit more strongly worded than we would have liked and we felt that there was a need to clarify our position. Surfrider Foundation agrees that this is very important statewide legislation and we are philosophically opposed to Prop 23 (as you can see from our Global Warming Policy linked here: However, Surfrider Foundation is also required to make a concerted effort to limit the amount of legislative advocacy that we do in the State of California. For IRS tax purposes of being a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, we must limit our legislative advocacy to an "insubstantial" amount.

This year, we have chosen to support very few bills that fit directly in line with our coastal advocacy programs, such as AB 1998 to ban single-use plastic bags. This bill directly addressed a primary source of marine debris found on our beaches. We also supported AB 1834, which is a bill that affirmed people's right to collect rainwater, consistent with the water runoff and conservation measures of our Know Your H2O program. For more information on these programs, visit and

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Opportunities for those Against Prop 23

We suggest you all vote (and don't forget to vote yes on 21 for our state parks). If you are against Proposition 23 and want to take an active effort against this Proposition there are volunteer opportunities with our friends at Sierra Club, see below excerpt.

We will be calling voters from house parties and phonebanks throughout San Diego County. There are two great ways that you can help out with the campaign:

1) by attending a phonebank at the Sierra Club office this week Mon-Thu 6-8:30 pm or Sat-Sun 2-5pm.

2) by hosting a phonebank of your own.

If you want to help call interested voters, call me at (858) 569-6005, or email me at

Follow us on Twitter at

Or just come down to the office at 8304 Clairemont Mesa Blvd., Ste 101, San Diego, CA 92111.

Thanks for your support!

Friday, October 1, 2010

South Coast MLPA Updates

Mark your calendars!  The Fish and Game Commission will be holding the final 'discussion hearing' about the MLPA process in San Diego on Oct 20-21 (we are still not sure what day they will specifically discuss the south coast MLPA, but mark your calendars, regardless). The final 'adoption hearing' will be in Santa Barbara (Dec 15-16).  

In other Commission news... this week, the Commission held an "emergency meeting" to discuss delaying the final environmental review process--which would have been a set back for the implementation date.  Fortunately the Commission voted to only postpone comments for the Draft Environmental Impact (DEIR) by 15 days instead of 45; so the hearings in San Diego and Santa Barbra are still on track.

In the next few days Surfrider will be re-launching our Action Alert asking the Commission to adopt the IPA (the final map that is before them).  Surfrider spent the past 2 years meeting with a diverse community of people invested in the MLPA process and we believe the IPA map meets MLPA guidelines; contains viewpoints from conversationalists and fishermen alike; and in the end, the IPA will produce productive Marine Protected Areas in the future (which is vitally important to both the Surfrider Foundation and the Fish and Game Commission).

If you have questions about the upcoming hearings and would like to testify in support of the IPA, please contact Stefanie at: