Top 5 Reasons to Celebrate World Oceans Day

Its that time of year again! Next week we will celebrate our favorite holiday, World Oceans Day! On June 8, the world will take a moment to recognize the ocean and all of its greatness. There are thousands of reasons to join in on the celebrations. Since I do not have time to create a list of a thousand, here’s five to get you amped on Oceans Day!

1. Raise awareness for the World’s Oceans: Whether you live in San Diego or China there are issues facing our world’s oceans that need attention. This national holiday will help raise global awareness of the challenges our oceans face and help people get the information to get involved!

2. Oceans give us life: Oceans are essential to food security, climate control and are a critical part of our biosphere.

3. Oceans are awesome: Not only are oceans essential for survival, they play a huge role in fun, especially here in San Diego! What would the world be without “sick days” (aka beach days), surfing and snorkeling?!

4. Help conserve our oceans: Not only does World Oceans Day spread the word about the needs and challenges facing our oceans, it also gets people to be proactive about conserving our coasts and oceans. There are tons of things you can do to help. Attend a beach clean up, buy sustainable seafood or become a Coastkeeper member!

5. You can party with us! It’s no secret that we love the ocean.We want you to join in on all our fun by participating in a week long party to celebrate our world’s oceans.

  • World Oceans Day: Go blue with Coastkeeper and our official celebration of World Oceans Day on June 8. Come out to Hennessey’s in La Jolla and enjoy live music, a tasty meal and even learn how we conserve beautiful places like La Jolla’s ASBS. Enjoy a beer for the ocean from 6-9 p.m.
  • Give our ocean the best gift you can give by picking up trash and debris along the coast. Join us at Buccaneer Beach Cleanup June 11 at 9 a.m. Help clean up one of Oceanside’s most prestigious beaches and celebrate the beauty of the sea.

Everyd ay Coastkeeper celebrates our local ocean by preventing plastic pollution with beach cleanups, conserving areas of special biological significance, monitoring waterways for toxic chemicals and much much more.

Happy World Oceans Day everybody!!

Vernal Pool Conservation Vote Expected in 2012

The Environmental Quality Report Card series examines environmental stewardship of San Diego Councilmembers and the Mayor. The series looks at history of past reports, shows the voting record of individual Councilmembers, explains voting methodology and examines the environmental issues the Councilmembers voted on.

In this year’s Environmental Quality Report Card, many of San Diego’s City officials were marked down for their votes related to the City’s vernal pools. These votes allowed the City of San Diego to establish an interim policy that allows vernal pools to be lost without a comprehensive planning, protection, and mitigation package.

So what are vernal pools? Vernal pools are unique seasonal wetlands where life flourishes in a crescendo of reproductive activity when conditions are optimum. Yes – vernal pools are often “sexy” in the spring, but they are easily overlooked during the longer periods of quiet dormancy. In partnership with the Wildlife Agencies and in response to court findings, the City of San Diego is now preparing a new Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) for vernal pools. Vernal pools are the most endangered of ecosystems – over 97% have been lost. The few functional ecosystems that remain are on the verge of destruction and even “protected” sites often suffer from disturbance and isolation from the natural lands needed to support healthy ecosystems. Seven pool “indicator” species are in such severe decline that they are granted endangered species status. Other pool species (such as the Western spadefoot toad that lies burrowed under the dried mud of vernal pools in dormancy) are in similar peril.

The City is accepting public input now regarding what factors should constitute an effective conservation plan and has established a website to accept your comments. An environmental Impact report will also be released for your review and comment. City staff intends to bring the plan to city council for approval in June of 2012.

Key issues concern how to resolve pressures to develop private land with vernal pools while meeting specific legal requirements to implement a recovery strategy for their endangered species. Considering less than 3% of the resource remains, the task of developing an effective and legally adequate plan is a serious challenge. Once a strategy is developed it will need funding to be implemented. In fact, the Court struck down the previous plan in part because there was not assurance of funding. Despite the dire state of vernal pool ecosystems, it is encouraging that the City and Wildlife Agencies are endeavoring to meet the challenge of vernal pool recovery.

Van K. Collinsworth, M.A. is Coordinator of Vernal Pool Conservation Program and member of California Chaparral Institue, Sierra Club San Diego