A Message from Coastal Champion Jim Peugh

Written by San Diego Coastkeeper

With World Ocean’s Day and Coastal Champion Awards right around the corner, there could not be a better time to hear from our 2013 Lighthouse Lifetime Achievement award winner Jim Peugh. The following message from Jim lists and describes his active involvement in some of his favorite environmental work, as well as many different environmental groups and advisory boards he has had the pleasure to work with:

Famosa Slough

My favorite project has been working with Friends of Famosa Slough on the restoration of Famosa Slough. Twenty-five years ago it looked like an unmanaged dump, and now it is a productive wildlife habitat and natural park. The project evolved from getting agencies to realize its potential wildlife value, getting the City to buy it, helping get a good Enhancement Plan developed and adopted, implementing the projects in the Plan through volunteer efforts and grants, observing and adjusting to keep things working well, and helping students and visitors understand its value for wildlife and water quality. But, if anyone wants to help, there is plenty left to do.

Mariner’s Point least tern nesting area

In the very early 1990s, the Fish and Wildlife Service encouraged the San Diego Audubon Society, to help the City of San Diego maintain the Least Tern nesting area at Mariner’s Point in Mission Bay as a volunteer project. The site was beginning to be taken over by weeds which would have prevented nesting there. We have continued to maintain it each year, and it is normally the most productive site in Mission Bay. This has now evolved into a joint process among SD Audubon, San Diego State University, SANDAG, and the City to try the vegetation management approach that we have used in sections of the three other least tern nesting areas in Mission Bay to see if they can increase the productivity of those sites.

X Games

The 1997 X Games were planned to be on Mariner’s Point, not far from the least tern nesting area. It was to be done with minimal analysis of the impact of the Games on the least tern nesting area. San Diego Audubon, in conjunction with National Audubon, filed suit to either substantially improve the protections for the terns, or to have the event canceled due to the lack of required environmental review. After a lot of very intense negotiations, a very protective set of measures was agreed upon. The conflict was widely publicized in the media and many of the people who attended the Games also developed an interest in the success of the least terns. The terns did very well. When the Games returned in 1998 the X Games and the City agreed to implement all of the measures again and the terns again did well.

Tijuana River Valley Flood Damage

In 1993 there was a lot of serious flooding in the Tijuana River Valley. There was a lot of pressure to channelize the River through the valley and into the Estuary. A Tijuana River Valley Flood Damage Task Force was formed. I represented SD Audubon in efforts to find better solutions. A study was done and some of the recommendations were implemented, such as the Pilot Channel and a 100-year berm, but pressure for development projects that would degrade the River’s wildlife value continued to surface for years. More recently the Tijuana River Valley Recovery Team was formed to provide a more comprehensive approach.

South San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge

As a representative of San Diego Audubon Society, I worked with Laura Hunter from EHC and Mike McCoy from SWIA to encourage the establishment of the South San Diego Bay Unit of the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge. When we started in the late 1980s there was opposition from many directions from those did not seem to realize, or be interested in, the potential wildlife value and quality of life value of protecting and restoring southern tip of the Bay. Over a ten year period of intense effort, some of the opposition gradually turned to support, and we got a few breaks. In 1999 the Refuge was established. The Fish and Wildlife Service has made great progress with restoration and is moving ahead with much more. Being a part of that has been very rewarding.

Least Tern 5-year report

In 2007 the US Fish and Wildlife Service distributed a 5-year report about California least terns, recommending that the species be downlisted from Endangered to Threatened. The Audobon Society and I did not think that was an appropriate recommendation based on what we knew. We did a Freedom of Information request and reviewed previous drafts of the plan and email correspondence leading up to it. From these documents it was clear that the original drafts recommended that the species remain on the Endangered List and justified that recommendation with good information. In the next draft, the conclusion was changed by management, even though the information in the body still supported leaving the species as Endangered. The final document was modified to attempt to support the conclusion that the species should be downlisted to Threatened. We presented this information to the Fish and Wildlife Service and urged that they not attempt to move forward with the recommended downlisting on the basis of such an unscientific process. They did not. Last we heard they are writing the next 5-year report for them.

Border Triple Fence

San Diego Audubon worked with a broad coalition to try to get the Triple Border Fence designed and constructed in ways that would minimize the negative impacts of the project on the wildlife rich upland, canyon, and wetland habitat areas of the border region. The Coastal Commission determined that the project was not consistent with our Coastal Act. There were a number of modifications to the project that could have minimized cost and the environmental impacts of the project as required by Federal law. Unfortunately the Federal Government decided to waive all environmental laws instead of improving the design. We will suffer from the impacts of that sort-sighted decision for at least a century.

San Diego River

In the mid-1990s plans were developed for constructing trolley infrastructure and the Fashion Valley Parking structures in the midst of the floodplain of the San Diego River. SDAS and other organizations urged that the plans be revised to better protect the River, to no avail. So, we are stuck with the loss of wildlife value, wet weather safety, water quality, and compromise of infrastructure resulting from these short-sighted decisions. Since then a much broader appreciation of the River has evolved. Evidence are the thriving San Diego River Park Foundation’s conservation and restoration efforts, the work of the San Diego River Conservancy, and the soon to be developed San Diego River Park Master Plan. Based on this new appreciation, I have real hope that future development decisions in the San Diego River Valley will be made much more wisely and with much more public attention.

Enviornmental groups that I have worked with:

FRIENDS OF FAMOSA SLOUGH: Chairman 1988 to present. Board member since 1986. Conduct interpretive walks, cleanups, maintenance, habitat restoration, apply for and manage grants, manage projects, monitor watershed, and coordinate with City departments and regulatory agencies. Provide educational field trips. Assisted City and consultants in development of the Famosa Slough Enhancement Plan in 1994 and have been incrementally implementing it since then.

SAN DIEGO AUDUBON SOCIETY: Chapter president from 1993 to 1996. Board member since 1988. Currently Chair of Conservation Committee. Review environmental documents, meet with regulators, consultants, and project proponents, and develop Chapter positions on issues. Serve as Chapter spokesperson on wildlife conservation and water quality issues.

SAN DIEGO BAY COUNCIL: Have represented San Diego Audubon on this coalition of environmental organizations, and its predecessor coalition, since about 1985.

SAN DIEGO RIVER PARK FOUNDATION: Board member, since 2002.

Advisory Boards and Committees I have served on:

CITY OF SAN DIEGO INDEPENDENT RATES OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE: Advises Mayor and Council about Water and Wastewater Department issues. Member since 2007 and Chair from 2009 to 2011. Current chair of Infrastructure and Operations subcommittee.

CHULA VISTA BAYFRONT WILDLIFE ADVISORY GROUP: Member since start in May 2011. Advises Port of SD and City of Chula Vista on environmental issues related to the Chula Vista Bayfront Development

SAN DIEGO CITY WETLANDS ADVISORY BOARD: Previous Chairman. Member from 1992 to 2010. Advises Mayor, City Council, and City staff on wetland issues.

SAN DIEGO HARBOR SAFETY COMMITTEE: Represent environmental organizations, since 2003.

CALTRANS EXTERNAL ADVISORY LIAISON COMMITTEE: Member since 2003.

RESTORATION ADVISORY BOARD FOR NAVY POINT LOMA PROJECTS: Member since formation, 2010

SAN DIEGO RIVER CONSERVANCY: Appointed by Senator John Burton. Board of Governor’s member. May 2003 – March 2008.

PORT OF SAN DIEGO ENVIRONMENTAL COMMITTEE: Member from 2006 to 2009.

U.S. NAVY INTEGRATED NATURAL RESOURCES MANAGEMENT PROGRAM FOR SAN DIEGO BAY: Represented the environmental community on the Technical Advisory Committee, 1997-2008.

CHULA VISTA BAYFRONT MASTER PLAN CITIZENS ADVISORY COMMITTEE: 2003 to 2008.

SAN DIEGO CITY/COUNTY TIJUANA RIVER VALLEY FLOOD DAMAGE TASK FORCE: Represented San Diego City Wetlands Advisory Board and San Diego Audubon from 1994 to 2008.

CHULA VISTA BAYFRONT MASTER PLAN WILDLIFE ADVISORY BOARD: Member since 2011

CITY OF SAN DIEGO PUBLIC UTILITIES ADVISORY COMMISSION (PUAC): Advised Mayor and Council on Water and Wastewater and Stormwater Department issues. April 2002 to June 2007. Chair of Stormwater Subcommittee.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY PARKS ADVISORY BOARD: Appointed by Supervisor Ron Roberts, March 1995 to June 2008. .

INTERNATIONAL BOUNDARY AND WATER COMMISSION CITIZEN COMMITTEE: Member 2002 to 2008.

OFF-HIGHWAY VEHICLE PARK, SD COUNTY STAKEHOLDER GROUP: Member 2003 to 2007.

OTAY RIVER WATERSHED MANAGEMENT PLAN WORKING GROUP: Member 2004 to 2006.

SAN DIEGO CANYON SEWER ACCESS TASK FORCE: Member, 2000-2001.

INTERAGENCY PANEL ON SAN DIEGO BAY WATER QUALITY: Represented San Diego Audubon Society, 1994 to 1997. Was on supercomputer, Fish and Wildlife, and Recreation Subcommittees.

Published in Marine Conservation

Help Stranded Sea Lion Pups

Written by San Diego Coastkeeper
I surf. But although I joke about it, I seldom shred or carve, and I certainly never go aerial except with a magnificent wipeout. Mostly, I just love being surrounded by the water and its power. Seeing dolphins, birds and sea lions makes any session just about perfect. About a year ago I was surfing off the shore in La Jolla on a relatively quiet morning when a baby sea lion popped its head out of the water to check me out. “Cute!” was my first reaction. Then it started swimming closer. And closer. Finally got close enough to bump its nose to my neoprene encased leg. At that point, “cute” battled in my mind with “please don’t bite me; please don’t bite me” and “where’s your mamma and is she feeling nervous?” I never saw mamma sea lion and the baby hung out for a while then cruised off to explore something else. But all day I felt like my presence in the ocean had been approved. (Yes, I realize that’s silly.)
That encounter is what comes to mind when I read about the alarming increase in stranded sea lion pups washing up on our local beaches. More than 1,000 baby sea lions have stranded in Southern California since the first of the year.  Normally that number would be less than 100. The federal agency that oversees ocean related issues, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) took the extraordinary step of declaring an Unusual Mortality Event (http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/health/mmume/) for California sea lions. In 20 years, that has happened less than 60 times in the entire United States. Though researchers have no conclusions yet, they say “[t]hese strandings are accompanied by observations of underweight pups on the breeding rookeries, signs that typically occur in association with food shortage,” said U.S. National Marine Mammal Commissioner and NMMF Scientific Advisory Board Member Dr. Frances Gulland. The increase in sea lions washing up on local beaches intensified over the Easter weekend and scientists have expressed serious concern since the traditional peak stranding season is just now beginning.
I took a call this afternoon from someone at Sunset Cliffs who found a stranded baby and didn’t know what to do. Although I spend my days at San Diego Coastkeeper working towards fishable, swimmable, drinkable water in San Diego County, I feel a little helpless about this. Luckily we have experienced partners who are the first-responders for this type of issue and are on the beaches right now to save the pups and in the labs trying to figure out how to stop the strandings. They need our support.
San Diego-based National Marine Mammal Foundation (www.nmmf.org) is helping rehabilitate the pups and you can help provide the funds they need to continue the work. Not only that, but the La Jolla-based Waitt Foundation (waittfoundation.org) issued a challenge grant in partnership with the San Diego Foundation that lets you increase your impact by joining a larger pool of funds.
Donations to the NMMF Emergency Fund <https://donate.sdfoundation.org/sdf/> will go directly to fund sea lion care and medical support.  And please, if you see a stranded seal or sea lion, please do not approach or attempt to aide it. Contact our local stranding network<http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/health/networks.htm#southwest> or local lifeguards or harbor police. For live animals, SeaWorld responds (800-541-7325) and you find a dead animal, call NMFS Southwest Fisheries Science Center (858-546-7162).
On a normal day, I encourage you to donate to San Diego Coastkeeper to help us continue our work. Today, I am sharing this information because when that baby sea lion nuzzled my leg, I took away the message that I am welcome in its home and have a responsibility to protect it any way I can. Today, donating to the NMMF Emergency Fund <https://donate.sdfoundation.org/sdf/> is what we can do.

save_the_seals_pupAbout a year ago I was surfing off the shore in La Jolla on a relatively quiet morning when a baby sea lion popped its head out of the water to check me out. “Cute!” was my first reaction. Then it started swimming closer. And closer. Finally, it got close enough to bump its nose to my neoprene encased leg. At that point, “cute” battled in my mind with “please don’t bite me; please don’t bite me” and “where’s your mamma and is she feeling nervous?” I never saw mamma sea lion and the baby hung out for a while then cruised off to explore something else. But all day I felt like my presence in the ocean had been approved. (Yes, I realize that’s silly.)

save_the_seals

That encounter is what comes to mind when I read about the alarming increase in stranded sea lion pups washing up on our local beaches. More than 1,000 baby sea lions have been stranded in Southern California since the first of the year.  Normally that number would be less than 100. The federal agency that oversees ocean related issues, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), took the step of declaring an Unusual Mortality Event for California sea lions. In 20 years, that has happened less than 60 times in the entire United States. Though researchers have no conclusions yet, “[t]hese strandings are accompanied by observations of underweight pups on the breeding rookeries, signs that typically occur in association with food shortage,” said U.S. National Marine Mammal Commissioner and NMMF Scientific Advisory Board Member Dr. Frances Gulland. The increase in sea lions washing up on local beaches intensified over the Easter weekend and scientists have expressed serious concern since the traditional peak stranding season is just now beginning.

save_the_seals_friendsI took a call this afternoon from someone at Sunset Cliffs who found a stranded pup and didn’t know what to do. Although I spend my days at San Diego Coastkeeper working towards fishable, swimmable, drinkable water in San Diego County, I feel a little helpless about this. Luckily we have experienced partners who are the first-responders for this type of issue and are on the beaches right now to save the pups and in the labs trying to figure out how to stop the strandings. They need our support.

San Diego-based National Marine Mammal Foundation is helping rehabilitate the pups and you can help provide the funds they need to continue the work. Not only that, but the La Jolla-based Waitt Foundation issued a challenge grant in partnership with the San Diego Foundation that lets you increase your impact by joining a larger pool of funds.

Donations to the NMMF Emergency Fund will go directly to fund sea lion care and medical support.  And please, if you see a stranded seal or sea lion, please do not approach or attempt to aide it. Contact our local stranding network or local lifeguards or harbor police. For live animals, SeaWorld responds (800-541-7325) and you find a dead animal, call NMFS Southwest Fisheries Science Center (858-546-7162).

On a normal day, I encourage you to donate to San Diego Coastkeeper to help us continue our work. Today, I am sharing this information because when that baby sea lion nuzzled my leg, I took away the message that I am welcome in its home and have a responsibility to protect it any way I can. Today, donating to the NMMF Emergency Fund is what we can do.

 

All photos credit: Marine Mammal Care Center (Fort MacArthur)

 

Published in Marine Conservation

Water Quality Testing with Wile E. Coyote

Written by San Diego Coastkeeper

My first San Diego Coastkeeper water quality testing adventure came in March 2013. Although I had collected and tested water samples for a summer internship a few years back, not one of my days as an intern was as eventful as this volunteer work turned out to be.

Travis Speaks to VolunteersWe started the day with a group of 20 first-timers, including myself sitting around the Coastkeeper Conference room with Travis, learning about pollution’s nasty role in San Diego’s water cycle. You see, back in the day it was customary to try and get every drop of rain fall in urban areas of San Diego into the ocean as fast as possible, eliminating the slower, natural filtration process that waterways and wetlands provide. This practice inadvertently sends pollution to the ocean along with the water through our creeks, rivers and flood channels.

Pollution is what we’re tasked with catching a glimpse of – before it heads into the ocean. Two sibling “newbies” like myself, their friend with many years of volunteer experience with Coastkeeper, plus a fifth seasoned veteran rounded out the crew. Today we were headed to test the San Dieguito River for pollution.

Our first stop was a breeze. A hop over a guardrail and under an overpass bridge to our testing location, we encountered a slow section of the river to set up our outdoor lab. I’d never used any of the high-tech testing equipment we were provided— gadgets that measured air and water temperature, water pH, dissolved oxygen and conductivity.San Dieguito River

After our first set up, we moved on to our next testing location, further into the depths of Rancho Santa Fe and approached a gated community. The gate code wasn’t working, and our Toyota Camry, which was “cozy” for five, started smoking out of the engine compartment. It needed a break, so we left the car at the cul-de-sac to continue on foot to the testing site, jumping the gate to get there.

As we approached the spot, our team leader mentioned the dead coyote carcass he saw the last time he was out. It was still there.

Wile E. Coyote

 

I thought of Wile E. Coyote from Looney Tunes, who often would develop these absurdly complex contraptions to try and catch the roadrunner. As far as I know, he never got the roadrunner. Coastkeeper volunteers are out at least once a month, testing all of San Diego’s freshwater creeks and rivers with these very complex contraptions, all to catch pollution.

 

We left Wile E. Coyote and the gated community to get to our final water testing destination – the Camry running smoothly after adding a little clean fresh water to the radiator. After the last testing spot, we took our samples into the Coastkeeper lab for more analysis with other highly complex contraptions.

Our crew plus other teams totaling 30+ volunteers and many water testing kits were out on that Saturday in March, attempting to catch pollution before it got out of control. Will we ever catch all the pollution with our volunteers and complex contraptions? It’s happened before, and overall, we’re making a huge impact in water quality in San Diego’s rivers, streams and beaches.

Stopping all pollution starts at the source – usually humans and our own complex contraptions. Beyond that, we can go back to simple infrastructure using natural ways to catch and stop the pollution we create before it enters our creeks and streams. It doesn’t have to be rocket science that saves our waterways. Especially those ACME rockets that always failed unlucky Wile E.

 

Hiking to Canyon

George Testing Water Quality

Water Quality Volunteers

 

Published in Marine Conservation

Got Land? The IRC Land Bank Program

Written by San Diego Coastkeeper

water-conservation-ircUsing organic farming methods protects our waters by eliminating harmful chemicals that would run off into nearby streams, rivers and storm drains. When it rains in gardens or farmland, the rainwater is absorbed into the soil, helping to recharge the groundwater as part of the functioning of a healthy watershed. The IRC Land Bank is a way to grow gardening and farming in our community, and you can help.

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is a humanitarian organization dedicated to serving refugees and underserved communities in San Diego. The IRC Land Bank is working to connect socially disadvantaged farmers with farmable land in nearby communities. These farmers have participated in IRC farm training programs and are in need of more land to expand their farm businesses.

Our Water Quality Lab Manager Travis Pritchard visited with the farmers of IRC to help them understand from where San Diego’s water comes and how conservation during farming can help save money and resources.

By inviting socially disadvantaged farmers onto your property you would be helping to build economic self-reliance for underserved populations, keep land in agriculture for future generations, and bring more local, fresh, healthy foods to San Diego. Whether you have vacant farmable land, you know someone with land, or you just want to help get the word out, the IRC Land Bank would love to hear from you. Visit the IRC Land Bank website to find out more about the program.

water-conservation-coastkeeper-garden

 

Published in Marine Conservation

Sun, Kayaks and Reddish Egrets

Written by San Diego Coastkeeper

On a beautiful, sunny San Diego winter day, Community Advisory Council members Harry Orgovan and Margarita Diaz took kayaks out at the Chula Vista Wildlife Reserve. The refuge is 316 acres of salt marsh and coastal uplands. Over 90 percent of San Diego Bay’s wetlands have been filled in, drained or diked.

wildlife_reserve_margarita

Margarita, who represents the Tijuana community on the council, took her kids along on the kayak trip.

wildlife_reserve_margarita_and_kids

The reserve provides a habitat for endangered and threatened species. The birds pictured below are the Great Egret and Reddish Egret.

wildlife_reserve_city

According to Harry, the South Bay is home to many different species of shore birds and raptors (Osprey, Kites, Harriers) and local Pacific Green Sea Turtles. The Bay is home to a group of around 60-80 Pacific Green Sea Turtles, which forage on eelgrass year round. South San Diego Bay is also an important part of the Pacific Flyway which is used by birds during the changing seasons. At any time of the year, though, you will see many types of shorebirds and birds of prey in their natural habitat

wildlife_reserve_birds

Harry is the owner of Chula Vista Kayak and would love to take you on a kayak adventure too!

Published in Marine Conservation

Coastkeeper-Global TIES Partnership Achieves Success with Creation of MPA Monitoring Tool

Written by San Diego Coastkeeper

For over a year, San Diego Coastkeeper has partnered with Global TIES, an undergraduate engineering program at the University of California at San Diego. The program aims to provide non-profit organizations with technical expertise. Since the outset of the partnership, Coastkeeper and Global TIES have worked together to create a technical solution for monitoring local marine protected areas (MPAs) and enforcing the law.

California established new marine protected areas for the south coast region beginning on January 1, 2012. MPAs were created to conserve, protect, and restore California’s marine resources and to promote recreational and educational opportunities. Success of the MPAs will depend on effective monitoring and enforcement, and Coastkeeper has taken responsibility for monitoring three: the Scripps-San Diego state marine conservation area, the Matlahuayl state marine reserve, and the South La Jolla state marine reserve.

Monitoring efforts include MPA Watch. Coastkeeper launched a pilot MPA Watch program in fall 2012 that enlists volunteers to complete surveys of the MPAs. Volunteers record the recreational uses (e.g., swimming, surfing, or fishing) they observe at the MPAs. This data will be valuable to assess the success of the MPAs and to determine effective management and enforcement strategies.

Collecting this data, however, involves a lot of paperwork and tedious data entry. To solve this problem, Coastkeeper asked Global TIES to create a mobile app to streamline the process of collecting data and entering it into a database. Global Ties responded with a terrific effort and achieved a major success.

In a mere ten weeks, Global TIES brought Coastkeeper’s vision to fruition. In early December 2012, the engineering team presented Coastkeeper with a mobile web app that allows volunteers to input MPA use data and pollution issues that will instantly be uploaded to Coastkeeper’s database. Coastkeeper would like to take this opportunity to thank all the members of Global Ties for their impressive efforts on this project: Sharon Chung, Sally Do, David Drabik, Sally Law, James Pitta, Jeff Schell (special thanks for web hosting during development), Josh Sykes, Parry Wilcox, Matt Murbach (undergraduate assistant), Greg Hattemer, and Geno Pawlak (advisor).

Coastkeeper looks forward to building on the efforts of fall 2012 and expects its relationship with Global Ties to remain fruitful. Projects already in the pipeline include further refinement of the app, MPA mapping, an MPA prosecution tracking database, and further efforts directed at enforcement. Together, the efforts of Coastkeeper and Global TIES should help ensure the success of our region’s marine protected areas.

Today I give thanks. In the San Diego Coastkeeper office hangs a map of San Diego County on which staff, volunteers and community advisory council members are adding push pins to note where we use our beautiful waterways. I added surfing in Encinitas, running around Mission Bay and boating in San Diego Bay this morning. What water tells the story of your life? Come on down to the office or email us and we’ll add your push pin!
 
This is not about push pins, though. It is about a community and a legacy. We can add those pushpins because we protect our waters from runoff pollution in our storm drains, trash on our beaches and climate change everywhere. This is our call to action and I am ready to answer. I am ready because I am not alone.
 
At the Seaside Soiree, more than 100 of our partners, supporters and donors gathered. We raised more than $11,000 to protect our waters.
 
This was made possible thanks to the contributions of our sponsors:
 
Harriet Lazer & Jim Walker
David Welborn & Ann Hunter Welborn
Coast Law Group
Ecology Auto Parts
Liquid Environmental Solutions
Regency Centers Corporation
San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council http://www.unionyes.org/
The Waitt Foundation
Kona Brewing Company
Barefoot Wine & Bubbly https://www.facebook.com/barefootwine
Terra American Bistro http://www.terrasd.com/
 
The many individuals who participated in the prize drawings and art auction or “adopted a crab” with a donation to protect clean water
 
And we have you, our contributing members. Thanks to you, we have clean water to enjoy. You may have not have attended, but you can be a part of this call to action, this coming together to protect what is our right, our responsibility and our legacy. Adopt a crab today through your online donation or call me at 619-758-7743 x103 and tell me what you want to support. I’ll add your push pin myself and send you your crab.Today I give thanks. In the San Diego Coastkeeper office hangs a map of San Diego County on which staff, volunteers and community advisory council members are adding push pins to note where we use our beautiful waterways. I added surfing in Encinitas, running around Mission Bay and boating in San Diego Bay this morning. What water tells the story of your life? Come on down to the office or email us and we’ll add your push pin!
 
This is not about push pins, though. It is about a community and a legacy. We can add those pushpins because we protect our waters from runoff pollution in our storm drains, trash on our beaches and climate change everywhere. This is our call to action and I am ready to answer. I am ready because I am not alone.
 
At the Seaside Soiree, more than 100 of our partners, supporters and donors gathered. We raised more than $11,000 to protect our waters.
 
This was made possible thanks to the contributions of our sponsors:
 
Harriet Lazer & Jim Walker
David Welborn & Ann Hunter Welborn
Coast Law Group
Ecology Auto Parts
Liquid Environmental Solutions
Regency Centers Corporation
San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council http://www.unionyes.org/
The Waitt Foundation
Kona Brewing Company
Barefoot Wine & Bubbly https://www.facebook.com/barefootwine
Terra American Bistro http://www.terrasd.com/
 
The many individuals who participated in the prize drawings and art auction or “adopted a crab” with a donation to protect clean water
 
And we have you, our contributing members. Thanks to you, we have clean water to enjoy. You may have not have attended, but you can be a part of this call to action, this coming together to protect what is our right, our responsibility and our legacy. Adopt a crab today through your online donation or call me at 619-758-7743 x103 and tell me what you want to support. I’ll add your push pin myself and send you your crab.
 
 
Published in Marine Conservation

Diver Alert: Keep an Eye Out for Baited Lobster Traps This Weekend

Written by San Diego Coastkeeper

thumb_lobster-trap

Yesterday, a student attorney and I had the opportunity to go out on the water with a game warden from the Department of Fish and Game. The day’s goal was to investigate effective methods to patrol our local marine protected areas, or MPAs. For those unfamiliar with the designation, MPAs restrict fishing and harvesting of marine life to allow the ecosystem to rejuvenate. The new MPA designations in Southern California came into effect January 1, 2012, and the legislative goals for the MPAs include protection, conservation, and rehabilitation of our marine resources. Great public policy, and great for the ocean.

Enforcing the MPAs will be critical for their long-term success. Coastkeeper intends to work with the Department of Fish and Game and local law enforcement and prosecution agencies to ensure success. For example, marine debris and lobster poaching have been identified as a couple important issues, and we look forward to being involved in crafting creative, effective solutions to these challenges. Collaboration with other environmental and governmental agencies will also likely drive our work going forward. And ultimately, we hope to build relationships with anglers, who are the most persistent eyes and ears on the water. It is an exciting time, ripe with opportunities to set a game plan for the future.

Our friend with the Department of Fish and Game reminded us, however, that poaching problems are not just limited to the MPAs. No different from years in the past, a few “bad apple” lobster fishermen will probably set baited lobster traps before the season begins. This issue goes beyond MPAs, and early traps might be found anywhere lobster fishing happens. This is not only unfair to good, honest fishermen, but also illegal. So, we would like to take this opportunity to encourage anyone, and especially divers, who see lobster traps set with bait to let the Department of Fish and Game know — they have asked for your help! Early baiting can only happen until Tuesday (commercial lobster season opens Wednesday, October 3 ), so keep an eye out on your weekend dive. Enjoy the ocean this weekend, and do your part to take care of it!

Follow this link to see a photo of real lobsters in a trap: www.oceanlight.com/spotlight.php?img=10138

To report a baited trap: 1-888-CalTIP

For information about lobster season: http://www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/calendar.asp

For DFG’s mobile site with maps and contact info: http://www.dfg.ca.gov/mobile/

Published in Marine Conservation

Happy World Oceans Day

Written by San Diego Coastkeeper

Happy World Oceans Day.

After a decade of unofficial worldwide celebration, in 2008 the United Nations General Assembly designated June 8 as World Oceans Day to raise awareness of our ocean and our connection to the sea. That’s today.

As Coastkeeper, we think World Oceans Day should be a countywide holiday because our ocean drives our economy, provides us with copious amounts of recreation, reduces carbon dioxide in the air and also creates much of the ocean we breath.

In honor of World Oceans Day, we offer you these ways to celebrate the Pacific Ocean this weekend (and every weekend, for that matter):

  1. Join our beach cleanup on Saturday to remove trash from the shores in La Jolla so that you can keep our ocean beautiful and prevent sea animals from eating it.
  2. Head over to our friends at Hike Bike Kayak to rent a kayak or snorkel in La  Jolla Cove. Ask for Dylan, he’s our favorite, and ask him to tell you about the leopard sharks, garabaldi and the ASBS.
  3. Ride your bike along Pacific Coast Highway to take in the views of our ocean.
  4. Head to Cabrillo National Monument to tidepool. Low tide should occur around 8 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
  5. Make one change in your daily routine to prevent pollution from impacting our coastal waters.

Have another idea? What are you doing to celebrate World Oceans Day?

 

Published in Marine Conservation

Ocean Day Highlights Need for Leadership in Sacramento

Written by San Diego Coastkeeper

oceansdaySan Diego Coastkeeper recently led the charge at the fifth annual Ocean Day held at the California State capitol building in Sacramento. The mission of Ocean Day is to “convey a unified message from the ocean and coastal community that educates and inspires decision makers to work toward effective solutions aimed at protecting and restoring California’s iconic ocean and coastline.” San Diego Coastkeeper served on the event’s steering (planning) committee, which was led by Environment California.

Throughout the day, advocates held meetings with members of the California State Senate and Assembly, and their staff, to discuss current ocean issues and urge the members’ direct action on upcoming bills. We discussed upcoming legislation which threatens to weaken the Coastal Act and streamline desaliniation permitting, as well as positive legislation supporting adaptation to climate change, riding our beaches of plastic foam, and listing of the leatherback sea turtle as California’s official marine reptile. The delegation from San Diego was comprised of representatives of San Diego Coastkeeper and the San Diego Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, as well as Master’s and Ph.D. students from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

The welcoming ceremony for participants featured ocean champion Assemblywoman Julia Brownley. The ceremony was followed by an educational event on the capitol lawn highlighting the value of our oceans to both California’s economy and lifestyle. Various organizations, from aquariums to surf companies and research institutes to activist groups, were represented. The California State University Council on Ocean Affairs, Science & Technology (COAST) hosted a luncheon featuring presentations about Tracking Contaminates of Emerging Concern in California. To close the day, the Monterey Bay Aquarium hosted a reception featuring sustainable seafood at the Sutter Club to celebrate California’s ocean and coast as well as to honor those who have helped to advance ocean health in our state. Governor Jerry Brown and other dignitaries spoke about the importance of protecting the future of our oceans, and colleagues from like-minded organizations who often work remotely were able to meet in person to discuss challenges and successes in the ocean conservation field.

Published in Marine Conservation

Signs of the Tide: Searching for Sustainable Seafood in San Diego

Written by San Diego Coastkeeper

san-diego-seafoodAt our recent Signs of the Tide, community members hankered to hear from our speakers about how to eat, serve and buy sustainable seafood here in San Diego.

But, where does our fish come from? What does sustainability actually mean for fish?

Our panel focused on the global and local problems within the fishing industry. And how some of the old notions of fishing are still at the basis of fishing thought – like, who can catch the biggest fish or the most fish? 

Peter Halmay, a local sea urchin fisherman and president of San Diego Fisherman’s Working Group spoke about rebuilding the foundation of the fishing industry – looking past the state and federal regulations right to the fishing community itself. Without the fisherman, there are no fish. Peter made it clear that people in the community who buy seafood need to have a relationship with the fishermen, so that the fish can literally go from “boat to throat.” Rebuilding this foundation of fishermen with new ethics in mind will help to continue a profitable business in the future. 

Local chef Chad White spoke of developing new markets for less common seafood items, such as sea urchin and fish liver. Making these items taste delicious will build a demand for them, and less of a demand for seafood that is shipped here from across the world. For Chad, sustainability means buying locally, from groups such as Catalina Offshore Products and asking questions about the fish he buys.

Our last speaker of the night Dr. Russ Vetter posed the question – is local wild-caught sustainable seafood even possible? And, will our grandchildren be able to experience the kelp forests of San Diego?  Our fisheries here in San Diego are actually doing very well when compared to fisheries in other parts of the world. Our Sustainable Fisheries Act has left no loopholes for overfishing. However, when we want to eat and buy sustainably, research shows that many people don’t even buy fish from our local fisheries. More than 80% of our fish is imported! We need to create more of a market for local fish. And when that happens, how do we increase supply while ending our addiction to imports? Dr. Vetter introduced the fact that sustainable U.S. aquaculture may be our solution to this problem, as our population grows, and there is a growing demand for local, sustainable seafood in this middle price range.

So, what can you do to make sure you are buying locally and sustainably? You have to ask questions:

  1. Is this a loca fish?
  2. Is it from a local fisherman?
  3. Is it sustainable?

You can read our other recent blog on where to buy your sustainable seafood in San Diego. However, the information is not easily accessed, which can make this process of buying sustainably very difficult. But, the more people asking where their fish is from and how it is caught, the more of a demand it will create, and the more sustainable seafood in San Diego will be available.

Published in Marine Conservation