Thursday, December 10, 2009

Governor's budget cuts deeper into water quality

The State's water quality and public health programs prevent and clean up water pollution as well as monitor and inform beach goers when the waters are unsafe for recreation. These essential programs are facing further cuts under this years budget shortfall. Yesterday, the Governor released her proposed all cuts budget and it included reductions of $200,000 in funding for the water quality program and capacity reductions in monitoring. In addition, the Environmental Health Program was severely cut by $500,000. These cuts, on top of deep cuts made earlier this year, compromise the state's ability to ensure that our beaches and waters are clean and that users are informed. This all cuts budget threatens many other core environmental protection programs too, including those that ensure clean drinking water and clean up toxic contamination. Surfrider Foundation strongly encourages the Governor to release a second budget and to restore funding to critical environmental programs.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Erosion along South Coast shores worsens with storms

Following the first of this months severe storms, the South Beach Bulletin, Westport's local paper, featured photos of the erosion damage. These included one of a enormous sinkhole that devastated the trailer park behind the Islander. Another showed Westhaven Drive under water and another featured the dramatic shoreline of Washaway Beach, where a house is very close to sliding off the bluff. Erosion is inevitable along Washington's weather worn shores. However, how governments, developers and coastal communities chose to respond and prepare for erosion is a significant question. And, will they act proactively in light of more severe storm conditions predicted with climate change? Surfrider Foundation is going to push Westport and other coastal communities in Grays Harbor County to tackle these questions at a workshop this February. For details and outcomes, check out Kathy Greer's blog:

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Storm hits WA coast

Even Cliff Mass, Washington's biggest weather buff, is impressed by the forecast for this weekend. Intense low pressure, high winds, and big waves are likely to dominate the outer coast. Check out Mass's blog for details:

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Algae bloom threatens seabirds on Washington coast

Dead and distressed seabirds are showing up on Washington beaches for the second time this fall along with a brownish-green foam. So far reports of birds are from Makah Bay (Sooes) and the Long Beach Peninsula. Mainly loons, common murre, grebes and scoters. The brownish bloom is presumed to be Akashiwo sanguinea. The algae acts as a surfactant on the birds' feathers, causing them to die of hypothermia. This species of algae is not considered hazardous for beach recreation, including surfing and paddling.

Volunteers are needed
through Nov 15th to drive live rescued seabirds to a rescue center in Lynnwood, WA. If you are available to drive, please contact Jacqueline Laverdure 360-457-6622 ext. 21 or Include your phone number in your message. Thanks for your help.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Governor speaks against 1033

Yesterday, at the annual Washington Conservation Voters Breakfast of Champions, Governor Chris Gregoire gave an impassioned speech rallying support for the fight against Initiative 1033. It will "devastate the State of Washington" said Gregoire.

Tim Eyman's Ballot Initiative 1033 is on this November's ballot. And if it passes, it will indeed have devastating impacts on ocean and coastal protection programs. Funding for clean water, clean air, beach access and Puget Sound recovery will slowly dry up over time as this restrictive measures strangles the state budget.

As Governor Gregoire said, “...please... do everything you can. Vote yourself NO on 1033. But get everybody in Washington State to join in.”

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Call-in and Webcast for this afternoon's Ocean Policy Task Force meeting

You can listen to or watch a webcast of this afternoon’s session by the interagency ocean policy task force in San Francisco. The meeting starts at 2:30 pm. See below for call-in and webcast details. More information and background at:

Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force Public Listening Session
September 17, 2009
2:30 – 6:00 PM

Ways for the public to participate and submit comments

Attend the meeting in person with chance to submit comments:

Hyatt Regency San Francisco at Embarcadero Center, Ballroom A
5 Embarcadero Center
San Francisco, CA 94111

Submit comments through the website:

View the live webcast at:

Listen to the meeting on the conference call (listen only):

(888) 769-8760 (up to 100 lines)
Participant Pass code: 67311

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I-1033 threatens Washington’s future

As a result of the current budget crisis, many of Washington’s vital coastal resources programs have suffered severe cutbacks. For example, the State Department of Ecology made deep cuts to oil spill prevention and response programs and cut litter crews working to prevent garbage from entering Puget Sound in half.

Despite these hard budget times, there is reason to be hopeful for Washington’s future because the economy seems to be rebounding. That is, unless I-1033 passes. This is the TABOR initiative that will be on your ballot this November. The language might be confusing, but make no mistake, if I-1033 passes, this measure ensures that the State never recovers from the budget crisis of 2009 -- the worst in Washington history. State spending levels will be frozen.

Even in good economic times, when revenues should be strong and allow lawmakers to collect for a rainy day fund, our State’s revenues will instead stay at the current depressed levels. And to make matters worse, if we ever suffer another budget downturn, the State’s budget will fall again to even more depressed levels without being able to rebound. In Colorado, where the same measure passed in 1992, they call this the "ratchet effect".

As a result of TABOR, Colorado has become one of the Nation's poorest funded and poorest performing states. Despite having one of the highest per capita incomes, Colorado is 47th out of the 50 states for K-12 public education spending. Let's not let this happen to Washington. Deeper cuts to the programs we care about, including oil spills prevention, is not the future we want. To learn more visit:

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Changing Oceans

Ocean Acidification gained national attention at a US Senate hearing on Tuesday. One of many challenges confronting our oceans, increasing acidity of saltwater threatens the health of calcifying species that provide habitat and form the base of the marine food web. Science supports that increasing levels of carbon dioxide being absorbed by the ocean is behind this problem. In essence, as our ocean works to protect us from greenhouse gasses, she is slowly suffering herself. And like the stoic old woman, it is hard to see this problem on the surface. However, under microscopes, scientists are finding that, among other things, documented changes in the water are causing tiny crustaceans, corals, and Pacific oysters to lose structural integrity. Not surprisingly, one of the most vocal communities on Ocean Acidification are shellfish growers. If the science is correct, then the shellfish industry will be a lot less lucrative. Other potential impacts are that reef breaks will start to break down and juvenile salmon will have less to eat.

The Senate hearing was unfortunately clouded by sad irony. Simultaneously in another hearing, US Senators were voting to increase offshore oil drilling. Senator Cantwell coined it perfectly, “it’s crazy they are discussing more drilling.”

Yesterday's Olympian offers good coverage on the hearing.
And if you have a moment, check out the following blogs:

Monday, June 8, 2009

World Oceans Day

"How inappropriate to call this planet Earth, when it clearly should be named Ocean." Arthur C. Clarke

Today, June 8th, 2009 is World Oceans Day. To celebrate, I encourage you to take a moment or two to consider the ocean. Oceans cover over 70 percent of the planet's surface. Without oceans, there wouldn't be life. The world's oceans generate most of the oxygen we breathe, regulate our climate, and provide food and drinking water. The ocean is also where many of us work and play and for some of us why we chose to live in Washington State.

I also encourage you to take conscious actions on behalf of the ocean, not just today, but everyday. An action can be as simple as taking a shorter shower, picking up after your pet, washing your car at an official car wash, and remembering to take your reusable bag to the store.

First proposed in 1992 by the Government of Canada at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, World Oceans Day is now officially designated by the U.N.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Rally for Change TODAY

The EPA will hear testimony on proposed climate change ruling today in Seattle. 180 are signed up to testify including Governor Gregoire. Thousands more, including myself, are gathering outside for a lunch time rally. Don't miss it.

Support action on climate change:
12PM, May 21st
Pier 66, 2211 Alaskan Way, Seattle

Seattle's day to tell EPA how to fix climate

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

President’s budget makes Doppler Radar a priority

President Obama’s budget includes $7 million for a Doppler weather radar system for Washington’s coast. “Despite having the worst non-tropical storms in the nation, Washington State has the worst weather radar coverage of any U.S. coastline,” said Senator Maria Cantwell who has championed this issue. Cantwell will be working hard in DC to ensure that the funds for the Doppler are appropriated.

A new Doppler system will expand coverage to be able to detect storms 165 kilometers off the coast. This service will be vital for marine recreational users and many of our northwest marine industries, including shipping and fishing. In addition, Doppler will help to prevent oil spills caused by weather related accidents.

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Salish Sea

Today’s Crossuct is worth reading. Knute Berger writes an interesting article about naming the northwest waters that connect Puget Sound and the Strait of Georgia the “Salish Sea”. At issue in the article is the concern that a new name might undermine work to educate Washingtonians about the urgent need to protect and restore Puget Sound. It is unfortunate that an effort to mark the greater ecosystem and to link us to our northern neighbors and our rich cultural history with the traditional name is being clouded by the plight of Puget Sound. However, the real sad story is that despite all the resources, especially knowledge, at our disposal in this region, Puget Sound is still so polluted that our resident killer whales are among the most toxic in the world. Research tells us that about 52 million pounds of untreated toxic chemicals including oil and petroleum products, PCBs and phthalates flow into up Puget Sound every year. That’s over 140 thousand pounds per day. Let's work to tackle this daunting number. Come to the next chapter meeting, answer our next action alert, make changes at home, and engage your friends and neighbors.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Success on the Neah Bay Tug

In Washington, it is hard to imagine a better way to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill than by winning the long fought campaign for a year-round rescue tug at Neah Bay. Huge thanks to Surfrider Foundation's own, Kevin Ranker, now a freshman senator in the Washington State Legislature, for adopting this initiative and making it happen. He worked with a great team including People for Puget Sound, the Makah Tribe, Fred Felleman, Surfrider Foundation and others.

Check out the story in today's Seattle PI

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Neah Bay Tug

Washington residents and ocean lovers -- your beaches, sound, and ocean needs you on Wednesday February 11th at 3:30PM.

This session a new proposal is on the table for funding the Neah Bay rescue tug – SB 5344 sponsored by Surfrider Foundation’s ocean champion, Kevin Ranker. The Neah Bay tug is our best defense against small to catastrophic oil spills in the Strait and on the outer coast. This bill places financial responsibility for funding the tug on shipping and tanker vessels traveling through the Straits – the very ships that present the risk of a spill. Thanks to our efforts over the past few years, we do not need to convince the legislature that the tug is a priority; we just need to help them understand that this proposed funding mechanism is both smart and fair.

Wednesday, February 11th this bill will go before the Senate Environment, Water, and Energy Committee. We need to fill the hearing room with supporters to demonstrate that the legislature must pass this bill.


WHAT: Senate Environment, Water, and Energy Committee hearing on the Rescue Tug (SB 5344) sponsored by Surfrider Foundation ocean champion, Senator Kevin Ranker

WHERE: J.A. Cherberg Bldg. on Olympia’s capitol campus, Hearing Room 4

WHEN: Wednesday, February 11 at 3:30PM.

Questions, contact Shannon Serrano 253-905-3478, sserrano(at) or Jody Kennedy 206-940-6509, jkennedy(at)

Photo: Kathy Greer, a tanker passes by the popular beaches at Westport.