Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Day Without A Bag

Celebrate Day Without A Bag with Surfrider Foundation, the Bag Monster and Zero Waste Seattle.

Day Without A Bag is raising awareness and initiating a small change in our behavior that will help reduce plastic waste in our oceans. Join Surfrider Foundation, the Bag Monster and Zero Waste Seattle in giving up single-use disposable bags while shopping this Thursday.

Need a bag? Surfrider Foundation, the Bag Monster, Seattle City Councilmember Mike O'Brien and the Zero Waste Coalition will be passing out free reusable bags in Seattle.

Bag Monster handing out free bags
Thursday, December 16th, 12-1PM
Westlake Plaza 400 Pine St (between 4th Ave & Westlake Ave)

The simple action of using a reusable bag while shopping will help eliminate debris on our streets and in our ocean and save taxpayer dollars. Learn more about the environmental harms of single-use plastic bags by visiting www.riseaboveplastics.org.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Surfrider Foundation Notches 150 Coastal Victories

A coastal victory is a decision made in favor of the coastal and ocean environment that results in a positive conservation outcome, improves coastal access, or both.

A Victory is also one of many ways in which Surfrider Foundation measures our success. In 2005, we set an ambitious goal to attain 150 coastal victories by the end of 2010. Today, we are excited to announce that on December 1st, we achieved this milestone when the Obama administration announced that it would ban new offshore drilling in the continental United States for the next seven years.

learn more: http://oceanswavesbeaches.surfrider.org/

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Announcing the 2011 Environmental Priorities

The Environmental Priorities Coalition believes that we can have a strong economy that provides everyone with the opportunity to prosper and a clean, healthy, and safe environment for ourselves and our children. This year, the Environmental Priorities Coalition has chosen four priority proposals to support during Washington State's legislative session that achieve these goals.

The 2011 Priorities are:

Budget Solutions for Our Environment
Coal Free Future for Washington
Reducing Phosphorous Pollution
Working for Clean Water

The 2011 Priorities will help ensure clean water, create new jobs, reduce threats to our families’ health from the poisons emitted by our state’s single largest polluter, and strike a balance that even in hard times will protect our public health, economic future, and quality of life in Washington.

For more information about the 2011 Priorities, please visit the Priorities Coalition website.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

VOTE! Yes on R-52, No on I-1053 and I-1107

Our ocean and coasts need you to VOTE! So get that ballot in the mail by Tues.

And please, vote YES on Referendum 52 and NO on Initiatives 1053 and 1107.

A YES on R-52 is a win-win for our kids, our environment, and economy! R-52 will repair our aging schools, help save energy and reduce global warming pollution, and put people to work.

A NO on I-1053 allows the legislature to use a majority vote for tax increases and new taxes to raise funds to clean up runoff pollution.

A NO on I-1107 keeps in place a temporary sales tax on soda, bottled water and candy, some of which funds support environmental programs.

Get Out The Vote. If you live in Seattle or vicinity join a phone bank this week: Wednesday, and Thursday and next Monday (11/1) from 5:30-8:30 pm at WEC/WCV offices, 1402 Third Ave Suite 1400. Pizza, snacks and beverages served for the volunteers!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Westport's eyesore

The Links golf course at Half Moon Bay is up for public auction. The property provides critical coastal habitat and lies adjacent to one of our most popular recreation beaches on the coast. Watching this property be cleared for the golf course upset many ocean users who love these beaches. What will become of the Links course now?

The property will be auctioned off to the highest bidder at 9:30 AM, November 12th, on the front steps of the main entrance of the Grays Harbor County Courthouse, 102 West Broadway, in the City of Montesano, Washington.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

cool picture from the International Conference

Surfrider Foundation CEO, Jim Moriarty, posted this picture on his blog from Surfrider's international conference in Kamogawa, Japan. South Sound Chapter's Jared Gerritzen had scribbled it on the back of a napkin. And, as Jim says in his blog, "it captures the essence of who we are, what we do and how we optimize our impact when we work together."

If you haven't checked out Jim's blog, it's oceanswavesbeaches.surfrider.org.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Videos of stressed fish in Hood Canal


This sad video footage shows fish sluggish from low-oxygen levels in Hood Canal. In case you have missed the news, oxygen levels in Hood Canal have been lethally low, killing hundreds of fish and thousands of spot prawns.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Marine Spatial Planning Comment Sessions

You have an opportunity to provide comments on Washington’s framework for marine spatial planning.

A draft report and recommendations for how to better manage uses of our ocean have been developed by the State Ocean Caucus, an interagency team chaired by the Governor’s office.

Attend an open public session. State agency representatives will be on hand to explain the draft report and listen to your opinions. The public comment period is open until October 5th.

This is a great opportunity to speak out on behalf of non consumptive recreational uses.

Session Dates & Venues:
Monday, September 20, 3:00 – 5:00pm
Washington State Conference & Trade Center 1400 6th Avenue, Seattle Room 210

Friday, September 24, 3:00 – 4:30pm
Following the Northwest Straits Commission meeting San Juan Island Grange Hall 152 First Street North, Friday Harbor

Monday, September 27, 2:00 – 4:00pm
Breazeale Interpretive Center Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve 10441 Bayview-Edison Road, Mt. Vernon

Wednesday, September 29, 2:00 – 4:00pm
Center for Urban Waters 326 East D Street, Tacoma Large Conference Room

Thursday, September 30, 1:00 – 4:00pm
Westport Maritime Museum, McCausland Hall 2201 Westhaven Drive, Westport

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Take a minute to inform Marine Spatial Planning in Washington

Washington State is seeking public comments on marine spatial planning through an online survey. Make sure recreational users voices are represented and take a minute for this survey:


The results of this survey will assist state agencies in developing a process for engaging in marine spatial planning (MSP) in Washington. MSP is a public process to better understand how our oceans are being used and to identify areas where certain uses may or may not make sense when considering ecological, economic and social objectives. In short, MSP will help keep non-compatible uses, such as wave energy production and surfing, separate.

Surveys will be accepted until June 22, 2010.

The state agencies involved summarized draft goals and objectives for MSP. You are also invited to review these and provide your comments and any additional recommendations to jennifer.hennessey@ecy.wa.gov by June 22, 2010.

For more information on marine spatial planning, check out Surfrider's website: http://surfrider.org/a-z/MarineSpatialPlanning.php

And to learn more about the state’s efforts, go to: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/sea/msp/index.html.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Puget Sound's slow oil spill -- Kevin Ranker and David Dicks op-ed in the Seattle Times

Puget Sound is at risk from petroleum and chemicals, write guest columnists Kevin Ranker and David Dicks. While the U.S. Gulf coast is threatened by a calamitous oil spill, Puget Sound is threatened by a slow-moving spill of petroleum and chemicals from our roads and backyards.

Special to The Times

AS the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history unfolds in the Gulf of Mexico, it's tempting to rest comfortably on our success avoiding a similar calamity here in Puget Sound.

Our success, so far, is not the result of good luck. The state has vigorously worked to prevent oil spills, providing a rapid-response system, stringent oversight of oil companies, and a tugboat dedicated to rescuing distressed ships before they crash and spill hazardous cargoes.

The bad news is, even though its glistening waters look pristine, Puget Sound is in a crisis most of us don't see: a slow-moving spill of millions of gallons of petroleum and chemicals carried by stormwater.

Our famed Northwest rain, which washes our homes, driveways, roads and parking lots, picks up oil from car leaks, toxins, pesticides, fertilizers and bacteria from pet waste and livestock.

This toxic wash water flows down ditches and storm drains into our streams, rivers and, eventually, into Puget Sound. Scientists estimate that 75 percent of the toxic chemicals entering the Sound are carried by stormwater runoff.

The days are past when we could point to a pipe coming from a factory as the source of our problems. The problem now comes from our own backyards and neighborhoods — roughly 140,000 pounds of toxic chemicals each day.

The Gulf of Mexico oil spill is the equivalent of an environmental stroke. Our own personal oil spill is the equivalent of an environmental cancer slowly eating away at the health of our precious Puget Sound.

Our oil spill doesn't produce 24-hour news headlines or dramatic images of oil-soaked wildlife. Instead, it produces the slow and chronic destruction of one of our nation's most valuable ecological resources.

As a result, we have 21 species listed as threatened or endangered, more than 500 Puget Sound rivers, streams and lakes that exceed water-quality standards, and dozens of beaches closed due to pollution.

The time to attack this problem is now.

The Puget Sound Partnership has provided a game plan, an Action Agenda for Puget Sound. Through a coordinated, regional approach that challenges each of us to make small but important changes in how we live, work and use the land, we can drive this problem into remission.

The Agenda has already gone a long way to align government action. Fixing this problem means retrofitting municipal drainage systems. It means different development standards. It means a fundamentally different approach to managing our water.

Our local communities cannot be expected to bear this burden alone. This year in Olympia, while significant steps were taken, much was left unresolved. We must find a way to fund these critical investments.

Cleaning up and protecting Puget Sound will take time, money and commitment. The current recession may reduce funding in the short term, but it will not diminish our determination or the urgency of our task.

Progress is being made, but this is just a beginning. Puget Sound is too important to us and to our children.

We can be the generation that perpetuated the problem or we can be the generation that solved the problem. The choice is up to us.

Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-San Juan, left, represents the 40th Legislative District in the state Senate, is a senior fellow at The Ocean Foundation and a senior adviser for the Joint Ocean Commission Initiative. David Dicks is the executive director of Puget Sound Partnership.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

West Coast Senators Introduce Bill to Protect the Pacific Coast from Offshore Oil Drilling

This morning, Washington Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray joined U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) in introducing legislation to permanently prohibit offshore drilling on the outer continental shelf of California, Oregon and Washington State. Read the full press release.

Surfrider Foundation has an action alert asking President Obama and Congress to reinstate the offshore drilling moratorium. Please click on the alert and take a brief moment to demonstrate the strong grassroots support for protecting our coasts from new offshore oil and gas development and exploration.

If you have another moment, then please drop Senators Cantwell and Murray a quick thank you.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Updates and information on the Deepwater Horizon spill

If you're like me and you can't stop surfing the web for the latest information on the tragic oil spill in the Gulf, check out our blog:

According to updated oil spill estimates, 1,092,000 gallons are spilling every day. The volume of this spill could surpass the Exxon Valdez spill before it's contained. Washington State is helping with the recovery effort and if you're interested in learning more about how, the Washington Department of Ecology has posted information on their website.

Photo: aerial view of crews placing boom around Breton Island off the coast of Louisiana trying to protect a Brown Pelican nesting colony.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Not enougth muscle to pass Clean Water bill

The votes were very close, but our leadership in Olympia didn't flex the muscle necessary to pass the Clean Water bill which would have collected funds from the oil industry to help clean up stormwater pollution and prevent it from draining into Washington's rivers and ocean. This is an enormous missed opportunity. Despite the fact that stormwater pollution mostly comes from oil, property owners are still expected to pay for its management without much help from industry. And as a result, struggling local governments are not likely to make much headway against the number one threat to Puget Sound.

This is a loss for Surfrider Foundation and for clean water. But don't think for a second that your actions this session -- your letters, emails, phone calls, tabling, and other outreach -- were not invaluable. They were. And our continued push to educate the masses about the impacts of stormwater pollution remains critical. The take away from this session is that we need to be louder and we need to be more clear about how important clean water is -- for us, for our communities, and for Washington.

If you haven't already, take a moment to watch The Cycle of Insanity, The Real Story of Water and then send the link to your friends: http://knowyourh2o.org

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Our broken water cycle

Timing couldn’t be better for the release of The Cycle of Insanity: The Real Story of Water, a short, animated film made by creative and dedicated Surfrider Foundation volunteers. With the Working for Clean Water Bill still being debated in an extended session of the Washington State legislature, now is the time to spread the word on how stormwater is polluting our oceans. Take 20 minutes to watch this important video on our (broken) water cycle. Then call the legislative hotline and ask your legislators to vote yes on the Clean Water Act of 2010 HB 3181/SB6851: 1-800-562-6000.

The Cycle of Insanity: The Real Story of Water from Surfrider Foundation on Vimeo.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Last set for Clean Water -- legislators need to hear from you

The Working for Clean Water Bill is still alive in a special session. The vote is very very close and with just a few more yes votes, we can win this fight to tackle stormwater -- Washington's biggest source of water pollution.

This is likely my last chance to ask you to take action and the last chance that you will have to help us win on the clean water bill, so please, yes, one more time -- CALL YOUR LEGISLATORS! Just dial the hotline and leave a message for all three of your legislators asking them to vote yes on the Clean Water Act of 2010, HB 3181/SB 6851 right now: 1-800-562-600.

The oil industry is fighting dirty to stop this bill. Their latest scheme has been to file a law suit challenging the Hazardous Substance Tax. This tax was approved by voters 22 years ago to help tackle oil pollution and has been collected without legal challenge this entire time. According to legal experts, this lawsuit has no merit. The timing of this suit during the special legislative session is a scare tactic designed to discouraged votes. So, all the more reason why need to make the citizens' voice loud and clear to our legislators who represent us, not big oil.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Cycle of Insanity: The Real Story of Water

Surfrider's San Diego Chapter put together this great video on the water cycle and what is needed to fix our wasteful behaviors. Check out the movie trailer here & look for the full video to come out soon. Think about ways to minimize your water footprint at your home and in your daily routine, Know Your H2O!!!

And if you haven't already, please call or email your legislators and ask for their support on the Working for Clean Water Bill: Send an Email by clicking here or call this number to leave a message: 1-800-562-6000.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

THIS FRIDAY -- next hearing set for Clean Water bill

Kick off your Friday by supporting Clean Water!

The next hearing for the Working for Clean Water bill is Friday, Feb 26th, at 8:30 A.M. Please come and show your support!

House Finance Committee
House Hearing Rm C, O'Brien Building, Olympia
Friday, February 26th, 8:30 AM

Even if you can only stay a short while, please come and sign in.

Polluted runoff from our city streets is the equivalent of an Exxon Valdez oil spill in slow motion - the implications for Puget Sound and our ocean are that harmful.

We know what to do to address polluted runoff - retrofit urban streets, dig storm ponds, build better storm drains, and encourage low-impact development. To complete these stormwater projects on a scale that will make a difference we need to pass the Working for Clean Water bill. By taxing the pollutants that are harming our waters, this bill provides a long-term source of funding for desperately needed stormwater infrastructure projects.

Can't make it to Olympia? Then please Email or call your legislators right now and ask them to support Working for Clean Water.

Send an Email by clicking here.

Or call this number and leave a message for your legislators: 1-800-562-6000.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Clean Water bill hearing set for Monday 3:30PM

Working for Clean Senate hearing set for this Monday. Please come and show your support.

Senate Ways and Means Committee
Monday, February 22 at 3:30pm
Meet outside Senate Hearing Room 4 at 2:45pm to sign in to support the bill
J.A. Cherberg Building, Olympia

Last Wednesday, supporters for Clean Water packed the hearing room for the House Capital Budget Committee. As a result, it passed out of committee by a 8-7 vote. Now, we need do it again on Monday.

Can't make it to Olympia, then call your Senators: 1.800.562.600. Ask them to support Working for Clean Water (HB 3181/SB 6851) because it is a win-win for Washington families. It will clean up polluted waterways across the state and create thousands of good paying construction jobs to improve clean water infrastructure.

Or, send an instant email.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Rally draws thousands to state capital

Yesterday, thousands gathered at the Washington State capitol in favor of protecting budgets for clean water, health care and education.

Fearing an "all-cuts" state budget, citizens spoke out in support of revenue raising strategies, including the Working for Clean Water legislation that would raise the tax on polluters to fund stormwater infrastructure projects.

Clean water legislation to tackle stormwater pollution is one bill that Surfrider Foundation is working hard to pass this session. Others would establish a Marine Spatial Planning blueprint for WA and provide for the safe collection and disposal of unwanted medications.

Marine Spatial Planning in WA, SB 6350
This past weekend, this bill passed the Senate 44-2. Spearheaded by ocean champion and longtime Surfrider activist, Senator Kevin Ranker, this bill initiates a local approach to marine planning that would engage ocean users in a process to minimize impacts from new and emergency ocean uses.

Secure Medicine Return, 2SSB 5279
Up for possible Senate floor action this week, this bill creates a statewide medicine return program provided by drug producers. Harmful medications often get flushed down the toilet and into our marine waters where they threaten marine species and human health.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Stormwater legislation seeks a new funding source

Working for Clean Water legislation will put people to work building stormwater infrastructure. This is a good bill. Stormwater is the number one threat to the health of Puget Sound. Every time it rains, stormwater carries the crud from the streets, construction projects, and farms straight into Puget Sound, where we like to paddle and where the fish, birds and marine mammals are struggling to survive.

Working for Clean Water raises the hazardous-substance tax on petroleum, pesticides and other chemicals that cause harm to Washington's waterways in order to fund projects that will capture and treat stormwater before it reaches the water.

In order for this bill to pass, your state legislators need to hear from you. Please call them right now and tell them to support Working for Clean Water legislation: 1-800-562-6000.

Initially, the bill proposed creating a new barrel fee on petroleum products. Now, the measure proposes to increase the hazardous-substance tax instead. This change is in response to concerns raised that a new barrel fee would be the same as a gas tax, which is restricted for supporting road-building projects.

To learn more, see today's Seattle Times: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2010910892_oiltax28m.html

Friday, January 15, 2010

Combined-sewage-overflow (CSO) in Port Angeles

Heavy rains have caused a combined-sewage-overflow (CSO) in Port Angeles, meaning that both raw sewage and stormwater are running untreated into the Harbor. And, because of the tidal conditions, the water is not flushing out into the Sound. As a result, the BEACH program has issued a warning advising against contact with waters in Port Angeles Harbor for at least 48 hours following rainfall. This includes Hollywood Beach, which is close to two of four overflowing CSO pipes. In addition to the health risks of raw sewage, stormwater has devastating effects on marine life and is the largest obstacle to recovering Puget Sound to health. Right now, the WA State Legislature is debating a bill (HB1614) that would raise $120 million to put people to work building stormwater infrastructure -- making improvements to systems like the one in Port Angeles. If you haven't already, please call your legislators and ask them to support HB1614 Working for Clean Water legislation: 1-800-562-6000.

To learn more about the bill, go to Washington Environmental Priorities website.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Wear Blue for the Oceans -- Jan 13th

January 13th is Wear Blue for the Oceans Day. By wearing blue you will be part of movement to tell President Obama and his Administration that ocean and coastal health should be a national priority.

This Wednesday, in support of our oceans, public rallies are taking place across the country in Hawaii, Washington DC, New Orleans and more and in all states, oceans lovers will be wearing blue. Show your support and wear blue too. And ask your friends to do the same.

Tomorrow's activities are timed to encourage the Obama Administration to adopt a National Ocean Policy. To learn more about how a National Ocean Policy can help your beach and about the work of the Ocean Policy Task Force, established by Obama last June, visit wearblueforoceans.org and www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ceq/initiatives/oceans.

"We have a stewardship responsibility to maintain healthy, resilient, and sustainable oceans, coasts and Great Lakes resources for the benefit of this and future generations."
President Barak Obama, June 12, 2009

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Mass. Ocean-Management Plan

January 4, 2010
Mass. unveils landmark ocean-management plan
Associated Press Writer

Massachusetts has released the final version of a landmark ocean-management plan, creating a vast regulatory map for the state's coastal waters and setting new limits for offshore wind farms.

The plan allows up to 266 wind turbines in state waters — 166 in two designated commercial wind farm areas and 100 more turbines scattered up and down the coast in smaller "community" projects — as the state tries to ramp up its renewable energy output.

Authorized by the state's Oceans Act of 2008, the plan is designed to regulate development in state-controlled waters, which extend three miles offshore.

It creates protected areas and prohibits development in state waters near the Cape Cod National Seashore.

The protected habitats include eelgrass beds and submerged rocky areas that provide shelter to some of the greatest marine biodiversity in the coastal waters. The plan is also designed to shield whale migratory paths and the habitats of endangered roseate terns.

Before the map, development in state waters had been handled piecemeal, said state Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Ian Bowles.

State officials say the map is the first in the country with such a comprehensive scope. Other states, including California and New York, have adopted measures designed to protect offshore ecosystems. Rhode Island is working on its own coastal management plan.

President Barack Obama last year started a similar effort to draft a regulatory framework for federal waters — beyond the three-mile band of state waters.

Although the plan allows up to 266 turbines, Bowles said he doesn't anticipate many of the community-based wind turbines being built — at least not soon — due to the high costs of siting and construction, although he acknowledged that technological improvements could bring those costs down.

The map parcels out the number of allowed community energy projects to each of the state's seven regional planning authorities based on the length of shoreline and area of coastal waters. The plan also requires any project be endorsed by its host community.

Bowles said the final version of the map improves on an earlier version released in July in part by creating tougher protections for ecologically sensitive areas, which constitute nearly two-thirds of the state's waters.

The final version sets a higher regulatory hurdle than the earlier version by requiring developers show that no environmental harm will come from proposed projects in those areas — or prove that the state's data is wrong.

"It's a much more difficult standard than was there before," Bowles said.

Environmental groups praised the plan, saying it balances protection of vulnerable marine wildlife and habitats with responsible ocean uses.

"It's a real victory for the ocean and everyone who depends on it," said Priscilla Brooks of the Conservation Law Foundation. "The bar has been set very high."

The map would do nothing to block the development of the 130-turbine Cape Wind project, the nation's first proposed offshore wind farm, to be located in federal waters off Nantucket Sound.

The plan establishes two new zones for commercial wind-energy projects south of Cuttyhunk Island near the southern end of the Elizabeth Islands and south of Nomans Land, off Martha's Vineyard.

The plan gives local communities some say over the "appropriate scale" of any commercial wind farm in state waters.

The state is also forming a task force with the U.S. Minerals Management Service to coordinate the planning and review of large-scale wind-energy projects in adjacent federal waters.

The plan also sets out priorities for ocean management-related research over the next five years, including better ways to identify sensitive habitats and monitoring the effects of climate change in Massachusetts waters.


On the Net:

Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs: http://www.mass.gov/eea