State of the Beach/State Reports/CA
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California's beach health indicators are a study in contrasts. California has one of the most comprehensive beach water quality testing programs of all the coastal states, but also has by far the most beach closures and advisories of all the states. Beach access information is plentiful and access is generally good, except for some disputed areas in communities like Malibu and Santa Barbara. Erosion is a problem in many areas throughout the state, prompting many private coastal property owners and municipalities to install seawalls and other hard structures to protect their investments, often at the expense of the beach. Finding alternatives to shoreline structures is essential to preserve the remaining coastal resources. California recognizes waves as valuable recreational, economic and cultural resources.
(+) California requires all cities and counties to incorporate climate adaptation and sea level rise planning into the general plan process. This is done through the CA Senate Bill 379, adopted in October 2015. The bill requires general plans to include a climate change vulnerability assessment, adaptation and resilience goals and policies, and implementation measures.
(+) The state’s sediment management through the Coastal Sediment Management Workgroup is well coordinated and strategically implemented through a context-based approach that thoroughly incorporates coastal measurement data and forecasts/projections, and involves a wide range of stakeholders.
(+) California Coastal Commission Strategic Plan 2013-2018 includes clear actionable goals for addressing climate change to improve implementation of climate adaptation measures.
(+) In July 2015 the California Coastal Commission unveiled a beach access website and app YourCoast.
(+) In 2014, the Legislature and Governor gave the California Coastal Commission the authority to fine property owners who intentionally block public access to the coast. That authority was included in the 2015-2016 state budget. More.
(+) In May 2015 Stanford Law School, Environment and Natural Resources Law & Policy Program released 2015 California Coastal Armoring Report: Managing Coastal Armoring and Climate Change Adaptation in the 21st Century. The report's findings address how coastal decision-makers might better analyze, prevent, and mitigate shoreline armoring impacts and eliminate institutional incentives that have led to intense coastal development and maladaptive responses to coastal changes.
(+) California's Sea Grant Extension Program has developed an Explore Sandy Beach Ecosystems of Southern California website which is a great resource that allows you to:
"...learn about plants that build dunes, fish that run onto land, and crabs that move incredible distances migrating with the tide. Discover the dynamic process of sand movement and the impacts of beach grooming, coastal armoring, and nourishment on beaches and beach ecosystems. Understand challenges and success stories related to climate change impacts on beaches. Lastly, consider what you can do by reading the best practices information for beach goers, managers and city/county planners."
(+) In December 2013 a comprehensive source investigation manual The California Microbial Source Identification Manual - A Tiered Approach to Identifying Fecal Pollution Sources to Beaches was published by the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project.
(+) In September 2013 the California Ocean Protection Council (OPC) announced the launch of the California Coastal Geoportal. The new Coastal Geoportal provides state agency staff and the public with a user-friendly website for finding high priority coastal and marine datasets, such as aerial photos, marine protected areas, and coastal habitats, with links to the data sources. Users can view the data on a map using the Coastal Viewer, share maps, and overlay multiple data layers to see what is happening on our shoreline and out in our ocean. The Coastal Geoportal also includes a list of tools and resources where one can discover other related data holdings and tools, including the NOAA Sea Level Rise Viewer and California’s ocean observing data. This increased access to datasets will improve the use of scientific information in coastal and ocean resource management decision making.
(+) The Southern California Coastal Ocean Observing System (SCCOOS) has developed a sewage plume tracking model that uses data from Tijuana River flows and ocean currents to predict where the Tijuana River plume may be impacting the coast. The output from this model is updated hourly.
(+) California protects 8.8% of its state marine waters as no-take reserves. SeaStates 2016 report.
(+) A user-friendly way to determine the latest water quality status of beaches in California is the Swim Guide, a new, free, smart phone app (available from App Store, Google Play, or http://www.theswimguide.org). The Swim Guide utilizes water quality monitoring data from government authorities to determine the water quality at over 300 beaches in California and is updated as frequently as the information is gathered. The Swim Guide helps the user locate the closest, cleanest beach, get directions, view photos, and determine if the water is safe for swimming. The Swim Guide also allows the user to share the whole adventure with friends and family on social networks.
(+) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a federal regulation for stronger water quality protection in California waters by banning all sewage discharges from large cruise ships and other large ocean-going vessels off California's 1,100 mile-long coast. This No Discharge Zone ("NDZ") went into effect in March 2012 and also protects waters surrounding major islands off the California coast. More info.
(+) In March 2011 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency named Hermosa Beach's Strand Infiltration Project as the winner of the 2010 Performance and Innovation in the State Revolving Fund Creating Environmental Success (PISCES) Award. Previously, the project received an award from the American Public Works Association.
(+) In July 2010 it was reported that state and federal scientists were embarking on a new project to construct the most detailed map of the California coast ever assembled. The $3.3 million effort ($2.75 million funding came from California's Ocean Protection Council) will begin with researchers in an airplane flying back and forth along the coast shooting thousands of laser pulses (Light Detection and Ranging or "LIDAR") per second at the rocks, beaches and cliffs along the 1,100-mile shoreline from Mexico to Oregon, generating ultra-detailed 3-D images of the contours of the land in huge computer files. The mapping work, supervised by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, will start in August 2010 and is expected to conclude by December 2010, with the images posted to the Internet by summer 2011. Also see California Coastal LiDAR Project Report.
(+) A long-running issue regarding the use of septic tanks near Surfrider Beach and Malibu Creek in Malibu was resolved in November 2009 when the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board ordered a phase-out of septic systems in portions of the city. This decision was affirmed by the State Water Resources Control Board in November 2010.
(+) In July 2009 the State Water Board awarded $42.55 million for 15 projects to protect public health and the environment. The projects included trash nets and vortex separation devices for the city of Long Beach to keep debris out of the Los Angeles River; a dry weather diversion project for the city of Santa Cruz to protect the San Lorenzo River and beach water quality; and to the City of Los Angeles to collect, treat, and reuse urban runoff from the Sawtelle Channel.
(+) In November 2006 California voters passed Proposition 84, which brings $90 million to the Clean Beaches Program for the purpose of providing matching grants for protecting beaches and coastal waters from pollution and toxic contamination.
(+) Starting with the February 2007 meeting, California Coastal Commission meetings are now being broadcast live via the internet or through the Coastal Commission website. This technology significantly increases public access to the Commission's actions and the issues it deals with. The public also now has the ability to review the broadcasts of previous meetings at the cal-span.org website.
(+) California’s coastline north of San Francisco has very little to no shoreline structures.
(+) 70% of Californians say the condition of the coast is important to them personally, 60% of state residents believe the federal government is not doing enough to protect the coast, and 71% of Californians favor establishing more marine reserves along the coast.
(+) The previously closed public beach access path next to a famous music producer's Malibu mansion is now open to the public. Offers to Dedicate (OTD) public access easements are one method used to mitigate permitted projects that negatively impact public access along California’s shoreline.
(+) Since 1976, the California State Coastal Conservancy has spent over $200 million to support projects that purchase, protect, restore, and enhance coastal resources.
(+) During 2002, the California Coastal Commission Statewide Coastal Access Program assisted in the acceptance of 136 Offers to Dedicate (OTD), providing additional horizontal (along the coast) and vertical (to the coast) access points.
(+) California recognizes waves as a valuable recreational, economic, and cultural resource.
(+) Voters in Los Angeles County passed a $500 million bond measure in November 2004 to address the problem of non-point source pollution. The money will be used to build filtration plants, install cisterns to recycle storm water, install a system to divert stormwater into groundwater supplies, and install screens and other mechanisms to remove trash from rivers and lakes.
(+) Governor Schwarzenegger unveiled an ocean protection plan that includes establishing a California Ocean Protection Council that will guide ocean policy and coastal protection.
(0) About 80% of California's 33 million residents live within 50 kilometers of the Pacific Ocean.
(0) Approximately 950 miles (86%) of California's coastline is actively eroding.
(0) California has the largest Ocean Economy in the United States, ranking number one overall for both employment and gross state product.
(-) Coastal managers are not currently required to consider future sea level rise when creating setbacks. In fact, the state operates under a system of approved local coastal programs, thus lacking statewide mandated setbacks and a uniform approach to calculating setbacks. Lack of standardization in determining setbacks can lead to improperly sited development, failure to rely on uniformly derived erosion rates, and discontinuity in setback policy amongst coastal locales. This approach, furthermore, severely hinders the ease to which increased sea level rise rates may be integrated into setback calculations across the state.
(-) There has been an increase in shoreline armoring along the California coast in the past decade, presently with over 30% of the coast armored.
(-) Twenty-six sewage spills leaked more than 8 million gallons into San Diego County waterways from Dec. 21 through Dec. 28, 2010, according to numbers released by the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board. The spills were linked to the late-December storms that deluged the region, causing mudslides, traffic accidents and sewage-system upsets. Oceanside had the biggest problem — 5.5 million gallons of wastewater that fouled Buena Vista Creek, Buena Vista Lagoon and the nearby ocean. Similar-sized spills in the same area occurred in April 2007 and in 1994.
(-) In late September 2008 Governor Schwarzenegger effectively terminated California's landmark AB 411 beach water quality monitoring program by using his line-item veto power to cut all state funding for the program. Update - although temporary funding for one or perhaps two years of monitoring (at 90 percent of previous levels) was secured in November 2008 from State Water Resources Control Board bond funds, some counties were still not monitoring as of late 2008, and monitoring for the 2009 "AB 411" season (and beyond) was reduced in many locations. This situation illustrates a "fatal flaw" in AB 411 which is this clause:
- "Any duty imposed upon a local public officer or agency pursuant to this section shall be mandatory only during a fiscal year in which the Legislature has appropriated sufficient funds, as determined by the State Director of Health Services, in the annual Budget Act or otherwise for local agencies to cover the costs to those agencies associated with the performance of these duties."
(-) Since 1980, while inflation has increased 160 percent, the California Coastal Commission's total funding has risen only 9 percent--from $13.5 million to $16.3 million--and at times been cut nearly in half. The commission's full-time staff has been slashed from 200 in 1980 to 138 in early 2008. Since that time, the Commission lost an additional 8.5 positions in the 2008-09 budget. The administration is eliminating 6 more positions in mid-year cuts. NOAA's 2010 review of California's Coastal Management Program identifies staff and budget limitations as a severe continuing problem in carrying out an effective program to protect the state's coastal resources.
(-) The percentage of Ventura County’s coastline that is armored jumped from approximately 27% in 1971 to 45% in 1998. Orange County’s coastal armoring percentages increased from less than 10% in 1971 to 29% in 1998.
(-) The extent of shoreline armoring increased from about 26 miles to 110 miles between 1971 and 1992. Two strong El Niño winters have occurred since 1990, undoubtedly adding to this total.
(-) A study by University of California, Irvine Department of Environmental Health, Science and Policy estimates 74,000 people go to the doctor for stomach illness, respiratory disease and eye, ear and skin infections caused by exposure to the polluted waters south of LA in a typical year. This is estimated to cost approximately $3.3 million per year.
(-) 4,736 beach days were affected by closures or advisories during 2007. Water testing has detected human adenoviruses, fecal coliform, and other disease-causing bacteria, pesticides, herbicides, and heavy metals.
(-) Every day, 43 coastal wastewater treatment plants in California discharge approximately 1.35 billion gallons of treated effluent containing about 270,000 pounds of suspended solids to the ocean. These facilities reclaim or divert for reclamation only approximately 312 million gallons per day (23 percent of the ocean discharge) for beneficial reuse.
- Stop Oil Trains at Phillips 66 The project would have brought mile-long tanker trains carrying 2.4 million gallons of crude oil solvent to the Phillips 66 Refinery in Santa Maria over the next 20 years. Derailments and accidents along the train route would have threatened people, property, public services, business, and tourism, and an oil spill on the coastal rail system would have been devastating for coastal environments. Click here for more.
- Beacons Beach Saved from a Defacto Seawall Instead of a huge “erodible concrete” buttress 15 ft. thick at the top and 25 ft. thick at base covering the entire base of the landslide at Beacons Beach in Encinitas, an already narrow beach, the city will now pursue a staircase to maintain access to the beach, and reconfigure the parking lot to allow the landslide to stay in place and reach a safer angle of repose. Learn more.
- Stop Cemex Sand Mining On July 13, 2017, the California Coastal Commission (CCC) unanimously voted to halt operations of the CEMEX facility in three years, the last coastal sand-mining plant in the United States. The illegal CEMEX sand mining plant in Marina, California, is believed to mine approximately 270,000 cubic yards of sand a year (and perhaps more), from the beach. Sand is a precious resource, vital to our coasts, and CEMEX’s operations have been identified to be a primary cause of beach and dune erosion in southern Monterey Bay. Surfrider's Monterey Chapter and Surfrider's National Office advocated for years in support of this outcome. Click here to learn more about it from a local news agency.
- Supreme Court Upholds CA Coastal Commission Seawall Requirements The California Supreme Court upheld permit conditions for a seawall in Encinitas that helps to set precedent statewide. The Surfrider Foundation weighed in on the side of the CCC as an amicus (“friend of the court”) party. In the Lynch v. California Coastal Commission case, two private blufftop property owners in Encinitas challenged the permit requirements attached to their new seawall permit. This 2010 permit application was to replace a wooden seawall structure with a new 100-foot long, tied-back seawall across the two private oceanfront properties of Barbara Lynch and Thomas Frick. The blufftop owners argued that the California Coastal Commission (“CCC”) should not be able to impose restrictive permit conditions, including a 20-year permit authorization period. The Surfrider amicus brief explained the importance of natural dynamic coastal erosion processes, how seawalls preclude those natural processes and threaten the existence of sandy beaches, and the related CCC obligations to maximize public beach access and coastal recreation under Chapter 3 of the California Coastal Act. Click Here for more details from Surfrider's Coastal Blog.
- San Diego Secondary Treatment Waiver The City of San Diego submitted a consistency certification to the California Coastal Commission for the reissuance of its secondary treatment waiver for the municipal discharges from its Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP). The waiver reissuance would be needed to allow San Diego to continue to discharge effluent receiving less than full secondary treatment in terms of total suspended solids (TSS) and biochemical oxygen demand (BOD). If no waiver were granted, the City would be required under the Clean Water Act to implement upgrades meeting secondary treatment requirements, which would mean removal of 85% of both TSS and BOD. With a waiver, CWA Section 301(h) and (j) require, among other things, removal of 80% of TSS and 58% of BOD. Other coastal municipalities that had sought past waivers have now upgraded to secondary treatment. San Diego is pursuing a different approach: as an alternative to upgrading to secondary treatment, they propose to reduce wastewater flows to the plant, through water recycling, which then reduces flows (and pollutant loads) into the ocean. On December 9, 2014, the City of San Diego expanded and updated its commitments to water reuse, in a Cooperative Agreement with San Diego Coastkeeper, the San Diego Chapter of Surfrider Foundation, the Coastal Environmental Rights Foundation, and the San Diego Audubon Society. This agreement commits San Diego to a compliance schedule for initially implementing at least 15 million gallons per day (MGD) of potable water reuse by end of 2023, at least 30 MGD by the end of 2027, and ultimately achieving at least 83 MGD of wastewater reuse by the end of 2035. The Regional Water Quality Control Board’s Order incorporates the City’s commitments to continue to pursue and implement its recycled water program, converting wastewater into potable water, under a program called Pure Water San Diego. The US EPA, San Diego Chamber of Commerce, Surfrider Foundation, San Diego Coastkeeper and Coast Law Group all testified in favor of the waiver. A representative from the US EPA testified pointing out that the associated discharge empties into federal waters – thus prompting this agenda item. The EPA has the sole responsibility of acting on the waiver. They pointed out that the City has already met very stringent requirements that do not adversely effect the ocean environment. The performance of the facility has improved over the past 20 years and meets permitting authority requirements by a wide margin. The waiver concurrence was approved unanimously.
- Solana Beach Public Recreation Fee The city of Solana Beach has been working to develop a method to mitigate for the impacts that coastal structures and non-erodible seacave/notch infills have on public access and recreation since 2007. Policy 4.50 of the existing California Coastal Commission certified land use plan required that the City complete a fee study to mitigate for the impacts that coastal structures and non-erodible seacave/notch infills have on public access. The method for calculating a fee to account for the impact of shoreline armoring to public recreation (i.e. Public Recreation Fee) varies widely statewide and has resulted in ongoing study. The City of Solana Beach has developed a mitigation methodology, known as the travel cost method, which it is proposing to incorporate into its certified land use plan through this amendment. The San Diego Chapter has worked tirelessly for years to inform the city of Solana Beach staff as well as Coastal Commission staff to inform them of the importance of protecting coastal recreational opportunities and accurately conveying that value in their calculations. At the California Coastal Commission hearing, there was one main point of disagreement in the travel cost methodology - the wage rate used to calculate the opportunity cost of a day at the beach. Solana Beach recommended using a low wage rate in the travel cost methodology of 33%. Staff argued, and were supported by the San Diego Chapter as well as San Francisco State University economist Phil King, that using a low wage rate in the equation as proposed by Solana Beach would lead to a drastic undervaluation of the beach and instead recommended that 67% of wage rate be used in the equation, which would double the public recreation fee. They also recommended increasing the number of LIDAR data points used to calculate the beach width, for a more accurate snapshot of the beach width over time. Commissioners voted on two amendments, both of which failed. Ultimately, Coastal Commission staff’s recommendation of using a 67% wage rate passed unanimously.
- Culver City Polystyrene Foodware Ban The Surfrider South Bay Chapter and West Los Angeles / Malibu Chapter successfully advocated for Culver City to adopt an ordinance banning polystyrene food service ware items at restaurants and other food providers. On May 8th 2017, Culver City Council adopted a strong ordinance banning the use and/or sale of certain food service ware products containing polystyrene by food providers. Under the regulations, "food service ware" broadly includes items such as cups, straws, lids, utensils, bowls, plates, wrappers, and to-go containers consisting of polystyrene foam (styrofoam) or rigid plastics made of polystyrene (marked with a "6" or "PS"), or any combination of the two. Effective November 8, 2017, food providers (including all restaurants, cafes, coffee shops, markets, convenience stores, and similar vendors selling prepared food) will be prohibited from using, distributing or selling any such food service ware in Culver City. This is a major step, as polystyrene has become a serious pollutant in the Santa Monica Bay, often breaking into small, non-biodegradable pieces and consumed by wildlife. In some cases, exemptions may be granted to applicants showing "undue hardship" where compliance would cause significant economic hardship or where no reasonably feasible alternative exists. Further, the City is authorized to prepare an annual list of exempt food service ware determined not to have a "reasonably feasible alternative, due to cost, availability, or other factors" (not including items containing foam polystyrene). During the drafting and public comment phase, we encouraged the City to remove this exemption, as it creates uncertainty and could weaken the ordinance. The City ultimately voted to include the provision, although it remains to be seen whether it will be used. Council members indicated in deliberations that there may be no items on the list, as a staff report confirms the availability of reasonably feasible alternatives to products containing rigid (or solid) polystyrene. In addition to restricting the use of both foam and solid polystyrene by food providers, the ordinance takes a significant step toward eliminating all single-use foam polystyrene food service ware in Culver City by banning the retail sale of such items, including polystyrene coolers and ice chests. It also encourages environmentally-friendly practices by prohibiting restaurants from providing cutlery to any person taking food to-go, unless the vendor first asks the customer whether they want the cutlery and the customer responds that they do. Overall, this ordinance places strong restrictions on all forms of polystyrene and sets a positive example for future regulation of this harmful product. We will continue to follow any actions the City takes and encourage a complete ban on such products. Thanks to Ballona Creek Renaissance for their support and tireless efforts in this multi-year campaign!
- Stop Venoco Offshore Oil Drilling Expansion Venoco, an oil company that operates Platform Holly – the only oil drilling platform in state waters – proposed to California's State Lands Commission (SLC) to expand its existing leases offshore the city of Goleta. If approved, the project would have constituted the first new or expanded lease in state waters since the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill. Approving an expanded oil lease and allowing new drilling in state waters would contradict the commission’s own unanimously approved December 2016 resolution against any further oil development off California’s coast. Along with Surfrider, activists from the Sierra Club, Environmental Defense Center and NRDC asked the SLC to not approve this proposal, prompting two of the three commissioners to publicly speak out against it. On April 17, 2017 the SLC received documents from Venoco, LLC quitclaiming its interests in the South Ellwood Field leases, including Platform Holly and the Goleta Beach Pier leases offshore the City of Goleta, Santa Barbara County. This effectively ended commercial oil and gas production in state waters at that location in the Santa Barbara Channel and returned operational control of these assets to the Commission. California’s Coastal Sanctuary Act prohibits the Commission from issuing new offshore oil and gas leases. The Commission will now begin the process of decommissioning Platform Holly.
- Crystal Cove State Beach Low Cost Accommodations On March 8, 2017 the Surfrider Foundation and the Surfrider Foundation Newport Beach Chapter, along with the California Coastal Protection Network, supported the Crystal Cove Alliance's application to the California Coastal Commission to renovate 17 historic cottages on North Beach of Crystal Cove Historic District and convert for overnight visitor serving uses and construct low-cost overnight accommodations and implement an overnight educational program using mitigation funds. This project will help increase access to the coast for low income communities and increase accessibility at the state park. Read more in the OC Register, here.
- California Coastal National Monument Several California leaders in Congress stepped up to help secure protection for special places in the state as part of the California Coastal National Monument Expansion Act. The bill designates approximately 6,200 acres of existing U.S. Department of the Interior lands in Humboldt, Santa Cruz, and San Luis Obispo Counties under the California Coastal National Monument. The boundaries were expanded through a Presidential Proclamation.
- California Coastal Commission and Civil Penalties When it comes to natural resources, few violations offend more than individuals making money by illegally taking what belongs to the public. Blocking coastal access is theft from the beginning. People who deny California residents and visitors the right to immerse themselves in the joy of the beach are stealing a priceless experience guaranteed by our Coastal Act. This is why the California State Legislature, in 2014, granted the Coastal Commission the power to penalize coastal access violators with fines of up to $11,250 a day. For nine years, Dr. Warren Lent, a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon, committed willful and extended disregard of the Coastal Act providing Commissioners with the first opportunity to levy the never-before-used fines. By doing so, Commissioners would affirmed their commitment to the Coastal Act, the public and their own enforcement staff, who had suggested a fine of $950,000. Given the severity of the violations, Surfrider advocated that the full penalties of $8.4 million be levied. Success sets a precedent warning violators throughout the state that the public right to access is taken seriously.
- San Elijo Lagoon Restoration Project incorporates surf monitoring The San Elijo Lagoon Restoration Project incorporates one year of surf monitoring due to the San Diego County Chapter's concerns about dredging and sediment placement. This is a crucial measure to mitigate potential impacts to the iconic waves nearby and collect data to inform future projects. Coastal recreationalists can give a resounding cheer after the California Coastal Commission’s decision to extend surf monitoring to a full 12 months as part of approving the San Elijo Lagoon Restoration Project located within the San Elijo Lagoon State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) in San Diego County. Overall, the proposed restoration project is expected to significantly improve the circulation of the lagoon, water quality and the long-term biological productivity of coastal waters. It also takes sea level rise into account and is expected to decrease the number of flooding events on Manchester Ave. Staff recommended approval with a variety of special conditions to mitigate impacts associated with dredging and sediment placement. The Special Conditions direct the San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy to track any impacts to the marine protected area with 5-year monitoring plans for ecological and biological impacts. Partner organization Surfrider Foundation’s San Diego County Chapter participated in the project design and asked for the inclusion of surf monitoring, which is reflected in Special Condition 9. Unfortunately, staff originally only recommended 30 days of post-development monitoring, subsequently extended to 6 months in an addendum. Given the length of monitoring other coastal resources were given, this expressly failed to equally value recreational resources. Surfrider gave testimony as to why 12 months of surf monitoring is necessary given the variability of conditions throughout all four seasons and the likelihood of a storm or swell even that can drastically change shoreline conditions overnight. In the end, the Commission approved the project with an amendment to extend surf monitoring for a full 12 months and in doing so acknowledged the importance of surfing resources. This will also set an important precedent for the state of California and the need to protect recreational resources.
- Malibu Expanded Polystyrene Ban In furtherance of our Rise Above Plastics program, Surfrider and our West LA/Malibu Chapter successfully advocated for the city of Malibu to expand its existing prohibition on expanded polystyrene foam. Specifically, Surfrider staff attended a public meeting and submitted testimony and informational materials to the Malibu City Council about the harms of EPS foam to our beaches and marine resources, and shared examples of other coastal cities like San Francisco who are leading the way with strong EPS bans. In response, the Malibu City Council adopted an ordinance in November, broadening its existing ordinance to include the following: The new ordinance prohibits the sale and distribution of polystyrene foam food service ware products within the City; prohibits the use of polystyrene foam food service ware products within the City; prohibits “other” polystyrene foam products for sale or distribution within the City, including: coolers and ice chests; packing materials, including packing peanuts, pool and beach toys; and dock floats, buoys and similar maritime products. Any prohibited polystyrene products are also now prohibited on any beach within the City. The revisions make Malibu's ordinance one of the strongest EPS policies in the U.S.. Surfrider will continue to advocate at the local level to encourage other cities and counties to follow suit.
- Final Settlement for Access at Strands Beach in Dana Point Surfrider has been fighting for over the past decade to secure the full beach access rights promised by the permitting agreement for the Headlands at Strands. This year (2016), we put to rest a six-year litigation effort to ensure that the public meaningful, open access during all daylight hours and more! Surfrider Foundation celebrates the resolution of a six-year battle for beach access at Dana Point Strands Beach. The City of Dana Point has been embroiled in litigation with Surfrider Foundation and the California Coastal Commission since 2010. The April 2016 Settlement Agreement between the City and the Coastal Commission lifted the restrictive beach access hours and secured unrestricted accessways throughout the property. The Settlement Agreement also provided for the Urgency Ordinance that was passed by the City to allow for the locked gates be rescinded. Surfrider's initial lawsuit challenged this Urgency Ordinance, and so the City of Dana Point agreed to dismiss the appeal of Surfrider's litigation win as well. More.
- Keep South Beach Safe In recent years, motorized personal watercraft (jet ski) use at South Beach in Del Norte County has conflicted with the use of South Beach by surfers and other non-motorized water recreation. The Del Norte chapter's goal is to resolve this conflict through enforcement of laws that protect "bathers", as defined by the State of California, from motorized personal watercraft use in close proximity to bathers. The chapter accomplished this goal by bridging communication gaps between county law enforcement + decision-makers and state agencies, to arrive at a mutual interpretation of Harbors and Navigation code sections pertaining to MPWC use near bathers and beaches frequented by bathers. As per California Harbors and Navigation Code Section 655.2(a), South Beach is considered to be a beach frequented by bathers, which means that MPWC must operate at speeds less than 5 miles per hour within 200 feet of the beach. Read more as reported in the Del Norte Triplicate.
- Encinitas EPS Foam Foodware Ordinance After years of discussions, Encinitas City Council gave final approval on an ordinance to ban expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam food service items at restaurants on November 16th, 2016! City facilities and city-sponsored events are also prohibited from using EPS foam. Polystyrene is a top ten item found at beach cleanups, it is rarely recycled and there are possible health concerns linked to polystyrene. Since 2014, when Encinitas passed a plastic bag ban, there have been discussions over what type of ordinance to pass and whether an educational program would suffice. The Surfrider Foundation San Diego County Chapter was involved every step of the way by attending workshops. sending in letters of support and testifying at council hearings.
- Trestles Saved Forever From Toll Road After more than a decade, five lawsuits, and countless public hearings, toll road developers concluded that they could not build their road as planned, so they reached out to the Save San Onofre Coalition (SSOC) to engage in challenging and productive negotiations to settle the lawsuits. This agreement settles five lawsuits brought by the SSOC and the California Attorney General and requires the toll road developers to rescind its 2006 approval of the so-called “Green Alignment” that would have run through San Onofre State Beach (SOSB) and its 2013 approval of its Tesoro Extension project, the first segment of the Foothill South. The most significant and most hard-fought aspect of the settlement carves out “avoidance areas” that requires toll road developers to refrain from building or funding a road project within an area that includes San Onofre State Beach, the Richard and Donna O’Neill Conservancy and other critical open space, wildlife habitat and cultural resources in the San Mateo Creek watershed. In addition to the avoidance areas, the settlement establishes a $28 million conservation fund to help preserve and restore San Mateo Creek and its watershed. Learn more.
- Yes on 67 California Statewide Bag Ban VICTORY! After six years of advocacy to the California state legislature, a bill to ban plastic bags was signed by Governor Jerry Brown in September 2014. Unfortunately, due to the political maneuvering of the big plastics industry, the bill was stalled and put on the November ballot as Proposition 67. The California voting public took action on November 9, 2016 to keep the first statewide bag ban and start to properly address plastic litter that is impacting the ocean at alarming rates. Surfrider Foundation, along with a strong coalition of environmental organizations like Heal the Bay, Environment California and Californians Against Waste, supported a “YES” vote on Proposition 67 to uphold the CA Bag Ban. The bag ban garnered almost 54% of the total voters affirming a statewide bag ban, which goes into effect immediately.
- San Diego Sustainable Landscapes Program Follows Watershed Approach Surfrider's San Diego County Chapter as well as our national Ocean Friendly Gardens Program Coordinator have been a partner in the development and implementation of a sustainable landscape report program that covers all of San Diego county. A key element of the program is a rebate for retrofitting a landscape that follows the "watershed approach." Like our work with the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power, we worked to ensure that the: (1) Rebate guidelines were as strong as they could be. One member of the team was not as concerned with having them be the strongest. The guidelines turned out to be the strongest in the state. (2) Training for professionals follow these strong guidelines. The training that Surfrider, and it's partner at the County of San Diego's Watershed Protection program, provided did follow these guidelines, i.e., making sure to teach about rainwater retention. A separate training for professionals, led by another team member, followed a training curriculum that did not teach about rainwater retention or living soil, and had more attention to irrigation efficiency and integrated pest management.
- Single-Use Plastic Bags Banned in Oceanside In August 2016, the City of Oceanside became the 151st municipality in California to ban plastic shopping bags! Since early 2015, Surfrider's San Diego County Chapter has been advocating and working with city staff of the city of Oceanside on developing a plastic bag ban ordinance for Oceanside. Throughout the campaign, Chapter volunteers have participated in numerous public meetings throughout the community focused on education and developing a successful ordinance, submitted dozens of letters of support to city staff and council members, and testified at the City Council meeting August 10th, where the City Council voted to approve an ordinance after first reading. On August 24th council approved the second reading of the ordinance making it official! Oceanside’s ordinance will require large stores, those that generate more than $2 million in annual sales or have at least 10,000 square feet of sales space, to stop using single-use plastic bags starting in January. Other smaller stores would follow a year later.
- LADWP Requires Watershed Approach for Turf Rebate The goals of this campaign were to: 1. Convince an LA city council member to sponsor a motion that directs the LA Department of Water & Power and other city agencies to work with the GreenLA Coalition to revise LADWP's turf rebate requirements to follow the watershed approach (a non-branded form of the Ocean Friendly Gardens criteria). 2. Educate the city staff so they see the value. If the city staff decide to bring the revised language to the LADWP Board of Commissioners to vote on it, then educate the Board. This victory was achieved on August 16, 2016 when LADWP voted to incorporate a "watershed approach" into their requirements for turf removal rebates. Read more.
- City of San Diego Plastic Bag Ban In late 2008, San Diego Chapter Chair, Scott Harrison, and Chapter Coordinator, Bill Hickman, spoke before the City of San Diego’s Natural Resources Committee, advocating for a plastic bag ban. At that time, only three jurisdictions in the state had passed one; San Francisco, Fairfax, and Malibu. In a 2-1 vote, Councilmembers Donna Frye and Scott Peters voted to send the proposed ban to the City Attorney for review, while Councilmember Kevin Faulconer voted against the motion. However, the ordinance didn’t move any further, as Mayor Jerry Sanders squashed the will of the committee and stopped the ordinance dead in its tracks. For the next few years, the political makeup of the City Council and Mayor’s office prevented a bag ban from being considered. Fast forward to 2015. In the spring of 2015, with enough signatures validated to put the state bag ban on hold, Surfrider activists met with the Mayor’s office to confirm that the City of San Diego bag ban was going to get back on track. Fortunately, they agreed. The environmental review process that the City of San Diego chose took over a year. During that time the San Diego Chapter continued to raise awareness and collect petitions to present at city council hearings. Volunteers rallied to address City Council at the public hearings where they voted 6-3 to pass the ordinance. Read the amazing, 6-year campaign saga.
- Ban More Foam in San Francisco In 2016, Surfrider's San Francisco Chapter successfully advocated for the expansion of San Francisco's existing expanded polystyrene ordinance. The San Francisco Board of Commissioners adopted the revised ordinance on second reading in July 2016. Previously, San Francisco had banned the use of polystyrene in to-go food containers. However, this new revised ordinance makes it the strictest foam ordinance in the U.S., prohibiting the sale of food service ware made from polystyrene foam, and food service ware that's either non-recyclable or non-compostable (for example, meat trays or egg cartons that are non-recyclable). The ordinance also prohibits the sale of polystyrene products that are not wholly encapsulated or encased within a sturdier and more durable material, including packing materials such as packing peanuts; coolers; ice chests; pool toys; beach toys; dock floats; mooring buoys; and navigation markers, that aren't encapsulated.
- Pasadena Polystyrene Ban After years of discussion the Pasadena City Council passed a polystyrene ordinance in July 2016. The ordinance bans polystyrene food service ware at restaurants, the retail sale of disposable polystyrene products and also says that City employees can't acquire or distribute for public use any polystyrene coolers or polystyrene food service ware including cup-lids, straws, or utensils. The Surfrider Foundation South Bay and West LA/Malibu Chapters both supported a polystyrene ban for Pasadena. They sent in letters to city officials and testified at city council meetings. More.
- Del Mar Bans Plastic Bags The Del Mar City council passed the second reading of their plastic checkout bag ban that includes all retail establishments, restaurants, and their farmers market on May 16th, 2016! The ordinance will take effect at retailers later this year and includes a fee of ten cents for paper bags as an incentive for people to remember their reusable bags. The Surfrider Foundation San Diego County Chapter worked with City of Del Mar officials to help craft the best ordinance possible. This ordinance goes further than most by including all retail establishments, restaurants, and their farmers market from providing any type of bag to a customer at the point of sale except a reusable bag or a recycled paper bag. Click Here for more info from the City of Del Mar including the ordinance language.
- Conservation before Desalination in Santa Cruz, CA Through the support of a ballot measure requiring a public vote before any desalination project is constructed and participation in a Water Supply Advisory Committee, the Santa Cruz Chapter and their local partners were able to defeat a desalination project proposed by the City of Santa Cruz and the Soquel Creek Water District. The desal plant intended to suck up 2.5 million gallons per day (MGD) of seawater through an open ocean intake and discharge the concentrated brine into the local sewage treatment plant. The Water Supply Advisory Committee, however, was able to demonstrate to the community that there were cheaper and more efficient ways to protect Santa Cruz's water supply that would not pollute the environment, but would instead offer multiple benefits beyond securing a potable water supply. Ultimately, the City chose to increase water conservation efforts first and optimize the use of winter rain for aquifer restoration and storage. Recycled water will be explored as necessary, but desalination strategies have been shelved to the bottom of the list once all other solutions have first been explored and implemented. A presentation of all water supply protection strategies is available here: DesalAlternative.org
- Coastal Commission Requires Proof of Erodible Concrete Surfrider's San Diego chapter sought to stop Solana Beach sea cliffs from being filled with untested "erodible" concrete. In January 2016 Coastal Commission considered a proposal to install 100 feet of “erodible” concrete in front of the Solana Beach Tennis Club (SBTC). Surfrider has been advocating against erodible concrete (until when/if it is proven to work) for years. The debate over erodible concrete started with the Bannasch project (also in Solana Beach) which was eventually approved in June 2014, only after very specific conditions were added. However, that project has not been installed yet because the applicant refuses to comply with those conditions. The SBTC application to fill seacaves with erodible concrete was the second project to come through, following Bannasch. The chapter's stance is that the material should be proven to erode as it is expected to prior to installation. Calling it "erodible" does not make it erodible, and the chapter's successful litigation on the subject in 2003 supported that there is not enough information yet to prove that it will be “erodible.” As Commission staff has been trying to find a path forward, they suggested two additional conditions (in addition to those applied to the Bannasch project), but the applicant did not want to comply with those either. At the end of the day, in what began as a 8-3 vote, but later became a 9-2 vote, the Commission wisely recognized that the applicant must prove that the material will erode prior to installation and that if the applicant is allowed to install any of this material and it does not perform as expected, it must be removed. The chapter is thrilled that the Commissioners decided to hold the applicants accountable and protected precious coastal resources.
- Oceanside Beach Fill Modified to Meet Coastal Preservation Standards Surfrider's San Diego Chapter worked with the City of Oceanside and the Coastal Commission to make an Oceanside Opportunistic Beach Nourishment program meet coastal preservation standards. At the January 13, 2016 Coastal Commission hearing, Julia Chunn-Heer, Policy Manager for Surfrider's San Diego chapter, attended in support of an "Opportunistic Beach Nourishment" program taking place in Oceanside. San Diego chapter volunteers worked with the City of Oceanside and Coastal Commission staff for months on the Oceanside program, focusing on the negative impacts to surfing in the region following the larger beach nourishment project of RBSP II, proper surf monitoring, and correcting language that asserted impacts to surf in the past and future were likely to be positive. The chapter successfully advocated that the city place sand in two sites instead of one to help reduce impacts and that they increase surf monitoring pre- and post-project using the methodology from the chapter's surf monitoring study. During the week leading up to the hearing, the chapter was still in discussions, but ultimately the City agreed to all of the chapter's demands, the language in the permit regarding surf impacts was corrected and the item was moved to the consent calendar; a win-win for all parties.
- California's Trash Policy Becomes Law Surfrider Foundation advocated before the State Water Resources Control Board in California for a strong statewide rule to prevent trash from entering our waters. The California Water Board issued new water quality standards for preventing trash in California’s waters. The standards are part of the state’s new Trash Control Policy, designed to address the plastic pollution and other trash that wreaks havoc on our marine environment. In effect, this new law requires all stormwater permits (including those held by municipalities) to be revised in the next 18 months to include trash provisions and for permittees to reach compliance with the zero trash goal within 10 years. It also authorizes Regional Water Boards to issue the equivalent of non-point source permits (Waste Discharge Requirements) to areas that produce significant amounts of trash (for example, at popular campgrounds, picnic areas, beach recreational areas and marinas.)
- Governor Brown Signs Legislation Strengthening Enforcement of Marine Protected Areas Assembly Bill 298, carried by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, allows Department of Fish and Wildlife officers and other law enforcement agencies to combat poaching and illegal fishing in the areas off the state’s coastline by issuing violators a ticket — similar to a traffic violation — to enforce the laws. This bill helps streamline the process and hold poachers more accountable.
- Oil Spill Legislation Signing The Governor signed three important laws to help with oil spill prevention and preparedness including, Senate Bill 414 (Jackson): will require the Office of Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR) to assess the best achievable technology for oil spill prevention, preparedness and response and update the adequacy of oil spill contingency plan regulations, to direct the Harbor Safety Committees for San Francisco Bay and Los Angeles-Long Beach to perform the first-ever quantitative vessel traffic risk assessments, to consult peer-reviewed scientific literature regarding the use of chemical dispersants and update the California Dispersant Plan accordingly, convene a taskforce of the Oil Spill Technical Advisory Committee to evaluate the feasibility of using vessels of opportunity for oil spill response, remove the penalty reduction for spilled oil that is recovered and disposed of, and coordinate with the U.S. Coast Guard on drills and exercises for marine firefighting and salvage.
- Oil Spill Legislation Signing The Governor signed three important laws to help with oil spill prevention and preparedness including, Senate Bill 295 (Jackson): Requires annual oil pipeline inspections for all intra-state pipelines and would reestablish the State Fire Marshal’s role in requiring hydrostatic pressure tests as necessary, as well as inspecting federally regulated pipelines.
- Oil Spill Legislation Signing The Governor signed three important laws to help with oil spill prevention and preparedness including, Assembly Bill 864 (Williams): All oil contingency plans for a pipeline in environmentally sensitive areas (in state waters or the coast) must include “best available technology”, including automatic shutoff to reduce oil impacts.
- Hermosa Beach Plastic Bag Ban The Hermosa Beach City Council adopted their single-use plastic bag ban on August 25, 2015 by a 4-0 vote. The ban will eliminate single-use plastic bags at retail establishments, grocery stores, pharmacies, food service providers, liquor stores, newsstands and kiosks. It excludes dry-cleaners. Grocery stores are allowed to use plastic produce bags and use plastic at the deli counter, but carry-out bags must be recyclable paper or reusable. Surfrider's South Bay Chapter worked for over 3 years on this campaign.
- San Diego Port Master Plan Amendment Denied The Coastal Commission denied an Amendment to the Port's Master Plan under the premise that Port is not upholding the Coastal Act that requires: "lower cost visitor and recreational facilities shall be protected, encouraged, and, where feasible, provided. Developments providing public recreational opportunities are preferred." The Port wants to construct a luxury hotels on public trust lands that would be not considered low-cost, nor help facilitate recreation and public access. Fortunately, the Commission sent the Port back to the drawing board.
- Ventura City Council removes artificial turf from turf rebate program When members of the Ventura Chapter spoke at the City Council meeting and at subsequent venues, Council members and staff were reluctant to not allow artificial turf and instead planned to require that 50% of the landscape had to be living plants. After some reflection, a City Councilwoman made a motion at a subsequent Council meeting to not allow artificial turf and the motion passed 5-2.
- Governor Lifts Suspension on Coastal Act Immediately after the “Plains” oil spill at Refugio State Beach, the Governor issued a Proclamation of a State of Emergency that excludes Coastal Commission jurisdiction. While such proclamations are beneficial in that they provide necessary funding and resources to respond to an emergency such as this oil spill, the Governor unnecessarily suspended the California Coastal Act. A coalition of non-profits submitted a letter to the Governor asking him to reconsider his proclamation of suspending the Coastal Act—reminding him the Refugio oil spill occurred because regulatory oversight was weakened and this is not the time to further slaken State oversight. The Governor eventually lifted the suspension on the Coastal Act. Surfrider and partners sent him a “Thank you” note for his efforts.
- Polystyrene Foam Ban in San Luis Obispo The Surfrider Foundation San Luis Obispo Chapter worked in coalition with members of SLO FOAM Free to advocate for a ban on the distribution and retail sale of polystyrene foam products in the City of San Luis Obispo. This is a strong action to curb polystyrene foam litter and is more expansive than an ordinance that only applies to distribution of EPS food service wares. On June 2, 2015 the City Council unanimously passed an ordinance that prohibits the distribution or sale of polystyrene foam products not encased by more durable materials.
- Trestles Saved (Again) Surfrider Foundation achieved another victory against the Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency’s (TCA) attempts to secure a necessary water quality permit for its Tesoro Extension project. The San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board voted unanimously 6 to 0 to adopt findings that reinforced its decision of June 2013, when the Regional Board rejected the permit. The Tesoro Extension comprises the first five miles of TCA’s plan to connect the 241 toll road in Orange County to Interstate 5 in San Diego County. The project is part of TCA’s 16-mile toll road project that would bisect San Onofre State Beach, California’s fifth most popular state park, and protected natural lands in the Donna O’Neill Conservancy. If the full project is built, the state parks department has indicated it will abandon 60% of the state park because of the damage the toll road would cause. This vote was to adopt legal findings explaining why it rejected the toll road project represents the third time the Board has voted to stop the 241 extension project because of environmental concerns.
- Sanctuary Expansion in Northern California On March 12, 2015, NOAA finalized the expansion of the Gulf of Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries. The move by the Obama Administration enlarges the two adjoining sanctuaries by nearly 2,800 square miles, more than doubling their size. The boundaries now extend 50 miles north to Point Arena in Mendocino County. The sanctuary expansion protects the region’s outstanding marine ecosystem, fisheries, and recreational areas from the threat of oil and gas drilling. The area is one of the most ecologically significant in the world and contains a diverse assemblage of marine life and habitats, as well as a major upwelling zone that provides critical nutrients for the existing sanctuaries to the south. The expansion also enhances marine science and education opportunities, and protects vital socioeconomic benefits. The coastline of interest is used by thousands of Surfrider members and supporters for a variety of activities including surfing, diving, kayaking, beachcombing, fishing, and aesthetic enjoyment. These recreational and tourism opportunities support many local businesses such as motels, restaurants, and shops. The decision by the federal government follows years of effort by coastal advocates, community leaders, and legislators to make the proposed expansion a reality. Surfrider chapters in the region were long-time champions of the concept, providing outreach to community members and submitting public and written comments in support. Learn more.
- Hermosa Beach says No to offshore oil drilling On March 3, 2015 Hermosa Beach voters soundly rejected an oil company’s bid to install land-based "slant wells" to drill for oil off of Hermosa's coast. Final results showed 78.9 percent of voters —a more than 3-to-1 margin —had turned thumbs down on Measure O. Surfrider Foundation's South Bay Chapter was a leader in the fight against the proposal.
- Unified Beach Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Program Approved for South Orange County Surfrider Foundation was an active participant in a stakeholder group that worked for over two years to develop a Unified Beach Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Program in South Orange County. This unified program meets or exceeds the requirements for beach water quality monitoring and related public notification and reporting established by State law. The unified program is intended to be protective, reasonable, and equitable. It supersedes the existing routine, ongoing beach water quality monitoring programs conducted in south Orange County, eliminates duplicative monitoring, and standardizes procedures for public notification and additional sampling. All beaches in the program will be monitored year-round.
- Ocean Friendly Gardens Approach Top Of List For Panel Advising California Legislature California Assembly Bill AB 1420 (2007) (CWC §10631.7) directed the Department of Water Resources (DWR) to form an Independent Technical Panel (ITP) to provide information and recommendations to DWR and the Legislature on new demand management measures, technologies and approaches to water use efficiency. Early in 2014 they made recommendations to the legislature that became new state laws in regards to urban water planning. During Fall 2014 they started looking at landscape issues and wanted members of the landscape industry and trade organizations to present their perspectives on water management in the landscape industry to get a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities. Surfrider Foundation was a presenter and advocated for two key elements: the watershed approach (i.e., Ocean Friendly Gardens principles) and integrated governance. Both were incorporated into the first of six recommendations for items to be addressed in 2015.
- Ocean Friendly Gardens Approach Adopted By State Organization The California Urban Water Conservation Council (CUWCC) is a membership organization dedicated to maximizing urban water conservation throughout California by supporting and integrating innovative technologies and practices; encouraging effective public policies; advancing research, training, and public education; and building on collaborative approaches and partnerships. Surfrider is on the Board of Directors and has been an active member of the Landscape Committee. Surfrider helped shift the focus of the Committee from irrigation efficiency to adopting the watershed approach. CUWCC has now adopted the watershed approach (what they have called The New Norm), promoting it through two symposia that were co-sponsored by the four state agencies that affect landscapes: State Water Resources Control Board, Department of Water Resources, CalRecycle and Department of Pesticide Regulation.
- San Diego Pure Water Program Approved! The work of numerous activists with Surfrider's San Diego County Chapter over a period of many years paid off on November 18, 2014 when the San Diego City Council voted unanimously to approve Pure Water San Diego, a program which will significantly reduce wastewater discharges to the ocean and produce 83 million gallons per day (mgd) of high quality drinking water. Read more.
- Encinitas Bag Ban Passed On September 10th, the town of Encinitas in North County San Diego adopted a final version of the single-use plastic bag ban. This ordinance also requires a fee on paper bags of no less than 10 cents. Stores may also rebate customers 5 cents for bringing their own bag, a custom that some local stores invoked several years back. The ordinance goes into effect in large grocery stores on March 10, 2015, and applies to all other retail stores and farmers markets by September 10, 2015. The San Diego County Chapter worked for over 5 years to secure this local bag ban ordinance victory and the final version was recorded on October 16, 2014.
- California Legislature Approves Statewide Bag Ban with SB 270 On August 28, 2014, the California Assembly approved SB 270, a bill to ban single-use plastic shopping bags and put a fee on paper bags. The bill then headed to the Senate for a concurrence on August 29th and was signed off by Gov. Jerry Brown in September. Gov. Brown noted that this may be the first statewide law to ban bags, but it won't be the last. The bill was authored by California State Senators Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima), Kevin DeLeon (D-Los Angeles) and Ricardo Lara (D-Huntington Park/Long Beach). These Senators partnered with the environmental community, the California Grocers Association, workers unions, industry and the public to create a statewide solution to the problem of single-use plastic bag pollution. This victory marks the culmination of a six year effort to promote bag ban legislation in the state capital.
- New CA Law Allows HOA Residents to Plant Climate Appropriate Landscaping Without Being Fined The Governor signed AB 2104 into law to clarify that homeowners in common interest developments (like HOAs) can plant “climate appropriate landscaping” without fear of being fined. Unfortunately some residents have been fined by HOAs for planting drought tolerant landscaping and this law ends that practice. The law will ultimately help improve water supply, water quality, and more. Landscaping is the largest residential water use, consuming 30%-70% of water useage, depending on where one lives in California. This landscaping can generate urban runoff, the #1 source of ocean pollution. Replacing turf grass and sprinklers and directing rainwater into the landscape can go along way to preventing dry- and wet-weather runoff, reducing flooding, and soaking up carbon from the atmosphere.
- Martin's Beach Access Bill Signed Governor Brown signed SB 968, a bill that requires a timeline and process for the State Lands Commission to acquire public access to Martin's Beach. The bill directs the Commission to enter into negotiations (for a period of one year) with the landowner who has blocked public access; and if at the end of that year negotiations have not been fruitful, State Lands may opt to use other mechanisms to acquire and facilitate access.
- Governor Signs Rapid Water Quality Testing Bill The passage of SB 1395 allows county public health officials to use an “early alert” system that tests water quality at local beaches and provides much faster results than the current method. The new method would produce testing results within hours, instead of the current 24 to 48 hours waiting period. This bill not only strengthens water quality protection, but will also increases public safety, as ocean users will know in “real time” what pollutants are present.
- Governor Signs Bill to Boost Water Supplies and Curb Ocean Pollution The signage of this law makes it easier for public agencies in California to fund and build projects that capture and reuse stormwater and urban runoff. The bill, AB 2403, formally clarifies the definition of “water” under Prop 218 (passed by voters in 2002) to include urban runoff and all other potential water sources. Recognizing that stormwater has become a valuable source of local water supply, Surfrider advocated for this bill because we believe it’s vital to capture urban runoff and stormwater and recharge to the groundwater.
- Save Trestles Despite the toll road being resoundingly rejected in 2008 by State and Federal agencies, toll road developers are trying to build the road in segments. Last year at a Regional Water board hearing, Surfrider and Coalition partners won a huge victory when the “first segment” was denied. Toll road developers tried to appeal the decision to the State Water Board. On Sept 23 2014, the State Water Board rejected TCA's request to weaken California's water quality protection laws and overturn the regional board decision--thus rejecting TCA's toll road extension project.
- Governor Signs Bill to Improve Coastal Commission Transparency Governor Brown signed AB 474, legislation that would improve the transparency of individual meetings with California Coastal Commissioners. AB 474 provides an update to the current requirements. Currently, Commissioners must only disclose individuals who initiate a meeting. Under the new law, Commissioners must disclosure the identity of everyone who participates in ex parte communications. Surfrider supported this bill because it is important the Commission is operating in an open, transparent, and impartial manner.
- Coastal Commission Receives Authority to Fine Coastal Act Violators In yet another “budget victory”, the Commission will now be able to pursue fines when individuals to not comply with the Coastal Act; for example when private landowners posts illegal “no parking” or no “beach access” signs. Of the 2,000 outstanding Coastal Act violations, the majority of cases are from illegal efforts to block public access. This new Coastal Commission authority critically protects the public’s right to access the beach.
- Budget Victory for the Coast The 2015 State budget includes $3M in funding for the Coastal Commission to partner with local governments to complete and update Local Coastal Programs (LCPs). Surfrider advocated for this funding because LCPs are the backbone of the Coastal Act and how local communities protect our vast coastline. Unfortunately, many coastal communities have not completed their plans and most have not updated their plans in 20-30 years; so the additional funds are much needed and will help the State protect coastal resources at the local level.
- Climate Change Adaptation Incorporated Into State Budget In June of 2014, the Governor signed the State budget that included the establishment of the “Climate Resilience Account” which gives $3 million to coastal agencies to address Sea Level Rise and Climate Change. Surfrider advocated for coastal protection in the budget process and we are delighted to see such progressive measures to plan effectively for Climate Change.
- Manhattan Beach Goes Smoke Free...and More! Three years of persistence finally paid off in June 2014 when the Manhattan Beach City Council voted unanimously to ban outdoor smoking CITYWIDE (with no designated smoking areas). The ban also includes e-cigarettes. The only place anyone will be allowed to smoke is in a moving automobile, or in a private residence - all other areas within the City of Manhattan Beach will be smoke-free. This is one of the strongest outdoor smoking bans anywhere, and fits nicely with the strongest polystyrene food service ware ban (approved September 2013 and adopted on April 1, 2014) (see below), the repeal of the restaurant exclusion to the single-use bag ban (also adopted on April 1, 2014), and the single-use plastic bag ban originally passed on July 1, 2008 (which was delayed 4.5 years by a lawsuit that was eventually won by Manhattan Beach in the California State Supreme Court). By these actions, the City of Manhattan Beach takes the lead as arguably the most environmentally progressive city in the South Bay, and perhaps within the State of California. When fully implemented, Surfrider's South Bay Chapter hopes the combination of these three Rise Above Plastics initiatives (single-use plastic bag ban ordinance/polystyrene food service ware ban ordinance/citywide outdoor smoking ban ordinance) will play a major role in helping to establish and maintain a clean and healthy beach and ocean environment for Manhattan Beach. Though no designated smoking areas have been allowed, the City may wish to install cigarette butt receptacles in strategic areas as a protective measure to help prevent cigarette butts from potentially being discarded and entering the storm drain system. The South Bay Chapter has pledged to the City of Manhattan Beach to supply cigarette butt receptacles to the City, much as they did for the City of Hermosa Beach.
- "Fruitstands" Public Beach Access Restored Local Surfrider activists with the Ventura County Chapter have successfully restored public access to the beach near McGrath State Beach in Oxnard, CA. Surfers, fishermen, and beachgoers have accessed the “Fruitstands” surf break for decades by parking near the namesake fruit stand across the street. Over the years this beach has remained relatively wild and uncrowded because of its anonymity and access – an increasingly rare commodity in Southern California. In May 2012, Surfrider members reported that a new gate had been installed on the access road off Harbor boulevard. It turned out that Venoco oil company was drilling new wells near the beach and had installed fences to keep people out of the construction zone. Unfortunately, the renewed industrial activity had precluded public access to the beach. This limited access was compounded by the periodic closures of McGrath State Beach. Surfrider contacted the California Coastal Commission in 2012, and they issued a “Notice of Violation” of the California Coastal Act, stating, “the unpermitted fencing forms a new obstruction to potential public access to the beach.” The Ventura County Planning Division administers the Conditional Use Permit for the Venoco operations, and updated the permit this year. Surfrider wrote a letter and attended the public hearing on March 27th, 2014 to ensure that public access provisions were accounted for in the new permit. In the end the County allowed Veneco to simply remove the original yellow pipe gate and leave the new chainlink gate in place. Although from the street it still appears to be blocked, pedestrian access is now possible around the gate. So for now at least, coastal access has been restored at Fruit Stands!
- Ventura Approves Curb Cuts to Reduce Runoff The Ventura County Surfrider Chapter, having already worked with G3/Green Gardens Group on a retrofit of a property’s landscape, wanted to address runoff in public rights-of-way, e.g., street. The Chapter worked with G3 and the City of Ventura to pilot a parkway curb cut design and installation at a residence. G3’s design has now become a standard for the City. The result is that the City of Ventura has released guidelines for property owners to pull a no-cost permit to cut the curb and plant a bio-basin, i.e., tree with mulch and plants. The permit appears to be the only one in the country that has no cost, just requires a simple drawing and has a quick turn-around. Approval of this no-cost permit is a potentially precedent-setting action by the Ventura Public Works Department that should facilitate future similar projects in Ventura and perhaps elsewhere in Southern California. More info.
- Sonoma County Bag Ban To reduce single-use plastic pollution via a ban on single-use plastic bags, the Sonoma County Waste Management Agency voted to ban single-use plastic bags and put a fee on paper bags starting March 21, 2014. Activists with Surfrider's Sonoma Coast Chapter helped achieve this victory.
- Santa Barbara Reusable Bag Ordinance On October 15th, 2013 the Santa Barbara City Council gave final approval to a citywide plastic checkout bag ban at all food retailers in the city that is scheduled to take effect in six months at larger stores then twelve months at small stores. The ordinance includes a ban on plastic checkout bag and ten-cent fee on paper checkout bags at grocery stores and other retailers that sell groceries as the incentive to remember your reusable bag or go without a bag for small purchases.
- Governor Signs Bill That Will Help Fund Conservation Programs For our second victory during the 2013 legislative season, the Governor signed AB 754. This legislation provides a "check off box" that taxpayers can use to contribute to California Coastal Commission Whale Tail Grants program. The Whale Tail programs funds non-profits who are doing ocean conservation work. Surfrider has received Whale Tail grants to conduct our water testing, beach cleanups and Ocean Friendly Garden program. Don't forget to check the box on your next tax return!
- Governor Signs Sea Level Rise Planning Bill Surfrider actively worked on AB 691, a piece of legislation that requires public trust lands to analyze and plan for impacts from sea level rise. With climate change now a stark reality, our state and local entities must begin actively planning for sea level rise. Surfrider lobbied for AB 691 because we believe it's important that local trustees take reasonable steps to protect public trust lands from sea level rise. More specifically, we strongly support AB 691 requiring trustees to explain how to protect and preserve natural and man-made resources and facilities located, or proposed to be located, on trust lands and operated in connection with the use of trust lands.
- Manhattan Beach Polystyrene Ban On September 10th, 2013 the Manhattan Beach City Council gave final approval on an ordinance to ban polystyrene food service items - both foam and clear containers! Polystyrene is typically a top ten item found at beach cleanups, is rarely recycled and there are possible health concerns linked to polystyrene. There was lots of discussion over the previous few months about what type of ordinance to pass and some council members expressed interest in adding on items such as straws, lids and coolers in the future. The Surfrider Foundation South Bay Chapter tracked the issue, sent in letters of support and testified at council hearings. Update: The ordinance was adopted on April 1, 2014.
- Pedestrian Path Moved Landward, Preserving Beach With the help of the Coastal Commission and Long Beach’s own Commissioner Robert Garcia, Surfrider got way more than it was asking for in regards to the proposed pedestrian path. Originally, the City of Long Beach was proposing to add a new pedestrian path parallel to the existing dual use bike/pedestrian path on the seaward side of the existing path. After much flak from a whole host of environmental groups, the City and California Coastal Commission staff came up with a handful of modifications and special conditions that would move both paths landward in specific areas. This significantly reduced the likelihood that the new paths would interfere with coastal processes. In addition to these improvements, Garcia asked that the commission require that any new work take place on the landward side of the existing path and that the gap between the paths be minimized. On top of this, the commission asked that City staff work to minimize the loss of beach parking spots at the Belmont Pier. The Long Beach Beach Chapter of Surfrider Foundation is extremely happy with the results of the Coastal Commission hearing and thanks all the other environmental activists that worked so hard on this issue. We still have more work to do in minimizing or eliminating the sandy gap between the paths and minimizing the amount of new pavement on the beach, but for today we’ll hoist a beer and celebrate a great victory for the beach.
- Governor Includes Critical Funding for Coastal Commission Surfrider, along with several partners, advocated that Governor Jerry Brown include $4 million dollars in additional funding for the California Coastal Commission to assist it and local governments address the critical challenge of updating Local Coastal Plans. This funding is essential to enable the Commission and local governments to begin to address the impacts of climate change. Rising sea levels and more frequent and intense storms mean that our public infrastructure, residential and commercial development, and valuable recreational resources will be increasingly threatened by coastal erosion and flooding. This is a great victory for the coast and comprehensive planning.
- City of Los Angeles Plastic Bag Ban After a ten-year process, Los Angeles became the largest city in the United States to ban plastic checkout bags in June 2013! The reusable bag ordinance includes a ten-cent fee on paper bags as the incentive to remember your reusable bags or to go without a bag for small purchases. The measure passed 11-1 and shows the commitment of city councilmembers to take action on plastic pollution. It is set to take effect beginning January 2014. Congrats to Surfrider's South Bay and West LA/Malibu Chapters along with all of the coalition members that supported this bag ban: Heal The Bay, Environment California and a host of other groups and inspiring activists.
- Los Angeles County Bag Ban Defense in Court On February 21, 2013, the California Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District affirmed the lower court judgment in favor of Los Angeles County in defending their municipal bag ban ordinance from an attack brought by the plastics industry, including Hilex Poly Co., in Schmeer et al v. County of Los Angeles. Surfrider Foundation was proud to support the County's argument with a "friend of the court" amicus brief in this appellate case. The actual Appellate Court opinion focuses specifically on the Court’s discussion about whether the charge for paper bags is a fee or tax. The Court concluded that a charge that goes to a private entity (e.g. the store) can never be a “tax” under Proposition 26, even if the charge is compelled by the government. A "tax" is a fee that is recouped by the government and used for a government program. The Court offers a full discussion of the history of the meaning of “tax” under California law. The California Supreme Court denied the industry's request for appeal of the Appellate Court ruling on May 15, 2013.
- Progressive Stormwater Permit for San Diego Region After months of meetings, reviewing documents, and three long days of public hearings on May 8th, 2013 the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board UNANIMOUSLY approved a new regional MS4 stormwater permit. The new permit represents a paradigm shift in stormwater management as it implements a watershed-based approach and moves from an “action oriented” permit to an “outcome oriented” permit. Best of all, the Regional Board sided with environmentalists and approved the permit without the “safe harbor” clause. The safe harbor clause was a major sticking point for Surfrider's San Diego County Chapter, and would have let copermittees (dischargers) who have not yet achieved clean water standards off the hook as long as they went through a few extra steps. At the two day hearing in April more than 35 Surfrider activists demonstrated their desire for clean water and disdain for the safe harbor clause which was essentially a “get-out-of jail-free-card." With an increased reliance on Low Impact Development (LID) the new regulations are a big step forward in actually achieving clean water standards. In the coming years, hopefully surfers and swimmers will have to worry less about ear infections, and will be able surf after it rains. This is a huge victory as contaminated stormwater is the largest contributor to ocean pollution and the reason we are not supposed to surf for 72 hours after a rain event.
- Culver City Plastic Bag Ban The Culver City Council approved a carryout bag ordinance that will ban plastic bags and put a ten-cent fee on paper checkout bags at grocery stores and most food retailers. In December 2012 the City Council voted 5-0 to draft the bag ordinance language and do an environmental review based on the LA County ordinance model. In May 2013 the ordinance was finalized, approved unanimously, and will be effective November 2013.
- Huntington Beach Reusable Bag Ordinance The Surfrider Foundation Huntington Beach/Seal Beach Chapter worked with the City of Huntington Beach to establish a plastic checkout bag ban since 2011 and it was finalized April 1st, 2013 and is set to take effect on November 1, 2013. The ordinance will ban plastic checkout bags and place a 10 cent fee on paper bags at retailers that use a high quantity of checkout bags. Plastic bags are made from non-renewable resources such as natural gas and oil. Plastic bags do not biodegrade in our lifetimes and can impact wildlife when littered - in addition being an eyesore, costing taxpayer dollars to pick up, and potentially clogging drains. While plastic bags are recyclable, recent reports show a dismal 5% recycling rate from the 115 billion bags used nationwide. Huntington Beach is a leader on the issue in Orange County and we thank the City Council for their support.
- Sonar Testing in Southern California Rejected The California Coastal Commission ruled unanimously to reject a Navy explosives and sonar training program off the coast of Southern California. Commissioners said the Navy lacked enough information to back up its argument that the threat to marine ecosystems would be negligible. Many of the Commissioners were concerned the sonar would be especially dangerous to Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and endangered marine mammals. Surfrider opposed the Navy sonar testing because we were also concerned the testing would impact newly established MPAs. With this decision, the Navy must go back to the drawing board to ensure impacts to marine life will be avoided and mitigated. Watch this video for news coverage on the issue.
- State Recommends Trestles for National Register of Historic Places Citing its contributions to California’s surf culture, the State Historic Preservation Commission unanimously recommended on February 8, 2013 that Trestles in north San Diego County be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The application for the historic designation was made by Surfrider Foundation. Read more.
- Favorable Court Ruling in Martin's Beach Case In February 2013 Judge Davis granted the County of San Mateo District Attorney’s motion to dismiss the trespassing charges filed against five surfers accessing Martin’s Beach.
- "The Surfrider Foundation San Mateo Chapter heartily congratulates the Martin's Beach five on their significant legal victory in favor of open beach access that reaches far beyond this specific case to all of California and the nation,” said Michael Wallace, with the San Mateo Chapter. “Their determination not to be bullied and or shaken from their principles that beach access is for all, not just a privileged few, is a tribute to their integrity and character. By personally shouldering the legal burden in court they have quickly cut to the nub of the access issue, which was being stretched on indefinitely by the new owners to the harm of the next generation of beach goers. We applaud them for their tenacity and foresight."
- Two years ago, apparent Martin’s Beach owner and Sun Microsystems founder Vinod Khosla made a decision to close the access road to the popular beach just south of Half Moon Bay. These actions have denied the public their right to access a stretch of coastline that has been open for decades for fishing, surfing, and recreation. The County has reached the conclusion that they will not defend the property owner’s allegations that this is a private beach that cannot be accessed from the nearest public road. Read more.
- Re-defeated Pismo Beach Seawall The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and City of Pismo Beach had proposed to build two seawalls at St. Andrews Lift Station (Seacliff Dr. and Baker Ave.) and Vista del Mar Lift Station (Vista del Mar Ave. and Ocean Blvd) in Pismo Beach. On March 9, 2011, the Coastal Commission objected to consistency determination and effectively denied the proposal. In January 2013, a resurrected version of the seawall for St. Andrews Lift Station came before the Coastal Commission. Although the new proposed sculpted seawall project was an improvement from the previously proposed rock revetment, the project in its essence was still seeking to armor an 80+ year old lift station which should be moved instead of protected. The Commission conditionally concurred with the consistency determination and is requiring that the City of Pismo Beach return to the Commission in five years with a plan to move the threatened infrastructure. Surfrider's San Luis Obispo Chapter has provided long-term leadership on this issue.
- Capitola Plastic Bag Ban Capitola City Council passed the first reading for their plastic checkout bag ban in December 2012 and a final reading is passed on January 10, 2013. The ordinance will go in effect on April 10, 2013. City Council delayed taking action on the issue a few times and some viewed this as the last chance for awhile to get a bag ban ordinance on the books. Environmental groups including Surfrider Foundation Santa Cruz Chapter, Save Our Shores, and Environment CA rallied and nearly all of the input the council received was in favor of the ban. The plastic bag ban vote was unanimous then council took the somewhat bold move of placing a 25 cent fee (instead of 10) on paper checkout bags as an incentive for people to remember their reusable bags.
- Seismic Testing on Central CA Coast Stopped On November 14th, 2012 the California Coastal Commission unanimously denied PG&E’s proposal to conduct seismic testing off of the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant. The Commission denied the project because the harm to the marine environment and ocean recreation was significant while only providing marginal benefits to estimating earthquake hazards. Over 400 people turned out in opposition to the project of all ages and walks of life from environmental activists, fisherman, local business owners to surfers. The public presence had a major impact on the decision. The public turnout was backed by great work by a coalition of leading coastal and ocean environmental groups that provided sound arguments for denial of the project. Special thanks to the Surfrider San Luis Obispo Chapter for their early leadership on this issue.
- Stopped Parking Fees at Santa Barbara County Beaches Thanks in part to Surfrider Foundation’s Santa Barbara Chapter, the County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously against proposed beach fees. In order to raise money to maintain and operate park and beach amenities (restrooms, parking lots) the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors considered parking fees at County Beach Parks. The proposal considered a flat daily rate or a tiered system, wherein parking fees would be paid hourly for day use beach parking fees at seven County beaches: Rincon Beach, Loon Point, Lookout Park, Arroyo Burro Beach, Goleta Beach, Ocean Beach and Guadalupe Dunes Park. The Santa Barbara Chapter generated public opposition to beach fees and campaigned to keep beaches open and free for all to enjoy. The SB Chapter campaigned aggressively to build a strong voice in opposition to the proposed fees.
- Hermosa Beach Polystyrene Foodware Ban The Hermosa Beach City Council passed an ordinance to ban polystyrene take-out food packaging after a public process that spanned more than a year. The ban will prohibit restaurants and eateries from distributing to-go food and beverage containers made of expended foam polystyrene. The Hermosa Beach ban on single-use polystyrene take-out containers and foodware was backed by several environmental groups and was first crafted by the city's own Green Task Force, an 11-member committee. Surfrider Foundation South Bay Chapter members remain involved at various Green Task Force and City Council meetings regarding the ban along with sending in letters of support and rallying support from the public and businesses along with the help from other groups such as Heal The Bay.
- City of Santa Cruz Expanded EPS Foam Ban In July 2012 the Santa Cruz City Council updated their existing expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam ban at restaurants to include most retail foam items as well. The ordinance language specifies that no vendor or event promoter in the City of Santa Cruz may sell, rent or otherwise provide any polystyrene/plastic foam product which is not wholly encapsulated or encased within a more durable material. This specifically includes, but is not limited to, cups, plates, bowls, clamshells and other products intended primarily for food service use, as well as coolers, containers, ice chests, shipping boxes, pool or beach toys, packing peanuts, or other packaging materials. Local Chapter activists sent in support letters, petitions and spoke at council meetings. Congrats to the Santa Cruz Chapter and other local organizations working on these important issues.
- California State Parks will Not Close In May of 2011, Governor Brown announced that nearly 25% of California State Parks would shut down in order to help “close the State’s budget gap”. Upon hearing the Governor’s decision, Surfrider and our partners from the “Save our State Parks” coalition engaged the Governor and the legislature by lobbying against drastic closures and by encouraging decision makers to seek long-term funding. A reprieve came when the Governor signed a budget that allocated millions of dollars to the state park system. In addition to receiving funding through the budget, State Parks are staying open due to local partnerships. Over the past year, the state has reached agreements with nonprofits, local governments and other entities to maintain and operate State parks. Of course, Surfrider realizes that this might be only a short-term victory and we foresee other threats to Parks from budget cuts, but for now… we are celebrating this success and our hard work. Read more.
- Stopped Expansion of Rock Revetment in Dana Point Orange County Beaches and Parks Department proposed rebuilding and expanding a 1300-foot rock revetment along the Niguel Shores coastline in Dana Point. The new wall would have dramatically impacted shoreline processes, sand supply and public beach access over the next 30 years. Neither the county nor the homeowners that would benefit from the wall had offered any sort of mitigation to offset these impacts.
- Defeated Bad Coastal Act Legislation In February 2012, Surfrider learned about legislation that was written to gut the Coastal Act. The poorly written legislation (AB 2211, Jones) would have fundamentally altered the law so that new coastal development would be approved that would otherwise not be allowed under the Coastal Act’s existing provisions. For us “coast-huggers” the Coastal Act is like our bible—the law of the land. No other state in the Nation has such a protective law on the books that ensures responsible development, protects scenic landscapes, secures recreational opportunities, and preserves critical habitats and species. When Surfrider learned about the bill, we hit the ground running and partnered with diverse organizations to stop the bill. We created resources explaining the impacts of the bill and began reaching out to Committee members in Sacramento that would ultimately determine the fate of the bill. After weeks of lobbying and hard work, on May 7, Surfrider testified at a Committee hearing in Sacramento where we successfully garnered all the votes needed to kill the bill (final vote was: 6 to 3). This was a huge victory for Surfrider! Thanks to all of our partners who worked tirelessly with us. Read more.
- Solana Beach Bag Ban In a remarkable day for ocean conservation and advancing environmental safeguards in San Diego County, the Solana Beach City Council voted unanimously in April 2012 to pass an ordinance banning single-use plastic bags, becoming the first city in San Diego County to pass such legislation. San Diego County chapter website.
- Santa Cruz World Surfing Reserve Designated On February 3, 2011, Save The Waves Coalition and World Surfing Reserves announced that the area from Natural Bridges to Opal Cliffs in the City and County of Santa Cruz would be designated as a World Surfing Reserve. The formal announcement was made on March 3, 2011 and the formal dedication occurred on April 28, 2012. The designation creates the world's 4th surfing reserve and adds these areas to the growing list of reserves established to proactively protect surf breaks and facilitate local stewardship. At least 23 consistent surf breaks are sited along this coast, including the world-class breaks of Steamer Lane and Pleasure Point. Santa Cruz proudly claims to be the location of the very first board surfing ever in North America, at the “Rivermouth” break in 1885, as documented in The Santa Cruz Surf. When three visiting Hawaiian princes had surfboards milled out of local redwood and demonstrated board wave riding for the first time, Santa Cruz was immediately established forever as the birthplace of surfing on the continent. A strong surf culture continues today as a key part of the area’s image, with many local residents embracing surfing as a central part of their lifestyle. This effort was led by Surfer's Environmental Alliance, facilitated by Save the Waves Coalition through their World Surfing Reserves program, and supported by the Santa Cruz Chapter of Surfrider Foundation amongst other local organizations, political bodies, and individuals.
- Ojai Plastic Bag Ban The Ojai City Council passed a final reading of a carryout bag ordinance on April 10, 2012 that bans plastic checkout bags at all retailers and places a ten-cent fee on paper bags at most stores as an incentive for people to remember their reusable bags. Ojai is a leader in California by being the first city in Ventura County to ban plastic bags. Congrats to the chapter activists and the Ojai Valley Green Coalition for their efforts.
- Solana Beach Local Coastal Plan After a 16-year-long campaign to ensure that seawalls along Solana Beach were properly mitigated, the Coastal Commission approved the City of Solana Beach's Land Use Plan that include a 20-year review of seawall permits and also set an 18-month timeline for the City to finalize their study to determine land lease and mitigation fees that ensure the public is properly compensated for the lost of public sandy beach. Visit the Campaign Website.
- Dana Point Plastic Bag Ban On March 6, 2012, the City of Dana Point, at the urging of environmental groups and local hotel resorts, passed a single-use plastic bag ban that will take effect on April 1, 2013. The law will not include a fee on paper bags, unfortunately, but was aimed at reducing the amount of plastic litter found in beaches, parks, roads and waterways. The ban will be targeted to stop single-use plastic bag distribution at all stores and city facilities, except for restaurant’s carryout bags. City staff were present at a November 2011 workshop hosted by Surfrider Foundation and Earth Resource Foundation to cover different plastic bag ban ordinance options and environmental review documentation. The City becomes the second in Orange County to approve such an ordinance, following neighboring Laguna Beach, whose City Council approved their ordinance at their Feb 18, 2012 Council meeting.
- Carpinteria Bag Ban The Carpinteria City Council voted on March 12, 2012 in favor of a ban of both single-use paper and plastic bags at major retailers in the city. Smaller stores also cannot provide plastic bags to customers but can provide a paper bag for ten cents. The 4-1 decision makes Carpinteria the first South Coast city to finalize a 'Reusable Bag Ordinance', one of the strictest throughout the state of California. Congrats to the Surfrider Foundation Santa Barbara Chapter for their efforts throughout this campaign! More info here.
- Adoption of the Central Coast Region Ag Waiver The Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board is responsible for regulating discharges from irrigated agricultural operations in all or parts of Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Monterey, Santa Cruz, and San Mateo counties. As opposed to permitting all operations individually, the Board has developed a program for such operations to follow; this is referred to the Ag Waiver. The Ag Waiver is intended to be a 5 year permit. Irrigated agricultural operations contribute significantly to the pollution of our coastal waterways, so the Central Coast chapters worked to engage over the past two years of the five year effort to encourage a program that works to improve water quality in the region. The 2012 Conditional Waiver of Waste Discharge Requirements for Discharges from Irrigated Lands was adopted by the Regional Board on March 15, 2012. Through efforts led by Monterey Coastkeeper, Environmental Defense Center, and Santa Barbara Channelkeeper, the waiver that was passed is now the strongest waiver in the state. Although the 2012 waiver does not include everything that our groups advocated for, this waiver does make headway from the 2004 waiver in several areas. It begins to address surface water toxicity, surface water nutrients, groundwater quality and riparian habitat protection. We look forward to participating in future iterations of this permit process and continuing to advocate for water quality improvement.
- Stronger EPA Rules for Cruise Ship Water Quality The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a federal regulation for stronger water quality protection in California waters by banning all sewage discharges from large cruise ships and other large ocean-going vessels off Calfornia's 1,100 mile-long coast. This No Discharge Zone ("NDZ") will go into effect in March 2012 and will also protect to surrounding major islands off the California coast. Recognizing the potential benefit to human health and water quality, Surfrider Foundation, along with Friends of the Earth and several other ocean conservation organizations, have pushed for these rules for years. The regulation will prevent more than 20 million gallons of vessel sewage from entering the state's coastal waters every year by regulating large passenger vessels and large oceangoing vessels over 300 gross tons in California marine waters up to three miles off the coast. More info.
- Dana Point Foam Foodware Ban The City of Dana Point passed an ordinance on Feb. 21, 2012 banning the use of expanded polystyrene food service ware at local food vendors, city facilities and city sponsored events. While considering an ordinance to ban plastic bags in 2011, City Council decided to take action on foam foodware - another top item found at beach cleanups. The South Orange County Chapter sprang into action to mobilize activists, generate support and speak in favor of the ordinance at city council hearings.
- Laguna Beach Plastic Bag Ban The City of Laguna Beach Environmental Committee recommended banning single-use plastic bags from all stores and city facilities, except for restaurant’s carryout bags. Grocery stores and pharmacies could provide recycled paper bags instead, for a fee. Like a previous ban on foam containers, businesses would have six months to use up their supply of the bags. After that, violators would receive a warning for the first offense, followed by increasing fines for additional offenses. City staff hosted a community workshop on the issue in October 2011. Laguna Beach City Council approved the ordinance at their Feb 7, 2012 City council meeting then confirmed it with a second and final vote on Feb 18, 2012.
- San Francisco Expanded Bag Ban The San Francisco County Board of Supervisors approved an expanded single-use bag ordinance in February 2012. This new ordinance bans plastic bags at all retailers, places a 10-cent charge on recycled-content paper bags, and requires that reusable bags for sale cost at least 10 cents (to curb the distribution of thicker-but-still-single-use plastic bags). The San Francisco Chapter of Surfrider Foundation supported the expansion of the existing ban on single-use plastic bags within the City of San Francisco, which will further reduce waste and encourage people to shop with reusable bags. Such an ordinance was needed to prevent marine debris, save money and reduce our dependence on finite natural resources. The new rules will go into effect Oct. 1 2012 for retail businesses and 2013 for restaurants.
- San Luis Obispo County Bag Ban In an effort to reduce waste, the SLO County Integrated Waste Management Authority is considering an ordinance to curb the use of single-use carryout bags. The SLO Chapter of Surfrider Foundation is working to support this effort, which will also prevent and reduce plastic marine pollution. On January 11, 2012 IWMA Board had a 'super vote' for the first time in their history and a super majority of board members passed one of the first countywide plastic bag bans in the U.S. This one covers both the unincorporated areas and all incorporated cities in the county. The ordinance bans 'single-use/disposable checkout bags' and puts a 10 cent fee on paper bags, which is a great way to help people remember their reusable bags. There was a wide variety of support from environmental groups such as Surfrider Foundation, SLO Coastkeeper and Sierra Club along with business interests such as the California Grocers Association, SLO Chamber of Commerce and the local waste hauler. It was a six year process with lots of research, public input and public hearings. Late in the process opposition and special interest groups tried some scare tactics in a last ditch effort to save the plastic bag. Fortunately the board saw through their veiled threats and questionable claims.
- City of Monterey Bag Ban The City of Monterey passed an ordinance to ban the sale of single-use plastic and paper bags, excluding produce and recycled-content bags, by all retailers, excluding restaurants. The ordinance places a $0.10 fee on recycled content paper bags, increasing to a $0.25 fee after 12 months. The Monterey Chapter supported this ordinance as a measure to reduce and prevent plastic marine pollution.
- City of Marina Polystyrene Ban In 2007, the Monterey Chapter began working with the Monterey Regional Waste Management District and supported their effort to draft a regional template for a polystyrene food service wares ordinance. The chapter worked with coalition members to build interest in Marina to adopt this ordinance locally. The City Council heard the issue a couple times in 2008 and decided to pursue an ordinance, but this item did not return to the council's agenda until September 2011. A first reading of the ordinance occurred in October 2011. The council waived the second reading and adopted the ordinance on their consent calendar Nov. 1, 2011. The Marina ordinance precludes food providers, special events promoters, and the City itself from using or providing food in disposable polystyrene foam containers. The ordinance further requires that all disposable food wares be biodegradable, compostable, or recyclable.
- Hermosa Beach Polystyrene Ban On October 26, 2011 the Hermosa Beach City Council approved moving forward with a ban on polystyrene take-out food packaging after a public process that has spanned more than a year. The ban will prohibit restaurants and eateries from distributing to-go food and beverage containers made of expanded polystyrene 'foam'. The Hermosa Beach ban on single-use polystyrene take-out containers has been backed by several environmental groups and was first crafted by the city's own Green Task Force, an 11-member committee. Surfrider Foundation South Bay Chapter members spoke at various Green Task Force and City Council meetings regarding the ban along with sending in letters of support and rallying support from the public and businesses.
- City of Manhattan Beach CA smoke-free beaches extension The City of Manhattan Beach voted unanimously to extend its smoke-free beaches and parks policy to include its bustling pedestrian Strand and Greenbelt. This is significant not only for residents and visitors in Manhattan Beach, but also for the region and beyond as smoke-free beach policies to date have generally excluded areas adjacent to beaches, which often end up becoming the de facto smoking areas.
- Stopped Coastal Armoring at Sloat, San Francisco The City/County of San Francisco applied for a permit from the California Coastal Commission to allow after-the-fact armoring (a 600 ft. rock revetment built in 1997 and a 15 ft add-on rock revetment built in 2010), permit emergency armoring (425 ft of rock revetment placed in 2010), permit beach monitoring polls after-the-fact, and allow additional armoring (70 ft. of additional revetment added to the 2010 revetments and two tangent pile walls). The Surfrider Foundation San Francisco Chapter worked with local partners including Save the Waves Coalition to stop this armoring and allow for completion of the Ocean Beach Master Plan process so that community-supported long-term erosion response strategies could be identified. The Coastal Commission decided unanimously to deny the project, with some Commissioners calling for enforcement action and the removal of the unpermitted armoring.
- Strands Beach Access Saved Surfrider Foundation South Orange County won a court victory to maximize beach access rights at Strands Beach on the Dana Point Headlands. In 2006, the Headlands LLC Developer received coastal development rights from the California Coastal Commission only if maximized public beach access and partial conservation of the Headland was guaranteed. In 2010, after the residential development was built, gates and limiting hours were established to restrict the main central accessway most heavily used by the public. Surfrider Foundation fought these excessive beach access restrictions in court and won. On June 1st, 2011 Judge Joan M. Lewis ruled in favor of open beach access at the Dana Point Strands Beach. Specifically, she ruled that the City of Dana Point’s severe beach access restrictions are unlawful because the record put forth by the City was “entirely lacking in evidentiary support for declaring a nuisance and that the City acted arbitrarily and capriciously in making such a declaration.” More info.
- Long Beach Bag Ban Long Beach City Council voted to finally ban the plastic bag in the port city and put a 10 cent fee on single-use paper bags in the Long Beach City area on May 24, 2011 after the second reading of the ordinance. Mayor Bob Foster subsequently signed the ordinance. The ban will specifically affect supermarkets, large pharmacies, farmers markets and retailers in the city limits. After the state legislators failed to pass AB 1998 last year, a statewide ordinance banning single-use plastic bags and putting a fee on paper bags, Long Beach became one of the 7 municipalities in California to step up with a bag ordinance on their own.
- Defeated Pismo Beach/Shell Beach Seawalls The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and City of Pismo Beach had proposed to build two seawalls at St. Andrews Lift Station (Seacliff Dr. and Baker Ave.) and Vista del Mar Lift Station (Vista del Mar Ave. and Ocean Blvd) in Pismo Beach. The initial proposal did not give serious consideration to non-armoring alternatives and failed to recognize existing public access at the St. Andrews site. The San Luis Obispo Chapter conducted a beach access survey and provided photo documentation to help bring access issues to light and wrote comments on the CEQA/NEPA document and to the Coastal Commission to convey the chapter's concerns. On March 9, 2011, the Coastal Commission objected to a consistency determination and effectively denied the proposal.
- Marin County Bag Ban Surfrider Foundation Marin Chapter and other non profits teamed up to persuade Marin County to ban single use bags. "We started this with Surfrider Foundation Marin three years ago," said David McGuire, Rise Above Plastics Coordinator for Surfrider Marin and Director of the ocean non profit Sea Stewards. "There was a lot of initial support by the Supervisors, but AB 1998 delayed the local initiative. Following the defeat of the state bill, we regrouped with other non profits, including Green Sangha and pushed the initiative forward. There was some resistance from the industry and a call for an Environmental Review and other CEQA entanglements but the Supervisors stood strong. Over a million bags find there way into the Bay annually. We clean up thousands of pounds of plastic each year outside the Golden Gate. Initiatives like this will limit plastic pollution and help conserve our sensitive marine ecosystems and marine life."
- Santa Monica Bag Ban In a unanimous decision, Santa Monica City Council voted to pass a single-use plastic bag ban ordinance on January 25, 2011. The decision took nearly four years to pass completely, since the city was plagued by ongoing threats of litigation by the plastics industry. Enforcement of the ordinance begins September 1, 2011. It would prohibit all retail establishments from providing single-use plastic bags, but allows for paper bags to be sold for approximately a dime. Exempt from the plastic bag ban are restaurants and food trucks.
- Styrofoam Ban in San Clemente San Clemente City Council members unanimously approved an ordinance prohibiting the use of EPS (expanded polystyrene) in food service ware at food service establishments within the City. This action was supported by Surfrider's South Orange County Chapter and the San Clemente High School Surfrider Club.
- Southern California Establishes Marine Protected Areas After several years of hard work and negotiations, the CA Fish and Game Commission approved a network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in Southern California. Establishing MPAs along the coast is part of a larger process required by the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) of 1999. Surfrider Foundation worked tirelessly with diverse constituencies to help provide balanced input during the MLPA process.
- Los Angeles County Bag Ban Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted 3-1 (with one absent) to ban single-use plastic bags and put a 10 cent fee on single-use paper bags in the Los Angeles County area. The ban will specifically affect supermarkets and pharmacies in the County's unincorporated areas, which still affect over 1 million people. That makes this ban the largest municipal effort to date! More info.
- World Surfing Reserve at Malibu's Surfrider Beach This designation of Malibu is the first in a series of World Surfing Reserves planned for the iconic surfing coastlines of Australia, Hawaii and numerous other areas worldwide. World Surfing Reserves are nominated through a selection process and currently there are dozens of proposed WSRs covering nearly every continent on the planet. The WSR program, inspired by UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites, helps the surfing community to identify and preserve surfing heritage through their important surf breaks. More info.
- Clean Water At The 'Bu - Malibu Septic Prohibition On Tuesday, September 21, the California State Water Board voted unanimously (5/0) to support the Regional Water Board’s prohibition of septic systems in the Malibu Civic Center area. Commercial facilities must be off septics by 2015 and residential sites must be off by 2019. Septic systems in Malibu have long contributed to the chronic pollution problems at Malibu Creek, Lagoon, and Surfrider Beach. A central sewer system will significantly improve water quality by reducing the risk of septic systems leaching into the groundwater and contaminating the Malibu coastline with high levels of bacteria. This victory will also reduce the task of management and enforcement of on-site wastewater treatment systems (OWTS) that are faulty or not to code, a responsibility that the City of Malibu has repeatedly failed to accomplish. Millions of people visit Surfrider Beach each year. Removing septic systems in the lower Malibu Creek Watershed will significantly reduce the health risk for all who surf/swim along this stretch of coastline.
- Water Board Acts to Protect Coast and Delta from Devastating Power Plant Cooling Systems The State Water Resources Control Board adopted a final state Policy that will put California on a path to compliance with the Clean Water Act’s requirements for power plant cooling systems. Nineteen California coastal and Delta power plants use World-War II-era, “once-through cooling” (OTC) systems that pull in up to 16 billion gallons of coastal and Delta waters every year, killing marine life pulled into the plants and destroying many species caught on the plants’ screens. The Board’s new Policy will require power plants to phase out the impacts of this devastating practice. Surfrider Foundation partnered with the CA Coastkeeper Alliance on earlier lawsuits as well as a statewide advocacy campaign to urge the Water Board to make the right decision.
- Seawall proposed for Malibu’s Surfrider Beach is officially dead! The West LA/Malibu Chapter got the County of Los Angeles to reverse its plans to install a seawall at Surfrider Beach in Malibu. The seawall was planned to protect a new septic system for the beach restrooms from worst-case storm surges. The top of the seawall would have been 3 feet beneath the sand normally, but had the potential to become exposed during high winds or high surf. In addition, it could come into contact with waves and harm their shape during high surf or future rising sea levels. After much advocacy from the Chapter and partners at the Malibu Surfing Association, Santa Monica Baykeeper, and Heal The Bay, the County found a creative way to reconfigure the septic system so that it is located far enough inland to be out of the storm surge zone and not require a seawall.
- Defeat of Pro-Oil Drilling Legislation in California Assembly Bill 2719, which would have opened the California coastline to more drilling in state waters, was defeated in committee after staunch opposition from the environmental community. Surfrider Foundation, along with our partners at Environment California, embarked on a Not the Answer "road show" of 5 California towns to educate local Chapters and communities about the dangers of offshore drilling and the importance of defeating this bill. The victory was due to the efforts of all California Chapters and is a stepping stone towards positive legislation that we hope to establish to protect our coasts from more drilling. More info.
- Goleta Beach Saved - Groin Defeated On July 8, 2009 the California Coastal Commission overturned its staff's recommendation and denied Santa Barbara County's proposed groin project at Goleta Beach. The groin project would have trapped sand at Goleta Beach but in doing so would have prevented sand from reaching beaches to the east of Goleta causing erosion and damage to beach habitats. The Santa Barbara County Chapter worked closely with the Environmental Defense Center and several members of Surfrider's Environmental Issues Team to provide technical reports and comments at and leading up to the Coastal Commission hearing. More info.
- Judge Invalidates Water District Annexation of Gaviota Coast Lots A lawsuit filed by the Gaviota Coast Conservancy and Surfrider Foundation resulted today in a decision invalidating a 2008 action by the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) annexing prime Gaviota Coast parcels into the Goleta Water District. Without water service, development of the lots is more challenging. “This is a second significant ruling in two weeks for the Gaviota Coast” explained Gaviota Coast Conservancy President Mike Lunsford. “The laws and policies protecting the Gaviota Coast, mean very little if they are not followed by local decision makers. This decision restores reason and fair play in the permitting process, and puts Orange County developers on notice that this community will not stand by and allow them to play fast and loose with the Gaviota Coast.”
- Watsonville Bans Styrofoam Food Containers - Last in County, SANTA CRUZ COUNTY NOW STYRO-FREE The Santa Cruz Chapter is excited to announce that all jurisdictions in Santa Cruz County now have polystyrene food container take-out bans in place, banning the use of foam take-out containers in businesses selling food for immediate consumption, such as restaurants, ice-cream parlors and coffee shops. With the recent addition of Watsonville and Scotts Valley to the list, joining the City of Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz County and City of Capitola, Santa Cruz County is now the first and only multiple-jurisdiction county in California to have a styro-ban in all jurisdictions within the county limits. The Santa Cruz Chapter has engaged in this campaign for several years, so we see it as a strong win!
- Polystyrene Banned in Monterey The City of Monterey follows Carmel and Pacific Grove in Monterey County in passing this important ordinance to help alleviate the amount of marine debris entering our coastal waters. With Monterey subjected to vociferous opposition from the American Chemistry Council, the City Staff was compelled to write a Negative Declaration addressing the California Environmental Quality Act. This was a long but critical process in assuring that the ordinance was indeed environmentally sound and the best choice for the city and the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Throughout the process the Monterey Chapter was instrumental in garnering community and business support, addressing the myriad issues which City Staff had questions about, and amassing a strong coalition of 18 community and environmental organizations to support the ordinance. City residents were resoundingly in favor of the switch to recyclable and compostable alternatives, and the city council's vote was unanimous.
- Massive Playa Vista Development Stopped Surfrider Foundation’s South Bay Chapter, and their partners Ballona Wetlands Land Trust and the City of Santa Monica signed a settlement agreement that sends the controversial Phase 2 of the development back to the drawing board. The settlement terms establish that the Environmental Impact Report inadequately informed the public of the foreseeable harm to the local environment from the project. Consequently the City Council’s decision to grant development permits and entitlements have been reversed. This decision opens an opportunity for public acquisition of the property to fulfill the long held dream of restoring this relatively small, but critically important part of Southern California’s network of coastal wetlands. The Chapter has advocated using the space for “treatment wetlands” since the project’s inception.
- Toll Road Stopped at San Onofre State Beach/Trestles The U.S. Commerce Department upheld the CA Coastal Commission's decision to deny a permit for the Toll Road proposed to be built through San Onofre State Beach near Trestles. This 6-lane highway would have impacted a large portion of this State Park and the adjacent Land Conservancy, along with a multitude of natural, recreational and cultural resources. More info.
- Styrofoam Banned in Scotts Valley In a unanimous vote by Scotts Valley City Council on December 17, 2008, Scotts Valley joined Santa Cruz, Capitola, and Santa Cruz County in adopting a local ordinance to prohibit the use of polystyrene (Styrofoam) food take-out containers in all city businesses which offer take-out food or which allow customers to package and leave with uneaten portions of their meal. The new ordinance goes into effect six months from the date of the vote. The Santa Cruz Chapter was very active in encouraging Scotts Valley City Council to take this action, and we are pleased to see more and more local businesses eliminating polystyrene food containers from their stock. We believe this ordinance will not only help protect our many sea creatures which mistake small pieces of polystyrene for their natural food, but will also help convince other nearby jurisdictions to enact and enforce similar ordinances. The Chapter worked with twelve partner organizations in the "Wipe Out Plastic Takeout!" Coalition. Their long-range goal is a polystyrene-take-out-container-free county!
- Increased Protection for the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary After 7 years of planning and extensive public input, three marine sanctuaries off Central California issued a new joint management plan. The plan includes a 775 square mile expansion to include the Davidson Seamount, one of the largest known underwater mountains in U.S. coastal waters and home to a wide variety of marine species, prohibition of harmful discharges from cruise ships, restoration of the original limitation of motorized personal watercraft (MPWC) to four areas off the harbors, inclusion of a wintertime zone for tow-in surfing at “Maverick’s”, and efforts to reduce the introduction of non-native species. Through the Joint Management Plan Review process, the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary considered revisions and additions to its management plans, which created an opportunity to revisit the management of MPWC in the Sanctuary. The chapters along the Central California Coast participated in this process in hopes of affecting change to MPWC regulations.
- CA Beach Monitoring Funding Restored Surfrider’s Headquarters and several California Chapters, including San Diego, Monterey, Sonoma and Mendocino Counties were instrumental in re-establishing funding for California’s beach water quality monitoring program. The finds were abruptly cut by Governor Schwarzenegger in September 2008, completely terminating beach monitoring in some counties and severely restricting monitoring elsewhere. In response, Surfrider launched an Action Alert that over 2400 activists responded to that sent emails to the Governor and state legislators to restore funding. Our San Diego County chapter initiated a separate action alert to urge their members to contact county supervisors to secure a new source of funding. Other environmental groups including Heal the Bay and the California Coastkeeper Alliance also lobbied to get funding restored. Surfrider participated in conference calls with these groups and state and county public health officials to strategize on ways to resolve the funding issue. On November 4, 2008 the State Water Resources Control Board approved using Beach Grant funds from Prop 13 to backfill the beach funding for the fiscal year July 2008 through June 2009. There is also an option to extend this funding source for the 2009-2010 Fiscal Year. Surfrider will continue to work on this issue to identify a long term sustainable funding source to continue to fund this program for the future. History repeated itself in November 2010 when the State Water Board again voted to use State bond act funding to allow continuation of beach monitoring in 2011. There is still a pressing need to identify a sustainable funding source for this program.
- Smoking Banned on All Beaches in Santa Monica Bay The City of Redondo Beach passed a ban on smoking at city beaches and parks. This is the final city in all of Santa Monica Bay to do this. This ban eliminates smoking on the beaches thus improving the health and recreational experience of all beachgoers, reduces cigarette butt litter, reduces potentially harmful effects of cigarette butts being mistaken as food by birds and marine life, reduces the risk of burn from unextinguished cigarette butts in the sand, reduces the choking hazard of butts by children playing on the beach, and improves local water quality from cigarette butts leaching toxins into the sand and water zone. The South Bay Chapter is part of the South Bay Coalition for Smoke-Free Beaches which includes American Heart Association, American Lung Association, American Cancer Society, Beach Cities Health District and Girls Club of LA.
- Encinitas Plastic Bag Ban Ordinance After several months of collaborative work between Surfrider Foundation San Diego Chapter activists and the City of Encinitas, the City Council voted to ban plastic bags and put a fee on paper bags in an effort to reduce single-use plastic consumption by its residents. As the first city in San Diego County to pass a bag ban, this put the City of Encinitas at the forefront of the fight against plastic marine debris. As part of the ban ordinance, there was a specific directive that there be significant education and that it be phased in slowly to work with both residents and the business community – developing a reasonable plan and time frame. San Diego Chapter RAP volunteers collected close to 2,000 signatures from residents in support of a ban and presented them to the five City Council members. This victory was part of the Chapter's Rise Above Plastics campaign efforts to educate the public and encourage reusable bags and water bottles. More info.
- Plastic Bags Banned in Los Angeles Surfrider’s Rise Above Plastics campaign gained another boost from Los Angeles City Council when they voted to ban plastic carryout bags in the city's supermarkets and stores by July 2010, if the state fails to impose a 25-cent fee on plastic shopping bags. In addition, the council members voted to reduce urban blight and marine debris by banning all expanded polystyrene (EPS or Styrofoam) food service products from City-owned facilities and city-sponsored events by 2010. The city’s resolution is geared at motivating consumers to begin carrying reusable bags to reduce the amount of plastic that washes into the city's storm drains and the ocean. Representatives from Surfrider’s West Los Angeles/Malibu and South Bay Chapters were present to give testimony regarding the City’s proposal. The ban was proposed by Councilman Ed Reyes, who called plastic bags "the graffiti of the L.A. River."
- Ventura City Council Adopts Green Street Policy Recognizing that stormwater is an issue for which the time has come, the Ventura City Council approved a policy for Green Street Elements and Demonstration Project. This policy would effectively follow two of the recommendations made by the Surfrider Foundation in Solving the Urban Runoff Problem, A Vision for the Urban Watershed, Ventura, California:
- 1. Develop a green streets program and implement pilot projects
- 2. Promote and develop incentives for community-based action (i.e. Ocean Friendly Gardens)
- The Ventura Chapter feels that a 'green streets' strategy is the best way of dealing with the 'concrete jungle' that is impacting the health of our oceans. With this new policy, the city will earmark 20% of the street paving fund to begin incorporating 'Green Street elements' into repaving projects on a citywide basis. The city will also design and construct a pilot project to set the example for expanding throughout the city. More info.
- Manhattan Beach Passes Ordinance to Ban Plastic Carry-Out Bags The Manhattan Beach City Council voted unanimously to prohibit carry-out plastic bags. Speaking in support of the ordinance was Surfrider Foundation legal intern, Rachel Dorfman, as well as Craig Cadwallader, Chair, and Alan Walti, Environmental Coordinator, of the South Bay Chapter. Representatives of Heal the Bay, the Earth Resource Foundation, and Manhattan Beach residents, including one 9 year-old resident, also encouraged passage of the ordinance. The plan will be phased in over two time periods, with grocery stores, food vendors, restaurants, pharmacies, and City facilities being given a 6-month period from tonight, and one year for all other retail establishments and vendors.
- Plastic Bag Ban in Malibu In support of Heal The Bay's effort to address the problem of plastic bag litter in the marine environment, the West LA/Malibu Chapter successfully helped to convinced the Malibu City Council to ban both regular and biodegradable bags in all retail stores. This victory was part of the Chapter's Rise Above Plastics campaign efforts to educate members, the public, and local government officials about the dangers of plastic marine debris. More info.
- Protected Coastal Access at Strands Beach The developer at the Headlands in Dana Point attempted to remove a stairway providing beach access from the previously approved plan, citing geotechnical difficulties. The stairway had been a critical balancing point in the plan allowing the developer to build a gate blocking direct handicap access to Strands Beach. The CA Coastal Commission saw through this attempt to further limit access and denied the change.
- City of San Diego: Indirect Potable Reuse Following Surfrider’s and San Diego Coastkeeper’s 2002 lawsuits against the City of San Diego for improperly approving a waiver of secondary sewage treatment at its Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant, the environmental organizations entered into a multi-pronged settlement that required, among other things, that the City conduct a study of all available opportunities to increase water recycling within its service area. The environmental groups primarily sought to resurrect a previously failed Indirect Potable Reuse (IPR) project which would result in highly treated sewage being combined with San Diego’s raw water from the Colorado River or San Francisco Bay Delta. Sometimes called “toilet to tap,” the environmental groups nonetheless sought to re-initiate discussion among community leaders and citizens about the benefits of such a local source of water. After the production of a comprehensive Water Reuse Study involving numerous meetings, dozens of community leaders, and a technical advisory committee, the City Council finally took action. On October 29, 2007 the San Diego City Council approved a resolution authorizing the beginning steps of an Indirect Potable Re-Use (IPR) project in San Diego. The City Water Department was directed by the Council to:
- Execute a one-year demonstration project of the Advanced Water Treatment (AWT) process to begin July 1, 2008
- Conduct a current flow and detention study at the San Vicente Reservoir to ensure that any treated sewage added to the inflow would remain in the reservoir for at least one year before being processed for potable purposes
- Perform an independent energy and economic analysis for all water supply options in the Long-Range Water Resources Plan
- Conduct community education and outreach.
- The serious consideration and possible implementation of IPR would be an enormous victory for the environment. Not only would this new source of water be much more environmentally friendly than options such as desalination or imported water, it would also result in reduced flows of treated sewage into the Pacific Ocean via the Point Loma Ocean Outfall.
- City of San Diego Urban Runoff Management: Restrictions on Residential Over-Watering While significant strides have been made in recent years to control urban runoff from construction sites and industrial facilities, commercial and residential polluters have been too often overlooked. In particular, municipalities have been reluctant to require individual homeowners to abate the clearly wasteful practice of irrigation over-watering, despite the negative impacts to water supply and the fact that runoff from lawns and gardens consistently transmit bacteria, nutrient, and pesticide wastes to sensitive water bodies throughout the region.
- On January 22, 2008, at the request of the Surfrider Foundation's San Diego Chapter and San Diego Coastkeeper, an ordinance limiting residential over-watering was added to San Diego’s Jurisdictional Urban Run-off Management Plan (JURMP). Each city has to establish a JURMP to comply with the regional Municipal Stormwater Permit and the federal Clean Water Act (CWA). Securing this addition prohibition was monumental in that it sends a message to the entire region that we can no longer allow wasteful and polluting practices, regardless of whether they arise from businesses or private homes.
- San Diego Regional Municipal Stormwater Permit The San Diego Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation worked in coalition with the San Diego Bay Council to support the passage of the San Diego region’s 2007 Municipal Stormwater Permit. This permit spells out the stormwater control requirements applicable to all of the region’s cities, the County of San Diego, the San Diego Unified Port District, and the San Diego Regional Airport Authority.
- Building on prior litigation victories defending earlier iterations of the stormwater permit, Surfrider and its partners were successful in strengthening various controls on construction, industrial, municipal, commercial, and residential urban runoff discharges. Of particular interest to Surfrider, the new permit contains a requirement that local jurisdictions develop comprehensive regulations for Low Impact Development (LID) and runoff-sensitive site design standards. Such provisions will ensure that the problems of increased impervious surface cover and unsustainable changes to watershed hydrology will not continue. With most new development now required to accommodate historic water infiltration and flow regimes, Surfrider can turn its attention to enforcement of runoff standards and mechanisms to require retrofitting of existing development.
- Pacific Grove Polystyrene Ban The City of Pacific Grove has passed an ordinance prohibiting the use of polystyrene food service wares. The ordinance acts to reduce local non-biodegradable and non-recyclable waste at the source, preventing its eventual disposal on local beaches and in the ocean. The Monterey Chapter partnered with Sustainable Pacific Grove and Monterey Green Action to accomplish their goal.
- County of Santa Cruz Polystyrene Ban The County of Santa Cruz has passed an ordinance prohibiting the use of polystyrene food service wares. The Santa Cruz Chapter partnered with many other organizations to accomplish this victory.
- Fire Pits at Ocean Beach, San Francisco Beach-goers have enjoyed open fires at OB for over 100 years, starting when the booming San Francisco Fishing fleet supplied huge public "fish-fry" banquets out on the sand. Since then, thousands of San Franciscans from multiple generations have enjoyed this tradition. However, in recent years, the impacts of these fires have grown increasingly damaging to the fragile ecosystem of the beachscape, and poor usage has often left the beach trashed, challenging the National Park Service to maintain it to acceptable standards. After years of slowly reducing the area reserved for fires, the NPS finally moved to ban fires outright. Responding to the concerns of our membership, The San Francisco Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation agreed to organize the community to help the NPS maintain a series of new fire-pits, designed by local artists specifically for Ocean Beach, so that open fires would continue to be permitted.
- City of San Diego Sewage Settlement In 2001 the Surfrider Foundation and San Diego Coastkeeper sued the City of San Diego for chronic sewage spills. At that point the City of San Diego averaged almost a sewage spill a day, and had spilled more than 45 million gallons of sewage into local waters during the five years prior. The aim of the suit was to bring the City into compliance with the law, and to set an aggressive schedule for sewage infrastructure improvements to alleviate the deleterious affects of these spills on local waters. On May 22, 2007, the San Diego City Council approved a final settlement with the Surfrider Foundation, San Diego Coastkeeper and the U.S. EPA that will force the City to invest almost $1 billion in its sewage infrastructure through 2013. The settlement will also ensure the continuation of the City’s successful Sewer Spill Reduction Program that has resulted in an 83% reduction in spills since 2000. Two partial consent decrees had been approved previously initiating these improvements, however due to the City’s financial situation a long term settlement was not yet possible. With the recent wastewater rate increases the City has now been able to enter into a long term agreement which will ensure continued investment in the City’s sewage infrastructure over the next six years. Surfrider is extremely pleased with the outcome of this lawsuit and the significant reduction in sewage spills we have witnessed to date.
- City of Santa Cruz adopts ban on polystyrene food service wares. The City of Santa Cruz passed an ordinance prohibiting the use of polystyrene food service wares.
- Stopped Destructive Development Project at the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors voted to reject the application for a Coastal Development Permit and Coastside Design Review Permit to construct a 3,159 square foot addition to an existing 1,332 square foot residence and detached accessory building on a 11,103 square foot parcel, including the removal of one significant size Cypress tree for property located at 324 The Strand, unincorporated Moss Beach area. The Board voted 4 out of 5 to reject the permit and stopped the project in its tracks. The proposed addition was inappropriately sized considering the sensitivity of the local habitat and the proximity to the coastline within the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve. Also, once approved, this project would likely have required reinforced armoring of the shoreline.
- Prevented Parking Fees at Santa Barbara County Beaches The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors did not go forward with implementing parking fees at the county’s beach recreational areas. Surfrider Foundation Santa Barbara chapter spoke out in opposition of the beach parking fees.
- Capitola Polystyrene Ban The City of Capitola drafted an ordinance banning polystyrene foam from use as disposable food service ware and promoting the use of biodegradable and compostable food service wares. Due to pressure from the California Restaurant Association, the City had not officially approved or adopted the ordinance. The Santa Cruz chapter mobilized statewide support via electronic letters and broad-based local support via email, letters, phone calls, and testimony at City Council hearings from chapter members, scientists, restaurateurs, and food service management. The ordinance passed 3-2.
- Morro Bay/Cayucos Wastewater Treatment Plant Upgrade After years of hard work from the San Luis Bay Chapter of Surfrider and their allies, the era of the 301(h) waiver for the Morro Bay/Cayucos Wastewater Treatment Plant has come to an end. The Cayucos Community Service District Board and Morro Bay City Council both unanimously voted their intent to upgrade the Morro Bay/Cayucos Wastewater Treatment Plant to tertiary treatment standards. The plant currently operates under a 301(h) waiver that has exempted it for decades from meeting federal Clean Water Act standards and allows it to discharge effluent that has received only partial secondary treatment. The upgrade will increase the treatment to full secondary and include additional tertiary treatment—which means cleaner effluent and opportunity to reclaim water for non-potable use. This is a landmark moment for the Chapter, the communities of Morro Bay and Cayucos, and all Californians, as the upgrade of this plant will eliminate one of the two remaining 301(h) waivers in the state.
- Marine Protected Areas on the Central Coast, CA A network of Marine Protected Areas was enacted on the Central Coast as part of the Marine Life Protection Act. Surfrider and its partners have worked for several years with activists and stakeholders throughout California to help make this happen.
- Banned Plastic Bags in San Francisco The San Francisco Chapter of Surfrider Foundation is actively involved in encouraging community members and local businesses to reduce their use of plastic. The chapter, along with other environmental organizations attended a hearing for the Plastic Bag Reduction Ordinance at City Hall, on March 8, 2007. Chapter activists were there to support the passage of this very important ordinance and on March 27, 2007 San Francisco's Board of Supervisors voted 10-1 to make the city the first in the nation to prohibit petroleum-based plastic checkout bags in large markets and pharmacies.
- Surfer's Point Project Approval The Surfer's Point restoration project received final approval by CA Coastal Commission. This was the culmination of 10 year campaign. More info.
- Topanga water quality The West LA/Malibu Chapter convinced the California State Parks Department to test for and clean up ongoing water quality issues related to leaking septic systems at Topanga Lagoon and Beach. More info.
- Tidepool awareness and educational success in Los Angeles Surfrder's West LA/Malibu chapter compelled State Parks to implement successful Tidepool Awareness Program at Malibu and Point Dume and erect educational signage protecting intertidal marine life.
- New Water Quality Measures for Santa Monica Bay The West LA/Malibu and South Bay Chapters were part of a coalition of environmental groups and concerned citizens who successfully lobbied for inclusion of a bacteria Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) into Regional Water Quality Control Board Storm Water Permits for all municipalities draining into Santa Monica Bay.
- Removal of Rincon, CA septic tanks The Santa Barbara and Ventura chapters, in partnership with Heal the Ocean, compelled a state agency to force removal of septics at Rincon.
- San Diego Smoking Ban The San Diego Chapter worked successfully to convince the city coucil to pass a smoking ban for City of San Diego beaches and parks.
- Santa Monica Bay beaches smoking ban Surfrider's West LA/Malibu and South Bay Chapters partnered to ban smoking on beaches throughout Santa Monica Bay, home to most of Los Angeles County's beaches.
- Temporary seawall ban in Solana Beach The San Diego Chapter worked successfully for a ban on new seawalls in Solana Beach until a new ordinance is devised.
- Rockpile seawall stopped The South Orange County Chapter stopped plans to build a 300 foot seawall in front of "Rockpile" at Heisler Park in Laguna Beach.
- Coastal bluff in Santa Barbara saved. Protected open space on coastal bluff from development at Claire's Park.
- HB Desal EIR Rejected The Huntington Beach/Seal Beach Chapter helped convince the Huntington Beach City Council to reject the draft EIR on a proposed desalination facility. The chapter continues to oppose this facility, which would utilize a fish-killing water intake system.
- Funding Projects for UCSB Coast The Isla Vista Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation and the UCSB Environmental Affairs Board teamed up to create a board of directors that would give grants to projects benefiting the UCSB coast. This project has contributed over $100,000 to the coast.
- El Morro returned to Crystal Cove The South Orange County Chapter is part of a large coalition of environmental organizations who supported removal of a private trailer park and implementation of a State Park plan to return an area of Crystal Cove State Park to a more natural setting as a state park campground. The Coastal Commission approved this project in October 2004, the residents vacated the property in March 2006, the trailers were removed in late 2006. Restoration of the area and construction of new campsites and facilities began in July 2008.
- Approval of LB Breakwater Study The Long Beach Chapter helped convince a majority of the City Council to agree to study the removal of the southern breakwater and the return of waves to Belmont Shores.
To see all of Surfrider Foundation's coastal victories and campaigns, go here.
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