chapter accomplishments

2014 Quarterly Chapter Meetings were held in January and April. The January meeting was focused on Beach Preservation and the April meeting was centered around Rise Above Plastics and Hold On To Your Butt. Both meetings attracted close to 100 attendees.

2014 The chapter held three Core Volunteer Orientations and trained 75 volunteers.

2014 The chapter hosted two Advocacy 101 Trainings and trained 28 activists.

2014 The 14th Annual Art Gala attracted 450 attendees and raised over $32,000 to support the chapter’s mission of protecting oceans, waves, and beaches.

2014 The chapter celebrated the 10th Annual International Surfing Day on June 20th in Ocean Beach with a family-friendly event featuring free surfboard lessons, a showcase of local surfboard shapers, and an outdoor screening of the Endless Summer as this year marks the 50th anniversary of the classic film. Twenty people took advantage of the free surfboard lessons and there were over 300 people in attendance during the movie.

2014 From January-June, the Surfrider Foundation San Diego County Chapter in partnership with San Diego Coastkeeper held 80 beach cleanups, including both public and private cleanups.  During these cleanups, 3,863 volunteers removed 5,671 lbs of trash including 34,398 cigarette butts, 11,240 pieces of styrofoam and 3,073 plastic bags from San Diego County Beaches and surrounding areas.

2014 The annual Morning After Mess beach cleanup series was held on July 5th at the Ocean Beach Pier, Belmont Park, Crystal Pier, and the Oceanside Pier. In three hours, 648 volunteers removed 1,410lbs of trash and 326lbs of recycling including 14,796 cigarette butts, 489 plastic bags and 983 pieces of styrofoam from the beaches and surrounding areas. Here are the links to some media coverage of the event: UT, NBC7, 10News, and the OB Rag.

2014 The chapter’s Hold On To Your Butt committee installed 15 ashcans in Mission Hills, Clairemont Mesa (SDG&E), and Oceanside.  The committee also replaced 4 existing ashcans in Ocean Beach, Pacific Beach, and Hillcrest.

2014 The chapter hosted a free screenings of the award-winning documentary Bag It at Bottlecraft and 50 people attended.

2014 The chapter’s Rise Above Plastics committee held their annual Rise Above Plastics Day where 30 volunteers distributed 5000 free reusable bags across four locations in the City of San Diego.

2014 The chapter’s Ocean Friendly Gardens committee ran a Hands On Workshop in Carlsbad where 12 people attended and learned about water savings and pollution reduction strategies for our landscapes. This was followed by a Garden Assistance Party where volunteers returned to the site of the Hands On Workshop to transform a traditional landscape into an Ocean Friendly Garden!

2014 The chapter committed to provide in-kind work to participate in a statewide grant to further Direct Potable Reuse and public acceptance of recycled water.

2014 On June 26th the San Diego Regional Board approved a new National Pollution Discharge and Elimination System (NPDES) permit for the International Boundary Water Commission, South Bay International Wastewater Treatment Plant for the first time in 18 years. After years of challenges and mishaps the plant is finally in compliance with secondary treatment standards. Obviously, a new updated permit is a win in general, but Surfrider and others requested that additional state-of-the-art monitoring be added to the new permit. The Regional Board agreed due to the unique circumstances surrounding the Tijuana River Watershed, and said it would take two years to develop such a monitoring framework.  When the new monitoring is in place, we look forward to the increased information about the near shore environment in this sensitive area.

2014 After three appearances before the California Coastal Commission, the Commission approved an application by the Bannasch Family Trust in Solana Beach to “maintain and expand” their seacaves, but not without significant conditions. Surfrider has been engaged on this issue since the early 2000’s with concerns over the use of “erodible concrete” and concerns that the deed restriction prohibiting a seawall for this property was being circumvented by the seacave expansion. While it would have been better for the Coastal Commission to stop this project in its tracks, two conditions were added to this project making it a win for the beach going public. If the “erodible concrete” ever sticks out more than 6 inches from the adjacent bluff, that portion has to be manually removed by the applicant. Furthermore, the applicant has to prove, prior to installation, that the “erodible concrete” will erode at a rate similar to the natural bluff (i.e. within 20%) before the new project can be installed.  So if the concrete does not actually erode, it can’t be installed. For more information click here and here.

2014 After more than two years of collecting data, the San Diego County Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation published their second annual report on the Surf Monitoring Study. The study was designed to track changes in how five local surf spots responded to the large influx of sand from Regional Beach Sand Project II (RBSP II). For the complete study and more background info click here.

2014 Surfrider has long opposed seawalls because they nearly always lead to the destruction of our public beaches in California. The chapter’s Policy Manager and key volunteers led the most recent effort to persuade the California Coastal Commission to ensure that seawalls are periodically reviewed to assess their need and to balance that against their impact to public beaches. This action was necessary because the Commission last year unexpectedly abandoned its previous policy that automatically required seawall permits to expire after 20 years, triggering a review requiring property owners to justify the walls. Surfrider San Diego successfully argued that permits for seawalls should not be allowed to exist in perpetuity without some review of their impact. The Commission decided that seawalls (both new and existing) would be reviewed when homeowners wish to expand their beachfront homes or make significant improvements that expand the life of existing coastal structures. This policy victory occurred in conjunction with the Commission’s finalization of the Land Use Plan Amendment for the city of Solana Beach, the lone city in San Diego that has yet to comply with the landmark 1976 Coastal Act by adopting a Local Coastal Plan (LCP). With this decision Solana Beach is one step closer to finally having a LCP. For more background click here.

2014 We can’t really call this a victory, but at least we made sure our environmental concerns were heard!  After receiving comments from more than 200 San Diego County residents and sharp criticism from at least five environmental groups, the County Water Authority decided on March 27th its staff had drafted a nearly perfect Master Plan and Climate Action Plan. Given the Water Authority’s history of ignoring critics, few were surprised. San Diego Surfrider had a moderate request: Do a regional assessment of all local water supply options before locking the region into a pattern and practice that gives priority to high-cost, high-energy desalination, i.e. converting seawater into drinking water. Surfrider also pressed for greater conservation goals. While the region has cut back by 24 percent compared to 2007, Surfrider believes a 35 percent reduction over 20 years is possible.  Australia did it in 10 years, why not San Diego? The Water Authority’s Climate Action Plan fails to fully account for the impact of greenhouse gases that will be spewed by power plants supporting desalination plants, which need massive amounts of electricity. But don’t throw up your hands in frustration. You can help by urging your Mayor to appoint more progressive representatives to the Water Authority.

2014 Surfrider was tracking the initial proposal for desalination rate allocation because of the possible implications on potable reuse, and we issued this press release. On March 27th, by a very slim margin the proposal to assign the desalination costs to the “fixed costs” for water agencies was shot down, and those costs have temporarily been assigned to the “supply rate” where they belong. This issue is not completely over, as this will have to be addressed again when the Fiscal-Year 2016 rates are updated. Hopefully these issues will be addressed in a more comprehensive manner by then.

2014 Surfrider San Diego participated in a very successful Oceans Day 2014 in Sacramento where almost a hundred coastal activists met with elected officials to educate them on the challenges currently facing our coasts.

2013 The Surfrider Foundation San Diego County Chapter and San Diego Coastkeeper held 42 public beach cleanups and 20 private cleanups. During these cleanups, 6,489 volunteers removed 9,544 lbs of trash including 58,236 cigarette butts, 16,158 pieces of styrofoam and 4,418 plastic bags from San Diego County beaches and surrounding areas.

2013 The November Coastal Commission meeting was an important one for us, with several of our priority issues on the agenda. Our efforts helped deter the Commission from making a bad decision regarding the 20-year limit on seawall permits. Instead the Commission continued the items to January of next year so that the larger policy issues can be fully considered, before they make a new precedent.

2013 A reduced size ACOE beach nourishment project for Solana Beach and Encinitas came back to the Coastal Commission for round two. While the project was ultimately approved, Surfrider helped add important conditions to reduce the projects impacts on important surfing resources and marine habitat.

2013 The 4th Annual Tijuana River Action Month drew 2,723 volunteers who collected 51,575 tons of trash and 185 tires, created 2,800 eco-bricks from re-used solids taken from the river,  installed 120 native plants and restored 11 acres of the Tijuana River Watershed.

2013 Surfrider Foundation volunteers distributed 600 free reusable bags during Rise Above Plastics Day in Chula Vista and Barrio Logan.

2013 The chapter hosted four free screenings of the award-winning documentary Bag It, co-hosted two screenings of the documentary Plastic Paradise and held screenings of the films Watershed and Shored Up.

2013 The chapter’s Hold On To Your Butt committee installed 23 ashcans throughout the communities of Barrio Logan, Downtown, North Park, Oceanside, Mission Hills and Ocean Beach.

2013 During the chapter’s annual Hold On To Your Butt Awareness Day in August, volunteers distributed approximately 600 pocket ashtrays.

2013 The Surfrider Foundation San Diego County Chapter and Oceans Friendly Gardens committee received two OBie awards from the Ocean Beach Town Council for volunteer service and being green.

2013 The 14th Annual Art Gala raised over $25,000 to support the chapter’s mission of protecting oceans, waves and beaches.

2013 The chapter celebrated the 9th Annual International Surfing Day with a paddle-in movie featuring the classic surf movie Gidget (1959) at the Lafayette Hotel.

2013 The 22nd Annual Paddle for Clean Water drew close to 1000 ocean enthusiasts to paddle around the longest cement pier in North America and raised over $6000 for clean water initiatives in San Diego County.

2013 The chapter held six Core Volunteer Orientations and trained 159 volunteers and 42 volunteers attended Advocacy 101 Trainings.

2013 The Ocean Friendly Gardens committee installed a beautiful new Ocean Friendly Garden in the Sunset Cliffs/Ocean Beach area.

2013 The Solana Beach Land Use Plan (LUP) was finally adopted by the City Council as modified by the Coastal Commission in March 2012, a huge victory for us years in the making! Click here to read more.

2013 When tremendous unintended consequences struck Imperial Beach following the placement of sand from  Regional Beach Sand Project II (RBSP II), we were able to use the data from our Surf Monitoring Study to help validate the locals’ experience of the negative consequences. We appeared before the Imperial Beach City Council twice with significant activist support. Click here for more.

2013 The chapter helped orchestrate a press conference with the San Diego Mayor and City Council confirming Indirect Potable Reuse (IPR) as a policy direction and the City’s willingness to provide the necessary leadership.

2013 The IPR demonstration study was accepted as complete by the City Council and they committed to seven next steps for IPR thanks to lobbying by Surfrider and our fellow stakeholders.

2013 Surfrider played a key roll in a very successful Regional Water Quality Control Board hearing regarding the MS4 (stormwater) permit. Surfider had a great presence at the hearing and more than 25 activists gave public comment. After the very long two-day hearing the Regional Board postponed their decision until the May meeting.

2013 Following the very powerful April hearing, the Regional Board unanimously adopted the new MS4 permit without the “safe harbor clause”; a major victory for water quality as the new permit represents a paradigm shift in stormwater management from an action oriented approach to an outcome oriented approach.

2013 Following the LUP adoption in February, the City Council of Solana Beach decided to pursue specific amendments to their LUP to clarify a few key points. Surfrider was able to influence the LUP amendment hearing and successfully combated the Bluff-top-homeowners efforts.

2013 Along with the support of Surfrider Foundation global headquarters and our partners, approximately 300 activists attended the June Regional Water Quality Control Board meeting to combat the latest version of the 241-toll-road proposal and Save Trestles yet again. The TCA was attempting to build the first 5-mile segment of the ill-fated toll road. After hours of public testimony, the Regional Board denied the proposal with a 3-2 vote.

2013 Along with our partners, the chapter was able to help convince the California State Legislature to continue $1 million in annual funding for maintenance of the Goat Canyon Sediment Basins. This funding is critical in addressing the trash and sediment issues on the international border at the most critical input: the end-point of the Tijuana River Watershed. This location supports extraordinary recreational opportunities, outstanding examples of our State’s most valued natural resources, such as the Tijuana Estuary and the California State Marine Conservation Area of the Tijuana River Mouth. Without the funding for maintenance the sediment that would have built up would have devastated the watershed, wetlands and water quality.

2013 At the July Coastal Commission meeting we experienced a huge under-dog victory as the Army Corp of Engineers (ACOE) beach nourishment project for Encinitas and Solana Beach was voted down by a 8-3 vote. The Coastal Commission sent the ACOE and both cities back to the drawing board demanding a reduced size project to limit the anticipated negative impacts.

2013 We were successfully able to get all three phases of Indirect Potable Reuse (IPR) added to the near term goals for San Diego’s Long Range Water Master Plan, instead of just the first phase, as was originally proposed.

2013 Our Chapter hosted a Coastal Act training with former Coastal Commissioner Sara Wan, almost 30 activists and government officials now have a better working knowledge of the Coastal Act.

2013 Beach Preservation experts completed our first annual report on our Surf Monitoring Study and continue to work with the Coastal Commission to require this type of monitoring for all future large-scale coastal projects. Click here for more.

2013 The chapter served a 12-month term on the City of San Diego’s “Water Policy Implementation Task Force”, contributing important recommendations to improve water management in our region and advocating for the benefits of integrated water management.

2012 Beach Cleanups: 4,308 volunteers collected 7,594 lbs of trash.

2012 City of Solana Beach adopts a plastic bag ban!  Read more.

2012 Surfrider San Diego was appointed to the City of San Diego Comprehensive Water Policy Implementation Task Force.

2012 San Diego Chapter is recognized for their role in advocating for Indirect Potable Reuse and was asked to speak at the UCLA Southern California Future of Water Conference and to a State Assembly Committee in Sacramento.

2012 Our film, The Cycle of Insanity: The Real Story of Water, becomes part of the curriculum in Professional Certificate in Water Management and Landscape Sustainability Online, SDSU.

2012 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 included 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.

2012 Recycled Water Study is completed and accepted by the City of San Diego. This study is a key step in moving toward Indirect Potable Reuse (IPR), and details the costs and benefits of implementing 100 mgd (million gallons a day) of IPR to offload the wastewater being discharged off of Point Loma.

2011 Beach Cleanups: 3,619 volunteers collected 5,474 lbs trash.

2011 Successfully advocated for three Low Impact Development (LID) additions to Point Loma Nazarene University’s plans to deal with run-off.

2011 Successfully launched a new scientific Surf Monitoring Program. This study is one of the first of its kind, and will help coastal managers move away from relying on anecdotal information about surfing resources.

2011 Successfully advocated for the Solana Beach City Council to add language to “keep public land public” to their draft Local Coastal Plan before submission to the California Coastal Commission. This important distinction is crucial in maintaining and protecting public land (i.e. beaches and bluffs).

2011 Successfully advocated for a reduced amount of sand for Regional Beach Sand Project II (RBSP II). The California Coastal Commission also agreed with our suggestion to require surf spot monitoring as part of the Coastal Development Permit (CDP) for RBSPII.

2010 Beach Cleanups: 4,274 volunteers collected 7,782 lbs trash.

2010 Surfrider was selected to participate in an Integrated Water Management grant (Prop 84) with strategic partners such as the County Water Authority, the City of San Diego, and the County of San Diego, among others to implement a sustainable landscapes program and move toward integrated water management.

2009 Beach Cleanups: 4,611 volunteers collected 7,389 lbs trash.

2009 Successfully brought the bi-national stakeholders together and formed the Tijuana River Action Network.  Read more.

2009 Creation of the award winning Cycle of Insanity short film.  Read more.

2008 Beach Cleanups: 3,664 volunteers collected 5,152 lbs trash.

2008 City of San Diego Urban Runoff Management: Restrictions on Residential Over-Watering
.  Read more.

2007 Beach Cleanups: 2,809 volunteers collected 4,981 lbs trash.

2007 A local chapter activist was selected to go on the Jack Johnson concert tour to promote the Rise Above Plastics Campaign.

2007 San Diego City Council approved a resolution authorizing the beginning steps of an Indirect Potable Re-Use (IPR) project in San Diego, then the Mayor vetoed their vote, but the City Council sided with environmentalists and successfully overturned a veto 
for the first time ever!  Read more.

2007 San Diego Regional Municipal 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.  Read more.

2007 Surfrider Foundation won lawsuit against the City of Solana Beach regarding seawalls!  Read more.

Since 2007 approximately 150 ashcans have been installed in San Diego County, with a 65% reduction in cigarette butt litter in areas where the ashcans have been installed.  Read more.

2001-2007 Surfrider v. City of San Diego litigation results in an 80% reduction in sewage spills!  Read more.

2006 City of San Diego passed a ban on smoking on all public beaches and parks!  Read more.

 
 
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