As we reach the mid point of 2014, it’s important to reflect on the impact we’ve had in carrying out our mission, the protection and enjoyment of our oceans, waves, and beaches through a powerful activist network. We’ve been very successful in our efforts thus far this year and it has been a team effort; our two staff members, chapter leadership, core volunteers and activists, members, supporters, partners, and the community at large, are all part of the equation.
As a nonprofit volunteer organization that engages in local, grassroots initiatives, we are largely dependent on the financial contributions of our members and supporters, in order to protect the 70 miles of coastline here in San Diego County. We are a group of united, passionate and dedicated community activists, working together and giving our time to protect and enjoy our precious coastal resources for all to enjoy. As such, I ask for your continued support of our mission by making a donation to our chapter.
Our chapter is currently engaged in seven programs aimed at protecting our oceans, waves and beaches. The heart and soul of our organization are our volunteers and activists actively championing our mission. Year to date, we’ve empowered and trained over 100 volunteers and activists to help protect our San Diego County coastline.
Our Beach Cleanup program, in partnership with San Diego Coastkeeper, has organized 80 public and private beach cleanups this year. 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.
Our Rise Above Plastics Program hosted a screening of the award-winning documentary “Bag It” for
50 people and distributed approximately 3,500 free reusable bags to patrons at four locations in the City of San Diego during Rise Above Plastics Day. Our volunteers have also played an important role in the ongoing process for a plastic bag ban in Encinitas, the City of San Diego and the entire state of California.
We’ve seen great success in our Beach Preservation program this year. After more than two years of collecting data, we published our 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.
Surfrider has long opposed seawalls because they nearly always lead to the destruction of our beaches. Our Beach Preservation program led the most recent effort to persuade the California Coastal Commission to ensure that seawalls need to be periodically reviewed to assess their need and to balance that against their impact to public beaches. 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.
Our Hold On To Your Butt committee has installed 15 ashcans throughout the communities of Mission Hills, Clairemont Mesa, and Oceanside. The committee also replaced 4 existing ashcans in Ocean Beach, Pacific Beach, and Hillcrest. This brings the total to over 200 ashcans installed throughout San Diego County to keep cigarette butts off our beaches and out of our ocean.
Our Ocean Friendly Gardens program, which teaches homeowners how to reduce their water use and stop polluted runoff from leaving their landscapes and polluting our ocean, has been keeping busy.
With the help of approximately 20 volunteers, they transformed a homeowner’s landscape and installed an ocean friendly landscape in Carlsbad.
Our continued efforts in addressing the polluted Tijuana River Basin have shown results. On June 26th, the San Diego Regional Board approved a new National Pollution Discharge and Elimination System permit for the International Boundary Water Commission, South Bay International Wastewater Treatment Plant for the first time in 18 years. 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.
So why are you a Surfrider? It’s likely that you are a Surfrider because you have some special connection to our oceans, waves, and beaches, and want to protect these precious resources. At the San Diego County Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, we all have that connection and drive. Thank you to everyone who contributes to our success, for your time, support, and dedication. And thank you for your donation to help support our continued efforts for clean water and healthy coastlines. Congratulations to all of us for an extremely successful start to 2014, and I look forward to standing by your side and continuing to protect our oceans, waves, and beaches.
For our Oceans, Waves, and Beaches,
San Diego County Chapter