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2016 Mid-Year Accomplishments Report

Dear Surfrider Supporter,

Over thirty years ago a group of surfers from Malibu, California, were concerned about the health risks associated with environmental threats posed by escalating coastal development at their favorite surf spot. They took action. Not even they could have envisioned the history they were making when they succeeded in protecting their beloved surf spot.  Today, Surfrider San Diego has reached our mid point of 2016, and 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. YOU can be extremely proud of yourself because of our accomplishments.   The unity and strength we have exhibited in our team is truly inspiring.  Our collaborative team of two staff members, leadership, core volunteers, activists, members, supporters, partners and our community at large, are all members in this family.

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 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. To view a list of our accomplishments this year, click here.

As such, I ask for your continued support of our mission by making a donation to our chapter. Click here to donate.

Our chapter is currently engaged in eight programs aimed to protect our oceans, waves and beaches. The heart and soul of our organization are our volunteers and activists who actively champion our mission. Across one year ago to date, we've empowered and trained over 100 volunteers and activists to help protect our San Diego County coastline. We continue to host bi-monthly Core Volunteer Orientations to empower our activists to protect our oceans waves and beaches.

Earlier this year, our Chapter participated in a very successful Oceans Day 2016 in Sacramento where dozens of coastal activists met with elected officials to educate them on the challenges currently facing our coasts.

Our Beach Cleanup program, in partnership with San Diego Coastkeeper, has organized 80 public and private beach cleanups this year. During these cleanups, 3,617 volunteers removed 7,406 lbs of trash from San Diego County beaches and surrounding areas.

The No Border Sewage committee hosted a Goat Canyon cleanup on February 20th and recovered 5.36 tons of trash and 65 tires. They also launched watershed Wednesdays social media campaign, #stopbordersewage and created extensive media campaign plan to bring greater exposure to TJ River issues. Earlier in the year, they toured a group of 25 around the TIjuana watershed to educate them on the problems facing the Tijuana River and actively participate in Binational Core Group working groups as well as the IBWC Citizens Forum. The committee also supports and collaborates with the newly formed baja Chapter.

The Rise Above Plastics committee played a major role in passing the City of San Diego plastic bag ban in July, an amazing victor that was years in the making. They also held a number of movie screenings including “Bag It" at Teeter in February w/ 100+ community members attendance. They also screened  "Into the Gyre" featuring Q&A w/ Emelia at Del Mar library in February and June in Oceanside to help promote a plastic bag ban in the city. The committee has also played a strong role in pushing the bag ban forward through the Oceanside City Council by lobbying at two city council meetings and hope to have it passed in the upcoming August meeting. They also collaborated with the Del Mar Sustainability Advisory Council on drafting a single-use plastic-bag ban ordinance. The committee has conducted outreach at several locations including the Ocean Beach Farmer’s Market in June and the “Yelp Spring Break” week in March. Finally, the committee continues to improve and expand the Ocean Friendly Restaurants program and has certified 11 new restaurants this year so far and recently received a $2,500 grant from the Johnson Ohana Foundation to strengthen the OFR program.

The Know Your H20 (KYH2O) committee gave an educational talk about status of drought, El Nino, and climate influences in San Diego and is currently planning for an outreach event at the Coastal Cleanup Day event in September. The committee has also reviewed and provided input on the Urban Water Management Plan and attended a County Water Board meeting to provide comments on a desalination plant proposal.

The Beach Preservation committee worked with the City of Oceanside and Coastal Commission staff for months on the Oceanside Beach Nourishment 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, that they increase surf monitoring pre- and post-project using the methodology from the chapter’s surf monitoring study, and the language in the permit regarding surf impacts was corrected.

The Hold On To Your Butt (HOTYB) committee has had a busy start to the year and is currently planning for Hold on to Your Butt Awareness Day in September! The committee cleaned, refurbished and removed stickers in over 25 ashcans in the Ocean Beach Community. They also have a new committee leader and have restarted their bi-monthly meeting schedule. They have also conducted several outreach events with local communities not currently participating in the ash can program on harmful effects of cigarette butts.

Ocean Friendly Gardens (OFG) committee supported the Sustainable Landscape Program, a county partnership program put on to teach free sustainable landscaping classes throughout the county. The SLP has been a success and will be completed by Jul 30. Some highlights from the program include:

  • 12 Landscape Design Seminars, 4 Hands on workshops have been conducted. A total of 318 attendees.
  • 83 garden guru appointments requested, scheduled or delivered to homes who are converting their yard to ocean friendly and drought tolerant landscaping.

In addition, OFG piloted a Curb Cut design program with the City of Oceanside and St Mary's School. Curb cuts help capture and beneficially use stormwater runoff from the street and sidewalk. Finally, OFG is also pursuing grant funding for a public OFG and art project installation.

The STOP (Sea-level-rise, Temperature Rise, Ocean Acidification, Prevention and Adaptation) committee launched this year and is off to an incredible start! They supported the Climate Action Plans for the City of San Diego and the City of Del Mar, both of which have passed and aim to drastically reduce carbon emissions. Committee members helped promote and hosted a stop at Bike to Work Day in June. They also hosted the Chapter Meeting in April with guest speaker Bruce Bekkar and have given several presentations to local cities to raise awareness about the impacts of climate change. The committee also has launched a social media campaign, #cutcarbonforthecoast. They are currently planning a movie screening of No Impact Man at Trilogy Sanctuary in La Jolla on Thursday, September 1st. Click here to RSVP and for more information.

The Events and Fundraising committee has had a busy year. Major accomplishments include the planning of a successful 16th Annual Art Gala that raised over $37,000 and the procurement of over 120 volunteers for the Stone 20th Anniversary Celebration. The Stone Anniversary event serves as one of our largest fundraiser of the year and volunteers are vital to raising those funds.

So why are you a Surfrider? If you are like me, riding a wave is like the “perfect storm.” A simultaneous occurrence of events that provide an opportunity to become “one with nature” while experiencing the magical feeling of “flying” we imagined as kids along with the sense of achievement that we crave as adults. Total fulfillment on all levels; hence the addiction.  I am a Surfrider activist because it is the ultimate payback and connection to the oceans, waves and beaches which provide me with so much love. At the San Diego County Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, we all possess that love connection. Thank you to everyone who contributes to our success for your time, support and dedication. Additionally, 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 2016, and I look forward to riding a wave by your side and continuing to protect our oceans, waves and beaches.

As a reminder, we count on donations and the support of our community to continue our work. I ask for your continued support of our mission by making a donation to our chapter. Click here to donate.

For our Oceans, Waves and Beaches,

Mark West

Chapter Chair

Surfrider Foundation

San Diego County