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a message from the chair

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 2015, 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. As such, I ask for your continued support of our mission by making a donation to our chapter.

For our Oceans, Waves and Beaches,

Mark West
Chapter Chair
San Diego County

Our chapter is currently engaged in seven 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 and quarterly Advocacy 101 trainings to empower our activists to protect our oceans waves and beaches.

Earlier this year, our Chapter participated in a very successful Oceans Day 2015 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, 4,290 volunteers removed 5,966, lbs of trash including 38,507 cigarette butts, 5,238 pieces of Styrofoam and 2,357 plastic bags from San Diego County beaches and surrounding areas.

The No Border Sewage committee has hosted 3 cleanups through the first half of this year with a total of 272 volunteers participating, 17,860 pounds of trash and 264 tires removed from the Tijuana River Valley. The committee also took 18 people on a tour hosted by California State Parks on March 21st. Volunteers learned about the natural flow of the Tijuana River into the Estuary, and the trash, sediment and sewage that comes with it. On Saturday, May 30, 2015, NoBS took 12 volunteers on a tour of the South Bay International Water Treatment Plant. 

No Border Sewage committee hosted a “Relaunch Party” at Barrels Restaurant & Lounge in Imperial Beach. About 50 attendees came together for an evening of food, drinks, raffle prizes and conversation about the problems that plague the Imperial Beach community and beyond. Read more here. They also attended Tijuana River Action Network meetings in February, May, and June. They boothed at Outlets at the Border, and Imperial Beach Farmer’s Market four times. Additionally, the No Border Sewage documentary was produced and displayed at the San Diego Art Institute for the entirety June.

In January, the Rise Above Plastics committee launched its Ocean Friendly Restaurants campaign, which works with San Diego County restaurants to institute self-regulated ocean friendly policies that reduce disposable plastic waste. Through this reduction, restaurants have the power to greatly reduce their impact on San Diego’s ocean and beaches. At mid-year, more than forty restaurants have been certified, and the campaign received positive press coverage on Earth Day in April and at a press conference in May. Since the state bag ban is pending a referendum next year, RAP continues to support efforts to pass ordinances in the city of San Diego, Oceanside and other localities. Additionally, RAP gave away 500 reusable bags at a local farmers' market.

The Know Your H20 (KYH2O) committee created a speaker series where members of the water management community come and hold dialogues about topical issues. The committee hosted a State Assembly Member, Deanna Spehn, who presented on details about where Water Bond money is to be allocated, as well as speakers from local water districts, Kim Thorner and Mike Thornton, who spoke about local water reuse projects.

KYH20 started the process to create outreach materials (particularly, a QR code sticker) to encourage the public to learn more about what happens to our water. The committee also began review of important documents pertaining to the changes made to the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4) storm water permit to eventually become a discerning influence on policy decisions.

Recently, the Beach Preservation committee was awarded a $3,000 grant from REI to help keep beaches our open and accessible for all to enjoy! One of our longtime Beach Preservation Committee members, Kristin Brinner, was selected to sit on the Del Mar Sea-Level-Rise Stakeholder Technical Committee.  Another example of a Surfrider volunteer moving up the ranks, gaining experience, and engaging with their community.

In June, Beach Preservation hosted a press conference and beach walk to educate the community about the negative impacts of seawalls on our beaches. This effort is linked to our participation in a court case that has been appealed to the California Supreme Court, Lynch v. Coastal Commission.  Surfrider is engaging to support the Coastal Commission and ensure that this case does not set a negative precedent for our coastline.

This issue is not over yet, but it is a good example of Surfrider San Diego taking a more proactive approach, and helping to steer the conversation before it turns into a battle. When the issue of what to do about the erosion at Beacons beach in Encinitas bubbled up again, Surfrider proactively issued this position statement to all interested parties.  The Coastal Commission staff has since issued their stance on the subject, which is in line with our thoughts and concerns; now it is up to the City to determine how to move forward

The Hold On To Your Butt (HOTYB) committee continues to work its butt off in an effort to keep our oceans, waves, and beaches cigarette butt free! We’re now up over 200 ashcans installed throughout San Diego County, with our latest headway being made (with the help of ‘I Love A Clean San Diego’) in Oceanside. And we also have our first ashcans planned for installation at the Fisherman’s Landing area of Point Loma. Last “butt” not least, the Ocean Beach Main Street Association (OBMSA) has signed up to be our first community in San Diego County to have its collected cigarette butts be recycled by Terracycle, which is an organization that receives, cleans, and recycles discarded cigarette butts.

Ocean Friendly Gardens (OFG) has been working on a pilot curb cut project. A turf area along St Mary School in Oceanside will be planted with native, drought tolerant plants and a cut in the curb will redirect storm water drainage into the garden. Pollutants will be naturally filtered out as the water drains into the soil and the garden should receive enough water that irrigation will be unnecessary. This project will also help alleviate storm water flooding along the street and divert urban runoff from going directly into the storm drain and the ocean. OFG is working with the City of Oceanside to permit the curb cut project and if approved, it will act as an example for other jurisdictions.

Earlier in the year, OFG held an 'Action against Compaction' workshop. When designing areas to capture rainwater and runoff, the soil must be permeable and act like a sponge to avoid standing water. Volunteers learned how to add mulch and worm casings to compacted clay soil to facilitate drainage.

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 2015, and I look forward to riding a wave by your side and continuing to protect our oceans, waves and beaches.

If you would like to donate to our chapter, you can do so by clicking here.

For our Oceans, Waves and Beaches,

Mark West
Chapter Chair
Surfrider Foundation
San Diego County