As we reach the end of 2014, it’s time to reflect on the impact we’ve had in carrying out our mission, to protect the oceans, waves and beaches of San Diego County. We are nearing the end of one of the most successful years in our chapter’s 24 year history, and the impact we’ve had in protecting our coastline has been impressive. The victories and accomplishments we’ve experienced in 2014 is a team effort; our two staff members, Executive Commitee, Advisory Council, committee leaders, core volunteers and activists, HQ staff, members, supporters, partners, and the community at large, are all part of the success equation.
As a nonprofit organization that engages in local, grassroots initiatives, we are largely reliant on the financial contributions of our members and supporters, in order to protect our San Diego County coastline. We are an assembly of united and dedicated community activists, working together and volunteering our time to protect and enjoy our coastal resources, for all citizens and visitors of San Diego County to enjoy. As such, when making year end donations, I ask for your continued support of our mission by making a donation.
However, before you consider making a donation, let’s take a look at what our organization has been able to accomplish this year;
Our chapter currently has seven programs aimed to protect our oceans, waves and beaches. The heart and soul of our organization are our volunteers and activists actively championing our mission. In 2014, we empowered and trained a near-record number of volunteers and activists. 148 new volunteers attended our Core Volunteer Orientations and 46 activists attended our Advocacy 101 Trainings.
Our Beach Cleanup Program, in partnership with San Diego Coastkeeper, held 129 beach cleanups. During these cleanups, 7,513 volunteers removed 11,339 lbs of trash including 75,230 cigarette butts, 17,625 pieces of styrofoam and 5,606 plastic bags from San Diego County beaches and surrounding areas.
The Ocean Friendly Gardens committee ran a Hands On Workshop in Carlsbad, transforming a residential landscape to help reduce water use and urban runoff. The committee also hosted a three-part series with the Green Gardens Group that transformed the corner of Montgomery Waller Park into an Ocean Friendly Garden.
Our Rise Above Plastics committee hosted free screenings of the award-winning documentaries Bag It, Into the Gyre, and Plastic Paradise, educating approximately 240 people on the plastic pollution issue. The committee also distributed approximately 4,500 free reusable bags to the general public over the course of 2014.
After several years of collaborative work between our activists and the City of Encinitas, the City Council voted to approve an ordinance banning single-use plastic checkout bags.
In late August, the CA legislature approved SB270, a bill to ban single-use plastic checkout bags. This victory marks the culmination of a six year effort and our activists were instrumental in the process.
Our Hold On To Your Butt committee installed 75 ashcans in Mission Hills, Clairemont Mesa, Oceanside, Pacific Beach and Ocean Beach. This brings the current total to almost 230 ashcans installed throughout San Diego County to keep cigarette butts off our beaches and out of our ocean.
We saw great success in our Beach Preservation Program in 2014, as our committee of activists continue to shine in protecting our coastline. Their efforts resulted in the California’s Coastal Commission decision that seawalls (both new and existing) will be reviewed when homeowners wish to expand their beachfront homes or make significant improvements that expand the life of existing coastal structures. Surfrider has long opposed seawalls because they nearly always lead to the destruction of our public beaches in California. Seawall permits should not be allowed to exist in perpetuity, and this decision helps to ensure this is the case.
In collaboration with our partners, our No Border Sewage Program, during the 5th Annual Tijuana River Action Month, drew 2,215 volunteers who collected 76,703 lbs of trash and 106 tires, installed 120 native plants and restored 8.3 acres of the Tijuana River Watershed.
The work of numerous Surfrider activists and staff over a period of more than 10 years paid off when the San Diego City Council voted unanimously to approve Pure Water San Diego, a program that will significantly reduce wastewater discharges to the ocean and produce 83 million gallons per day of high quality drinking water.
To view a complete list of our chapter’s accomplishments, click here.
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 us in 2015. Congratulations to all of us for an extremely successful 2014 and we look forward to standing by your side and continuing to protect our oceans, waves and beaches, in 2015.
I hope you’ll help us celebrate our volunteers and the holidays at our Holiday Volunteer Appreciation Party this Wednesday, December 17th from 6:30-9:30pm at Wang’s North Park, located at 3029 University Ave.
For our oceans, waves and beaches,
Roger Kube, Chair