Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Shoreline Public Access and Recreation Workshop

Would you like to see more public access and recreation opportunities along our county rivers and ocean beaches?  Come tell us your ideas about this important issue at an upcoming public workshop on:

Thursday, January 22, 2015, 6:30 PM
If you like to boat, fish, surf, walk, hunt, picnic, bird watch, camp, or simply sit along our rivers and ocean beaches, this is the workshop for you!  Grays Harbor County is updating its Shoreline Master Program and needs your ideas about how we can plan for new or improve existing access opportunities along our shorelines.  The ideas shared by citizens at these workshops will help guide the Grays Harbor County Shoreline Planning Committee in updating your Shoreline Master Program.

While these workshops will focus only on those shorelines that are outside of the cities in the county, the county invites all Grays Harbor citizens who own property, live, recreate, or work along these shorelines to attend this workshop.

The Shoreline Master Program plans for future development activities in the water and 200 feet upland from shorelines along ocean beaches, sections of rivers and streams with a mean annual flow 20 cubic per second or greater, lakes 20 acres or greater, and wetlands associated with these waterbodies.  State law requires Grays Harbor County, as well as each city in the county with shorelines, to update their Shoreline Master Programs.

The county’s Shoreline Planning Committee is a group of citizen volunteers appointed by the Board of Commissioners who have the responsibility to draft an updated Shoreline Master Program for county consideration.

To find out more information about the county’s Shoreline Master Program and the update process, go to the project website at  Citizens who have questions about the upcoming workshops or the update process in general can email the county project representative at

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Huge storm results in more houses falling into the ocean at Washaway Beach

The combination of high surf, heavy rainfall and extreme tides caused several more houses to be claimed by the Pacific Ocean at Washaway Beach, south of Grayland.

Here's a short video from yesterday:

YouTube link (for tablets and smartphones):

The Daily World also had an article on the front page:

As did Komo News:

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

SMP Visioning Workshops in Grays Harbor County

Grays Harbor County is hosting two visioning workshops to share and discuss what the future of the counties shorelines may look like in the future.  These meetings are part of the county's Shoreline Master Program update process that is currently underway.

Make sure to attend at least one of these meetings and share your vision for a healthy and vibrant shoreline.

Thursday, December 9th, 6:30-8:30
Grayland Community Hall
2071 Cranberry Road
Grayland, WA

Wednesday, December 17th, 6:30-8:30
GHFD 8 Fire Hall
4576 SR 109
Pacific Beach, WA

Monday, November 3, 2014

Grays Harbor “Land Meets Water” Tour to Give Residents an Insider’s Peek at How our Beaches, Dunes and Shorelines “Work”

On Saturday, November 15, Grays Harbor residents can join an interactive half-day bus tour of local sites to learn about how beaches, wetlands, and creeks play a critical dual role as unique ecosystems and engines of the local economy. Marine and freshwater shorelines in Grays Harbor are extremely dynamic and provide critical habitat for numerous species. Several scientific experts will be on the tour and will discuss coastal dune processes, the connection between wetlands, creeks and shorelines, and the birds and other wildlife that use those areas.

“This tour presents citizens with a great opportunity to see first-hand the beaches, dunes and other features of Grays Harbor County’s shorelines, which are diverse and varied,” said Casey Dennehy, Westport resident and Washington Coast Program Manager for the Surfrider Foundation. “These natural features are incredibly valuable to the community, providing protection from storms and flooding, habitat for oyster growing and fish species, and scenic beauty that draws visitors from far away.”

Those same shorelines are also highly coveted by landowners and businesses due to the natural beauty and proximity to water. Maintaining these natural features has been found to be good for both local residents and the economy. An economic study done by the University of Washington determined that 30% of the jobs in Grays Harbor County were dependent on marine resources. Protecting those jobs, community character, and ensuring economic opportunity for the next generation can be done by safeguarding shoreline resources. Local counties and cities are in the process of doing their shoreline planning right now.

Tour Details:
DATE:               Saturday, November 15, 2014
TIME:                9:30 a.m. for coffee and snacks. Bus departs at 10 a.m. Return at 1:30 p.m.
LOCATION:      Meet at the Top Food & Drug in Aberdeen (1213 E Wishkah St.)
COST:              Free
LUNCH:            Included (Choice of salad or sandwich)
RSVP:      or (and indicate your lunch choice)
HOSTED BY:   Grays Harbor County, Surfrider Foundation, Earth Economics and Futurewise

Visit for more information and to RSVP for the tour.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

International Coastal Cleanup

Looking for a nice excuse to get outside this weekend? The International Coastal Cleanup is happening this Saturday and our partners at Washington CoastSavers are organizing cleanups across the coast with Surfrider BBQs to reward your efforts in La Push, Hobuck Beach, and Westport. The weather is looking great so take advantage of the sun while you still can!

CoastSavers, which is a representation of a broad spectrum of interested parties including Surfrider, is renowned for their April Earth Day cleanup drawing thousands of coastal users to remove winter and spring debris from our coastal beaches. Surfrider is an active partner in the organization and for years has provided BBQs at various locations on the coast for those who volunteer.

2014 La Push CS
3 Rivers BBQ and Registration at the Fire Station in La Push
Building off the success of the April cleanup CoastSavers continues to promote International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) day which has it's origins with another coastal focused group, The Ocean Conservancy. With the goal of expanding cleanups around the globe, CoastSavers is hoping to expand locations, number of volunteers, and debris taken off Washington beaches by organizing a Washington coastal cleanup during ICC.

Surfrider will once again be an active partner in this event happening September 20th 2014 by providing BBQs in La Push, Westport, and at Hobuck beach. It's always a great time and we are hoping for a good turnout and another fun event this year. For any questions or if you are interested in volunteering please contact WA Field Manager Brice Boland.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

A short film on marine spatial planning

Last year filmmakers Chris Hannant and Gillian Montgomery interviewed Surfrider volunteers and staff, business owners, and MRC members as they travelled the state's rugged coastline. The short film explores the opportunity to protect Washington's Pacific coast through marine spatial planning. You may recognize a few of the individuals in the video as important community leaders. 

"I love the coastal region, I love the coastal estuaries and everything that makes this thing different than some place else. It's a wonderful thing and we have to preserve it. If we don't we're gonna lose one of the most important things in life" -Brady Engvall, Owner Brady's Oysters

"Marine spatial planning sounds a lot more complicated than it really is. It's really just about being smart about how we use our oceans...and there's a bunch of emerging and new uses, increasing uses- the ocean's getting crowded." -Chad Nelsen, Environmental Director Surfrider Foundation

"As we move from 7 billion people to 10 billion people there's gonna be a lot of increased pressure for development out here and I think it's important to control that development- there will be development- but it's important to use those resources wisely and to preserve what we can of the ecosystems that we have." -Doug Kess, WCMAC Chair

Watch the video here for some gorgeous footage of the coast and more heartfelt interviews. Please share this video if you know of someone who could benefit from learning about the opportunity of public involvement in marine spatial planning.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Meet Arnold Schouten- surfer, conservationist, leader

Arnold. Photo credit: Debbie Schouten

Arnold is a member of the Clallam County Marine Resource Committee (MRC) and Olympic Peninsula Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation. He has surfed the Olympic Peninsula since the early 1980’s and frequently uses local beaches for walks, birding, watching sunsets. His intimate knowledge of the Olympic Peninsula combined with his passion for clean waters and a healthy ecosystem has made him a vocal supporter of the Surfrider mission to protect oceans, waves, and beaches for our enjoyment. Additionally, through the Clallam MRC Arnold works to educate and inform the public and officials about eelgrass beds, ocean acidification, and bluff erosion. He has also been involved in oil spill prevention and has responded to three local oil spills.

One of the challenges that Arnold sees facing our coastal communities is the strained relationship that can occur between beach users and coastal property owners. Surfing has become so popular in Washington that "surfers come to the beaches in great numbers on the weekends and during summer vacation which puts more pressure on access points and can frustrate land owners...sometimes surfers can wear out their welcome, party too hard, or leave trash on the beach". These bad habits of some beach goers have led to land owners closing off access to beaches and breaks that were once publicly accessible.

Surfrider members like Arnold are hopeful that through empowerment and education we can change the behavior of all beach goers to be more socially and environmentally responsible. The Olympic Peninsula Chapter has been carrying out the Surfrider mission by taking action at several beach access points. The chapter provides sanicans at a few surf spots where sanitation was an issue and local residents were frustrated because there were no toilets. These sanicans enable the public to leave the beach clean when there is no access to a public restroom. Arnold believes, "As a chapter we do a good job of developing partnerships; we built a shower at the La Push campground with the support of the Quileute Nation and everyone that uses it appreciates it." Though not all surfers are Surfrider members, all still benefit from the public outreach that Surfrider chapters perform. Surf etiquette signs are set to be put in place at Westhaven State Park, one of our most popular breaks, to educate the many beginners who surf there, improve safety in the water, and reduce conflict between water users. These local actions promote responsible beach behavior and have resulted in a variety of partnerships with local and state parks, private land owners, and tribal nations.

Kalaloch Beach, Olympic Peninsula. Photo credit: B. Clabots

"We're fortunate to live in a pretty unique area here"- Arnold Schouten 

We agree, Arnold. Let's protect and conserve what we love. The Olympic Peninsula Chapter, as all Surfrider chapters, welcomes you to join the conversation and help solve our challenges by taking action at your local beach. You can see the Olympic Peninsula Chapter's website here; get involved by attending a monthly meeting or beach cleanup! Surfrider also invites all coastal recreational users to take a survey to provide information for coastal planning efforts- please go to our state website here to learn more and find the survey.