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.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

July 5th Beach Cleanup in Westport


The Surfrider Foundation will host a beach cleanup from 10am-2pm at Westhaven State Park on July 5th.  Registration will be in the parking lot and the majority of the efforts will be focused around the jetty, but adventurous volunteers will be encouraged to patrol beaches to the south for marine debris.

A considerable amount of debris is strewn across Washington beaches following the customary pyrotechnics used to celebrate our Independence Day.  A surge of marine debris in the last few months has deposited plenty of plastics and foam as well.  Collectors may find debris ranging from buoys to glass bulbs to rubber duckies, but the majority will be plastic, foam and fireworks shrapnel.

If you're traveling to the Long Beach area for the weekend, you can join the Grass Roots Garbage Gang (ourbeach.org) for their annual July 5th cleanup.

See you on the beach!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Anticipating sea level rise and flooding


If you missed our Ocean Acidification and Sea Level Rise workshop on April 8th, don't fret! You can access pdfs and youtube videos of the presentations here. In Todd Sandell's presentation, he walks you through the use of sea level rise projections in a few coastal areas to open up discussion about how we can use these projections to plan for the future.

Fortunately, more and more resources are available to help coastal communities plan for the future while incorporating these environmental changes. Through the Climate Adaptation Knowledge Exchange you can submit your own community's case study, read about other success stories, and find many planning tools.

Two websites have a mapping tool that can help you visualize the combination of sea level rise and flood risks: Surging Seas and NOAA. Play around with the mapping tool to see multiple scenarios of what areas might be underwater in your community- is it farmland? Hotels? Estuaries?

Many reports on local climate change impacts are also available for you:

California, Oregon, Washington, and the Surging Sea

Addressing Sea Level Rise in Shoreline Master Programs (WA)

Climate Change in the Northwest: Implications for our Landscapes, Waters, and Communities

Monday, June 16, 2014

Introducing Kevin Decker- Sea Grant's Coastal Outreach Specialist

Washington Sea Grant's newest staff member, Kevin Decker, is a Coastal Outreach Specialist based in Aberdeen. As a beach goer and diver, he is not only a recreator, but through the Idaho Wildlife Federation he also has a background in recreation advocacy. He has an academic background in economic development and has developed an economic profile for Latah County, ID that looked at indicators of economic health and an evaluation of the economic contribution of the primary industries for the region. His current doctoral research in environmental science is focused on the economic value of conservation.

Kevin will be doing outreach and education about marine spatial planning to support the public's involvement in the process and also to share the mapping tool at http://msp.wa.gov. He will also be applying his background in economics to the Washington coast to help communities identify growth opportunities. At Surfrider, we are looking forward to working with Kevin through marine spatial planning.

If you’d like to meet Kevin, his office is at Grays Harbor College, and you can reach him at: kadecker@uw.edu or 360-538-2521.

Friday, June 13, 2014

World Oceans Month and International Surfing Day

Wow, it's June already and that means it's World Oceans Month! Surfrider has so many ways for you to celebrate your love for the ocean; come join us in Tacoma, Seattle, or Port Angeles at an International Surfing Day event coming up next week. (Don't worry, you don't have to surf at any of these events!)



The Surfrider Foundation will be offering the following special membership gifts throughout the month of June. Click here!

·    $40: Membership, digital subscription to Surfing Magazine and a limited edition Dane Reynolds tee.
·    $100: Includes the above + a 30th Anniversary Surfrider tee
·    $500: Includes all of the above + a Surfrider license plate holder and reusable bag.

If you are out enjoying your favorite beach next weekend, enter the My Special Place contest. Upload your coolest beach pic on Instagram and make sure to tag it with #ISD14 and #myspecialplace to be entered to win a surfboard, wetsuit, and other sweet beach gear. 

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Scoping period for crude oil facilities in Grays Harbor closing soon

The environmental review process is currently underway for two proposals to expand crude oil processing facilities in Hoqiuam. The scoping period is currently open until Tuesday, May 27- see Dept of Ecology's announcement here.

Many are concerned about the public safety and environmental costs of oil trains due to the recent uptick in derailments and explosions that have caused deaths and toxic spills across the United States and Canada. A New York times article earlier this year brought attention to these dangers to communities and the environment. The current proposal in Grays Harbor would include the export of Bakken crude from North Dakota as well as tar sands oil from Canada. According to the Washington Environmental Council, Bakken is "highly volatile, the train cars being used are old and unsafe, and a safe way to transport it has yet to be found". The proposals for facilities in Grays Harbor would increase the transport of crude by rail through the state- from Spokane to Hoquiam.

Want to take action?

Citizens for a Clean Harbor is raising local voices against these proposals.

Sierra Club has provided a script addressed to Dept of Ecology which you can personalize.

To submit an original comment go here.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Recreational-use survey for Washington coast launches


We launched a survey this week to document the recreational use of Washington's coast, which will help determine its value to the state’s economy.

The survey aims to collect data for numerous non-consumptive uses by the public including diving, kayaking, surfing, birding, and camping. Though technically consumptive, clamming will also be included in the survey as it’s a signature use on Washington beaches.  To assist with future planning of Washington's coast, the study is needed to document where and how the public recreate from Ilwaco to the Port Angeles.

Randy Kline, Environmental Program Manager for Washington State Parks is looking forward to using this information. “The Washington State Parks staff are excited about the opportunity for additional data to help us understand the public's use of the coast,” says Randy. “We will use this data to provide better recreation experiences for park-goers.”

The survey will document the growing importance of tourism to the Washington coastal economy and increasing opportunities for non-consumptive recreation. “The Washington coast is an extraordinary place that offers significant recreational and economic opportunities,” says Casey Dennehy, Washington Coastal Program Manager for the Surfrider Foundation. “While there is data regarding traditional industries on the Washington coast, there is very little about the recreation economy.” 

The survey, funded by the Washington State Department of Natural resources and private foundations, is part of a larger coastal planning effort called Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) that will inform policy, decision making, and management of our ocean resources.  The survey is one of  several other projects supported by the state under MSP, many of which have already gathered data on physical oceanography, marine life, shipping, fishing, ecological resources, and economics.  This information has been incorporated into a data viewer that is available to the public at msp.wa.gov.

According to Jennifer Hennessey, Ocean Policy Lead at the Washington Department of Ecology, “This survey will provide much better data on which areas of our coast are most important for different users and how those uses influence the local economy. This new data will help us understand and address recreational interests in developing a marine spatial plan for Washington’s coast.” 

If you are a coastal recreator, please take the survey at: http://surfrider.org/washington-survey/