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.

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 ( 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 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: 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

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: 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Help Clean Up Our Beaches with CoastSavers and Surfrider on April 19th

Nothing like some BBQ after a beach cleanup!
Washington CoastSavers are people actively engaged in saving Washington's Pacific Coast from the harmful effects of marine debris. With its roots in the first Olympic Coast Cleanup in 2000, this grassroots effort will be returning to Washington’s coastal and strait beaches on April 19 – in conjunction with Earth Day, with the goal of picking up and removing marine debris. Governor Inslee has declared April 19th as Washington Coast Cleanup Day recognizing that, “Washington’s Pacific Coast is threatened by tons of household plastics, lost fishing gear, and other man made debris polluting the world’s oceans and washing up on our beaches.”

Beaches to be cleaned include multiple Washington State Parks, miles of wilderness coast within the Olympic National Park and Indian Reservations, including some not typically open to the public.

The Surfrider Foundation and Washington State Parks are hosting a cleanup at Twin Harbors State Park in Westport, with BBQ provided to volunteers courtesy of the Seattle Surfrider Chapter.

A student volunteer from WWU categorizes debris for a long term monitoring program
"As fears about the amount of Japanese tsunami marine debris washing up on our shores have diminished, we still have a significant and ongoing concern with the "other" marine debris.    It will be an issue we deal with for many years.  Individuals can make a big difference by volunteering for this or other coastal cleanups", said Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary Superintendent Carol Bernthal.

Support for this year’s Washington Coast Cleanup came from the Grays Harbor and North Pacific County Marine Resource Committees and NOAA’s Marine Debris Program.  Puget Sound Partnership supported Washington CoastSavers expansion into the Strait of Juan de Fuca with grant assistance. Without the help from this diverse group of partners, the cleanup would not be possible.

Washington State Parks has supported the cleanup efforts for many years. "This is really an exciting event every year, because it brings so many people out to help clean up our ocean beaches," said Don Hoch, State Parks director. "We have one of the most beautiful stretches of ocean beach in the country, and we are grateful to those who come out and join the fun of working together to care for it."

Washington CoastSavers is a broad spectrum of participating nonprofits, community groups, corporations, and public agencies. Washington CoastSavers is also more than 1,000 volunteers who come to the Washington coast to cooperatively remove tons of trash from the beach.

To sign up for their favorite beach, volunteers should visit the Washington CoastSavers website at

Contact: Jon Schmidt, Washington CoastSavers Coordinator
(360) 460-7532

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Ocean Acidification Workshop Tuesday April 8th in Aberdeen

Two trends that will transform Washington’s coast, ocean acidification and sea level rise, are on the agenda for an April 8 workshop in Aberdeen. The 9 am-noon session will focus on emerging research assessing potential to remediate carbon pollution and acidification with marine and coastal vegetation, while restoring estuaries and other coastal areas. Salt marsh plants, sea grasses, kelp, and other natural and cultured vegetation will be discussed and sea level rise considered.

Presenters include Jennifer Ruesink, a University of Washington biologist, and Stephanie Smith from the Oregon State University College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences speaking about current research on seagrasses. Stephen Crooks, Climate Change Director for Environmental Services Associates will report on the carbon-burying potential of estuary restoration then brief participants on coastal climate change adaptation and carbon credits.

The morning will conclude with aquaculture consultant John Forster looking at the proven benefits and potential earnings from farming the sea while sequestering carbon. Macroalgae culture can yield food, fuel, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and other commercial products.

The 1-4 pm session explores options to prepare for ocean acidification and sea level rise through local planning and policy processes such as shoreline management plans. Public officeholders, board and commission members, agency officials, and others involved in ocean planning and policy are urged to attend. Members of the Marine Resources Advisory Council, the Blue Ribbon Panel on Ocean Acidification, and coastal Marine Resource Committees will participate.

“Rising seas will drive a huge expansion of estuaries,” said Brad Warren, director of Global Ocean Health, an initiative of two nonprofit groups that helps seafood producers and coastal communities adapt to changing ocean chemistry. “If we learn to plan for it well, sea level rise might be more than just a problem—which it certainly will be—but an opportunity. Higher water will make more room for estuarine ecosystems that can sometimes chemically shelter vulnerable larvae from corrosive waters. It won’t be a smooth transition, but sea level rise may open up new areas for farming shellfish and marketable marine macroalgae. It will increase coastal habitats that support hunting and fishing, and expand the nursery grounds that support most of the world’s seafood supply.  Some of these habitats also bury more carbon than a tropical rainforest.”

The free (including lunch), public workshop is presented by Global Ocean Health and the Surfrider Foundation. It will be held at the Rotary Log Cabin Pavilion, 1401 Sargent Blvd., Aberdeen. More info at Registration is not required.

Contact: Eric Swenson, Communications & Outreach Director, Global Ocean Health, (206) 334-7333
Casey Dennehy, Washington Pacific Coast Manager, Surfrider Foundation,, (360) 556-6509

Friday, March 7, 2014

2014 Surfrider Foundation Internship

Internship Opportunity
Washington Ocean Recreation Outreach Coordinator

The Surfrider Foundation seeks a Washington Recreation Outreach Coordinator to support stakeholder engagement in marine spatial planning. The position’s main responsibility is to identify, communicate with, and engage recreational interests throughout Washington in the state’s marine spatial planning process for the Pacific coast. The intern will work under the direction of Casey Dennehy, Washington Pacific Coast Manager, and Brice Boland, Washington Field Manager, and requires 10-15 hours per week for 6-12 months.

Position Responsibilities:
1.     Identify groups, associations, and businesses that broadly represent ocean and coastal recreation in Washington
2.     Conduct outreach to recreation interests by email and other media, phone, and in-person meetings on ocean planning and Surfrider’s engagement in the process
3.     Organize workshops and public forums to present data from Surfrider’s recreational use study and solicit feedback on draft maps and other study products
4.     Promote opportunities for the recreation sector to participate in ocean planning through public meetings, comment periods, and workshops.
5.     Manage and update the Washington Recreational Gatekeeper Database
6.     Implement a social media campaign to promote engagement of recreational users in the ocean planning process
7.     Develop outreach materials for recreational users on regional ocean planning
8.     Meet and collaborate with project partners including The Nature Conservancy, Point 97/Ecotrust, Resource Media and others

Desired Qualifications:
1.       Ability to communicate effectively with ocean stakeholders, using both in-person and written strategies
2.       Proficient with Facebook, Twitter, Mailchimp, and other digital communications
3.       Knowledge of ocean and coastal recreation in Washington
4.       Ability to work flexible hours from a home office or on the road
5.       Proficient in Microsoft Word, Power Point, and Excel
6.       Access to a vehicle

Hours and Compensation:
The position is 10 – 15 hours per week for 6 - 12 months. Compensation is $12 per hour and travel is reimbursed.

To Apply:
Interested candidates should email a cover letter, resume and references by March 21st 2014 to: Casey Dennehy at

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Fukushima Radiation Frequently Asked Questions

Illustration by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute
We've been getting a lot of questions lately about how the Fukushima nuclear meltdown in Japan is affecting the health and safety of those living along the Eastern Pacific (West Coast of the US and Canada). We have put together this Frequently Ask Questions (FAQ) to help address the most common questions we are getting.

1. Is Surfrider tracking concerns that radiation from Fukushima is affecting the West Coast?

Yes. We are carefully following the results of scientific studies that are being conducted to evaluate the potential spread of radiation from Fukushima to the Pacific Coast via air, water and marine life.  We have summarized these issues and have provided links to further information in our Beachapedia article Radiation From Fukushima. We are updating this article constantly.

2. Is the news out there regarding Fukushima correct and accurate?

There are a lot of conflicting reports in the news and on various websites and blogs.  There have been many sensationalist reports that are not supported by scientific data and studies.  Again, we’ve summarized the latest verifiable data and reports in our Beachapedia article, which also contains links to responses to some of the blogs and news reports that have raised concerns. An example is this article written by a Surfrider Foundation staff scientist that was published in The Inertia.

The entire FAQ article can be found here.