Surfrider Chapter Network Continues to Increase Stewardship and Leverage Citizen Science

May 26 2016

San Clemente, CA, May 26, 2016 – Today, the Surfrider Foundation released its fifth Clean Water 2015 Annual Report which illustrated meaningful growth in its two programs - Ocean Friendly Gardens and Blue Water Task Force - that are effectively reducing ocean pollution so it is safe to surf, swim and play in the ocean.  As demonstrated in the case studies from Virginia Beach, Virginia, to Kaua’i, Hawaii, Surfrider Foundation volunteers are educating their communities on how to help protect ocean water quality. Surfrider chapters are leveraging “citizen science,” which the Obama Administration has been encouraging since September 2015, to test the water, identify water quality issues and to work collaboratively with local partners to protect public health and clean water along the coastlines.

“Our Virginia Beach, VA and Newport, OR chapters are success stories as their communities have embraced conservation and citizen science to solve local pollution problems,” said Mara Dias, Water Quality Manager for the Surfrider Foundation. “In contrast, despite the consistently high bacteria readings the Kaua’i Chapter has presented to the Hawaii State Department of Health (HDOH), that the State has failed to even notify the public of the hazards of recreating in bacteria-laden waters, putting the health and safety of families and kids at risk.”

The report showcases the national impact of the two programs, Ocean Friendly Gardens (OFG) and the Blue Water Task Force (BWTF). Ocean Friendly Gardens offers simple, natural solutions for urban runoff, which is the number one source of ocean pollution. Since its inception seven years ago, the OFG program has reduced stormwater pollution by 13 million gallons and is having an impact for water conservation policy and stormwater management in CA, OR, WA, HI and NJ. More than 3,872 volunteer hours were dedicated to 253 OFG activities across the country this year.

The volunteer-led Blue Water Task Force water quality-testing program has more than doubled in size in the past five years. In 2011, the BWTF reported 1,924 water test results and has since grown into a network of more than 30 labs running over 4,600 water samples collected from 317 distinct sampling sites. In 2015, the Surfrider Foundation welcomed four new labs into the programs, including Oahu, HI; Olympic Peninsula, WA; North Coast, OR; and The Grauer School, CA. The Rincon Chapter in Puerto Rico launched a massive volunteer effort running nearly 1,000 water tests. While 30% of the nationwide samples had medium to high levels of bacteria, the good news for the millions of Americans heading to our beaches this Memorial Day weekend is that 70% of the samples reported low-bacteria levels with conditions safe to swim or surf.

Find out more about the Surfrider Foundation’s OFG and BWTF programs at www.surfrider.org.

###

ABOUT SURFRIDER FOUNDATION

The Surfrider Foundation is a non-profit grassroots organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of our world’s oceans, waves and beaches through a powerful activist network. Founded in 1984 by a handful of visionary surfers in Malibu, California, the Surfrider Foundation now maintains over 250,000 supporters, activists and members worldwide. Learn more at surfrider.org.