Surfrider Foundation's ocean protection program
The Ocean Protection Program protects and restores ocean ecosystems through a proactive approach to conservation. Our core areas of work include: Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), Offshore Drilling, Renewable Ocean Energy, and Marine Spatial Planning. Please see below for more information.
Marine Protected Areas
Marine protected areas function as safe havens for marine life and provide areas where the ocean can rebuild and restore itself. Scientific research shows that marine protected areas (MPAs) can boost the abundance, diversity, and size of marine species living within their borders.
As a grassroots organization, Surfrider is engaged in both the planning and implementation of MPAs and fully protected marine reserves around the country. Marine protected areas protect some of the best surfing spots in the country, from the California coast to the Hawaiian Islands and from the Florida Keys to Oregon. These underwater parks enhance the overall experience of a variety of coastline activities by protecting biodiversity, wildlife abundance, and scenic viewsheds. Thriving protected areas provide a richer environment for kayaking, diving, tidepooling and birdwatching.
Ocean-lovers from all walks of life came together to create marine protected areas because MPAs have been proven to enhance the resilience of ocean ecosystems to withstand cumulative impacts of human and natural stressors (e.g., pollution, coastal development, fishing pressure, climate change, etc.). Experience from around the world shows that the success of MPAs depends in part on local understanding and support for the designation. By providing outreach to ocean users and engaging citizens in planning and stewardship efforts, Surfrider chapters play an important role in ensuring the long-term success of these designations.
The Surfrider Foundation is opposed to offshore oil drilling in new areas. Our nation’s oceans, waves and beaches are vital recreational, economic and ecological treasures that will be polluted by an increase in offshore oil drilling. Instead of advocating for transient and environmentally harmful ways to meet America’s oil needs, Surfrider believes we should seek a comprehensive and environmentally sustainable energy plan that includes energy conservation. See Surfrider's Fact Sheet on offshore drilling.
Surfrider's Not the Answer campaign is focused on protecting our coasts from the risky practice of new offshore drilling through grassroots advocacy at the federal and state levels. Our chapter efforts included participation in Hands Across the Sand, an annual event where citizens join hands at beaches around the world to say no to offshore drilling and yes to clean energy. The primary goal of our Not the Answer campaign is to reinstate the federal moratorium on new drilling that was in place for decades until President Bush lifted it in 2008 and Congress subsequently allowed a federal ban on drilling to expire. For more information on Surfrider's Not the Answer campaign, please visit: http://www.surfrider.org/campaigns/entry/not-the-answer-offshore-oil-drilling
Renewable Ocean Energy
Renewable Ocean Energy refers to sustainable means of generating electrical power that do not involve burning fossil fuels. Potential sources of energy in the ocean include solar, wind, waves, tides and geothermal energy.
In recent years, there has been a surge of interest in the development of these industries. Numerous projects have been proposed – and in some cases implemented - throughout the U.S. and world, encompassing a broad range of designs and locations.
The Surfrider Foundation recognizes that technologies that utilize ocean waves, tides, currents and wind may offer important benefits as renewable sources of energy that will reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. These alternative energy sources may also provide economic development through a cutting-edge industry for coastal communities.
Surfrider also recognizes that there are many questions and concerns about ocean energy, including potential impacts to ocean recreation, nearshore ecology, coastal processes, public safety, aesthetics, and fishing access.
The Surfrider Foundation has developed a Policy on Renewable Ocean Energy that articulates as set of ‘best practices’ for evaluating or planning for potential projects.
- Participation of recreational ocean users
- Public outreach and education
- Mapping and data collection of non-consumptive uses
- Dialogue with other stakeholder groups
Marine Protected Areas:
Ocean Energy Issues:
Marine Spatial Planning:
Regional Ocean Conservation Programs:
May 22 2015
On May 19, 2015, the popular and pristine beaches of Refugio State Beach were covered by sticky, smelly, black oil. Shockwaves spread through Santa Barbara—a tiny town all too familiar with oil spills. As Santa Barbara once again contends with a catastrophic spill, the memories of the devastating 1969 spill still linger. Ironically, the 1969 spill is credited with spurring the modern environmental movement—and here we are 46 years later still dealing with the horrible impacts of offshore oil drilling.
May 22 2015
Cal State Channel Island College Club Chair Kevin Piper shares his experience attending 5th Annual Blue Vision Summit in Washington, DC May 11-14th. This is a 4-part series.
May 22 2015
Cal Poly College Club Chair Alex Ly shares his experience attending 5th Annual Blue Vision Summit in Washington, DC May 11-14th. This is a 4 part series.
May 20 2015
On May 11-14th Surfrider staff and four college students from a variety of Surfrider Clubs across the US attend the Blue Vision Summit in DC. Hosted by the Blue Frontier Campaign, the Blue Vision Summit brought together ocean advocates, scientists, and members of industry to discuss ways to advance marine conservation. This is a 4-part series.
May 17 2015
Over 30 Surfrider Chapters participated in Hands Across the Sand events on May 16th, joining thousands of activists around the world in saying NO to offshore drilling and dirty fuels and YES to clean energy!
May 13 2015
The Surfrider Foundation, in partnership with Point 97 and the state of Washington, recently completed the Washington Coastal and Ocean Recreation Study and today released the final report.
May 04 2015
Do you want to see our coasts protected from offshore drilling? Then sign up to participate in Hands Across the Sand on May 16, 2015!
April 20 2015
Today, April 20 marks the five-year anniversary of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Despite the catastrophic effects this spill had – and continues to have – on the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem and coastal communities, the federal government is still attempting to introduce new drilling along much of the Mid- and South Atlantic.
April 10 2015
The federal government has released a map showing where companies have applied to conduct seismic testing in the Atlantic. Seismic testing is the first step towards offshore drilling and will cause major impacts to marine wildlife.
March 30 2015
Surfrider staff Matt Gove, along with representatives from other leading ocean environmental groups, met with White House officials to discuss the continued implementation of the National Ocean Policy (NOP). "Surfrider applauds the great work done by the National Ocean Council to strengthen and preserve our coastal and ocean ecosystems, communities, and jobs.” Said Matt Gove, Mid-Atlantic Policy Manager for the Surfrider Foundation. “By continuing to press for increased coordination, communication, and use of scientific data, the NOC is steering the country towards smarter and better management of our precious coastal and ocean resources.” Not only has Surfrider been working to increase involvement in NOP processes by coastal recreational users like surfers, we have also collected economic and geographic data on these user groups across the country.
March 24 2015
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced public hearings for offshore seismic blasting in Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North and South Carolina, and Georgia. According to the government’s own estimates, the proposed seismic blasting will injure or kill tens of thousands of fish and marine mammals. It will also set the stage for future oil and gas development.
February 26 2015
The California Coastal Commission is the most powerful land use agency in the State and oversees the protection of the coastline. Each year they review over 1,000 applications for some type of coastal development. Advocates have been 'scoring' the Commission for decades to ensure their votes protect our precious coastline. For 2014, the Commission produced a C- average, scoring 71%.
February 16 2015
In this video, our CEO Dr. Chad Nelsen talks through our 2015 priority campaigns, which support our beach access, clean water, coastal preservation and ocean protection initiatives.
January 28 2015
Surfrider staff made public comments at a two-day meeting of a new Mid-Atlantic ocean and coastal management body in New York City. Surfrider views this body as an opportunity to be proactive in protecting our oceans and beaches through creation of a comprehensive plan for protection and management of all coastal and ocean resources and uses.
January 27 2015
The Obama Administration has announced plans for new offshore drilling in the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans. Please submit comments online and attend an upcoming public hearing!