#WorldOceansMonth

Ocean Protection

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.

To read Surfrider Foundation’s Position Statement on Marine Protected Areas please click here.  For more information on California’s MPAs, click here and view a map here.
 

Offshore Drilling
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.

Marine Spatial Planning
Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) is a public process that brings together different ocean stakeholders - including fishing, energy, government, conservation, and recreation – to make informed decisions about how to use the ocean sustainably. MSP uses maps to create a comprehensive picture of where and how an ocean area is being used, and what natural resources and habitats exist. Potential benefits of MSP include: reduced conflict among different uses, protection of the natural environment, and greater certainty for private industry and developers.
 
Across the country, states and regions are beginning to use marine spatial planning to address the many competing uses off their coasts. In particular, MSP is being used to identify locations for renewable energy projects that will reduce impacts on the environment and existing users (e.g., surfers, fishermen). Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Oregon are some of the states that have developed spatial plans for their ocean waters, with other states and regions in the U.S. now starting to follow suit.
 
The Surfrider Foundation believes that MSP provides an important opportunity to protect 'special places' such as ecological and recreational areas before they are threatened by potential development. On the West Coast, New England, and the Mid-Atlantic, Surfrider Foundation chapters are emerging as a key stakeholder in MSP efforts, representing recreational ocean users in the public planning process.
 
Surfrider's engagement in MSP includes:
- Participation of recreational ocean users
- Public outreach and education
- Mapping and data collection of non-consumptive uses
- Dialogue with other stakeholder groups
Share

Marine Protected Areas:

Policy and longer Position Statement on Marine Protected Areas

Recreation Studies

Recreation Study Webpage

Ocean Energy Issues:

Policy on Offshore Oil Drilling

Policy on Renewable Ocean Energy

Not the Answer campaign page

Beachapedia Article: Offshore Oil Drilling

Beachapedia Article: Renewable Ocean Energy

 

Marine Spatial Planning:

Beachapedia Article: Marine Spatial Planning

Oregon Non-consumptive Recreational Ocean Use Study

 

Regional Ocean Conservation Programs:

California Ocean & Coastal Issues

Oregon Ocean & Coastal Issues

Washington Ocean & Coastal Issues

Refugio Oil Spill Roller Coaster

June 25 2015

Refugio Oil Spill Roller Coaster

Ocean Ecosystems Water Quality Oil Spill Public Notification

Tracking the Plains Refugio oil spill has been like riding a rickety, roller coaster. Since “Day 1” Surfrider has been following the twists and turns of the spill—desperately trying to ‘make sense of the events’ by researching exactly what happened and analyzing how to avoid a similar travesty in the future. It’s been five weeks since the oil began spewing, and unfortunately, concrete information and answers regarding the spill are still very muddied.

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The Next Wave: Short Film on Atlantic Ocean Planning

June 05 2015

The Next Wave: Short Film on Atlantic Ocean Planning

Ocean Ecosystems Marine Spatial Planning

A new short film explores efforts to protect the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast coast from future development. Featuring beautiful scenery from Virginia to Maine, the film makes a compelling case for beachgoers, surfers, and others to engage in ocean planning.

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Oregon: Inspiring Ocean Protections Through Deeper Connections

June 05 2015

Oregon: Inspiring Ocean Protections Through Deeper Connections

Ocean Ecosystems Marine Protected Areas

Oregon’s wild and untamed coastline has inspired great passion and intrigue for many recreational users and visitors to this special place. Oregonians draw deep connections to protecting what they love and no other place exemplifies this more for ocean users than Oswald West State Park and the Cape Falcon Marine Reserve.

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Globs of Oil Cover Miles of Southern California Beaches

June 02 2015

Globs of Oil Cover Miles of Southern California Beaches

Ocean Ecosystems Water Quality Oil Spill

Since May 29th, 2015 oil globs have been found along southern California (concentrated near Ventura, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach, Santa Monica, Malibu, Zuma Beach and Venice Beach). Surfrider Staff and volunteers have been corresponding with cleanup responders. Anxious locals and advocates patiently await the results of oil ‘finger-printing’ to identify the exact source of oil.

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Updates on Santa Barbara Oil Spill at Refugio State Beach

May 22 2015

Updates on Santa Barbara Oil Spill at Refugio State Beach

Ocean Ecosystems Water Quality Oil Spill

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.

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Surfrider College Clubs take to Capitol Hill, Part 4

May 22 2015

Surfrider College Clubs take to Capitol Hill, Part 4

Beach Access Coastal Preservation Ocean Ecosystems QUAD Rise Above Plastics Water Quality

UNCW Surfrider College Club member and Youth Leadership Program summer intern Alexandra Brooks shares her experience attending 5th Annual Blue Vision Summit in Washington, DC May 11-14th. This is a 4 part series.

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Surfrider College Clubs take to Capitol Hill, Part 3

May 22 2015

Surfrider College Clubs take to Capitol Hill, Part 3

Beach Access Coastal Preservation Ocean Ecosystems QUAD Rise Above Plastics Water Quality

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.

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Surfrider College Clubs take to Capitol Hill, Part 2

May 22 2015

Surfrider College Clubs take to Capitol Hill, Part 2

Beach Access Coastal Preservation Ocean Ecosystems QUAD Rise Above Plastics Water Quality

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.

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Surfrider College Clubs, Chapters & Staff take to Capitol Hill

May 20 2015

Surfrider College Clubs, Chapters & Staff take to Capitol Hill

Coastal Preservation Ocean Ecosystems QUAD

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.

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Surfrider Chapters Join Hands to Say No to Offshore Drilling

May 17 2015

Surfrider Chapters Join Hands to Say No to Offshore Drilling

Ocean Ecosystems Ocean Energy

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!

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Surfrider Releases Recreational Use Study for the Washington Coast

May 13 2015

Surfrider Releases Recreational Use Study for the Washington Coast

Ocean Ecosystems Marine Spatial Planning

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.

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Hands Across the Sand: Coming to a Beach Near You on May 16!

May 04 2015

Hands Across the Sand: Coming to a Beach Near You on May 16!

Ocean Ecosystems Ocean Energy

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!

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The Next Great Battle

April 20 2015

The Next Great Battle

Coastal Preservation Ocean Ecosystems Water Quality Illness Oil Spill

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.

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Advancing Ocean Planning

April 13 2015

Advancing Ocean Planning

Ocean Ecosystems Marine Spatial Planning

I had the good fortune to score an invitation from the Healthy Oceans Coalition to attend a series of meetings to promote the National Ocean Policy in Washington, D.C., this March.

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Why Seismic Matters - The Atlantic Braces for Shock Waves

April 10 2015

Why Seismic Matters - The Atlantic Braces for Shock Waves

Ocean Ecosystems Ocean Energy

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.

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Surfrider Visits White House for Ocean Progress Report

March 30 2015

Surfrider Visits White House for Ocean Progress Report

Ocean Ecosystems Marine Spatial Planning

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.

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Surfrider’s Top 10 Environmental Priorities

March 30 2015

Surfrider’s Top 10 Environmental Priorities

Beach Access Coastal Preservation Ocean Ecosystems Ocean Friendly Gardens QUAD Rise Above Plastics Surf Protection

What’s on our agenda for 2015? Here are Surfrider’s top 10 environmental priorities for the coming year.

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Protect Our Ocean & Oppose Offshore Oil Drilling on the East Coast

March 24 2015

Protect Our Ocean & Oppose Offshore Oil Drilling on the East Coast

Ocean Ecosystems Ocean Energy Water Quality Oil Spill

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.

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Marine Sanctuaries Expand in Northern California

March 12 2015

Marine Sanctuaries Expand in Northern California

Ocean Ecosystems Marine Protected Areas

The federal government has finalized new boundaries for California's marine sanctuaries that will protect the north coast from offshore drilling.

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California Advocates Score Coastal Commission Voting Record

February 26 2015

California Advocates Score Coastal Commission Voting Record

Beach Access Coastal Preservation Know Your H20 Desalination Ocean Ecosystems Surf Protection Water Quality

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%.

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Pete Stauffer, Ocean Program Manager, pstauffer@surfrider.org