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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
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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

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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2015 Priority Campaigns

February 16 2015

2015 Priority Campaigns

Beach Access Coastal Preservation Ocean Ecosystems Surf Protection Water Quality

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.

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

February 16 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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Surfrider Represents at Mid-Atlantic RPB Meeting in New York City

January 28 2015

Surfrider Represents at Mid-Atlantic RPB Meeting in New York City

Ocean Ecosystems Marine Spatial Planning

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.

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New Drilling Proposed in the Atlantic: Time to Speak Out!

January 27 2015

New Drilling Proposed in the Atlantic: Time to Speak Out!

Ocean Ecosystems Ocean Energy

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!

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Congress Proposes New Oil Drilling off our Coasts

January 22 2015

Congress Proposes New Oil Drilling off our Coasts

Ocean Ecosystems Ocean Energy

This week, members of Congress introduced legislation to expand offshore drilling off the Mid- and South Atlantic coasts.

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Florida Chapters Rally Against Seismic Testing

January 22 2015

Florida Chapters Rally Against Seismic Testing

Ocean Ecosystems Marine Spatial Planning Ocean Energy

The Florida Chapters are working with local governments to say NO to expanded seismic airgun testing off the Atlantic Coast!

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Blue Vision Summit: May 11-14 in Washington DC

January 14 2015

Blue Vision Summit: May 11-14 in Washington DC

Ocean Ecosystems

Registration is now open for the Blue Vision Summit in Washington DC on May 11-14. The Summit brings together ocean advocates from around the country to discuss ways to advance ocean and coastal conservation.

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Surfrider Appointed to Federal Marine Protected Areas Committee

January 05 2015

Surfrider Appointed to Federal Marine Protected Areas Committee

Ocean Ecosystems Marine Protected Areas

The Surfrider Foundation has been selected to represent recreational users on the Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee.

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The Oceans are Full of Plastic - What Now?

December 11 2014

The Oceans are Full of Plastic - What Now?

Ocean Ecosystems Rise Above Plastics Bag Bans Expanded Polystyrene Foam

Surfrider is very concerned about the problem of plastics in the ocean. Plastics kill or injure large numbers of seabirds, fish and marine mammals through entanglement and ingestion. That's why we developed our Rise Above Plastics program to reduce the use of single-use plastics that end up in the ocean. A recent report was released by scientists at 5 Gyres that estimated 5.25 trillion plastic particles weighing 268,940 tons are currently floating at sea. This unfortunately confirms what we already knew - that the amount of plastic debris (everything from large fishing nets to very small pieces of plastic bottles, cups, bags and other plastic materials) in the ocean is so great that we can't clean it up. We have to address the problem at the source by using less plastics (Reduce or Refuse), then Reuse any remaining plastic materials as many times as possible, and Recycle the rest.

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Surfrider Launches Northeast Recreation Survey

November 21 2014

Surfrider Launches Northeast Recreation Survey

Ocean Ecosystems Marine Spatial Planning

The Surfrider Foundation, in partnership with Point 97 and SeaPlan and under the direction of the Northeast Regional Planning Body, has launched a recreational use survey for the New England coast.

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Starfish Wasting Disease

November 18 2014

Starfish Wasting Disease

Ocean Ecosystems

Scientists have just identified the virus to blame for a recent outbreak of starfish wasting disease that has decimated starfish populations up and down the Pacific coast of North America.

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Surfrider Visits Washington D.C. to Lobby for Federal Priorities

November 07 2014

Surfrider Visits Washington D.C. to Lobby for Federal Priorities

Ocean Ecosystems Ocean Friendly Gardens Rise Above Plastics Water Quality

Surfrider members and staff visited our nation’s capital to lobby for a set of federal priorities related to the protection of oceans, waves, and beaches.

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Sustainable Alternatives to Unfettered Offshore Drilling

October 13 2014

Sustainable Alternatives to Unfettered Offshore Drilling

Ocean Ecosystems Marine Spatial Planning Ocean Energy

Let’s face it: we are all creatures of habit. Some of our largest corporations supply us with energy through fossil fuels, which are drilled from the earth. We’ve had this arrangement for many years, but it isn’t working so well any more...

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Seismic Exploration for Oil & Gas Approved off the Atlantic Coast

July 20 2014

Seismic Exploration for Oil & Gas Approved off the Atlantic Coast

Ocean Ecosystems Marine Spatial Planning Ocean Energy

The federal government has approved seismic exploration for oil and gas off the Atlantic coast. The decision, which was strongly opposed by the Surfrider Foundation, could pave the way for offshore drilling in the Atlantic.

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Lower Gas Prices AND Global Freedom??

June 25 2014

Lower Gas Prices AND Global Freedom??

Ocean Ecosystems Ocean Energy Water Quality Oil Spill

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John Kerry leads bold actions to protect our ocean

June 18 2014

John Kerry leads bold actions to protect our ocean

Ocean Ecosystems Marine Protected Areas

This week Secretary of State John Kerry convened the State Department’s first “Our Ocean” conference to focus on domestic and international ocean protection issues that took bold action right from the start.

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Federal Government Moves to Develop 5 Year Leasing Plan for Offshore Drilling

June 17 2014

Federal Government Moves to Develop 5 Year Leasing Plan for Offshore Drilling

Ocean Ecosystems Marine Spatial Planning Ocean Energy

The Obama Administration is beginning development of an offshore oil and gas leasing plan for 2017 - 2022. A public comment period is now open until August 15th.

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Congress Passes Bill on Beach and Water Projects

June 12 2014

Congress Passes Bill on Beach and Water Projects

Coastal Preservation Beach Dredge & Fill Shoreline Armoring Ocean Ecosystems Surf Protection

Congress has passed an updated Water Resources and Development Act (WRDA) which authorizes coastal restoration and engineering projects. Surfrider chapters worked hard to improve the final version of the bill.

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Texas Lawmaker Leads Attack on our National Ocean Policy

June 01 2014

Texas Lawmaker Leads Attack on our National Ocean Policy

Ocean Ecosystems Marine Spatial Planning

Led by Rep. Bill Flores, the U.S. House has passed an amendment to defund the National Ocean Policy. The measure will now be considered by the Senate. Please contact your federal reps to tell them you support our National Ocean Policy

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