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:
December 11 2014
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.
November 21 2014
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.
November 07 2014
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.
October 13 2014
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...
July 20 2014
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.
June 18 2014
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.
June 17 2014
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.
June 12 2014
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.
June 01 2014
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
May 20 2014
Surfrider has launched a recreational survey for Washington's coast to inform the state's marine spatial planning process.
May 18 2014
Over 20 Surfrider Chapters participated in Hands Across the Sand, joining activists around the world in saying NO to offshore drilling and YES to clean energy!
April 25 2014
Ocean Power Technologies has canceled plans to develop a wave energy project off Reedsport, Oregon. The Surfrider Foundation had participated in project planning and supported through signing a settlement agreement
April 14 2014
The federal government is planning to expand two National Marine Sanctuaries in northern California. Please provide your public comments in support by the June 30 deadline
March 09 2014
Do you want to see our coasts protected from offshore drilling? Then sign up to participate in Hands Across the Sand on May 17th, 2014!
March 02 2014
The federal government is on the brink of approving dangerous seismic testing for oil and gas off the Atlantic coast. Please make your voice heard by submitting comments to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.
February 28 2014
In August 2013, the Associated Press reported that oil companies have used hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) and other types of “well stimulation treatments” to access oil beneath state and federal waters for decades without notifying state agencies that the practice has been occurring. This discovery was a big wakeup call that sent some regulators scrambling to figure out how fracking had occurred without their awareness. The California Coastal Commission, which has jurisdiction over oil and gas activities that occur in or affect state waters, was the first agency to step up. In August, the Commission vowed to investigate the undisclosed fracking and to identify potential actions it could take to address the issue.
February 06 2014
A committee of Senate and House members is negotiating the final version of the Water Resources Development Act which authorizes coastal restoration and engineering projects. Find out how you can influence the final version of the bill!