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Ocean Friendly Gardens

Urban runoff is the #1 source of ocean pollution, and it erodes stream banks and creates flooding. The water could irrigate landscapes, recharge groundwater and help ensure base stream flows. Plus, plants do not need chemicals and commercial fertilizers, two of the main water pollutants. Click here to learn more about the problem, and read about our position on artificial turf and the value of soil to "sponge up" water, pollution, and carbon dioxide. Ocean Friendly Gardens is part of Surfrider's Clean Water Initiative, an integrated approach to water, where you will find resources to take action and our short, animate film, "The Cycle of Insanity."

Ocean Friendly Gardens (OFG) revive our under-hydrated watersheds and polluted oceans by applying CPR - Conservation, Permeability and Retention - to our landscapes and hardscapes:

  • C - Conserve water and wildlife habitat with native or climate appropriate plants.
  • P - Permeable, living soil and hard surfaces that runoff to landscapes to filter pollutants, sponge up water for plants to tap into during dry months, and absorb carbon dioxide from the atmostphere.
  • R - Retain rain as the first source of irrigation.

Click here to learn more about CPR and here for the OFG Sign Criteria (a check-box format is here). If you meet the criteria, order a yard sign, and see info below in the "OFG Map" section.

Do It Yourself...Or Share This Info With a Professional You Hire

More Resources - on the "Resources" tab, e.g., videos and articles.

4 Steps to Take Now

Direct rainwater to soil. Apply mulch. Install native plants. Switch to drip.

 Programs & Partnerships

As the above video shows in part, we implement OFG through education, hands-on activities and policy change. (Check with your local Surfrider chapter to see what components they are offering.) We seek to collaborate with government, professionals and non-profits to help put on events and scale-up implementation. Here's info for:

  • Activists - The OFG Activist Toolkit explains how to run program events: walks, talks, workdays, and policy meetings. Here's a brief description of each event: walks, talks, and workdays. The Toolkit also has volunteer job descriptions, sample event flyers, tabling visuals, slideshows, case studies & more. (Note: the Toolkit only has .pdf files. Go to ChapterNet (Resources>Programs>Ocean Friendly Gardens) for .doc and .ppt files.) An "Intro to OFG" slideshow is in this Public Dropbox folder to download and edit, and here's another one. Chapter OFG activists can enter their activity data at any time into this tracking sheet rather than waiting till the end of the year.
  • Workday hosts - Click here for more information on your responsibilities. Click here for more information on how Surfrider chapters may help. Here's a set of steps to follow to create an OFG.
  • Professionals - Chapters work with professionals who agree to follow the OFG criteria when leading an OFG class or an OFG workday. Professionals who volunteer with chapters may be given priority for leading a chapter event. Click here for more information.

OFG Map

  • See gardens and post yours - learn how others went ocean friendly, and see the water runoff prevented and water use savings, pictures and plants lists, and more. Click here.
  • Order a yard sign - the info is on the map's "Instructions" page (last item) - click here (item 17).

Note about searching "Recent Blog Posts" - you can search by category - Class, Lawn Patrol, HOW (Hands-On Workshop), and GAP (Garden Assistance Party) - by clicking on the hyperlinked category in any of the posts. For example, click on GAP in any of the blog posts and it will pull up all the posts having to do with GAP.

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Ocean Friendly Gardens Annual Reports - 2012, 2013, 2014

Ocean Friendly Gardens Brochure - send an order to Surfrider's Karli Barbour (kbarbour@surfrider.org) that states how many brochures you want, your mailing address, and when you need the brochures by. You can download an e-version and print it out.

Ocean Friendly Gardens How-To Gardener's Guide Book:

  • Surfrider chapters - send an order to Surfrider's Karli Barbour (kbarbour@surfrider.org) that states how many books you want, your mailing address, and when you need the books by. Karli will give you a price for the books and shipping.
  • General public - order it here.

Videos:

A 60 second public service announcement about OFG.

7 shorts from SWRCB on how to retrofit a landscape and hard surface to be an OFG. 

  • #1 - intro to stormwater
  • #2 - killing lawn through sheet mulching
  • #3 - disconnecting downspouts
  • #4 - lawn care
  • #5 - supporting healthy soil
  • #6 - permeable hard surfaces
  • #7 - swales and rain gardens

The value of a rain barrel with Surfrider-East Coast Regional Manager, John Weber

Stormwater outfall pipe in action - spewing runoff into Seattle's Puget Sound (on a rainy day)

A city hall landscape becomes an OFG through hands-on workshop with Conservation Corps

A GAP transforms a park's grass lawn into an OFG.

OFG featured on state water agency website.

Cutting the parkway curb to capture street runoff (LID). An OFG in action, capturing rain.

PSA, short intro video, and 3 videos about levels of OFG programming: Informational, Lawn Patrol, Series.

"Slow The Flow: How To Make Your Garden Act More Like A Sponge" (features San Francisco Chapter's OFG Program)

Pamela Berstler's OFG (Managing Member of G3, The Green Gardens Group)

Elmer Avenue - OFG + green street (Los Angeles Area)

Articles

A small residential OFG done with Surfrider volunteers - Long Beach Daily Bulletin

New York Times on the Garden Assistance Party: text and pictures

Fish put into rain garden-filtered runoff survive; those in un-filtered runoff do not, after just 12 hours!

National OFG Program Coordinator, Paul Herzog, interviewed by Los Angeles City Stormwater blog - click here

Article on OFG Program in Watershed Management Group's newsletter ("Get Your Garden Out Of The Gutter") - click here

Volunteer

Contact your local Surfrider Chapter to see if they are conducting an Ocean Friendly Gardens Program.http://www.waterla.org/downloads

Ocean Friendly Garden Nets Great Press Coverage

July 02 2015

Ocean Friendly Garden Nets Great Press Coverage

Ocean Friendly Gardens GAP

A Surfrider chapter helping to turn a dirt and weed patch into an Ocean Friendly Garden is great. The host's commitment to be an ambassador in their neighborhood is a great way to pay-it-forward. Turning both into a news article is neat way to tell the story and inspire others.

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California Government Moves Towards Requiring OFG!

June 11 2015

California Government Moves Towards Requiring OFG!

Ocean Friendly Gardens

The Governor's recent order for public agencies to revise existing regulations to use rainwater as a resource, reduce turf grass and reduce water use is being expedited. A state panel advising the state's lead water supply agency is recommending requirements that support Surfrider's Ocean Friendly Gardens program!

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Surfrider Teams With Education Outside To Put The “Glen” Back In Glen Park School

June 01 2015

Surfrider Teams With Education Outside To Put The “Glen” Back In Glen Park School

Ocean Friendly Gardens GAP

A glen is "a valley, typically one that is long, deep,...with a watercourse running through it." Surfrider worked with an eco-education non-profit to build a mini-glen that prevents polluted runoff and educates students and the surrounding community.

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NYC Surfrider Weaves Fun & Teamwork Into Bio-Swale Project

May 22 2015

NYC Surfrider Weaves Fun & Teamwork Into Bio-Swale Project

Ocean Friendly Gardens GAP

Surfers, the City and a business team up for a second year of turning a landscape "brick" into a "sponge" to absorb water, filter pollution and create beautiful wildlife habitat.

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Surfers & Turtles Like Florida’s Natural Beaches

May 12 2015

Surfers & Turtles Like Florida’s Natural Beaches

Ocean Friendly Gardens GAP

Florida's Sebastian Inlet Surfrider Chapter had helped re-plant beaches in a wildlife refuge for several years. So when they heard that an oceanfront home was going to be demolished, they were there to restore the property to native coastal strand.

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Surfrider Releases Ocean Friendly Gardens 2014 Report

May 11 2015

Surfrider Releases Ocean Friendly Gardens 2014 Report

Ocean Friendly Gardens

33 Chapters conduct 277 activities, showing the value of the soil to sponge up water, filter pollution, prevent flooding and lock up carbon dioxide.

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Part 4: 4 Steps to Creating an Ocean Friendly Garden

April 22 2015

Part 4: 4 Steps to Creating an Ocean Friendly Garden

Ocean Friendly Gardens HOW

Having read about two cool gardens and their benefits, you may be getting prepared to create your own. Here's how!

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Surfrider Becomes Regular Part of Science Class

April 16 2015

Surfrider Becomes Regular Part of Science Class

Ocean Friendly Gardens Basic Class

Ocean Friendly Gardens (OFG) is a great way for teachers to put a familiar face on science. The Surfrider chapter OFG Chair comes back for a 2nd year of presentations, pointing to the OFG installed there.

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Part 3: Got A Hurricane? Get A Garden!

April 14 2015

Part 3: Got A Hurricane? Get A Garden!

Ocean Friendly Gardens GAP

For Part 3, we head to the East Coast - Wilmington, North Carolina - for an Ocean Friendly Garden sponging up rainwater to help clean up surf and shellfish habitat, plus slow down and sink water to preventing flooding.

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Part 2: OFG Creates Cleaner Surf & Saves Water

April 09 2015

Part 2: OFG Creates Cleaner Surf & Saves Water

Ocean Friendly Gardens Basic Class GAP HOW Lawn Patrol

Did you know your yard can provide the lifeblood of a healthy watershed and ocean? With the proper design, installation and maintenance, you will not only ensure a healthy landscape, but reduce water use and have piece of mind and more free time to spend enjoying the ocean.

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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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Part 1: OFG Curbs Pollution & Directs Water Into Landscaping

March 30 2015

Part 1: OFG Curbs Pollution & Directs Water Into Landscaping

Ocean Friendly Gardens Basic Class HOW

The Surfrider Foundation's San Diego Chapter works with a private water retailer to help turn a water guzzling area of a park, and its runoff producing parking lot, into an example of an Ocean Friendly Garden.

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Spring Maintenance Activity - It’s Time For Mulch Madness!

March 16 2015

Spring Maintenance Activity - It’s Time For Mulch Madness!

Ocean Friendly Gardens GAP

Surfrider chapters look for events that are turn-key and make a difference. Like college basketball's March Madness, one Surfrider chapter is teaming up with a city to inaugurate an annual event they call Mulch Madness!

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Healthy Soil Supports Clean Surf

March 02 2015

Healthy Soil Supports Clean Surf

Ocean Friendly Gardens

G3/Green Gardens Group's "Soil In The City" Conference was mind-blowing! The world's leaders in soil broke down how soil is the foundation for cleaning water runoff, reversing desertification, and sequestering carbon.

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School Garden Overcomes Challenges & Goes With The Flow

February 16 2015

School Garden Overcomes Challenges & Goes With The Flow

Ocean Friendly Gardens Basic Class GAP HOW

The Peninsula Elementary School Rain Garden shows the importance of patience, utilizing Surfrider chapter resources, and developing partnerships. The project team had to solve problems: flooding problems in a school courtyard, clogged storm drain piping, and a small budget.

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4,3,2,1…and Another Win in Federal Court for Clean Coastal Waters in Maui

January 26 2015

4,3,2,1…and Another Win in Federal Court for Clean Coastal Waters in Maui

Know Your H20 Wastewater Water Recycling Legal Ocean Friendly Gardens Water Quality

A federal court found that the County of Maui was unlawfully damaging the water quality of Maui's coast on Friday, January 23rd, with a ruling that injection well discharges from the Lahaina Wastewater Reclamation Facility are violating the Clean Water Act. Judge Susan Oki Mollway found that the County is liable for discharges into Wells 1 and 2. This follows a ruling from May 2014 when Judge Mollway similarly found unpermitted violations from Wells 3 and 4.

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Deepening Our Roots With The Native Plant Society

January 16 2015

Deepening Our Roots With The Native Plant Society

Ocean Friendly Gardens

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Surfrider Releases Ocean Friendly Gardens 2013 Annual Report

December 05 2014

Surfrider Releases Ocean Friendly Gardens 2013 Annual Report

Ocean Friendly Gardens

The Surfrider Foundation’s Ocean Friendly Gardens Program undertook an awesome effort in 2013, detailed in a newly released annual report.

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Garden Helps Ensure Cleaner Surf In Hermosa Beach, CA

December 05 2014

Garden Helps Ensure Cleaner Surf In Hermosa Beach, CA

Ocean Friendly Gardens HOW

A beautiful Ocean Friendly Garden now sits in what used to be an unused grassy area in front of a highly utilized city community center. It's a model for directing rainwater into the landscape for irrigation, preventing runoff, and creating wildlife habitat.

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California Drought Ideas In Line With Surfrider’s Approach

November 17 2014

California Drought Ideas In Line With Surfrider’s Approach

Blue Water Task Force Know Your H20 Ocean Friendly Gardens

Today's release of a report, which Surfrider contributed to, lists actions that state and federal agencies can take now and prepare for the future. It's right in line with Surfrider's Clean Water Initiative approach.

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Paul Herzog, Coordinator, Ocean Friendly Gardens Program: pherzog@surfrider.org and 310-430-9760