Ocean Protection, Plastic Pollution, Water Quality
March 11 2014

2014 Campaign Priorities

by Chad Nelsen

Surfrider has three major areas of focus in 2014: Clean Water, Ocean Protection, and Rise Above Plastics.

Every year the Surfrider Foundation identifies priority campaigns to focus our work and ensure we achieve important on-the-ground protection of our oceans, waves and beaches.  While we support our 84 on-ongoing campaigns, priority campaigns are where we go the extra mile to achieve meaningful conservation advancements.

Clean Water Program

Our goal for our clean water program is simple; to reduce ocean pollution so it is safe to surf, swim and recreate in the ocean. A clean ocean is also necessary to sustain healthy marine life. 

Consequently, the Surfrider Foundation advocates for strong water quality regulations, adequate marine recreational water quality monitoring, reporting and posting, reduction of polluted discharges into the ocean and education regarding personal responsibility for the reduction of water pollution. We also support smart land use planning to ensure that coastal environmental resources are protected and healthy watersheds are maintained.

More specifically, we have identified these campaigns and projects to improve coastal water quality:

  • Fund the national BEACH Act to ensure water safety monitoring
  • Build a model urban watershed and water management system in Ventura, California
  • Stop the Long Beach, NY sewage ocean outfall
  • Reform the Long Beach, CA desalination plant
  • Improve water quality at Larrabee State Park WA
  • Move the Morro Bay-Cayucos sewage plant away from the coast
  • Support waste water recycling in San Diego

In addition we are supporting ground breaking research through a surfer health study in San Diego and a pesticide study in Hawaii.

Ocean Protection Program

The oceans are getting crowded. New and emerging uses such offshore oil drilling, a wind and wave energy, increased shipping and aquaculture may threaten ocean health and existing uses such as fishing or surfing.

The goal of our ocean protection work is to protect and restore ocean health by defending the ocean from threats while supporting proactive approaches to conservation. We fight to stop offshore drilling and harmful seismic testing while advocating for the implementation of marine protected areas (MPAs), ocean planning, and well designed renewable ocean energy projects.

Specifically, our ocean protection campaign priorities are:

  • Preventing harmful seismic testing in the Atlantic
  • Regulating offshore fracking in California
  • Supporting marine protected areas implementation in Oregon and California
  • Supporting ocean planning efforts in Oregon, Washington, the Mid-Atlantic and the Northeast
  • Support for National Ocean Policy and Regional Ocean Partnerships

In addition, we are leading the largest effort to collect and understand recreational use of the coasts and ocean ever conducted. These recreational ocean user studies are taking place to support ocean planning efforts.  This information will be invaluable to inform future decisions about ocean and coastal use that could affect our favorite places along the coast.

Rise Above Plastics

It is now common knowledge that our oceans are awash with plastic pollution. Decades of dumping and littering of non-biodegradable plastic threaten the health of our oceans, waves and beaches.

The goal of our Rise Above Plastics campaign is to reduce the impacts of plastics in the marine environment by raising awareness about the dangers of plastic pollution and by advocating for a reduction of single-use plastics and the recycling of all plastics.

We have achieved remarkable success since this campaigns inception. We have chalked up 69 successful campaigns to reduce single use plastic consumption and waste through bans on single use bags, foam, smoking and by promoting recycling through redemption programs. That said, we still have a long way to go. Surfrider is currently fighting 21 campaigns in the United States.

Our specific campaign goals are to:

  • Pass a statewide single use checkout bag ban in California
  • Support bag bans in the large urban cities of Chicago and New York
  • Support a statewide foam ban in Hawaii

In addition, we are developing a marine debris tracking system to better characterize marine debris found on beaches that will sync with the West Coast Ocean Data Portal.

We will be tracking these goals, along with all of our campaign successes, through out the year and reporting back on our accomplishments.

One thing is absolutely clear. These campaigns will not be won without a ton of hard work and commitment from our activists, chapters and staff. We need your support to achieve our oceans, waves and beaches protection goals. Join Surfrider today and get involved.