Press Release: Speaker Atkins releases bill requiring lobbying transparency at Coastal Commission

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For immediate release

February 17, 2016

CONTACT:
Serge Dedina, WiLDCOAST, serge@wildcoast.net, 619.606.0537
Susan Jordon, California Coastal Protection Network, sjordan@coastaladvocates.com, 805-637-3037

Speaker Atkins releases bill requiring lobbying transparency at Coastal Commission

Sacramento, CA – In the wake of the controversial vote to oust Executive Director Charles Lester last week, Speaker Toni Atkins has released a bill designed to increase transparency and accountability at the California Coastal Commission and reduce the influence of special interests.  The Commission reviews projects worth billions of dollars.  Yet, for decades, lobbyists have been able to woo Commissioners without the public’s knowledge of how much these lobbyists are paid or by whom.  The bill is co-sponsored by Assemblymembers Stone and Levine.

Atkins was clearly troubled by the Commission’s decision to terminate Dr. Lester, who was widely regarded as a fair and competent public servant. Following hours of public testimony at the February 10 hearing, the Commission chose to retire to closed session, despite the advice of legal counsel that they could deliberate in public. Following the 7-5 vote to fire Lester, Atkins tweeted, “Let me apologize to the public. I truly thought my appointees would be better stewards of the coast.”

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Keep California’s Coastline… California!

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I am riding north along the blessed California coastline on an Amtrak train bound for SLO. The bustle is happily out of reach as we whiz by crammed intersections and the afternoon I-5 slog. Open space fills the absence of noise. There is no better way to experience the continuity of the California coastline than on the train. You get to see the glittering line-ups of Church and Trestles; retirees calmly sliding along weekday peelers. You can stare out the window at emerald wetlands and flocks of gulls on the exposed cobbles of an afternoon low tide.

California’s coastal zone governance via the Coastal Commission has largely enabled this opportunity. It is a shame they weren’t around before 1972. I day dream of a Solana Beach without the country’s most armored cliff-line…and a Dana Point with one of the state’s best point breaks. I didn’t get to experience those things and time travel does not exist yet without reconfiguring my anatomic structure so I must accept the baseline that is. Fortunately that includes still a darn nice place to live and surf.

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San Diego County MPA Interpretive Signs Installed!

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Congratulations to the City of Encinitas and the Batiquitos Lagoon Foundation for the first installment of MPA interpretive panels in San Diego County! These incredible signs highlight the ecological significance, natural beauty and history of Swami’s and Batiquitos Lagoon MPAs.
Special thanks to everyone involved in the process! City of Encinitas, Surfrider Foundation, California State Parks, Marine Sanctuary Foundation, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Batiquitos Lagoon Foundation, and our staff at WILDCOAST!
We can’t wait to see the rest of the signs installed across San Diego County!

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Oil Disaster at Refugio

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Image by KTLA News 5

About a year ago my husband, daughter and I were on a quick weekend road trip to Santa Barbara. On our drive south we stopped at Refugio State Beach to admire the long beautiful stretch of pristine beach and stretch our legs a little. My husband (a native of Mexico) was in awe that undisturbed pieces of coast still exist in Southern California.

Last week I was in Washington D.C. with partner California NGOs to advocate against offshore oil exploration and drilling. A Santa Barbara resident that was in the group said, “it’s not about if a spill can happen, it will happen, it happens all the time in our beaches, little or small we get that stuff on our beaches.”

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Enjoy, but do not disturb!

The last weekend of spring break my husband and I took our daughter to La Jolla. She loves seeing the sea lions and brown pelicans and it was the perfect day for a beach day. When we got there, we noticed that there was a car show at Scripps Park. There was a lot of people, so we slowly made our way to La Jolla’s Cove beach and hoping that since it was later in the day, there wouldn’t be a lot of people.  We were wrong, the beach was packed, and right in the middle of that beach were five sleeping sea lions. There were a few more scattered around that small beach, some looked sick and tired. My husband and I wanted to leave but we decided to stay in case anybody would start harassing the sea lions. We could let them know, in a friendly way, that they shouldn’t be doing that.

We stayed at the beach and sat at good distance from the sea lions and saw people, mostly tourists, taking pictures of them and with them. Most of them were in awe of seeing wild animals in their natural habitats.  The sea lions were only there to rest. They were sleeping, trying not to care about all the crowd that surrounded them. But it was tough; kids were playing very close to them, people almost stepping on them, and some were trying to touch them. Fortunately, lifeguard J. Kerr was there on duty to make sure people kept a safe distant from the marine mammals.

 

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Dive Into Your Underwater Parks, Virtually.

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California Google MPA Tour

Explore California’s Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) or “underwater parks” through new online tours!

Looking for your next vacations spot? The California Google MPA Tours feature detailed descriptions of each of the State and Federal Marine Protected Areas, National Marine Sanctuaries, and National Estuaries, with stunning photos and videos, and links to local “things to do” for your enjoyment and ease of vacation planning.

The Google MPA tour is recently completed for the entire state, featuring more than 125 underwater parks from the Oregon border to the Mexico border, and is divided into easy to navigate regional tours. Each tour explores all of the underwater parks along our amazing coast with breathtaking pictures and videos and links to nearby activities to enjoy these special ocean areas.

Hope you make your next vacation an MPA vacation! Click here to dive in!

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How to be a “Good Tide Pooler”

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Underneath the water off of San Diego’s coastline there is an array of marine wildlife for you to explore. You don’t have to go very deep to experience these amazing creatures up close. During negative tides, head to your nearest shoreline reefs where water pools and find a window into the intertidal world.

Our MPAs are home to San Diego’s best places to “tide pool.” On the reefs around Swami’s, La Jolla and Point Loma you can find a diversity of wild marine invertebrates like sea stars, anemones, octopuses and sea hares among many others.

Although terrific places to view and learn about coastal and marine wildlife, tide pools and the reefs that house them are very sensitive ecosystems. Additionally, these animals and their homes are protected by our network of MPAs and their take is prohibited. So please visit, experience and enjoy San Diego’s tide pools but follow these simple rules and spread the word when you do:

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California Approves Community Based Partnership Plan to Guide MPAs

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GREAT NEWS!  After a lengthy public and agency review process, the Ocean Protection Council released a partnership-based guide to long term management of California’s statewide network of marine Protected Areas (MPAs).  The California Collaborative Approach: Marine Protected Areas Partnership Plan outlines how the inclusive process that aided the creation of MPAs will contribute to managing them.  Focused on a shared vision of linking agencies and organizations across geographic scales, the Partnership Plan aims to tap into the existing energy, expertise and resources at the local scale through a network of local County Collaboratives.  Comprised of ocean stakeholders that are forming across coastal California, they will receive local input and undertake activities that foster ocean education and awareness, encourage sustainable recreational use, and promote ease of compliance with MPA protections.

Become a MPA Watch Volunteer in South San Diego

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Spent your Saturday Morning at the Beach!
Join us Saturday March 22 for our 4th training of MPA Watch for the Tijuana River Mouth. Volunteers will spend the morning with  Wildcoast staff, learning how to take a transect survey of the Tijuana River Mouth Marine Protected Area.  
Training will last approximately three hours, with an in-class training and field training. Volunteers will learn about the history and importance of MPAs in San Diego, how to use an MPA Watch data sheet, and why human-use surveys are so important to building our knowledge about how MPAs impact the areas they protect.  Once trained, volunteers are able to conduct surveys whenever they are able, so the schedule is flexible.
Data collection is done following state-wide methods and protocols, and all information will be used in the future assessment of our MPAs in San Diego and is helpful in understanding how human use has changed since their implementation. 
Location: WILDCOAST office 
925 Seacoast Drive
Imperial Beach, CA 91932
(Offices are located in front of the Imperial Beach Pier, second floor from the liquor store)
Date: Saturday, March 22, 2014
Time: 9:00am-12:00 pm
To register please contact Marine Coordinator Diane Castaneda at diane@wildcoast.net.

2013 YEAR IN REVIEW

As the year comes to an end, WILDCOAST is proud to announce our accomplishments from 2013. We couldn’t have done it without those who support us in our conservation endeavors. Take a moment to look over our accomplishments from 2013, and please continue to support our work through 2014 by donating today: https://app.etapestry.com/hosted/WildCoast/OnlineDonation.html

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