On Friday, January 6, 2017, WILDCOAST joined San Diego Councilmembers Barbara Bry and Lorie Zapf, and other conservation organizations, to urge President Obama to protect the coast of San Diego from any future offshore drilling. Recent efforts to prevent the Pacific region’s outer continental waters from oil and gas development have so far yielded only temporary protection.
Week #5: Leopard Shark, Triakis semifasciata
I lurk in shallow nearshore marine waters in search of my next meal. I scan the seafloor using senses attuned to find prey that hides amongst the benthos*. When I zero in on my victim I surge forward and use my specially shaped sub-terminal* mouth to pluck it from its hiding place. I have been witnessed moving so quickly that I can snatch the siphon of a clam from the sand surface before it has the chance to retreat to its shell. I Although I can look and sound menacing, I am one of the more docile sharks in existence. At a general length of 4-5 feet I can send a chill down the spine of recreational beach goers if seen cruising underfoot but should be considered harmless.
I am the single most important organism in kelp forest ecosystems. So important in fact, scientists named the entire ecosystem after me. I am uniquely adapted to thriving in nearshore rocky habitat that covers much of the benthos of San Diego county’s marine areas. Something that most people do not know about me is that I am not a plant but actually an algae. I differ from plants in many ways, but most noticeably I do not have roots. I have what is known as a holdfast, which I use as an anchor to secure themselves to the seafloor. As one of the fastest growing organisms on the planet, I have been recorded growing by as much as 2 feet a day and reaching sizes of 150 feet in a single growing season. As a primary producer, I provide nourishment for the entire southern California ecosystem and facilitate San Diego counties vast biodiversity.
You may have seen me florescent orange, ebbing and flowing with tidal surges against the dark backdrop of the sea floor. If you have snorkeled, swam, or kayaked near La Jolla Cove (in the Matlahuayl State Marine Reserve) you may have noticed me curiously pecking away at exposed sections of rocky reef in search of tidbits of food, my favorite being small invertebrates. Just like you I also have a home and at a certain age I built myself a house in order to find a mate. My mate or mates lay eggs in the rocky substrate that I maintain and fiercely protect. I have been known to aggressively attack anything swimming too close to my developing eggs… even humans! Because of my charisma and tenacity I was named the California state marine fish and was also the inspiration for Dr. Seuss’ “red fish” in the popular story of Cat in the Hat.
Why should humans care about me? [Read more…]
Get to know your neighbors in San Diego county media segment
In this media segment WILDCOAST would like to introduce San Diegans to some of their closest neighbors… wildlife. San Diego county and its nearshore marine areas are home to one of the most diverse and dynamic ecosystems on the planet. The interactions, both intentional and passive, between humans and wildlife create some complex issues at such an extreme urban/ natural interface. Many San Diegans are keen on issues that arise between humans and wildlife for competing space but may not understand things from a wildlife point of view. WILDCOAST is here to act as translator for local wildlife and inform human residents that wildlife residents, although voiceless, need to be heard. This segment will also act as a reminder to WiLDCOAST followers that opportunities to volunteer are plentiful.
For immediate release
February 17, 2016
Serge Dedina, WiLDCOAST, firstname.lastname@example.org, 619.606.0537
Susan Jordon, California Coastal Protection Network, email@example.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.”
In the beginning of 2014, WILDCOAST and the Girl Scouts of San Ysidro, developed the first Junior Marine Protected Area (MPA) Watch program in California. The program is designed to gather data on how people are using the MPA network and help guide future management decisions. The Junior MPA Watch program is engaging younger audiences in citizen science and greatly contributing to the statewide project. Today, over 100 youth in San Diego County have participated in the program, many from Girl Scout troop 5912 in San Ysidro, one of the county’s most park-poor communities.
Although the Girl Scouts love to play and learn in their closest MPA, the Tijuana River Mouth SMCA, they are also spending their free time helping WILDCOAST protect it. On June 15, 2015 two girl scouts from 5912 took on a new role in the program and trained eight of their group members to conduct the MPA Watch surveys. Maite and Ileana, both have been very active in the program and other efforts to improve the MPA and nearby estuary. They have carried out beach cleanups, done storm drain stenciling in their community and have even visited local elected officials to ask for further open space and MPA protection. With their help, now even more local youth are stewarding one of the county’s underwater parks and helping to guide an effective future for our MPAs.
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!
What we are thankful for:
This holiday season, we are thankful for people’s commitment to leave the world a better place. We are also thankful for having a beautiful environment like the ocean nearby. The ocean is an important resource that supports life, and we have many happy memories in it. So the ocean provides food for us but also happy times!
In the ocean we’ve found amazing things like kelp forest, fishes, seaweed and a beautiful ecosystem. The beach gives us a lot of fun, lovely days at the pier and we’ve found many activities to do there like looking at pods of dolphins swim by and enjoying our family and friends.
It makes us happy to collaborate with the Girl Scouts and WILDCOAST because we know we are contributing to help the Marine Protected Areas. The beach is part of our community, and as Girl Scouts but also as residents of San Ysidro, California, we want to work protecting the ocean so that other generations can enjoy it as we do.
Sofia Valles y Lucia Valles. Girl Scout Troop 5912
On Saturday, Oct. 4th, the weather was hitting 85 degrees that morning, but 165 volunteers showed up and removed 5,740 pounds of trash from the Tijuana River Valley!
THANK YOU to all the wonderful volunteers that helped remove items like: plastic bags and bottles, toys, tires, items of clothing, even car bumpers!
We couldn’t have done it with out the work of all our amazing team of volunteers. There are a couple more events left in the Tijuana River Action Month so please visit http://www.tjriveraction.net/ for more information on all upcoming events.