May 31, 2011

History 101: Save Our Shores' fight against oil drilling in 1986

Dan Haifley is a leader in ocean conservation and has worked hard for the Santa Cruz community to keep our ocean and beaches clean for years now. From 1986-1993, Dan served as Executive Director of Save Our Shores and is now the Executive Director of the O'Neil Sea Odyssey where he runs education programs for children about marine stewardship aboard the O'Neil catamaran. Dan recently wrote an editorial in the Santa Cruz Sentinel about the fight against offshore oil drilling that he was involved in with Save Our Shores back in 1986. It is a great read and really highlights our fight for ocean conservation on the Central Coast. Thanks Dan for all of your hard work!

Dan Haifley, Our Ocean Backyard: Monterey Bay Sanctuary emerged from offshore oil fight - Santa Cruz Sentinel 5/28/2011

California's beautifully complex coastline features rock outcroppings, sandy beaches, tidepools and wetlands. It is also defined by what we don't see: along much of it, there are no offshore oil platforms.
A reason for this is that a string of coastal communities was encouraged by a then little-known organization called Save Our Shores to approve laws that restricted the development of onshore facilities necessary for offshore drilling.
The local groups that campaigned to approve these measures provided evidence of a statewide movement to protect the ocean and coast. What they didn't know at the time is that the waves they created would help to persuade a U.S. president running for re-election a few years later to grant the strongest protections ever achieved. In 1992, then-President George H.W. Bush granted permanent protection to much of California's Central Coast.
Before we continue, a little history is in order.
In 1985, 82 percent of Santa Cruz City voters voted to require that any zoning changes to accommodate onshore facilities for offshore oil must be approved by a vote of the electorate, and to lead the fight against drilling on California's Central Coast. Save Our Shores, which had worked since 1978 on coastal issues including offshore oil, was tapped to take on that fight and I was hired to coordinate it.
The federal government controls the right to lease areas for drilling from 3 miles to 200 miles offshore and the state controls it from the mean high tide line to 3 miles. Local government, however, has zoning power within its own boundaries.
A strategy to deal with offshore oil by scrutinizing the onshore facilities need to operate them was developed by Gary Patton, John Laird, Mardi Wormhoudt, Kim Tschantz and others. To implement that strategy, I traveled California to promote the approval of laws similar to Santa Cruz's. Ultimately 26 cities and counties from San Diego to Humboldt approved them - most were passed overwhelming by local voters. The oil industry took notice and filed a lawsuit against the first 13 communities. With legal guidance from then-Supervisor Gary Patton and attorney Roger Beers, the local governments prevailed.
The fight against offshore oil ultimately dovetailed with then-U.S. Rep. Leon Panetta's work to establish a marine sanctuary in Monterey Bay.
The 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill had motivated Congress to approve legislation allowing the formation of marine sanctuaries, and the California Coastal Commission began to work for such status for Monterey Bay.
After his election to Congress in 1976, Panetta began work on that effort.
In 1988 he secured congressional authorization for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to begin the planning for a marine sanctuary at Monterey Bay.
Panetta had obtained a yearly freeze on funds for offshore leasing until 1986, when that effort failed by one vote. With the coastline suddenly vulnerable, marine sanctuary status provided an opportunity for permanent protection.
To seize it, the Environmental Working Group was formed in 1988 to promote the largest boundary and strongest protections. Representing Save Our Shores, I served as its co-chair, along with Rachel Saunders of the Center for Marine Conservation, now called the Ocean Conservancy.

My next column: How Monterey Bay became the center of the largest marine sanctuary in the continental United States. Dan Haifley is executive director of O'Neill Sea Odyssey. He can be reached at

This is the projected area for oil rigs in Santa Cruz, can you imagine if our coastline was littered with oil rigs?

May 23, 2011

Kickoff the Summer for Clean Beaches on June 8th in Monterey!

What: Kickoff the Summer for Clean Beaches happy hour

When: Wednesday, June 8th, from 5-7 pm

Where: Light & Motion, 300 Cannery Row, Monterey

On Wednesday, June 8th, from 5-7pm, join Save Our Shores to celebrate World Oceans Day and kickoff the upcoming season of spreading ocean awareness, encouraging advocacy, and motivating citizens to take action for the ocean in Monterey County.

This happy hour event is hosted by Light and Motion on Cannery Row. Come meet other local ocean lovers and activists and learn how YOU can act locally to make a difference for the ocean in your own backyard.

Light appetizers, beer, and wine from local businesses will be served at this free event.

May 18, 2011

Half Moon Bay Approves City-Wide Ban on Polystyrene Take-Out Containers

Save Our Shores commends the unanimous decision by the Half Moon Bay City Council to approve a ban on polystyrene take-out containers from food vendors. Polystyrene, also known as Styrofoam, is a harmful, petroleum-based plastic material that is not biodegradable, is ingested by marine species, and is constantly found polluting the waterways surrounding the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

Today we applaud this decision as another local victory in the fight against plastic pollution and will continue to advocate for bans on polystyrene take-out containers and single-use plastic bags in each jurisdiction and county around the Sanctuary.

"Save Our Shores is thrilled with the leadership the Half Moon Bay City Council has taken with passing this ordinance," says Laura Kasa, Executive Director of Save Our Shores. "By eliminating use of harmful products such as polystyrene food containers, we will surely improve the health of our marine environment."

The Half Moon Bay ordinance will take effect on August 1, 2011, and requires all take-out food containers be made of compostable and/or biodegradable, recyclable, or reusable materials. It is the same ordinance adopted by the County of San Mateo to take effect on July 1, 2011, after the County agreed to enforce the ban during restaurant inspections if cities within San Mateo County were to adopt the very same ordinance.

The City of Half Moon Bay now joins the ranks of other cities and counties around the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary who have passed polystyrene bans including South San Francisco, San Bruno, Pacifica, Millbrae, Burlingame, Santa Cruz, Capitola, Watsonville, Monterey, Carmel, Pacific Grove, and others.

Alternatives to polystyrene take-out containers are readily available to restaurant owners, and no requests for exemptions have been reported in Santa Cruz thus far. Restaurant owners have found the transition easy, well received by their customers, and often times more cost effective.

Just like single-use plastic bags, banning polystyrene take-out containers helps create an economic support system for a flourishing coastal economy while providing protections for our fisheries, marine animals, and environment from the ever growing problem of plastic pollution in our ocean. Contact for more information.

May 17, 2011

Now Through the End of May: Vote for SOS in New Leaf Community Market's Envirotoken Program!

I takes less than 60 seconds and means thousands of dollars of support for Save Our Shores in the end. Help keep Save Our Shores in the Envirotoken program this year!

For the very first time, you can now vote ONLINE for your favorite organizations to become recipients of New Leaf's generous community-supported fundraising campaign. There are many organizations on the list, and in these tough economic times, Save Our Shores needs your support now more than ever.

We will continue to lead our community in pollution prevention efforts all year long, to raise awareness about the critical issues facing our marine environment today, to advocate for bans on single-use plastic bags and styrofoam take-out containers all around the Sanctuary, to educate our youth in the classrooms and the field, and run the largest community cleanups on the Central Coast.

A quick glimpse of how the Envirotoken program makes a positive impact in our community and in our environment:

  • Total number of bags reused: 2,812,798
  • Total $ contributed to local non-profits: $200,305.20
  • Total number of trees saved: 4,018

Your support of Save Our Shores' local ocean conservation efforts is greatly appreciated.

Awesome cleanup effort by Cabrillo students, 4/30

Save Our Shores is far from the only group in town out there cleaning beaches and talking trash. We love partnering with other local orgs and community efforts. Today, we celebrate the great work of Cabrillo College professor David Schwartz in organizing community beach and lagoon cleanups twice a year for 26 years now!

At this year's Spring Cabrillo College cleanup, our new Sanctuary Steward Scott McGilvray represented Save Our Shores and helped the group collect data using SOS data cards for their cleanup. He provided SOS with the following information:

The 26th annual Cabrillo Oceanography dept. cleanup of Corcoran Lagoon and surrounding beaches was a party. It began at 9 am in the parking lot of KSCO, with coffee, fruit, bagels and cool music from the Beach Bums ukelele, guitar and bass band. The group, totaling over 100 volunteers, took off at 9:40 a.m. and stretched out from Corcoran Lagoon along the streets, trails, rivers and beaches to Pleasure Pt. and Sunny Cove. Before noon volunteers reassembled for sorting and weighing of the trash, photos and 26 pizzas from Woodstocks and Pleasure Pt. Pizza, and beverages from Trader Joe's and Jamba Juice.

Total, those volunteers collected 460 lbs of trash and 180 lbs of recycling. Included in that were 43 plastic bags and 614 cigarette butts, two of SOS' primary target pollution items for removing from the waste and litter stream.

Thanks to Scott, Dr. Schartz and all the volunteers who participated in this event and helped to make it possible.

May 11, 2011

Charlie Hong Kong Goes Plastic Bag Free for Earth Day!

Right before Earth Day this year, Carolyn Rudolph (pictured with her husband below), owner of the ever popular Santa Cruz institution known as Charlie Hong Kong, stumbled upon an SOS photo of an otter pup stuck in a plastic bag in the waters near Moss Landing Harbor.

The photo, taken by Terry McCormick, has become an important ally to Save Our Shores throughout our ongoing efforts to ban single-use plastic bags. Carolyn took one look at the photo and said "that's it" - immediately deciding their business would no longer provide plastic bags to their customers. She posted the photo in the restaurant to spread awareness about the plastic pollution issue and is now implementing a Bring Your Own reusable bag program. Customers can now take home a durable, reusable bag for $1.50, a portion of which will be donated to Save Our Shores. Thanks, Carolyn and customers of Charlie Hong Kong!

Carolyn also stopped selling plastic water bottles at the restaurant, and strives to eventually offer aluminum and glass beverage bottles only in the near future. Carolyn's message to other businesses is to "Ban the bag - get rid of plastic bags!"

And to their customers: "We're all in this together. Transition can be difficult, but we all care about our environment and can all work together to help protect it."

She gladly signed Charlie Hong Kong onto the Central Coast Sanctuary Alliance as a Supporting Business to back the unified effort to ban plastic bags all around the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

It's hard to believe that somewhere around 100 billion petroleum-based plastic checkout bags are used in the United States each year. Production of these plastic bags requires an estimated 12 million barrels of oil each year!

The human experience made it just fine before plastic bags, plastic take-out forks, and plastic water bottles. We need to move into a new era of reusable and refusable. Take a stand against plastic pollution and join us to ban single-use plastic bags by signing our petition today.

A ban on plastic bags would help preserve the integrity of our local ecosystems, reduce the burden on landfills, and cut back litter in our communities. Learn more on our fact sheet on plastic bags...

May 6, 2011

May 14th Monterey Beach Cleanup Volunteers Receive FREE Tickets to Aquarium in Honor of World Oceans Day!

Join Save Our Shores as we kickoff the clean beaches season in Monterey County with two upcoming events in honor of World Oceans Day: a beach cleanup bonus on May 14th, and a community happy hour on June 8th.

On Saturday, May 14th, from 10 am - 12 pm, join Save Our Shores for a beach cleanup with a twist at Del Monte/Municipal Beach located at Wharf #2 in Monterey. Beach cleanup volunteers will each receive a FREE ticket to the Monterey Bay Aquarium valid for entry during the Aquarium’s World Oceans Day celebration June 4-5!

All beach cleanup materials will be provided by Save Our Shores, but volunteers are encouraged to bring their own reusable buckets, gloves, and bags to help decrease trash generated at the event. Check-in will be near the bathrooms in the main Wharf parking lots.

Then, on Wednesday, June 8th, from 5-7pm, join us for our Kickoff the Summer for Clean Beaches happy hour to celebrate World Oceans Day. Come to the gathering and be introduced to the work of Save Our Shores where we aim to inspire citizens to take action for the ocean right in their own backyard.

The Kickoff the Summer for Clean Beaches party will help spread ocean awareness, encourage advocacy, and motivate Monterey area residents to take action for the ocean this summer. Light appetizers, beer, and wine will be shared with attendees at this free, informal event open to the public. The event will be held at Light & Motion, 300 Cannery Row in Monterey.
"Through regular beach cleanups and our upcoming ocean awareness events, Save Our Shores is helping to further the culture of ocean stewardship and volunteerism that make Monterey County such a unique and special place,” says Andrew Hoeksema, Coordinator of Volunteer Programs at Save Our Shores.

For more information contact Andrew at 831.462.5660 ext. 3 or

May 4, 2011

Join SOS for The Human Race on Sat, May 7th

Raise funds for your ocean by participating in the Human Race Walkathon & Fun Run this coming Saturday, May 7th!

All you have to do is join the Save Our Shores team, collect pledges for your race, and meet us at the starting line at 8am near the back end of Natural Bridges State Park off of Delaware Avenue in Santa Cruz.

The Human Race is a time when our community bands together to sustain vital programs through a fun and easy fundraising event. Cleanup beaches, pollution prevention, and the protection and preservation of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary is one of those vital programs.

May 2, 2011

Bag Ban Needs Support at the Carmel City Council Meeting this Tuesday, May 3rd!

Save Our Shores and the Central Coast Sanctuary Alliance are asking all interested parties to join them at the Carmel City Council meeting on Tuesday, May 3rd, to speak in support of a local bag ban ordinance for the City of Carmel. Supporters are best to arrive by 6:30pm.

Members of the Central Coast Sanctuary Alliance, which now includes over 40 environmental organizations and local businesses, have been ramping up their efforts to work with municipalities and counties around the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary to pass local bans on single-use plastic bags.

The rise in these recent efforts was successful in getting consideration of a plastic bag ban onto the Carmel City Council meeting agenda at the very last minute.

This is the first, necessary step to passing a local ordinance to ban the distribution and use of single-use plastic bags at grocery stores and retail outlets within the city limits of Carmel. Strong support from the community, businesses, and local leaders is essential.

The May 3rd Carmel City Council meeting agenda can be found here:

The photo above is of an otter pup stuck in a plastic bag with her mother trying to remove it. The otter pup made it out after several attempts. This photo was taken by local photographer Terry McCormick in the waters near Moss Landing Harbor.