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This fall the Surfrider Foundation Portland chapter moved their Blue Water Task Force to Astoria High School’s Applied Science Center. Over the course of the first semester, Astoria High science teacher Tim Roth worked to get the lab up and running and develop the program into his cellular biology unit’s curriculum. With the assistance of local volunteers, Astoria high school students will be running water quality samples for some of the most popular recreational beaches from Oswald West to Astoria. Volunteers are needed to help pick up samples! Water sampling is a fun and easy way to volunteer. Samples are collected on Monday mornings and dropped off at Cold Water Surf Shop by Noon. Contact and further volunteer information can be found at: http://www.surfrider.org/oregon/volunteers.html#PORTLAND. Major kudos to Mark “Finger” Taylor and Cold Water Surf for this great partnership!
Oregon Sea Grant is organizing an outreach effort to inform the public about marine reserves and gather feedback about the concept and the process. Public Forums are being held in coastal communities this month and a complete schedule is on our event calendar. The results will be compiled and forwarded to OPAC for use as they finalize an Oregon Marine Reserve Policy guidance document later in 2008. During Phase 1 (Jan-March) Sea Grant will conduct listening and information-gathering in communities on the Oregon coast. One desired outcome is the formation of local working groups to further study the issue and, if they choose, nominate areas in their regions as potential marine reserves. During Phase 2, (April-June) Oregon Sea Grant will support local working groups and assist OPAC and the state in communicating with the public about the marine reserve nomination process. Be sure to check out the website http://seagrant.oregonstate.edu/outreach/reserves.html for more info on how to get involved. And please email email@example.com to provide your input – make your voice heard!
On Jan 22, Surfrider’s Environmental Issues Team (EIT) met with staff from the Oregon Deparment of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to discuss the agency’s reconsideration of the NPDES wastewater permit for the Georgia Pacific Pulp Mill in Toledo. The four hour meeting was a follow-up to DEQ’s acceptance of Surfrider Central Coast Chapter’s 2006 petition to formally reconsider the terms (e.g., monitoring requirements, effluent standards, etc.) of the GP permit. DEQ declined to provide a specific date for completing the permit reconsideration, but emphasized it is a ‘high priority’ to get it done. DEQ agreed with Surfrider’s argument that Marion County landfill leachate is not an appropriate waste stream under this permit, and indicated that their reconsideration document will reflect this (good news!!) Unfortunately, agreement on many of the other issues was harder to come by. Still, DEQ staff indicated their willingness to consider science-based resources provided by Surfrider in the reconsideration process. We are currently working to develop several memos, including recommendations for additional monitoring. The Georgia Pacific mill releases an average of 11 million gallons a day of treated wastewater through an ocean outfall located 3,800 feet off Nye Beach in Newport.
Surfrider is partnering with the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport to co-sponsor a ‘Focus the Nation’ forum on climate change on Jan 31st from 5pm to 6:30pm. The event is part of a national teach-in on global warming solutions on the imperative for taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We all know that large volumes of carbon in the Earths atmosphere is having effects on the worlds climate. You probably know that global climate change is affecting sea levels and ocean temperatures. Did you also know that this excess carbon is absorbed by the ocean? The Jan 31st event will be a great opportunity to learn more about global climate change and what you can do to help. Thanks to Noelle and Beth for help with this. See the official press release at: http://www.newportnewstimes.com/articles/2008/01/25/news/news11.txt
Please participate in a blood drive on Sat, March 1st from noon until 4 PM at Gorge Performance (7400 SW Macadam, Portland). The event is being held in honor of longtime Oregon surfer and surf contest judge Gary, who is currently facing a medical condition requiring blood transfusions. The blood drive will feature surf related giveaways for people donating blood throughout the afternoon. ‘Gorge Performance is thrilled to be a part of the blood drive for Gary. We have lots of opportunities to show our concern for water quality and beach access issues, but when a rare opportunity to actually help another surfer like this comes about, we jump at the chance’, says Bob Rueter, Gorge Performance shop owner. Gary is a long-time Surfrider member and participant in Surfrider’s annual Clean Water Classic surf contest which will be held this year on May 2008 in Westport, Washington. For more details on blood drive: http://www.givestoke.com/Home.html
Central Coast Chapter’s Blue Water Task Force, in partnership with the City of Newport, the Aquarium’s Youth Volunteer Nye A.R.M.S., and Newport Middle School, is getting closer to identifying sources of bacterial contamination in and around the Nye creek/beach area. Recently, the chapter was represented by Charlie Plybon, Oregon Field Coordinator, on a discussion with city managers, city attorney and director of public works on a game plan for sourcing and solving issues for the upcoming year. Surfrider and the City agreed that the issue needs a better outreach component as well as more data from potential sources to determine appropriate actions. The City and Surfrider are developing a workplan to educate citizens and engage local students and volunteers in sourcing efforts in the new year. This January, there will be two forums held by the Newport Citizens for Clean Water (January 9th and 14th – see event calendar) to discuss publicly the work by Surfrider as well as the city of Newport on plans for 2008. More to come!