June 24, 2011

Hands Across the Sand . . .

JOIN "Hands Across the Sand" gathering at Doran Beach Park on June 25th from 11-1. For more information on the history and purpose of the event visit



“Hands Across The Sand” Event Opposing Offshore Drilling & Supporting Clean Energy

Doran Beach, Bodega Bay        11:00 Speakers  12:00 Join Hands followed by Beach Clean-up

Meet at whale Sculpture across from Coast Guard Station

 $6  day use parking fee is waived if 4+ passengers per vehicle (or if you have a Regional Parks pass, bless your heart!)

The Sonoma Coast Chapter of Surfrider is hosting the event.  This event  is an opportunity to express opposition to offshore drilling and promote clean and sustainable energy.  There will be speakers from Defenders of Wildlife (Richard Charter, Executive Director), Ocean Conservation Research (Michael Stocker, Executive Director), Sonoma County Board of Supervisors (Efren Carrillo), Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations (Zeke Grader),  Tom Roth (Chief of Staff for Sen. Noreen Evans) and Bill Kortum (Coastal Activist) .... prior to participants forming a line in the sand and joining hands. There will also be a beach clean-up and we will be joined by  "the bag monster"  to bring awareness to the issue of single use plastic bags and plastic pollution in the ocean.  

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors is giving the Gold Resolution on June 21st and declaring June 25th as "Hands Across the Sand" day in Sonoma County.

Please visit the Sonoma Coast Surfrider website   www.surfrider.org/sonomacoast 
There is a link on the website to the chapter facebook page " Sonoma Coast Surfrider" that will post updated information on the event.

Here is a video of  event highlights 

At this time Doran Beach is the only location for Sonoma, Marin, and Mendocino Counties.  "Hands Across the Sand" will be a great opportunity to meet with like-minded folks.

This is a great event to show your support for energy alternatives, no offshore drilling, and your commitment to our coast. Please bring a bag, or two, or three to pick up trash.

Thank you!!

June 11, 2011

Stars of the Sea . . .

Sea Stars on Doran Beach

My cousin, Lauri, lives in Alaska. She's a California native who moved to Alaska over 25 years ago. Her lifestyle fits her self-reliant nature perfectly. Lauri lives by the sea and walks the beach nearly every day photographing Alaskan sea life and wildlife. She is compelled to know about her surroundings and the creatures that inhabit her shared haven. After reading my last post, Lauri brought to my attention that 'sea star' is the correct name for what I mistakenly identified as 'star fish'. 

I grew up calling these invertebrates 'star fish' and just about everyone I know does the same. So I was compelled to find out why the name change and learned so much more on Buzzle.com:

Doran Beach

Facts about Sea Star

Sea stars are echinoderms that exhibit radial symmetry and possess tube feet for locomotion. These marine creatures, though often called Starfish, are not fish. They lack blood and brain, and have two stomachs for digestion. They even possess the unique ability to regenerate their lost arms…

Sea stars are star-shaped invertebrates living on the rocky sea floor. There are about 1800 known living sea star species that are distributed across the globe. The greatest variety of these are found in the tropical Indo-Pacific. Some other regions where they are widely found are the temperate regions of Australia, the cold-temperate waters of the North Pacific (California to Alaska), and the tropical East Pacific regions. These marine creatures can be sized from ½ an inch to over 3 feet in diameter and can live up to 35 years. Leather Star, Vermilion sea stars and Cushion stars are some of the common sea stars along the Pacific coast.

Sea stars are not fish

Sea stars are often referred to as starfish, however, the point to be noted is that the sea star is not a fish, which is why marine scientists have preferred to change its name from starfish to sea star. Sea stars and fish come under Kingdom
Animalia. However, since fish are vertebrates, they belong to phylum Chordata, and sea stars along with sea urchins, brittle stars, feather stars and sea cucumbers come under phylum Echinodermata. Echinoderms exhibit a radial symmetry, which means that their arms radiate from a central disk outwards. Echinoderms are also characterized by tube feet, an endoskeleton that is made up of ossicles and plates in their body wall (may be large or microscopic). 

Click Here to Learn More About the 'Sea Star' on Buzzle.com 

“People protect what they love”          
                    Jacques~Yves Cousteau

photo, Darris B. Nelson

The Unseen Costs of Pollution . . .

Suja Lowenthal is an enormous asset to her city and an inspiring activist for our oceans. I was so moved by Long Beach Vice Mayor, Suja Lowenthal's passionate presentation I wanted to share it with you . . .

Vice Mayor of Long Beach, CA Suja Lowenthal, discusses the growing economic costs of collection and disposal of plastic – the externalized costs of plastic pollution.

"Change starts with each of us" 
                                    Suja Lowenthal

The true cost of cleaning up garbage: 
  • 2.2 million dollars to clean up Long Beach coastline. 
  • 20 million dollars invested in cleaning up pollution just in Long Beach alone.

Low tech trash clean-up: Catch Basin Debris Diverters ~ ‘Treatment Train'. Helps to keep trash out of our oceans.

"Cleaning up pollution is a very lonely endeavor."
                                    Suja Lowenthal

Fabian Cousteau TEDxGreatPacificGarbagePatch

Talking Points from Fabian Cousteau's TED talk:

  • Oceans ~ our life support system . . . our world’s circulatory system
  • oceans encompass 99% of our worlds total biodiversity
  • they house almost 95% of the worlds life
  • 80% of garbage in the ocean comes from land-based sources, mostly single-use plastic
  • creating a ‘plastic soup’.
  • There is a gyre in every ocean
  • 2.4 million pounds of plastic is dumped into our ocean every HOUR!
  • We are losing 1 million apex predators every year just to plastics

“People protect what they love”   Jacques~Yves Cousteau

One thing you can do today to stop the flow of plastic into our oceans is to STOP BUYING ALL SINGLE USE PLASTIC.

REDUCE, REUSE, recycle . . .

fog under the Golden Gate ~ photo, Darris B. Nelson
trash picker ~ photo, Darris B. Nelson
S.F. night sky ~ photo, Darris B. Nelson

Researchers have discovered a rare white porpoise in the San Francisco Bay.
ABC video of rare white porpoise in S.F. Bay

The discovery is thrilling environmentalists, who were already excited to see any harbor porpoises coming back after they disappeared decades ago.

On any given day, dozens of harbor porpoises are swimming right under the Golden Gate Bridge. 

Bill Keener knows many of them by sight. In the last two and a half years Keener and a team of observers have photographed more than 200 individual porpoises. 

link: Golden Gate Cetacean Research

The porpoises do not have names, but they do have code numbers. There's handsome SFB 78 with a rugged scar, the dutiful mother SFB 34 with her jet black calf and SFB 179, whose tail may have been bitten by a shark. Harbor porpoises are about five feet long, roughly half the size of a dolphin. They lived in the San Francisco Bay for thousands of years. But in World War II, the military strung a net across the Golden Gate Bridge and placed mines around the entrance. They were blocking enemy submarines, but the porpoises were blocked too. 
The nets and mines were eventually removed, but as the bay got more polluted, the porpoises did not come back. That is until 2008, when Keener's colleague first spotted some near Sausalito. 

"It was very exciting," Keener said. "And it wasn't just one animal, it was mothers with calves, so we knew there's family groups, and they are coming in to feed." 

Keener is an environmental lawyer and former head of the Marine Mammal Center. He and a handful of other experts now have a permit to study porpoises and figure out why they would return to an urban waterway full of boat traffic. 

"It could be the bay is cleaner and there are more fish," Keener said. "The bay is in a particularly productive period right now and that's very good and to have naturally animals come back into an area is pretty unusual." And even more unusual was a photograph Keener took April 30 of a rare white porpoise. 

"It appears to be the very first white harbor porpoise ever recorded from the Pacific Ocean," Keener said. 

In the last 100 years scientists have only documented six other white harbor porpoises anywhere in the world. The team is hoping this one will come back. And if it does, it's likely to be visible again from the Golden Gate Bridge. 

"It's one of the best places in the world to do porpoise research because unlike going out on a boat where you disturb them by your very presence, they don't know you are on the bridge," Keener said.
Observers note the animals' scars and coloring to figure out who is who in the porpoise world. The porpoise photos reveal a rich social life with lots of interaction. 

Researchers believe one reason the animals are thriving is what is happening under water. Along the Northern California coast there are three marine sanctuaries protected by the federal government.
"All of the animals, including the corals on the bottom, the worms in the mud, as well as the porpoises, it all cascades into being more positive for a healthier environment for all the animals," Gulf of Farallones Marine Sanctuary spokesperson Jan Roletto said.
Casual observers can see some of that, including porpoises and a lot more, just by walking out on the Golden Gate Bridge.
"It's a fantastic platform to view wildlife and I think local people don't realize that," Keener said. 

Harbor porpoises have also appeared in other areas around the central part of San Francisco Bay. Anyone who sees one, either a porpoise or a dolphin, is asked to report it to the Cetacean Research Group. 

Written and produced by Jennifer Olney


June 10, 2011

Blue Sway . . .

sea stars ~ photo, db Nelson
waiting for high tide . . . ~ photo, db Nelson
tide pooling ~ photographer, Barbara Denham

National Geographic ~ Bodega Bay Tidepools

'Brimming Pools' is a featured article in National Geographic this month. Along with beautiful photographs by David Liittschwager, writer Mel White takes us on a journey of Bodega Head Tidepoos. Guided by Sarah Ann Thompson, a marine biologist from the Farallon Institute in Petaluma, White describes his experience:

The rocks and pools here create an abundance of opportunities and host a diversity of life to rival any rain forest. Pisaster is just one of scores of species that have adapted to innumerable micro-habitats with a seemingly endless variety of physical shapes and lifestyles. One little worm can shoot a harpoon out of its head to stab its prey. A limpet tends and guards its own farm plot. A seaweed releases acid for defense when it's injured. A nudibranch (which looks like a gussied-up slug) eats poisonous creatures and implants stinging cells under its own skin to repel predators.
Why all the aggression? It's simply the result of lots of plants and animals competing for resources in a highly productive but limited space. In nature, as in real estate, location is everything, and the intertidal zone is Park Avenue.

White also gets an education about sea creatures from Erik Sanford, a biologist with the Bodega Marine Lab. White tells us:

So there's the magic. Eric Sanford is holding, in one hand, representatives of more than one-fourth of all the animal life on Earth: nine phyla on one rock. In comparison, the entire land surface of the planet, from Poles to Equator, is home to only about a dozen phyla.

Sanford is actually a little crestfallen because he can't find a peanut worm, an odd thing in the phylum Sipuncula that would give us an even ten. The thrill would have been strictly numerical, though. I've already seen a peanut worm, and it has all the aesthetic appeal of used chewing gum. (I must admit, however, that the one thing it does, it does very well: extending a hydraulically powered, tentacle-tipped proboscis several times the length of its body to grab tiny bits of drifting dead stuff. Sanford calls it "this crazy sort of Dr. Seuss-like thing.")

This article is a great way to learn a bit more about our precious and unique coast. For more information contact the Bodega Marine Lab for a tour. Public drop in tours are available Fridays, 2-4 for groups less than 10 people. 

Thank you to our own (future) Bodega Bay Veterinary Hospital for bringing this to our attention.

Previously Unreleased track, 'Blue Sway' Written Nearly 20 Years Ago Dedicated to Linda McCartney . . .

'Blue Sway' music video

Paul McCartney recruited award-winning surf filmmaker Jack McCoy to create a music video for his previously unreleased track "Blue Sway." Written nearly 20 years ago, McCartney's never-before released song, "Blue Sway," is available for the first time on the bonus audio disc of the special edition of McCartney II. The music video created by McCoy is also featured on the bonus DVD included in the set. McCartney II will be released on June 14th by MPL and Concord Music Group.

Jack McCoy has been capturing the surfing vision in a truly unique way. Using a high powered underwater jet ski, the filmmaker found that he was able to travel behind a wave, creating underwater images that have never been seen before.

Over the past couple of years, McCoy set out to capture footage for his surf film, A Deeper Shade of Blue. During the editing process, McCoy put one of his surfing sequences to a song off McCartney's The Fireman album. A mutual friend, Chris Thomas, saw the footage while visiting McCoy in Australia, and when he returned to the UK he gave McCartney a copy of the sequence.

"Paul was pretty stoked with what I'd created. He immediately thought my images might be suitable to go with his unreleased song "Blue Sway." said McCoy.

McCoy spent the next six weeks creating the music video, while also working full days on making A Deeper Shade of Blue. McCoy compiled and edited footage that he filmed off Tahiti's Teahupoo reef to create what became the "Blue Sway" video.

"When I saw Jack McCoy's underwater surfing footage put to the soundtrack of "Blue Sway" I was blown away," said McCartney.

"Blue Sway" won 'Best Music Video' at NYC BE FILM Short Festival this past May, and the video will be featured as part of Surfrider Foundation's summer PSA campaign. Surfrider Foundation is a non-profit grassroots organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of our world's oceans, waves and beaches.

For more information about the McCartney II : http://paulmccartney.com.
For more information on Jack McCoy's A Deeper Shade of Blue: http://adeepershadeofblue.com
For more information on Surfrider Foundation: http://surfrider.org.

Too amazing not to repost . . .

June 9, 2011

Our Beautiful Bodega Bay . . .

Kick butt kite-boarder . . .

This guy was so much fun to watch! He went all-out - flying down the beach faster than I could shoot! He was obviously having a blast as evidenced by his hootin' and hollerin' . . . I should've shot a video but I got so caught-up in watching him I was just enjoying the moment and not thinking about much else. . .

Great informational messages about alternatives to plastic and rethinking plastic waste . . .



Beach trash ~
Beach trash ~ cheap plastic toy & bait container . . .

The Nurdle hurdle . . .

Plastic 'Nurdles' ~ photo credit: onemoregeneration.org

What's a Nurdle?

by Charles Moore, Founder of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation, onboard the Esperanza

Plastic is now everywhere. When locating plastics anywhere in the environment, scientists have little difficulty fulfilling the age-old saying, "Seek, and ye shall find."

But where do plastics come from? Most plastics are made from the natural gas portion of our petroleum resources. The gasses, like ethylene, are purified and turned into plastic by the use of polymer catalysts, which link ethylene molecules together to make polyethylene. Polyethylene plastics make water bottles, clothing fabric, and Tupperware as well as thousands of other products. So how does the polymer get to the processor who makes the goods for the consumer. The answer is “nurdles.” Over 250 billion pounds of nurdles are shipped around the world to plastic processing factories every year. Nurdles are plastic resin pellets that represent the most economical way to ship large quantities of a solid material, that is, in a pelletized form.

The pellets come in rail tank cars, and at 20-25,000 per pound, there are about a billion of them in each tanker. So many have escaped over the last half century during the transfer from rail car to factory by vacuum hoses, washing during rainstorms from rail sidings to the sea, that nurdles now represent about 10% of the litter counted on beaches worldwide.

In surface trawls for plastic particles aboard the Greenpeace vessel Esperanza, nurdles have been found in every trawl. The plastic industry itself is the biggest single source of plastic particles in the environment.

 More beach trash ~

Kite boarder at sunset . . .

June 8, 2011


Beach trash

SB 568 by Sen. Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach) would prohibit food vendors and restaurants from dispensing prepared foods to customers in polystyrene foam beginning Jan. 1, 2014.

foam in cigarette butts  . . .

This is legislation that cries out for support. Much of the trash we collect from the beach is foam. Most often foam makes it's way to the ocean via storm drains and is then tossed around in the sea, broken apart and fragmented by wave action. Eventually these foam pieces end up as miniscule particles that to sea life, appear to be food. On any given day on our beautiful Northern California beaches one can pick up thousands of tiny pieces of foam along the break line in the sand. Surprisingly, if you look very closely at the tide line you will see the tiny beads of foam.

What are Polystyrene beads?

Polystyrene beads are the tiny bits of expanded polystyrene that are used to create, among other things, the familiar stuffing of beanbag chairs and stuffed toys. They are used to create the loose, protective packaging material that is commonly called "packing peanuts." Polystyrene itself is a thermoplastic material that exists in solid form at room temperature and melts when heated. It is a recyclable material, but many recycling facilities are not equipped to process these "number 6" recyclables. Local recycling facilities can confirm to residents whether or not polystyrene can be discarded with paper, glass, and aluminum recyclables for curbside pickup. 

The most common form of plastic, solid polystyrene is a hard, colorless plastic that is semi-rigid and limited in flexibility. It can be processed as a transparent material or infused with artificial coloration. Disposable picnic cutlery, model vehicles, smoke detector casings, reusable "doggie boxes" that are gaining popularity with chain restaurants, and DVD cases are everyday examples of the myriad uses of solid polystyrene

The "beans" in beanbag chairs are made of polystyrene beads, also called polystyrene pellets, and are an example of foamed polystyrene. Packing peanuts, home insulation, and foam drinking cups are further examples of foamed polystyrene. The polystyrene beads in a beanbag chair will eventually need replacing; although they aren't biodegradable, they will become flattened and begin to break down as they are crushed and air is squeezed from the foam. As with other polystyrene products, local recycling authorities should be contacted if curbside pickup of this material is not available. Polystyrene is typically manufactured in one of three forms: extruded polystyrene, expanded polystyrene foam, and extruded polystyrene foam. 

Produced by Dow Chemical, extruded polystyrene foam insulation is sold under the trademarked brand name of Styrofoam®. Like other products that have become so commonplace that a brand name has become a generic term (e.g., Q-Tips, Kleenex, Popsicle), Styrofoam® is often used as a catchall word to describe other foamed polystyrene items. The polystyrene used for beanbags and packing peanuts is not extruded polystyrene foam (XPS), but expanded polystyrene foam. In addition to furniture stuffing and packing peanuts, expanded polystyrene beads are also used to create the custom-molded packing material that cushions fragile objects for transport.

chunk of foam beach trash

A lot of the foam we retrieve is from boats; foam 'bumpers', floats and foam coolers. Foam is a fairly ideal product if you want something to float, cushion or insulate.

foam filled tire

SB 568 focuses on polystyrene food containers. It's a good place to start. Eliminating foam is critical for the health of our oceans. 

California Senate votes to ban foam takeout containers
Sandwiches, milkshakes and other food items frequently packaged in foam takeout containers will have to be packaged in other materials under a bill that cleared the state Senate on Thursday. SB 568 by Sen. Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach) would prohibit food vendors and restaurants from dispensing prepared foods to customers in polystyrene foam beginning Jan. 1, 2014.

Expanded polystyrene foam, commonly known as Styrofoam, is a lightweight plastic that, when littered, is often carried from streets through storm drains into the ocean. It accounts for 15% of storm drain litter, according to the California Department of Transportation. It is the second-most-common type of beach debris, according to a study by the Southern California Coastal Water Quality Research Project.

Fifty California jurisdictions have already banned foam takeout food packaging, including Huntington Beach, Santa Monica, Malibu and Ventura County.
"There are all these jurisdictions in California that have to control trash and reduce their discharges of trash to waterways, and they're having a hard time complying because foam litter is so hard to control. That's the reason for this bill," said Miriam Gordon, state director of Clean Water Action, a national advocacy group that sponsored SB 568.

"I introduced this bill not just to solve an environmental problem that plagues our state but also because it's a job booster for California," Lowenthal said. He added that many California companies are making alternatives to polystyrene takeout packaging, including compostable materials, aluminum foil and paper.

SB 568 passed on a bipartisan 21-15 vote. The bill is headed to the Assembly this month, with a floor vote by the end of August.

Click here to find your representative  
Write and/or call your Assembly Member and let them know you are a constituent and ask that they vote 'yes' on SB 568 to ban polystyrene food containers. Your letter or phone call need not be lengthy. This is a critical step in getting any piece of legislation passed.  

Your representatives represent YOU! YOUR VOICE MATTERS! Call or Write today. 

I am in District 1, my Assembly Member is Wesley Chesbro.

50 "D" Street, Suite 450
Santa Rosa, CA 95404
Tel: (707) 576-2526
Fax: (707) 576-2297

 I spoke with one of Mr. Chesbro's very helpful staff personnel, 'Gail', this afternoon and asked her to add my name to the list of people who are in support of SB 568. Gail recommended that constituents in Mr. Chesbro's district (only) use his website: 

Wesley Chesbro, 1st District Assembly Member

and click on 'Contact Us' to send a message. This is a direct route to get your opinions read by Mr. Chesbro and staff. You are limited to 200 characters so if you have more to say send a written letter directly to his district office in Santa Rosa.

Your voice is critical to the health of our coast and to the health of our earth. Thank you for taking the time to make a difference. xxoo

beach poppies

Beach trash ~ Entangled rope

my beach buddy . . .

Beach trash ~ oyster bag wash up on Doran Beach

I carried this oyster bag made of plastic, 2 miles down the beach . . . I would have carried it 20 . . .

Just for fun . . .

The Owl and the Pussycat