Tag Archives: ocean

Kawela Bay on Oahu Permanently Protected

A gorgeous surf spot, Kawela Bay and Kahuku Point, on Oahu’s North Shore has been saved from development. The North Shore Community Land Trust, working with the state of Hawaii and the Trust for Public Land, were able to conserve 630 acres of stunning coastline. In addition to protecting a beautiful bay, the move will also protect important habitat for endangered Hawaiian monk seals and threatened green sea turtles.

The land trust’s director notes that they want to protect about 60,000 more acres on Oahu, of which 20,000 are for sale right now.

The article below also highlights the important work other land trusts are doing on the mainland to protect surf spots, calling out the Peninsula Open Space Trust near Mavericks and the Elkhorn Slough Foundation south of Santa Cruz in California, as well as the North Florida Land Trust on the Atlantic coast.

Read more at Surfline here.

Things Are Looking Up for Orcas

Two representatives from California have introduced legislation into the U.S. House of Representatives that would eventually end orca (killer whale) captivity across the nation. Known as the ORCA Act (Orca Responsibility and Care Advancement), the law would ban breeding of captive orcas, capture of wild orcas, and import or export of orcas for public display purposes.

If you support this law, you can call, write, or email (calling is easiest, and probably most effective) your representative and ask him or her to support the ORCA Act. Here is a quick, easy zipcode lookup for your congressperson.

This comes on the heels of other good news:

SeaWorld San Diego just announced that it will be ending its captive orca shows (SeaWorld San Antonio and Orlando will continue their orca shows for now). The whales will continue to be held for display, and will likely perform in a show that is more conservation-oriented, and not based on tricks. Activists would like to see the orcas released from captivity altogether. But this is a good start, indicating that Sea World is starting to bow to the public pressure against its orca shows that has increased since the release of the film Blackfish in 2013. (Thanks to Netflix for streaming it!)

I recently posted that California Coastal Commission approved an expansion of the San Diego SeaWorld’s orca tank while at the same time, banning SeaWorld from breeding its captive orcas. If this rule stands (SeaWorld has announced plans to sue the Coastal Commission), then the 11 orcas currently in captivity in San Diego will be the last.

I also posted that endangered orcas off the coast of Washington state are in the middle of a baby boom, with six newborns and, apparently, several more pregnant mamas in the group. Of course, these new babies will need to eat once they’re weaned off their mothers’ milk, so we need to make sure that their favorite fish, salmon, is abundant. A good step would be to take down four dams that are blocking some of the best inland salmon habitat in the U.S. This not a short-term goal, but since orcas can live to be 100 years old or more, we must think ahead!

Read the Seattle Post-Intelligencer article here.

Cool Video: Take Down Those Dams!

I recently wrote about the Pacific Northwest’s endangered orca baby boom. Last time I checked, the Puget Sound orca population (off the Washington coast) had welcomed six newborns, with all appearances indicating that more female whales are pregnant. Woohoo! But, not to be too much of a downer, orcas need salmon to thrive. And salmon can’t thrive without free-flowing rivers and good habitat for breeding.

For over 10 years, the federal courts have ordered federal agencies to consider tearing down four dams in particular that are preventing the recovery of the salmon population in this area. These four dams block the lower Snake River. If they were removed, it would be a great help to the endangered salmon.

The really nice HuffPost article linked below tells you everything you need to know about this issue.

Read the article and sign the petition to remove the dams here

Entangled Whale Freed off California Coast

So, it took two days, but the poor humpback is free. Rescuers from the national oceans agency (NOAA) and San Diego SeaWorld finally cut away over 300 feet (!!) of fishing line, including a lobster trap, that was entangling the whale from tip to tail. There may have still been some fishing line in the whale’s mouth when it swam off, but hopefully it will be all right.

This incident is one of a growing number of whale entanglements. California fishermen are actively working with the state to come up with ways to prevent the abandonment of “orphan” fishing gear, which is usually what entangles marine mammals. Unfortunately, NOAA has had to respond to 50 whale entanglements so far this year.

If you see a marine mammal in distress, please maintain 100 yards distance, and call the NOAA Response Hotline at 1-877-SOS-WHALe (1-877-767-9425).

View the video at Huffington Post here

When the Levee Breaks (on Purpose)

Thanks to many years of hard work by the Sonoma Land Trust, 1000 acres of farmland are being restored to tidal marshes. This land, bordering the San Francisco Bay, was historically marshy but was drained and converted to farmland over 100 years ago. Now, in an effort to create habitat and further buffer the landscape from sea level rise, more and more former marshes are being returned to their natural state.

The video shows the first step: breaching the levee so the ocean can rush in to fill the tidal basin. Next step: revegetation and restoration. Future plans include adding a new segment of the Bay Trail along the old levee top and incorporating the property into the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

This is great news for birds, marine life, and nature lovers!

View the SFGate article and video here