O R A N G E C O U N T Y
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O R A N G E C O U N T Y
Diving Into Our Second Decade Board of Directors:
O range County Coastkeeper is now officially
more than a decade old. You’d think we would
spend some time reflecting on the significance of this
FAIA, Board Chairman; Architect, Rossetti
anniversary, because we have achieved much in these President and CEO, Orange County Coastkeeper
10 years. However, we don’t have a lot of time for
reflection around here, and we’re not content with
Board Vice Chairman; Sr. VP of Investments,
merely leaving a footprint in the sand.
UBS Financial Services
In many ways, reaching out is becoming our Robert W. King
focus—moving higher into the watershed, farther Board Treasurer; CPA,
out into the ocean, deeper into the hearts and minds Robert W. King Certified Public Accountant
of our citizens—to improve the quality of water and
lives throughout a vital area of Southern Califor- Board Secretary; President,
nia. During this second decade you will see us dive Newport Hospital Corporation
deeply into both the human and natural communi-
ties—actively working to minimize and even reverse
Assistant Board Secretary; Associate Director,
the effects of people on the health of aquatic environ-
Orange County Coastkeeper
We’ll be leading by example in communi- CEO, Huntington Beach Marketing
ties, showing citizens how they can protect and Visitors Bureau
and improve water quality, from jumping into
high-profile advocacy to getting their knees
Chief Operating Officer, Hydrophix
and elbows dirty on their own property.
Coastkeeper will continue to work in the Richard Nicholson
Health Care Consultant
schools, nurturing the next generation of
water stewards. Jim Parkhurst
CEO, Newport Bay Hospital
Some of what we do will be completely
behind the scenes, or maybe I should say Sean M. Sherlock
Partner, Snell & Wilmer LLP
“under the scenes” as we work to remove
the scourge of derelict nets and ghost traps, Frank Tolerico
help shepherd protected areas for marine Consultant
life, and bring the dream of an undersea park The Coastkeeper Magazine Team:
to reality for the people of Orange County.
Garry Brown, Publisher
Some things, of course, will stay the same.
Lee Reeder, Executive Editor/Creative Director
As always, we will be vigilant in enforcing the
Clean Water Act and other environmmental laws Briana Madden, Associate Editor
that help protect our coast. We will also continue to Ellen Orange-Brown, Membership, magazine sponsor-
work as partners with developers and industry to do ship and advertising. Call: 714.850.1965
the right thing to protect our coast and waterways.
Published by Orange County Coastkeeper
We hope to see all of you out there with us.
3151 Airway Ave., Suite F-110
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Garry Brown, Executive Director Phone: 714.850.1965, Fax: 714.850.1592 fax
Orange County Coastkeeper 3
Protecting water from
Marine Life Protected Areas * Voices * Coastkeeper @ 10 Years * Derelict Nets & Traps
50 Orange County Coastkeeper
the source to the sea...
Protecting Properties * Desalination * Watershed Education * Cutting the Copper
FYI - 6
POV - 14
Kids Ocean Day 2009
Dollars & Sense - 16
Of Note - 49
62 Measure M
Waterkeeper - 56
Orange County Coastkeeper 51
Wa t e r q u a l i t y n ew s f r o m t h e c o a s t
Enforcing the Federal Clean Environmental Project” (otherwise known
Water Act at Local Scrapyards as a penalty), through which Coastkeeper
FYI: has directed the funds to other non-profits
with projects in the vicinity of the polluter.
Coastkeeper has never taken such funds
from any lawsuit for its own benefit. Our
only goal is to change practices of indus-
tries to eliminate water pollution.
Recently, we have suggested to the metal
recycling industry a new approach. Let’s
sit together as a stakeholder group with
the expert advice of engineers and devel-
op standards that all scrapyards can meet
each day of the year. With an agreed upon
suite of basic Best Management Practices
(BMPs), effective treatment systems, and
numeric discharge limits at the end of the
pipe, we have the opportunity to make sig-
Scrapyard water sampling. nificant progress in improving water qual-
ity from metal recycling facilities and re-
O ne of Coastkeeper’s five program pil-
lars is enforcement. From the begin-
ning, Coastkeeper has utilized the Federal
lated businesses. To date, the industry has
agreed to participate in such an endeavor.
We will keep you posted on our progress.
Clean Water Act’s provision that allow
for third-party litigation to enforce clean
Introducing The Orange
water laws in the absence of government
County/Inland Empire Green
enforcement. We use litigation as a tool
to force certain industries that have not,
in our opinion, complied with clean water
Supplemental Environmental Project
laws to come into compliance. In the past
funds from Coastkeeper’s past litigations
two years, Coastkeeper has litigated nu-
have enabled other non-governmental or-
merous scrap yards, metal salvage yards,
ganizations to complete environmental
and related metal recyclers.
projects across Orange County and the In-
Coastkeeper has initiated and settled land Empire. Looking forward, we have
eight federal cases against metal salvage decided to enhance this tradition by estab-
yards in both Orange County and the In- lishing the Orange County/Inland Empire
land Empire. In these settlements, our Green Fund. Administered through the
main goal is for the scrapyard operators to: Orange County Community Foundation (a
(1) physically retrofit the salvage facility third-party charity organization), this fund
to seal its borders, (2) collect and treat all will be exclusively supported by the settle-
runoff and storm flows, (3) to install a suite ments of Coastkeeper’s litigation.
of Best Management Practices (BMPs),
Coastkeeper has recruited a prestigious
such as paving all work areas and roofing
News and in- advisory board, consisting of individuals
over areas where grease and oils are stored,
formation from closely involved with public interest litiga-
and (4) infiltrate and/or treat runoff on site.
Orange County tion. The Green Fund Advisory Board will
Taking these steps eliminates the discharge
Coastkeeper make funding decisions to distribute funds
of polluted runoff from the site. In each
to non-profit organizations who apply for
case, we have insisted on a “Supplemental
6 Orange County Coastkeeper
to the source of our watershed
These funds are intended to assist non-profits
• Fund expert consulting services in an NGO’s
effort to challenge proposed actions by agencies,
industries, developers, or any other entity that has
a high probability of damaging an ecological re-
• Fund legal research from law school stu-
dents or recent law school graduates to enhance
an NGO’s efforts to challenge the destruction of
a specific ecological resource as described above.
• Fund internships for biological research in a
NGO’s effort to protect a specific, recognized eco-
• Fund public education and outreach that brings IE Waterkeeper Project Manager Rachael
attention to an imminent destruction of a specific, Hamilton surveys part of the project site
recognized ecological resource. in the Temescal Creek sub-watershed.
The OC/IE Green Fund seeks to level the play- Estelle Mountain Reserve and other designated
ing field by providing funds to an NGO that would open space to the east, and the Santa Ana River to
not otherwise be able to obtain professional servic- the north. With the help of many dedicated vol-
es to protect recognized ecological resources. The unteers, IE Waterkeeper staff successfully walked,
goal of these funds is not to simply stop growth or mapped and photographed the entire 18 miles of
development projects, but to preserve a specific, wild Temescal Creek in only 11 weeks. With a fi-
recognized ecological resource when threatened. nal completion date of September 4, 2009, Water-
keeper now has valuable information on plant life,
Coastkeeper will not be involved in determin-
wildlife, terrain, access points, and illegal dump-
ing any Green Fund awards. The Orange County
ing sites. This sought-after data will provide local
Community Foundation will manage and make
resource agencies and decision-makers access to
available the necessary documents and “Request
a greater understanding of the true environmen-
for Proposals.” The independent advisory board
tal costs regarding prospective roadway projects,
will make the awards to NGOs. Funds will be al-
including current proposals for the controversial
located only to NGOs that are based in Orange
Mid-County Parkway, Irvine-Corona Expressway
County or the Inland Empire. The threatened eco-
Tunnel, and the I-15 and SR-91 Corridor Improve-
logical resource must also be located within the
ment Projects; all of which would cause irrevo-
same boundaries. Coastkeeper is excited to sup-
cable damage to Temescal Creek and its larger en-
port critical work in our watersheds through this
IE Waterkeeper will also boost basic knowl-
IE Waterkeeper Program to En- edge of natural resource preservation among sur-
hance Temescal Watershed rounding community groups, stakeholders, and
residents, with a special emphasis on the Latino
I nland Empire Waterkeeper staff strapped on community. To help raise awareness on the pure
their hiking boots and ventured into the un- existence of Temescal Creek, keep a look out for
charted areas of Temescal Creek as part of their new signage along the I-15 freeway (which aligns
recent Southland Open Space and Forest Preserva- parallel with the creek) announcing to local resi-
tion Initiative. Temescal Creek acts as an essen- dents and commuters alike: “Santa Ana River
tial wildlife corridor between Lake Elsinore in the Watershed–Keep it Clean.” Updated Web site in-
south, the Cleveland National Forest to the west, formation, outreach programs, and informational
meetings will also play a crucial role in increasing
Orange County Coastkeeper 7
Wa t e r q u a l i t y n ew s f r o m t h e c o a s t
Waterkeeper Temescal project, cont... Commerce, the National Oceanic and At-
mospheric Administration (NOAA) re-
FYI: community involvement and environmen- ceived over 35,000 comments on the ap-
tal stewardship. peal, and conducted a public hearing in Del
With a better understanding of the Temes- Mar attended by thousands. On December
cal Valley, partnered with enhanced neigh- 18, 2008, the Department of Commerce
borhood knowledge, and new community upheld the Coastal Commission’s deci-
partnerships, IE Waterkeeper will continue sion, creating what the Los Angeles Times
to advocate for alternatives to overly con- called a “dead end” for the proposed route.
gested freeways that do not involve the de- Although the current preferred route
struction of wildlife habitat, disruption of through San Onofre State Park may be de-
natural ecosystems, and degradation of the feated, threats to regional water quality are
Santa Ana River Watershed, including the still alive. As long as TCA continues to ex-
critically important Temescal Creek. plore alternative options to connect the 241
to Interstate 5, there are potential impacts
Major Detour for Foothill to surrounding creeks. Even if an alter-
South Tollroad native extension would avoid San Onofre
State Park, it would inevitably run through
T he Transportation Corridor Agency
(TCA) has encountered many hurdles
in its effort to complete the Foothill South,
open space and degrade local water qual-
ity. Therefore, Coastkeeper has extended
our efforts to document water quality con-
a proposed 16-mile extension of the 241 ditions in creeks along potential routes.
that would run through portions of Donna
During a 2007-2008 monitoring project,
O’Neill Land Conservancy and San Ono-
Coastkeeper collected water samples at
fre State Park. However, in the Commerce
four sites along San Mateo Creek and Cris-
Department’s denial of their 2008 appeal,
tianitos Creek. Our 2009-2010 research
the TCA may have reached a hurdle they
will continue monitoring at these sites, and
add two sites along San Juan Creek. This
After the California Coastal Commis- baseline water quality data is an essential
sion’s February 2008 rejection of the tool in any campaign to protect the integ-
Foothill South, TCA quickly appealed rity of these creeks. Please visit Coast-
the decision to the Federal Department keeper’s “Current Project” section to learn
of Commerce. Under the Department of more about our Toll Road Project.
News and in-
Orange County Coastkeeper has been and remains an active advocate
for water quality in the proposed toll road extension process.
8 Orange County Coastkeeper
to the source of our watershed
Coastkeeper Gardens Project at Santiago Canyon College Progresses
A fter three years of planning and approvals,
we broke ground on the Coastkeeper Gar-
dens project at Santiago Canyon College in Au-
drip lines began in December 2008 and finished
during the 1st quarter 2009.
Beginning in January 2009, community service
gust 2008. Students from College’s Survey and groups from several local high schools and interns
Mapping Sciences program placed most of the from the University of California at Irvine have
contour and elevation markers used by our grad- helped us build the garden with hand tools and
ing contractor. We took a flat vacant lot left over limited supplies. During March 2009, the Arborist
from a Christmas tree farm and mounded soil to Program at the college donated a tool shed for our
form knolls, while the depressions left behind be- mutual use. In April, we were one of four regional
came small valleys. workshop sites for two professional societies—
A meandering swale was cut to create a dry the International Society of Arboriculture and the
creek, which is designed to channel all the storm- American Society of Landscape Architects.
water flow into a detention basin that we expand- The year 2010 will feature the completion of
ed to increase capacity. Seventy tons of boulders Coastkeeper Garden. In 2009, we repaired/re-
were imported to give the dry creek a more natural placed our stormwater best management practices
feel. All of the main paths were cut and filled with in preparation for the wet season and hydro-seed-
crushed granite—a porous surface that encourages ed the grassland habitat with native grasses and
infiltration. wildflowers. The Friends of the Garden volunteers
During September and October, we installed the helped us plant hundreds of plants in the coastal
electrical and irrigation main lines. In November, sage scrub and chaparral habitats. In December
we planted 76 trees with the help of project col- 2009, we started construction of the outdoor am-
laborators, sponsors, and stakeholders, while sev- phitheatre and three of the backyard vignettes. The
eral arborists donated their service and expertise decorative fence at the Garden’s main entrance
as team leaders for our volunteers. In the months will be made from tree branches and limbs donat-
that followed, trees were staked and strapped with ed by tree pruning crews, and constructed as our
donated materials. Installation of the irrigation lat- first Eagle Scout project in the Garden. Visit our
eral lines for overhead sprinklers and underground Web site for more updates: www.coastkeeper.org.
Orange County Coastkeeper 9
Wa t e r q u a l i t y n ew s f r o m t h e c o a s t
Exploring Possibilities: The
Back Bay Eelgrass Project
C oastkeeper is proud to announce the
Back Bay Eelgrass Project, a col-
laboration with our long-time education
partners at the Back Bay Science Center
(BBSC). We are working with the Depart-
ment of Fish and Game staff to develop
an eelgrass research and education project
in their new facility located in the Upper
Newport Bay. Coastkeeper was able to
fering hands-on activities for local schools
launch this project with funding from the
and the community.
“Whale Tail License Plate” Program of the
California Coastal Commission. We will
continue the project with additional sup- What will the project do?
port from the City of Newport Beach. The main research goals of the Back Bay
Eelgrass Project are to determine the con-
Why eelgrass? ditions necessary to grow eelgrass in a lab
setting, and whether it is possible to restore
Eelgrass (Zostera marina) is a critical
eelgrass in a habitat that experiences nega-
component of an estuary ecosystem such
tive impacts such as dredging and runoff.
as the Newport Back Bay, providing habi-
We will use outdoor and indoor tank sys-
tat, food and water filtration. Unfortunate-
tems to experiment with various techniques
ly, its need for high sunlight levels makes
and conditions for growing eelgrass.
eelgrass sensitive to environmental chang-
es, especially those affecting water clarity. Its basis in research gives this project a
This means activities in our watershed— unique educational benefit. Students and
such as dredging, boat scouring, nutrient teachers at the college, high school and ju-
pollution and sediment runoff—can cause nior high school levels will participate in
declines in eelgrass populations. rearing eelgrass, taking observations and
monitoring water quality. These hands-on
education activities are particularly rel-
Why the Back Bay?
evant, as they are a part of an ongoing sci-
Coastkeeper wants to explore possi- ence project. Members of the public will
bilities for restoring eelgrass in the Upper be able to learn the importance of eelgrass
Bay, which has experienced a large decline in the bay, and how they can protect eel-
in eelgrass beds over the past half-century. grass by reducing water pollution at home.
Raising community awareness of the im-
portance of eelgrass will enhance our ef-
forts to protect and restore this vital habi-
While the current BBSC education pro-
News and in- grams explore multiple levels of the wet- “A Global Crisis for Seagrass Ecosys-
formation from land ecosystem, one missing element is tems,” Orthe, et. al. “Distribution and
Orange County aquatic plants. Our Eelgrass Project will Abundance of Eelgrass in Newport Bay,
Coastkeeper develop an aquatic plant ecology compo- 2003-2004,” Rick Ware
nent for the BBSC education programs, of-
10 Orange County Coastkeeper
to the source of our watershed
Unfettered Public Access to our Waters: Another Coastkeeper Priority
O range County Coastkeeper is dedicated to allowing free access to our
coast and coastal waterways so citizens of Orange County and visitors
can enjoy the natural beauty and experience of our beaches, bays and har-
bors. Coastkeeper has teamed with the California Coastal Commission, the
California Coastal Conservancy and the City of Huntington Beach to provide
greater access to Huntington Harbour.
The Conservancy contracted with Coastkeeper to manage public access to
this area at Portofino Circle near the Portofino Cove condominiums, which
was previously closed to the public. Coastkeeper upgraded the boardwalk
with park benches, trash cans and an automatic lock system. Visitors may
park at Seabridge Park on Countess Avenue to access this area, open from
sunrise to sunset.
In 2009, the Coastal Commission contacted Coastkeeper about a public
access easement at the Huntington Harbor Bay Club. Coastkeeper officially
look over this public access easement, and this beach will be permanently
protected for public use. We look forward to renovating this spot for kayak
Photos by Lee Reeder launching and other activities, working to improve water quality, and ensur-
ing public access.
Orange County Coastkeeper 11
Wa t e r q u a l i t y n ew s f r o m t h e c o a s t
Brookhurst Marsh Opened to Tidal Flow
Historic Brookhurst Marsh has been opened after decades of being
closed to the tidal flow.
A fter many decades of dry summers
and freshwater winters, this historic
coastal marsh was finally restored and re-
Orange County Flood Control Agency, and
AES Corporation. Grading activities began
in September 2008, with the excavation of
opened to salt water tidal flow on March deep water channels in the estimated loca-
11th of 2009. Financial assistance from a tions of historic natural channels. As earth
number of sources made this possible. The movers dug into the marsh plain, the very
Wetlands Conservancy received funding high water table made moving around a bit
from the Montrose Settlements Restoration difficult.
Program, the City of Huntington Beach,
Historic Brookhurst Marsh has been opened after decades of being
closed to the tidal flow.
12 Orange County Coastkeeper
to the source of our watershed
Large pipes carried the dredged silt and sand out
to sea hundreds of feet off Huntington State Beach,
where it will help refresh sand lost during winter
storms. Talbert Marsh and its entrance channel are
now deeper and receive much more sea water with
each tide change. A significant portion of this in-
creased water flow also finds its way into the new-
ly opened Brookhurst Marsh channels.
Chino Creek and Mill Creek Project
U nsightly scenes of illegally dumped debris
including items such as tires, construction
waste, and even vehicles are sadly, common among
the banks of Chino and Mill Creeks. An increas-
ing population in the watershed has brought new
challenges to these two Creeks and the area has
Brookhurst Marsh mud flats. seen a direct correlation between the rate of ur-
banization and the volume of debris in waterways.
With completion of work on the channels, the In their most recent project, Inland Empire Wa-
next step was to open the marsh to the tide. A terkeeper has embarked upon an ambitious pro-
partial opening was made through the levee and gram that will engage the community in becoming
culvert pipes were installed to permit muted tidal caretakers of local water resources by utilizing lo-
flow, preserving the available pickleweed for nest- cal volunteer groups to remove these large amounts
ing this year by the endangered Belding’s Savan- of trash in Mill Creek and Chino Creek. As water
nah Sparrow. flow occurs year-round, trash generally collects in
A full opening of the levee to permit unrestricted low-hanging trees and brush, with heavy items ly-
tidal flow will be made now that breeding season ing on the channel bed. Armed with fishing chest-
is complete. Newly planted pickleweed and other waders, kayaks, trash-bins and recyclable-item
native species will have started to grow above the bins, Waterkeeper staff and their dedicated volun-
expected high tide line. teers will tackle the challenge of cleaning up these
At that time, much of the dry land that is seen local waterways. Once collected, the waste will
in the marsh today will become wet mud that will be characterized to determine what type of trash is
rapidly foster marine growth including eelgrass, most common. Waterkeeper will then attempt to
cordgrass, clams, crabs, worms, and shrimp. The trace the origin upstream in order to target source
constantly changing salt water will allow the control strategies.
marsh to function as a nursery for multiple spe- The Chino and Mill Creek project provides an
cies of fish and as a feeding and nesting area for immediate, visible improvement in the watershed
many varieties of both common and endangered and improvement in water quality. Waterkeeper
seabirds. staff expects that identifying the typical debris of
the watershed will provide insight into the prob-
Talbert Marsh and Ocean Inlet able sources and lead to enforcement and source
Dredging control measures.
The success of this project will serve as a posi-
At the same time work was proceeding in tive example to other nearby polluted waterways
Brookhurst Marsh, a hydraulic dredge was work- and the local communities that can take action to
ing in Talbert Marsh and the ocean inlet to restore clean them up.
Orange County Coastkeeper 13
“ We h e l p e d t o s t o p l i t t e r i n g a l l
Kids Ocean Day 2009:
700 local students help keep the coast “trash free”
P OV: streets to the ocean. Students also learn
how trash, once it reaches our coast, can
cause problems for animals that get tan-
gled in it or mistake it for food.
After leaving Bolsa Chica much cleaner,
more than 800 students, parents, teachers
and volunteers joined together to voice an
important message. Speaking on behalf of
the jellyfish and turtle that were formed
in an aerial design, they asked all of us
to “Keep Me Trash Free.” Students then
received an Ocean Day canvas bag and
aerial art photo, so they could take home
F or the second consecutive year,
Coastkeeper was the Orange Coun-
ty Coordinator for Kids Ocean Day, a
the message to reduce plastic use and keep
their neighborhoods clean.
Kids Ocean Day 2009 was a success be-
statewide event funded by the Califor- cause of our amazing partners and spon-
nia Coastal Commission’s Whale Tail sors. We thank Kim Masoner at Save Our
License Plate Fund. On June 4, 2009, Beach, who helped recruit volunteers and
busloads of students from elementary coordinate our school leaders. Also, more
schools in Anaheim, Garden Grove, than 30 employees from local Sam’s Club
Orange and Santa Ana combed through stores gave us a solid and enthusiastic vol-
sand and kelp for trash at Bolsa Chica unteer base. Thanks to Lexus for helping
State Beach. us give every teacher, student and volun-
At assemblies before Ocean Day, teer an Ocean Day canvas bag. And of
Coastkeeper taught the children about course, thanks to our Coastkeeper interns
how items such as food wrappers and and volunteers, whose energy and commit-
plastic water bottles travel from their ment kept us going!
A point of view
on the work of
Kids Ocean Day—www.oceanday.net
Whale Tail License Plate Programs—www.coastforyou.org
14 Orange County Coastkeeper
ove r t h e wo r l d . . .”
Student Perspectives on Ocean Day “We found so much trash it was incredible,
but we were very happy because we helped the
Faith Daverin’s 4th grade class, Edison Elemen- Earth.”
tary, Anaheim – Marlene Martinez
“It was more than fun. It was amazing.” “We helped stop littering all over the world. The
– Catalina Reynoso waves were smooth and fun. It was the greatest
“We went there because we wanted to help clean field trip that I will remember.”
up the environment and to save the Earth from – Jose Vallejo
being a trashy area.”
– Tiffany Le Teacher Perspectives
“My group found pieces of Styrofoam, straws,
“My students are more aware of all the small
plastic, cup lids and metal. So far this was my
trash that collects on the beach. They also know
best field trip.”
the reason why it is so harmful. It has helped our
– Rodolfo Acevedo
school recycling effort. I thank all who where
“I learned picking up trash is helping the envi- involved. The students will always remember it.”
ronment and also saves sea animals lives.” – Debbie Varon, Lord Baden Powell Elementary,
–Jeffrey Do Anaheim
“I learned not to let trash that is on the driveway “It opened the eyes of students who don’t usu-
wash into the street because it goes into the storm ally get out of their neighborhoods. The assembly
drains.” presentation before was absolutely wonderful.”
– Jobanny Garcia –Misty Canto-Beaver, Handy Elementary, Or-
“We did this to help the environment. All of us ange
got to save the Earth. Most of the trash goes into “Students are more aware of pollution. Some
the storm drain. Keep me trash free!” students are even telling me that they are picking
– Edgar Arteaga up trash when they see it on the ground.”
“What we went for was to keep our environ- – Natasha Hernandez, Handy Elementary, Orange
ment clean and that is what makes us successful
– Jhanyra Saavedra
Orange County Coastkeeper 15
Dollars & Sense What Makes Concrete “Green”?
By Garry Brown
D id you know that concrete is the most widely used material in the world, except for
water itself? Concrete is traditionally a mixture of water, sand, rock, and Portland
cement. It is the Portland cement that acts as the glue or binder to hold it all together.
The manufacture of Portland cement is responsible for about 7 percent of the world’s
total greenhouse gas production. The manufacture of one ton of Portland cement pro-
duces about one ton of carbon emissions. So how can we make concrete “green”?
There are two ways in which we can reduce the carbon footprint of concrete:
1. Use less Portland cement. We can accomplish this by replacing some of the
cement with what are called supplementary cementing materials (SCMs). In this
case, we are using two such materials, both of which are waste products from other
industrial processes. Fly ash is the ash residue resulting from the production of
electrical power from coal burning power plants; and here it is used to replace 28
percent of the Portland cement. Silica fume, a by-product from the production of
silicon metal of ferrosilicon alloys, is used to replace 7 percent of the cement. The
use of these two SCMs creates a total reduction in cement content of 35 percent.
Therefore, there is a corresponding reduction of 35 percent of the carbon footprint.
It must be emphasized that this has no particular effect on the ultimate strength of
the concrete. The 28-day strengths, which form the basis of concrete design, are not
2. Make more durable concrete. When we replace some of the cement by us-
ing these two SCMs, we also end up producing a more durable concrete. Analysis
shows that these mixes, with the 35-percent cement replacement, are expected to
have at least twice the useful life as concretes made with pure Portland cement.
When calculating life-cycle costs of major capital projects, doubling the useful life
of concrete has immense positive consequences.
In summary, by combining these two effects (35-percent cement reduction x twice
the useful life) then leads to at least a 70-percent reduction in carbon emissions pro-
duction over the life of the concrete structure. Imagine how carbon emissions could
be reduced by millions of tons if all concrete projects were designed with “green
concrete.” Not only is this alternative better for the environment; it is better for the
Through a dem-
Coastkeeper has never been bashful about introducing new, environmentally sound
ect, Coastkeeper technologies to our local marketplace. Green Concrete came into our focus during the
has been intro- past year. By simply adjusting the recipe and ingredients of concrete, there is now a
ducing green concrete that will reduce carbon emissions by up to 80 percent and double the durabil-
concrete to the ity and useful life of the concrete—all at a comparable market price of the concrete we
region. currently use.
16 Orange County Coastkeeper
Through our efforts, The Irvine Company showed
early interest in this new product, called 2X Green
Concrete. The Irvine Company sponsored several
seminars introducing Clean Water Resources, the
company that designed the new concrete recipe, to
the Orange County building community.
In March 2009, The Irvine Company designed a
new water quality system to be installed under their
upscale Newport Beach shopping center, Fashion
Island. In addition to treating urban runoff gen-
erated from the center and surrounding buildings,
this system would go to the next level by using
Green Concrete. The Irvine Company contracted
with Contech Stormwater Solutions to construct
the large underground concrete vault containing the
StormFilter® system with 2X Green concrete.
Garry Brown is the founder and executive director
of Orange County Coastkeeper. For more informa-
tion about green concrete visit www.coastkeeper.
These celebratory photos depict the day of installation of the 2X Green concrete
vault, and The Irvine Company’s commitment to improving water quality of runoff
that discharges into Newport Bay.
Orange County Coastkeeper 17
Protecting Our Marine Life
Coastkeeper Commits to MLPA Process
By Ray Hiemstra
Photo by Lee Reeder
18 Orange County Coastkeeper
S panning a vast coastline, the diverse and often
spectacular mass of California’s land meets the
Pacific Ocean. In places, mountains plunge into the
ocean. In others, ancient shorelines form terraces
above the surf, exposing once-hidden stories of mil-
lennia. Streams and rivers cut through the coastal
mountains and lowlands and, in some places, flow
into bays and lagoons rimmed with wetlands. Off-
shore, islands and rocks break the surface. In all,
nearly 4,000 miles of California’s land is touched by
the Pacific tides...
Orange County Coastkeeper 19
Orange County Coastkeeper is playing a major
role in the creation of the MPAs in Orange County.
These grand features of the Califor- For both economic and environmental
nia coastline are the things we can easily reasons, we must ensure that our beautiful
see. But beneath the surface of the offshore and productive marine resources are pro-
waters, California’s dramatic geologi- tected and restored. California’s rich ma-
cal formations continue. Compared to the rine heritage supports diverse commercial
Atlantic or Gulf coasts, California’s shal- and recreational fisheries, and people have
low continental shelf is relatively narrow, increasingly sought enjoyment in observ-
generally no wider than five miles. Never- ing California’s marine wildlife. The near-
theless, a rich diversity of marine habitats shore waters are among the world’s top
exists in this narrow zone, which includes recreational destinations for scuba divers,
kelp forests, rocky reefs, deep canyons and and for observing the flight of birds or the
towering pinnacles. The shoreline is dotted graceful forms of dolphins and whales. Sev-
with tidepools, and muddy plains that can eral California institutions are renowned as
be thousands of feet deep. leaders in marine science.
The waters off California are host to As in other coastal states, the growth
hundreds of species of fish, marine plants, of California’s population and economy,
and algae. Thousands of species of marine especially since World War II, has intro-
invertebrates inhabit the sea floor. Many duced additional stresses to coastal ecosys-
species of coastal and offshore birds spend tems. Coastal development has transformed
some part of the year in California’s wa- watersheds, wetlands, and estuaries, and
ters, as do 35 species of marine mammals. placed greater demands on coastal ecosys-
tems. These stresses include chemical pol-
20 Orange County Coastkeeper
lution, alteration of physical habitat, and A history of marine protection
invasion of exotic species. From its first days as a state in the mid
Intake structures for “once-through” 1800s, California has adopted statutes and
cooling systems at electrical power plants regulations dealing with the ocean, fisher-
kill marine life, and the thermal discharges ies, and protection of resources. In 1852,
from these facilities contribute the largest the California State Legislature passed its
volume of effluent into California’s coastal first fishing statute to regulate the Sacra-
ocean environment. Chemical pollution mento River salmon fishery. In 1870, the
can alter the abundance and biodiversity of Legislature responded to the concerns of
wildlife in coastal environments, especial- sport fishermen by establishing a State
ly in bays and estuaries. Pollution ranges Board of Fish Commissioners, which later
from toxic chemicals to partially treated became the Fish and Game Commission.
sewage, with sources of potential pollution In these and other ways, California led the
ranging from sewage treatment plants, to nation in marine protection efforts. By the
runoff from agricultural and urban areas. end of the 19th century, the California State
Like these other factors, fishing can have Legislature had adopted a body of fisheries
impacts on marine fish populations and management law that was a model for its
other wildlife, and has likely been having time.
these effects since humans began to harvest Traditional views of marine fish pop-
marine species. Improvements in technolo- ulations as commodities began shifting
gy and the expansion of fishing fleets have more rapidly throughout the 1970s. Marine
led to overfishing, increased bycatch and wildlife and ecosystems were increasingly
habitat damage. Declines in some fish pop- valued for uses such as tourism, education
ulations have altered species interactions, and scientific research. Recognition grew
resulting in adverse ecological impacts. of the need to balance the capacity of fish-
Orange County Coastkeeper 21
Orange County Coastkeeper Associate Director Ray Hiemstra is one of the eight Orange County resi-
dents who serves on the Regional Stakeholder Group, and he is working to ensure that our fragile Orange
County coastal habitats and fisheries get the protection they need and deserve to provide for the future.
Photo by Lee Reeder
ing fleets with the often limited and uncer- eries within state waters. Management of
tain productive capacity of marine species. commercial fisheries under this division of
Rather than seeking to extract the maxi- responsibility was complicated, piecemeal,
mum yield from marine species, fisheries and often untimely, with both the California
managers began seeking levels that would State Assembly and California State Senate
be sustainable into the distant future. approving necessary regulatory changes
To deal with the water quality aspect only after much political deliberation. The
of marine resource protection, California MLMA transferred permanent manage-
implemented the Coastal Non-point Source ment authority to the Fish and Game Com-
Pollution Control Program in 2000. Since mission. The MLMA also broadened the
then the state has undertaken a huge ef- focus of fisheries management to include
fort to improve coastal water quality and consideration of the ecosystem—the entire
habitat. Storm water runoff from large, and community of organisms (both fished and
medium-sized urban areas is now regulated unfished) and the environment and habitats
and improving water quality has become a those species depend on.
major focus of state regulators.
A new statewide effort
In 1998, the Legislature responded to In 1999, the governor signed the Ma-
shifts in scientific knowledge and public rine Life Protection Act (MLPA). Ten
values, as well as declines in some fisheries years later, this law is being implemented
and nearshore ecosystems, by adopting the in Southern California. This act continues
Marine Life Management Act. Before the a long tradition of legislation that addresses
MLMA, the Legislature was responsible conservation of California’s diverse coast-
for managing most of California’s marine al and marine wildlife and habitats. The
resources harvested by commercial fish-
22 Orange County Coastkeeper
MLPA reflects prevailing scientific views sources Agency, the Department of Fish
regarding the role of Marine Protected Ar- and Game, and the Resources Legacy
eas (MPAs) in conserving biological di- Fund Foundation formed a public-private
versity; protecting habitats; aiding in the partnership to provide the necessary fund-
recovery of depleted fisheries; and promot- ing for a renewed effort to implement the
ing recreation, study, and education. MLPA, after two earlier unsuccessful at-
tempts. This resulted in the MLPA Initia-
Recognizing the value of MPAs tive, under which the MLPA is being im-
Recent literature supports the potential plemented throughout California.
value of MPAs for protecting habitat and The MLPA Initiative established a Blue
biodiversity within reserve boundaries. Ribbon Task Force made up of seven pub-
The potential benefits of MPAs to fisher- lic leaders selected for their knowledge, vi-
ies management include buffering against sion, public policy experience, and diversi-
uncertainty, reducing collateral ecological ty of professional expertise, to oversee the
impacts (e.g., bycatch and habitat damage), implementation process. A Science Advi-
managing multi-species fisheries, and im- sory Team made up of technical experts in
proving knowledge. There are compelling a range of fields including marine ecology,
reasons to believe that if designed properly, fisheries, the design of marine protected
MPAs can contribute to fisheries manage- areas, economics, and social sciences to
ment. Without experience gained from es- assure the scientific requirements of the
tablishing additional MPAs, assessing the law are met. And a Regional Stakeholder
appropriateness of MPAs for fisheries-en- Group—made up of members representing
hancement purposes will remain difficult. commercial and recreational fishing, envi-
In August 2004, the California Re- ronmental organizations and local agencies
Orange County Coastkeeper 23
Photo by Lee Reeder
24 Orange County Coastkeeper
Orange County is a critical location in the South Coast Region and is
a perfect example of a location that can benefit from this process.
and cities—is tasked with developing the MLPA in our backyard
MPA boundaries. At the end of the work The South Coast Region is the largest
by all these groups, the California Fish and in the state and stretches from Point Con-
Game Commission has the final say on the ception north of Santa Barbara to the Mex-
implementation of MPAs. The commission ico border. The 17 million people living in
has the sole discretion to accept the recom- the coastal area heavily use this area both
mendations developed through the process recreationally and commercially. Orange
or to modify the proposals as necessary be- County is a critical location in the South
fore adoption. Coast Region and is a perfect example of
Rather than attempting to design a an area that can benefit from this process.
single network for the entire state at one Currently there are seven small
time, the MLPA Initiative envisions the MPAs along our coast that do
assembly of a statewide network not provide adequate protec-
by 2011 through a se- tion to preserve our marine re-
ries of regional pro- sources. Through the MLPA
cesses. The MLPA process, these will be re-
Initiative identified placed with a new set of
five study regions: the MPAs that will help bet-
North Coast Region, ter protect our marine
the North Central Coast ecosystems. This pro-
Region, the San Francisco cess will ensure that
Bay Region, the Central Orange County resi-
Coast Region, and the South dents will be able to en-
Coast Region. The Central joy the benefits of increased fish
Coast Region was selected as stocks and healthier ecosystems for gen-
the initial study region from erations to come.
which to launch the MLPA, and the process Orange County Coastkeeper is playing
there was completed in 2008. The North a major role in the creation of the MPAs
Central Coast was next and that process in Orange County and the South Coast Re-
was completed in 2009. The South Coast gion. Associate Director Ray Hiemstra is
Region process is currently under way and one of the eight Orange County residents
is scheduled to be completed in mid 2010. serving on the Regional Stakeholder Group
The North Coast Region process will begin (RSG), and he is working to ensure that our
in late 2009, and the process will be com- fragile Orange County coastal habitats and
pleted with the San Francisco Bay region fisheries get the protection they need and
in 2011. deserve to provide for the future.
Orange County Coastkeeper 25
Where does the MLPA process go from here?
After almost one year of work, consisting of three rounds
of negotiations, the Regional Stakeholder Group and Blue Rib-
bon Task Force have completed their work, and submitted four
MPA proposals for the South Coast to the California Fish and
Game Commission for their consideration. The proposals sub-
mitted are: the Group 1, 2, and 3 proposals, developed by the
Regional Stakeholders; and the “preferred” proposal that was
developed by the Blue Ribbon Task Force, called the Integrated
Preferred Proposal (IPA). The proposals will now go through an
environmental and legal review before a final set of Fish and
Game Commission hearings in 2010. At these hearings, changes
can be made before the final MPAs for the South Coast Region
are adopted for implementation.
One of the hallmarks of the MLPA process is the fact that the
public plays the major role in developing the new MPAs. Since
the South Coast Region process began in June 2008, there have
been more than 40 public meetings and workshops of the various
MLPA subgroups. Taking advantage of this important opportu-
nity, members of the public have submitted hundreds of letters
and e-mails, and turned out in force at meetings to make their
It is important to note that the South Coast Region process
is not complete. There is still plenty of time and many important
reasons for citizens to participate by sending in letters or attend-
ing meetings, and we encourage you to do so. All the information
you need to participate is available at the Coastkeeper Web site
or at the Department of Fish and Game Web site at www.dfg.
26 Orange County Coastkeeper
Letting the Ocean Lie Fallow
A Blue Belt for Laguna Beach
An Interview With Toni Iseman
Interview and photos by Lee Reeder
E fforts to protect marine life on the Orange County coastline extend
beyond the formal Marine Life Protection Act process, and sometimes
these outside efforts are complementary to its vision. One example is the
push to create what has alternately been called a “blue belt” or “no-take”
zone for the coastline along the entire city of Laguna Beach for five years.
The recommendation, endorsed 4-to-1 by the city council, has been one of
the most volatile issues in the community in recent memory. For our “Voic-
es” feature, we interviewed one of the champions of the proposal, Laguna
Beach City Council member and former Coastal Commissioner Toni Ise-
Coastkeeper: When did you first become involved in the MLPA process or in
protecting marine areas in general?
Iseman: I was involved before the MLPA process existed. I remember long
ago receiving a letter from a man in North Laguna. I didn’t know him and
I’ve never met him, but I remember what he said. He wrote about finding fish
that had been speared for sport left to die. He was very upset about what he
witnessed, and asked if there was anything I could do.
Coastkeeper: How is the ocean around Laguna Beach evolving, and how do
you see it changing in the future?
Iseman: There is a group of women in North Laguna who swim almost daily,
and because they’re down there, they’re our eyes. They tell us what is hap-
pening, what is changing, and about acts
of disregard for the ocean. I’ve lived
here since 1970, and I remember what
the tide pools used to be like. There were
big abalone, and now they’re all gone.
The kelp is challenged or missing, the
sea urchins are eating the kelp, which is
essential to so many species. The sheep-
head are too small to eat the urchins, and
lobsters, which also feast on urchins, are
heavily fished by commercial fishermen.
Sea lions are not able to get enough fish.
Is that because of El Nino, or is it be-
cause the marine life is being depleted
by overfishing? We don’t know.
Orange County Coastkeeper 27
Voices c o n tin u e d . . .
Coastkeeper: How does the protection of ma- Iseman: I do. I was mayor in 2007 when the
rine life areas differ from other environmental U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Protection
efforts you’ve been involved with? Summit took place in Seattle, and I was amazed
at what an incredible experience it was—just an
Iseman: This is as volatile an issue as anything
awareness that it’s a whole new mix of energy
that has come before the council in 10 years.
dealing with environmental issues. Bill Clinton
When I went to the MLPA meeting in Santa
was there and one of the things he stressed is the
Ana I observed the testimony and it was very
environment is our new economy, which is very
passionate. The fishing interest is a bread-and-
effective in bringing along people who don’t
butter issue for the commercial fishermen. The
want to believe in global warming, but who
hardest part of this whole decision for me has
would like to see something happen to shake up
to do with the family aspect. I know people
our stale economy right now.
who spearfish for their dinner, who go out ev-
ery night and find food for their families. To me A local radio station there snagged me for an
that is a really positive way of taking advantage interview and asked me how we got some of
of our natural resources. Another thing is the so- the community to go along with environmen-
cial aspect of family fishing—the father and son tal issues. I replied that it was the other way
or father and daughter. They could now go north around—it’s the community that leads the coun-
or south, but it would not be as convenient. I cil. Not that the council doesn’t care about the
wish there were a way that we could filter for environment, it’s just that we have people in La-
those uses, but it would be impossible. guna who are so passionate and well-informed
that they’ll show us the way. This is just another
Coastkeeper: How did you decide to become
case of the community being ahead of the city.
involved in efforts to create a blue belt in La-
guna Beach? Coastkeeper: How did they get the word out at
Iseman: The meetings started a couple of years
ago, and they would invite members of the Iseman: Mostly on e-mail. We are all connected
council to attend. I sat in and realized it was an here. If I wasn’t on their list, I was on someone
amazing group—very passionate and knowl- else’s list, and the information got forwarded
edgeable. They were taking the leadership role, to me. They would come to the council and let
and pushed the community to employ Calla people know, or there would be a little notice
Allison, who is our marine protection officer. in the newspaper. There was a lot of word of
It was a new collection of people. We had an mouth.
existing group of environmental people in the
Coastkeeper: Did Laguna Beach people offi-
community—the usual suspects—but this was
cially become involved in the MLPA process?
a different mix. So people who had never been
involved stepped up to the plate on this. Iseman: Laguna Beach has an environmental
committee, and there was some cross-polli-
Coastkeeper: Do you think it’s significant that
nation there. Some environmental committee
there was a new mix on board for this issue?
28 Orange County Coastkeeper
A Blue Belt for Laguna Beach
members became involved with the group, but Coastkeeper: What do you expect to be the best
it wasn’t sanctioned by the council or the en- result of this process?
vironmental committee. It was an independent
Iseman: We let the ground lie fallow. To use
body and they didn’t need our input.
a farming term, we let the soil rest. At the end
Coastkeeper: What made you decide a city res- of five years the fertility of those waters will
olution was the way to go? improve. The marine life will be stronger and
we will have something to show for the future.
Iseman: One of the reasons I felt it needed to be
The science says it
the entire coast is for
will not only happen
clarity. It’s so much
within our boundar-
easier to say, “no-
ies, but the improve-
where in Laguna will
ment will spill out
this happen.” Come
on both sides. The
down, go to the beach,
snorkel, go surfing
us will benefit from
and do anything you
the fact that we have
want to do to enjoy the
a big piece of water
beach, but just don’t
that is not going to be
take anything away. If
stripped of its marine
there is some invisible
line where half of La-
guna you can and half Back in the ‘80s, 79
you can’t, well, I’m percent of the vot-
an old school teacher and I know those excuses: ers in Laguna Beach voted to tax themselves to
“I didn’t know that,” or “I didn’t see the sign.” save our canyon from an ecological and traffic
nightmare, so it’s in our DNA in Laguna Beach
One of the arguments is, “How are we going
to take care of what Mother Nature gave us.
to be able to enforce this?” It seems that it’s a
lot easier to enforce if you know that everyone When you look to the north of us in Newport
out there who is fishing is doing something he with all of the boats and Dana Point to the south,
or she shouldn’t be doing, rather than having to this would be the logical place to have a big
watch, catch, get on board and see what they piece of water that could be protected. If we can
have. Instead, it’s understood you just don’t capture the entire coast here, it bodes well for
do it here. From a standpoint of enforcement it visitors, the hospitality industry and everyone.
doesn’t take too many times of someone getting
I think we will all look back on this time and
caught and seeing the consequences of getting
say, “It wasn’t easy, but boy did we ever do the
caught, and then the word will get out that it
isn’t worth it.
Orange County Coastkeeper 29
I n March 2009, Orange County Coastkeeper marked its 10th anniversary. I interviewed Coastkeeper Executive
Director Garry Brown for a look back into the history of the organization and a glimpse into the future.
How did you first gain an appreciation for the Orange in our gardens for decorations and so did many of our
County Coast and water quality? neighbors. They were so pretty you couldn’t throw
them away, but they were so plentiful they weren’t
Well, first of all, I am an Orange County native and worth anything. Today, few places remain where you
spent a lot of time at the beach. I remember as a kid can even find a single abalone living along the Orange
fishing and visiting the beach with my family. My Dad County coast.
and I would come down to Newport Beach to dig for
clams. I remember hauling a gunnysack full of clams And that followed you into your adult life?
up all the way across the beach to the car. I also re-
member fishing off the pier, and you could get as many Yes. The ocean has been a lifelong attraction for me.
bonito or halibut as you wanted to winch up onto the As an adult, I became the single parent of my son as
pier. his mother was killed in an automobile accident when
Another thing that sticks in my mind are the abalone he was 18 months old. When he was old enough to
shells. Back then it seemed like everywhere you looked be safe living on a boat, we bought one and lived in
there were abalone shells—they were used for ashtrays Huntington Harbour. So we spent a lot of time at the
in the hamburger stands and coffee shops. We had them beach and on the ocean as well, but it was a differ-
30 Orange County Coastkeeper
COASTKEEPER AT 10
Exploring Wider Commitments
By Lee Reeder
ent experience for him. It became apparent to me about boats, and not the environment or the Bay-
that all the memories I cherished—the plentiful fish, keeper. Near the conclusion of the meeting I asked
hauling sacks of clams, seeing abalone shells every- Terry, “What’s a Baykeeper?” After he explained it
where—all those things that I enjoyed were gone. I asked, “Why isn’t there a Keeper in Orange Coun-
In one generation it had all become just a memory, ty?” He said, “We just haven’t gotten there yet.”
and he couldn’t relate to what I was talking about. That started about a year of me calling Terry ev-
From the time I was a kid until he was a kid, we ery few months, asking to meet so I could ask ques-
had caused such depletion and such changes, that he tions and figuring out whether I wanted to or could
couldn’t experience those wonderful things. become the Keeper in Orange County. He was al-
There was a storm drain channel that discharged ways very kind and always made time to meet with
into the Harbour near the marina in which we lived. me. Finally one day he said, “If you want to do this,
I remember all night during major rain events you you’re going to have to do what I did, which is to
could hear things hitting the bottom of the boat. spend a considerable amount of time and write what
There was so much debris wedged in between boats amounts to a master’s thesis.”
and the dock and even more floating in the harbor He told me my thesis should answer three ques-
that it appeared you would walk across to the other tions:
side. It was obvious that in one generation we caused
some serious issues with our coastal waterways and • What are the environmental issues impacting
harbors. the waters in Orange County?
• What are the solutions?
When did you decide to become involved in doing • Who is currently doing something about it?
something about it? Terry told me it should include numerous inter-
views with everyone involved from the chairman of
About 13 years ago I was in a meeting in Santa the board of the supervisors to the guys who keep
Monica with Terry Tamminen, who at the time was the flood control channels clean.
the Santa Monica Baykeeper. The meeting was
Orange County Coastkeeper 31
COASTKEEPER AT 10 YEARS continued...
I spent about nine months, interviewed many people I understand it didn’t take long for Orange County
and developed the thesis, which was a great learning Coastkeeper to get its “sea legs” when it came to div-
tool for me. It provided the knowledge of what the is- ing into water-quality issues.
sues were and the various mechanisms that were im-
pacting water quality. And that’s how it all started. That’s right. In November 1999 we were in a full-
blown challenge with the Irvine Company over New-
How has Coastkeeper progressed as an organization? port Coast. We filed our first appeal of a Regional Wa-
ter Quality Control Board decision to allow discharge
We started answering the phone “Orange County into an ASBS (Area of Special Biological Signifi-
Coastkeeper” on March 1, 1999. My wife, Ellen, and I cance) at Newport Coast. That led to a year-and-a-half
moved into a one-room office in Lido Village in New- battle, primarily at the Coastal Commission, focusing
port Beach, and our desks were about two feet apart. on the inadequate water quality management plan that
It was not a question of if we were going to kill each allowed urban runoff to discharge into the ASBS. We
other, but when. But we survived it. also filed a lawsuit. We basically stopped the Irvine
In June I went to the first annual Waterkeeper Alli- Company at the Coastal Commission. The night before
ance conference in Long Island. Orange County Coast- their hearing for approval they counted heads and real-
keeper was the 27th Keeper, and now there are 194. ized they didn’t have enough votes, so they asked for
Later that same year we had our kick-off event at the a postponement, and that’s when we started to resolve
Newport Hyatt and about 130 people attended and our issues.
Bobby (Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a founder of the Alli- During the entire time of the conflict we never said
ance) spoke at that first event. We just went from there. they did not have the right to build their project, we just
We started by adopting some of the programs that the said they did not have the right to pollute the ocean.
Santa Monica Baykeeper had developed, but soon we We agreed on the engineering consultants and method-
were starting our own. ology for redesigning the water quality plan and they
From that one-room office in Lido Village we moved came up with a water-quality plan that was probably
the following year to larger offices on Old Newport the most advanced at that time in all of California. So
Boulevard and had four or five employees. Now we we fought them, sued them and then eventually end-
are in our Costa Mesa office and have 11 employees. ed up giving them an award at our annual dinner for
We also have the Inland Empire Waterkeeper office in the outstanding water quality management plan at the
Riverside with three employees. Newport Coast.
32 Orange County Coastkeeper
And the unlikely relationship of Orange County Coast- the Orange County coastline. Kelp supports almost 800
keeper and The Irvine Company continued? species of fish. If you go to Little Corona (in Corona
Del Mar near Poppy Street) you can see a large canopy
Yes. In recent years we got involved again with their of kelp that we planted, in a place where there hadn’t
latest coastal development called the Pelican Hills Re- been kelp in 25 years. We also planted kelp all the way
sort. We were involved in the design planning. The fin- down to South Laguna and along Crystal Cove.
ished product was one of the most sophisticated water Education has always been a priority for Coast-
quality plans in the country. It’s a closed system that keeper—we can’t accomplish our mission without an
virtually has no runoff or discharges into the ocean. It informed and involved public. We provided hands-
incorporates best management practices, underground on education to thousands of students during the kelp
cisterns and redesigned lakes on the golf course. The project, and now hundreds of students go on field trips
system can hold 17 acre-feet of water on the side of a each year through the WHALES program. To educate
hill, and then use it for irrigation on the golf courses. adults in the region, we produced Coastkeeper Maga-
zine, and have published seven issues.
What have been some of the other milestones for
Coastkeeper? Our research is another milestone. For the first time
there is actually hard, scientific data for the sediment
Certainly we are proud of our work in strengthen- and water quality conditions in Huntington Harbor and
ing water quality standards for major development Anaheim Bay.
projects. We have raised the bar for water quality plans After years of people talking about pollution in the
throughout the region. This effort began with the Mon- Rhine Channel in Newport Beach, we studied it, took
tage Hotel in Laguna Beach, and continued with The core samples and found out exactly how and where it’s
Irvine Company and Newport Coast. And now over the polluted, and even determined that there is 110,000 cu-
years, we’ve worked with virtually every major Orange bic yards of sediment that needs to be removed and
County developer with their water quality management processed. Because it is toxic, it cannot be dredged and
plans. dumped into the ocean. We know where the hot spots
Another major milestone has been our work with are, and the depth of them.
MS-4 permits. Six or seven years ago we got involved We also spent two years doing a study that found
with the renewal of the NPDES permit [non-point copper concentrations in the water and sediment of ma-
source management for water quality] and made sig- rinas in Newport Bay are higher than in the channels,
nificant progress in making cities do more to protect proving a link between boat bottom paint and copper
water quality. In this last time around, Orange Coun- pollution. The EPA and the Regional Water Quality
ty Coastkeeper worked for three months in meetings Control Board have both used our copper data. The
with stakeholders and was one of the main drivers in EPA estimated that there is 50,000 pounds of copper
bringing that process together. The results were the in- entering Newport Harbor every year. We are now de-
clusion of Low-Impact Design standards for new and veloping a program to try to get boat owners in New-
re-development projects, and the focus on watershed- port Harbor to switch from copper bottom paint to non-
based planning. Only time will tell how these para- toxic bottom paints.
digm shifts will improve regional water quality. We also have worked on Measure M [the extension
One of our major achievements was developing a of the bond measure for transportation improvements],
method for successfully growing kelp and then start- and helped involve the environmental community by
ing a major reforestation project for five years along including $243 million to fund environmental clean-
Orange County Coastkeeper 33
COASTKEEPER AT 10 YEARS continued...
up projects throughout Orange County. The first time runoff. Coastkeeper will be taking this effort to the
on the ballot, the Measure M extension received 68 corporate level in an exciting new project to re-land-
percent approval of the voters. We also helped write scape a Southern California Edison station in Orange.
the ordinance and guidelines for the allocation of the We are continuing to litigate scrap yards to force the
funds. Coastkeeper currently chairs the Environmental industry to comply with clean water laws. We have
Clean Up Allocation Committee of OCTA. been responsible for huge improvements in the indus-
trial sites we have challenged. We are trying to work
Where is Coastkeeper headed from here? with the industry rather than litigate, to encourage
compliance on a greater scale.
Another milestone, and part of our future, is the cre-
ation of Inland Empire Waterkeeper. We started the or- We are always seeking new ways to expand our
ganization not only to study and protect water quality mission. We are pursuing a major project to remove
in the upper Santa Ana River Watershed, but to educate abandoned and derelict fishing gear off the coast that
people in the Inland Empire that for their own well- continues to kill fish and animals. We are commenc-
being and quality of life, they need to take care of their ing an eelgrass program to raise awareness and restore
water and waterways. It’s not just about Orange Coun- eelgrass to Upper Newport Bay. We are also looking
ty. We hope that one day the program can be sustain- to incorporate aqua-culturing oysters into our eelgrass
able and operate on its own. program. Next year, we hope to start out-planting green
abalone on the reefs in our near shore waters.
Coastkeeper Gardens is another ongoing project that
is meant not only to educate the general public, but also Coastkeeper is also very much committed to the Ma-
to show homeowners how to a grow native and Cali- rine Life Protected Areas, managing coastal access,
fornia-friendly landscape as well as eliminate runoff. working on the potential conversion of oil rigs to reefs,
That’s why it was designed as a series of themed back expanding water quality education in the schools, and a
yards and not just as a park. We want people to learn host of issues that will keep this organization dynamic
from it and encourage them to landscape their own and very busy for decades to come.
yards in a like manner. It can be colorful year round We have a reputation for commitment, and basing our
and reduce water use by 50 percent and maintenance advocacy on hard facts and science. That has allowed
by 60 percent. us to be effective and become part of the mainstream.
We are also promoting low-impact development We are always invited to the table, and are expected to
through a grant from the Metropolitan Water District. be there. Our board of directors is very engaged, and
Through this project, we are helping ten homeowners they are a little restless. They want to see Coastkeeper
retrofit their homes in order to drastically reduce urban continue to grow, and that’s what we will do.
34 Orange County Coastkeeper
A Decade of Accomplishment
The following are just some of our accomplishments. Find more details on these at www.coastkeeper.org
ADVOCACY E D U C AT I O N
• Member of Alliance to Rescue Crystal Cove • Thousands of students educated at events and
• Working to phase out once-through-cooling in through other public outreach
California power plants • Dozens of cleanup events held along our coast,
• Involvement in the process of listing impaired harbors and creeks
water bodies throughout the watershed • Taught 1,500 students how to grow kelp and
• Hosted Rigs to Reefs Conference educated 50,000 people on the importance of
• Successfully campaigned against the Foothill kelp forests along the coast
South Toll Road • Published seven issues of Coastkeeper Maga-
• Intense involvement in shepherding the Marine zine, educating tens of thousands on water
Life Protection Act • Citizen Watershed Monitors of Orange County
• Part of integrated regional watershed planning created as a forum for sharing water quality
process for the Santa Ana River Watershed information and technology
• Member of the Santa Ana Watershed Project • WHALES Program has provided hands-on
Authority’s Storm Water Task Force learning to more than 1,500 junior high and
high school students
• Member of nitrogen-selenium management
program for Newport Bay Watershed • Kids Ocean Day event combines aerial art and
beach cleanup every year involving hundreds
• Part of the Laguna Bluebelt Coalition
• Newport Bay Stakeholder and Executive Com-
• Chair of Measure M Environmental Cleanup R E S TO R AT I O N / R E S E A R C H
ENFORCEMENT • Member of a partnership to restore eelgrass in
• Enforcing Areas of Biological Significance • Conducted a six-year kelp reforestation project
provisions of the California Ocean Plan along the Orange County coast
• Striving to ensure desalination plants are de- • Conducted the Newport Dunes Swimmer Shed-
signed with improved technologies ding Study on Newport Bay bacteria levels
• Upholding the standards of the San Diego • Created a test facility to divert runoff at Buck
Storm water Permit Gully, treat it, and use for irrigation
• Raising development standards and involve- • Conducted the Santa Ana River Citizen Moni-
ment in water-quality planning for major devel- toring Project, monitoring 27 sites in Orange,
opments throughout Orange County San Bernardino and Riverside counties
• Conducting aggressive enforcement of scrap • Studied Anaheim Bay and Huntington Harbor
yards and other industrial polluters to ensure sediment and water quality
compliance with water quality laws • Conducted studies on vessel waste disposal,
• Monitoring and remediating sewage spill rates Newport Bay metals and Rhine channel pollu-
• Working to ensure local governments are en- tion
forcing environmental laws that protect water • Now conducting the Newport Bay Copper
quality Reduction Project.
• Upholding the standards of the Orange, River-
side and San Bernardino County Stormwater
Orange County Coastkeeper 35
This net is on the Caissons and shows how crushing the nets are, with no gorgo-
nians able to grow. Gorgonians are filter feeders that help clean up the surround-
Photos courtesy of Ocean Defenders Alliance, Huntington Beach.
I n December 2007, four divers found a massive,
abandoned gill net on a deep-water reef, six miles
off Angels Gate in San Pedro. The divers were only
able to explore the first 200 feet of net, but found 21
dead sea lions and numerous cormorants and other
marine life trapped along the way. On a net more than
two miles long, this was only the beginning. And un-
fortunately, this is not an isolated incident.
36 Orange County Coastkeeper
Derelict Nets and Traps
Searching for the unseen
and unregulAted fisher
By Kurt Lieber, Bonnie Monteleone, Jennifer O’Keefe, William J. Cooper, Michael Gonsior
O ver the past 50 years, plastics have aided
technological advances that have allowed us
to plunge from the deep valleys of the ocean to
New fishing gear, bigger problems
for marine life
the outer limits of space. Plastics have enhanced The oceans serve as one of the most important
nearly every aspect of human life, from improv- food sources for human consumption. It is esti-
ing medical procedures to cell phones and boat mated that 1.2 billion people (out of 6.7 billion)
parts that won’t corrode. Even fishing line and rely on the oceans as a primary food source, mak-
nets that were once made out of hemp and silk are ing up 18 percent of the world population. The ad-
now combined with plastics, making them nearly vent of polymer plastic materials has provided al-
indestructible. ternatives to natural polymers (hemp and silk) that
The most insidious of all marine debris is der- were used for millennia for fishing. Petroleum is a
elict fishing gear. Derelict nets, ghost traps and cheaper base material than hemp and silk, creates
monofilament (fishing line) are partially or com- lighter fishing gear than traditional materials, and
pletely made of durable plastics. As plastics never is stronger than most natural materials.
completely degrade, they can remain in the wa- The combination of stronger fishing gear and
ter column permanently. Once lost or abandoned, other technological advances have improved the
nets and traps continue to kill fish, marine mam- efficiency for harvesting mass quantities of marine
mals and sea turtles long after the fishermen have life over the past half century. Fishermen are now
gone home. In many cases, they kill for years. using plastic-laced nets that cover areas measured
Another sea lion falls victim.
Orange County Coastkeeper 37
Derelict Nets and Ghost Traps, continued...
in multiple soccer fields, and long lines that extend
up to 70 miles across the ocean. With the popu-
lation quickly pushing toward seven billion, the
more people, the more fishing; the more people,
the more plastic debris.
The modernization of fishing fleets has exacer-
bated the problems created by derelict fishing gear.
As fishing activities extend beyond previously un-
touched offshore and deep-sea environments, they
reach areas in the ocean that are sensitive to the
effects of lost nets and traps. While fishing gear
has been lost and abandoned through millennia,
its detrimental impacts to fish stocks, endangered
species and the benthic (bottom or deep-sea) envi-
ronment have skyrocketed in recent decades.
Derelict Gear: A “Killing Machine”
Derelict fishing gear is a major concern to many
nations, as lost nets and traps continue to wreak
havoc on marine life, maiming and killing for an
This photo illustrates how different the bottom is when the nets don’t smother all life.
38 Orange County Coastkeeper
unlimited amount of time. One derelict net recov- “They [derelict nets] entangle sea creatures and
ered off the Gainesville, Fla., coast measured two- then become food for other fish, who get entangled
and-a-half football fields long, and contained the and [it] becomes a perpetual killing machine,” he
remains of hundreds of sharks, various other fish said.
and a sea turtle. While derelict gear captures marine mam-
Puget Sound alone is estimated to have 3,500 mals and fish, it also decimates habitat and bot-
nets and 13,000 crab pots lying abandoned in its tom dwelling organisms like coral and sponges. A
waters. This is on top of the 1,300 nets and 1,900 poignant example of impacts to marine habitat is
pots removed over the past six years. According found at the Caissons, large man-made structures
to the Seattle Times, this derelict gear has already that were intentionally sunk off San Pedro in the
killed 30,000 animals, including fish, birds, and 1940s. Amidst sandy bottoms, the Caissons offer
marine mammals ensnared while diving for food. hard surfaces to support a host of bottom dwelling
Steve Jennison, Orca District Manager with the creatures. However, several nets now cover part
Washington State Department of Natural Resourc- of the Caissons. Recent footage shows a thriving
es, explains how the problem exacerbates itself. habitat of anemones and gorgonians crushed by
There were approximately 50 nets on the wreck of the Olympic when Ocean Defenders Al-
liance started the work. Shown here is just one 150-lb. section. The crew went back to the
wreck recently and discovered that about 10 percent of those nets remain. According to Kurt
Lieber, the recovery of life has been amazing.
Orange County Coastkeeper 39
Derelict Nets and Ghost Traps, continued...
5,000 pounds of fishing net. The problem wors- Howard C. Wiig, author of “A Cost Efficient
ens when currents or waves move the net back Comparison of Various Methods of Retrieving
and forth, causing a scouring effect on whatever Derelict Fishing Gear,” suggests the most effec-
it touches. Stories such as the Caissons beg the tive way to minimize the casualties is to put more
question: what can we do about it? money into removing derelict fishing gear before
it washes out into the deep sea. Though beach
Addressing the Problem clean-ups are the least expensive, they are also the
least effective in removing the debris that actually
Some may wonder why nets are left behind in causes the greatest loss of marine life.
the first place. As fishermen traverse the ocean,
their nets occasionally snag reefs or sunken ships Attacking Derelict Gear in Southern
found on the ocean floor. Although these nets are California
expensive and valuable, the gear usually is cov-
ered by insurance, and therefore abandoned by Today, people are working to remove derelict
fishermen. And in most cases, leaving gear behind fishing gear off the Southern California coast.
is completely legal. Fishermen are currently ac- On Jan. 9 and 10, 2009, Ocean Defenders Alli-
countable for derelict gear only when it becomes a ance (ODA) organized the first dive on the Infidel,
navigational hazard. an abandoned ship off the southern part of Santa
Catalina Island. The ship, a squid trawler, was
Eventually, derelict fishing gear and other ma-
loaded to overcapacity and sunk approximately
rine debris get swept up in the currents and often
two years ago. Over time, the trawler’s 8,000
end up in convergence zones. Found in oceanic
pound fishing net entangled the ship in what was
waters as part of the larger gyres (areas of circula-
thought to be its last catch. However, upon fur-
tion), convergence zones are located hundreds of
ther inspection, it was also obvious that sea lions,
miles from land. These zones are regulated by in-
other mammals and fish were being caught. This
ternational agreements; however, in most instanc-
net retrieval effort continues today; and slowly but
es these regulations are not enforced in part be-
surely this ‘killer net’ is being removed. The ship
cause of the vastness of the open ocean. So what
is the solution?
A Statewide Stand Against Derelict Gear
Some states, such as Washington, have initiated programs to track and remove fish-
ing gear. In California, a bill has been introduced to the Senate to create a similar pro-
gram. SB 21 aims to “reduce the impacts of derelict fishing gear in state and coastal
waters.” If passed, this bill would direct the California Department of Fish and Game
and the Ocean Protection Counsel to develop a program for fishermen to report lost
gear. It would also require all traps and nets deployed in state waters to be registered
and tagged, so that they can be located if they’re reported lost. Once a database of
lost nets and traps is developed, the Ocean Protection Counsel would prioritize derelict
gear for removal. Through a statewide program as proposed by SB 21, local removal
operations could be supported along our coast. Please visit www.info.senate.ca.gov
for updates on this bill’s status, and ask your state senator to support SB 21.
40 Orange County Coastkeeper
This photo shows how delicate removing the net can be in some spots. The crews had to
carefully remove as much of the net as possible without causing significant damage to the
benthic life, although some some of it will die. However, there will be more growth that oc-
curs in a very short time.
itself will lie as a diving oddity for those technical California Department of Fish & Game, Coast
divers interested in exploring her abandoned hull. Guard and the Long Beach Harbor Patrol. Even-
ODA was started in 2000 as a non-profit orga- tually the net owner was contacted and retrieved
nization that would seek to mitigate the destruc- the net.
tion that abandoned fishing gear causes. Led by This experience has led ODA to propose a coali-
Founder and President Kurt Lieber, ODA enlists tion between interested parties and fishermen (in-
volunteer divers, boat captains and deck support to cluding lobstermen), where nets could be outfitted
search for this gear underwater and remove it. In with transponders that would be activated upon
addition to the Infidel, ODA has also taken on the loss of the net. Fisherman could then call ODA
Long Beach Caissons net as an ongoing project. directly or respond through the Web platform that
In the past several years, ODA has participated is being built to report loss of nets. In the cases
in several net and trap retrievals. Divers are a key that certain gear will exceed ODA’s weight capa-
set of eyes for the Alliance, giving ODA tips on bility, they would enlist the assistance of trawlers
abandoned nets such as the two-mile gill net found that would accompany ODA to the site for surface
off San Pedro in December 2007. When this net retrieval.
proved too large to retrieve, ODA contacted the
Orange County Coastkeeper 41
Derelict Nets and Ghost Traps, continued...
This cormorant diving for prey fell victim to a derelict net.
The Ocean Defenders Alliance has committed It is essential that the fishing community be en-
to working with sports fishermen and commer- gaged, as it is in their best interest to protect the
cial fishing fleets in ports throughout the project marine life they depend on for their livelihoods.
area, including Los Angeles, Long Beach, New- The fishing community can serve as a vital set of
port Harbor and San Diego (through established eyes when spotting a ghost net, and they can report
relationships with Orange County Coastkeeper). their lost nets as well as aid in the recovery efforts.
This project could provide much-needed jobs to
unemployed fishermen, as well as form invaluable A community effort is the only way
relationships between local businesses and envi-
ronmental organizations. Alternatively, through a It was Kurt Lieber’s experiences as a diver that
Web platform and/or a call-in number, it will be opened his eyes to the atrocities of derelict fishing
possible for fishermen who have lost nets to con- gear. At first, the problem seemed too overwhelm-
tact ODA anonymously to provide a detailed loca- ing to tackle. He found the needed call to action in
tion of the nets, so the retrieval efforts can com- the words of Sea Shepherd Captain Paul Watson:
mence immediately. “Do what you can in the area that’s your strength.”
42 Orange County Coastkeeper
These words and Paul’s own work empowered
Kurt to move forward with the Ocean Defender’s
Alliance, working to remove derelict gear in LA
and Orange County—one net at a time.
Today, the Ocean Defenders Alliance has the 38’
Clearwater boat, a Board of Directors, and over 40
divers working on removal projects. As aware-
ness of derelict gear and ODA’s work grows, more
people will get involved in this cause locally. It is
only through taking collective action in our own
backyards that challenges like derelict fishing gear
can be met on a global scale.
Editor’s Note: Orange County Coastkeeper
sees derelict fishing gear as a critical issue for
the health of marine habitats—one that hasn’t
received enough attention. As Southern Califor-
nia establishes new marine reserves through the
MLPA process, Coastkeeper would like to partner
with ODA to survey and remove any derelict fish-
ing gear found within the boundaries of the new
reserves. We believe this effort would help to give
these protected fisheries a fresh start. Coastkeeper
looks forward to joining ODA in removing der- Another successful retrieval.
elict gear along our coast. As is often the case,
additional funding is needed to support retrieval
operations such as those conducted by Ocean De-
fenders Alliance. Find out how you can support
this effort at www.oceandefenders.org. Jennifer O’Keefe
Keep America Beautiful of New Hanover County
Reference Wilmington, NC
1. United Nations Environment Program/Food and
Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; William J. Cooper
UNEP 185/FAO 523, “Abandoned, lost or other- Professor and Director
wise discarded fishing gear,” by Graeme Macfa- Urban Water Research Center
dyen, Tim Huntington and Rod Cappell, 2009, p Department of Civil and Environmental Engi-
University of California, Irvine
Authors - Affiliation Irvine, CA 92697
CEO Michael Gonsior
Ocean Defenders Alliance Department of Civil and Environmental Engi-
Huntington Beach, CA neering
University of California, Irvine
Bonnie Monteleone Irvine, CA 92697
Graduate Student in Liberal Studies
University of North Carolina Wilmington
Wilmington, NC 28403
Orange County Coastkeeper 43
Limited Impact Starts at Home
Protecting the Pacific and Our Way of Life
Story, photos and illustrations by Douglas Kent
Our ocean buoys our soul, cleanses our spirit, and binds our fami-
lies. We must act to protect her.
P addling out to watch dolphins dance through
see-forever water. Napping in sand, listening to
gleeful children being chased by waves. Standing on
roofs and driveways, through our curbs and streets,
and eventually exits at a river or ocean, heavy with
metals, rich in nutrients, and laden with bacteria.
a pier at dusk, trying to pull dinner from an emerald The volume of runoff has had an incredible effect.
sea. Our ocean is our life. Red tides have increased tenfold, at least 14,000
Little wonder why so many people are motivated dolphins, sea lions, and seals have washed up
to protect the Pacific. Most know that we are just as along our coast in the past 10 years, according to
attached to the ocean as she is to us. We affect one the National Marine Fisheries Service. Respiratory
another profoundly. Our effect on her, however, is ailments in ocean swimmers have jumped 54 percent
not always as life-sustaining. in the past 15 years (Los Angeles Times Aug. 1,
Along with the population in Southern California, 2006).
storm-water runoff has dramatically increased Our ocean buoys our soul, cleanses our spirit,
during the past 20 years. Storm-water runoff now and binds our families. We must act to protect her.
comprises 80 percent of the total volume of pollution Employing “Pacific protecting” strategies is as
entering our watersheds and ocean. That 80 percent natural as protecting any cherished relationship.
comes from all of us. Rainwater courses off our
Use the diagram below to create a Pacific-protecting parkway.
44 Orange County Coastkeeper
Roof runoff is guided down a rain chain to a pot that has an underground drainage pipe, which guides
the runoff out to an infiltration area. The infiltration basin was designed to capture all the runoff from
small to medium rain events. However, a large downpour will cause the water to overflow to the curb
and storm drain system. Shown above is the LeMar family property.
Natural processes once captured, slowed and CAPTURE
cleaned runoff, and while a majority of those
processes have been paved or channeled, their Not everybody can or should try to capture
lessons persist. We can employ those lessons and rainwater runoff on their property (see below
create Pacific-protecting properties by capturing, for criteria), but most properties can capture and
slowing and cleaning runoff in our landscapes. clean that deadly first-flush. After eight or more
For the past few years, Orange County Coastkeeper months without rain, the runoff from the first rain
has led a program that has transformed landscapes is exceptionally toxic, loaded with chemicals such
with the sole aim of protecting the Pacific. I have as ammonium and nitrate. The first-flush is okay for
been lucky enough to work alongside them. This the plants in a garden, but can be lethal for an ocean.
article is a distillation of our work and highlights the Orange County Coastkeeper’s low-impact
aspects of a Pacific-protecting landscape. design (LID) gardens employed swales and
In creating landscapes that help protect the ocean, infiltration basins to direct and capture rain runoff.
we discovered that beauty and efficiency were the Inexpensively installed (from $500 to $1,500), these
most inspiring elements. They all looked different, depressions of varying size were fed runoff from
yet all conserved resources and captured and/or roofs and driveways, where it was allowed to seep.
cleaned their runoff. The attractive infiltration basin at the LeMar home
(pictured above) collected about 6,000 gallons of
A landscape that lends itself to natural processes
polluted roof water, including all of the first-flush.
develops a character unique to the site. It is beautiful,
unique and efficient—a modern mandate. Parkways are ideal areas for capturing runoff. The
water in these areas will not endanger the house.
A Pacific protecting property will capture, slow,
However, because of the heavy public interaction
and/or clean storm water runoff. Arranged by those
– the people offloading their cars, the dog walkers,
goals, the three sections below will show you how to
and children running through them – they are tough
create a landscape that is as good for you as it is for
to design. Use the illustration on the facing page to
the ocean we love.
create your own Pacific-protecting parkway.
Orange County Coastkeeper 45
Creating Pacific-protecting properties, continued...
Pervious Surfaces—Replacing surfaces, such as
concrete, with pervious surfaces that absorb water,
has two big benefits. First, permeable surfaces
increase infiltration, reducing runoff. Second, these
surfaces slow water. Concrete is considered a fast
surface, whereas permeable surfaces, such as pavers,
decking and decomposed granite, are considered
slow. The slower runoff moves, the better. Slow
water lacks the power to hold onto debris and heavier
Changing surfaces can be expensive. Removing
a driveway and replacing it with pavers is not
cheap (up to $10,000). On the other hand, decking
and decomposed granite are cheaper than pouring
concrete. A proven technique for cutting costs and Infiltration areas will:
adding value is cutting the driveway, taking out • be on slopes no greater than 20 percent.
chunks and putting in drain grates, rocks and plants. • not sit uphill of a steep or moderately steep
Plants—A landscape planted with shrubs and trees slope (anything greater than 20%).
can handle 30 percent to 50 percent more rainwater • be easy to access and maintain.
than turf, because there is more foliage, more roots, provide a safe exit for overflowing water.
and more need for the rainwater. Compared to • allow the water to infiltrate and be gone from
turf, most shrubs and trees also require less ocean- the surface within 36 hours.
polluting fertilizers and pesticides, while providing
refuge for more birds and beneficial bugs.
Improving infiltration is key to creating a Pacific-protecting property.
46 Orange County Coastkeeper
For the many properties that cannot capture runoff
on site, cleaning becomes the goal. Most cleaning
devices can be divided into mechanical or biological.
Mechanical cleaning devices, such as catch basins,
are excellent at removing debris and the heavier
particles, including sand and silt. The biological
cleaning devices, such as bio-catch basins, are
perfectly suited for removing the smaller pollutants,
including nutrients, metals and pathogens.
The way you maintain your landscape and property
will affect your watershed and ocean. Maintenance
affects the quantity and quality of runoff. Follow the
suggestions below to reduce quantity and increase
quality, ensuring a Pacific-protecting property.
Avoid Blowers: Blowers push a property’s debris
into the air, and into nearby properties and the street
and eventually to the ocean.
Sweep or Vacuum: The effectiveness of permeable
surfaces, such as pavers and bricks, will decrease
over time as fine particles fill the gaps. These special
surfaces need a thorough and annual cleaning,
preferably with a broom or vacuum, but not a blower.
Rake Less Meticulously: Never leave exposed A landscape planted with shrubs and trees
soil. Leaf litter is as good for the plants and garden can handle 30 percent to 50 percent more
as it is for the watershed – it protects the soil from rainwater than turf, because there is more
degradation and from being blown or swept off your foliage, more roots, and more need for the
rainwater. They also cut down on the need for
fertilizers and pesticides.
Aerate: Aerating is done by pulling plugs of soil
from areas that are compacted and quick to produce
runoff. Aerating can either be done with a hand tool
or a machine. Always aerate in late spring, which
gives the area plenty of time to recover before winter.
Roof Gutters / Drain System: Gutters and drain
systems need to be cleaned before the start of the
rainy season, and depending on the intensity of
rain, they may have to be periodically cleaned
throughout the wet season. Included in these yearly
tasks are removing soil away from storm drain
grates and protecting them with gravel or matting,
and examining drain pipes, looking for debris and
breaks. Flush the debris and fix the breaks.
Fix Rills and Gullies: Rills are small indentations
in soils caused by running water and they indicate
the loss of soil. Fix rills immediately by finding the A flow well surrounded with gravel handles the
runoff in an infiltration basin. Both of these
source of water and either diverting into planted,
photos are from the Whittenburg home.
secure areas, or directing to a storm drain.
Orange County Coastkeeper 47
Pacific Protecting Vocabulary and Concepts
Aquifer—A source of water located underground.
Catch basin—A device placed just below ground that removes debris from runoff.
Decomposed granite—Used as a walking surface, DG is ground granite.
First flush—The rainwater runoff from the first rain of the year, and fairly high in noxious pollutants.
Erosion—The movement of soil by water, wind, and/or gravity.
Impermeable—A surface through which liquid will not pass.
Infiltration—Allowing water to seep into soil.
Infiltration basin—A device created to capture runoff and let it to seep into the soil.
Non-point source pollution—Pollution that does not have a specific source.
Parkway—The area between the sidewalk and street.
Permeable—A surface through which liquid will pass.
Runoff—Any water that travels over the top of a surface.
Storm drain system—A system of pipes and devices used to control storm water and protect urban
areas from flooding.
Swale—A vegetated channel used to direct, slow and filter runoff.
Watershed—An area of land, large or small, that drains to one place, such as a storm drain outlet,
river or ocean.
Douglas Kent is an ecological horticulturalist. He has written four books and more than 50 articles. He teaches
at a variety of colleges, and works in landscapes throughout California.
You can visit his work at www.anfractus.com.
Editor’s Note: Coastkeeper sees low-impact design as a key strategy for reducing runoff to our local waterways.
In addition to this current project, Coastkeeper has worked to ensure the inclusion of low-impact development
requirements for Orange County’s new storm water permit. This means that any new developments will have to
capture and treat or infiltrate runoff from their properties. Please visit the current projects section of our Web site
to learn more about our efforts and how you can have a Pacific protecting home.
48 Orange County Coastkeeper
Update on Measure M Extension
O F N OT E Environmental Cleanup Program
By Garry Brown
W hen Measure M was adopted by the voters in November 2006,
the ordinance created an estimated $241 million Environmental
Cleanup Fund over the 30-year life of the Measure M Extension (M-
2). The county and the 34 cities within the County are eligible to ap-
ply for funding. For two years, the Environmental Cleanup Allocation
Committee has been meeting to develop the project priorities and the
guidelines that are needed to commence the funding cycle.
The Committee is proposing two tiers of funding. Tier One would
fund smaller projects such as storm drain inserts, trash removal units,
and planter box treatment units type Best Management Practices
(BMPs). The County would negotiate procurement contracts with the
manufacturers to ensure the best volume pricing. Tier Two would fund
regional water quality projects where multiple cities go together and
apply for funding for a project that would provide regional water qual-
ity benefits. All projects must have a water quality nexus to roads and
The Committee is determined to make funding decisions based on
the best information, to ensure the funds are spent efficiently, and spent
on project where there will be measurable results of improved water
quality. Watershed planning is an essential tool for the Committee
to make the best decisions possible. In that vein, we are looking into
the possibility of funding a study to further develop and refine sub-
watershed planning throughout the County.
A word about revenue: funding for M2 is solely based on sales tax
revenue, and it is an understatement to say that revenue projections
are down. With the difficulties experienced by the local economy, the
available funding levels are much lower than anticipated. Funding
on a “pay as you go” basis dramatically slows down the time frame
in which both tiers of funding could begin on any significant scale.
Coastkeeper is The option exists to recommend to the OCTA Board of Directors that
issues Of Note to
bonds be sold to bring substantial funds into the program up front in
improve water order to commence both tiers of funding. The Allocation Committee
quality in Orange recently voted to take the bonding approach and commence the pro-
County and its gram.
Orange County Coastkeeper 49
Is it part of O
’s Water Futu
By Karl Seckel
Assistant General Manager and District Engineer,
Municipal Water District of Orange County
A chieving an adequate, safe and affordable water supply is becoming increas-
ingly challenging as we face greater and greater uncertainties in meeting the
water needs of residents and businesses, which also helps to sustain our economy.
Orange County historically has relied on a diverse portfolio of water supplies—lo-
cal ground and surface water, imported water, water use efficiency and recycling.
Some of our historical supplies have been reduced or face increasing challenges.
Consequently, new and creative sources are needed, such as ocean desalination.
Our Water Supply Challenges Southern California. In the future, Metropolitan will
have to remain especially vigilant as environmen-
Supplies imported into Southern California by tal issues, climate change and competition threaten
the Metropolitan Water District of Southern Cali- long-term reliability.
fornia (Metropolitan) and into Orange County by Supplies from the State Water Project face more
Municipal Water District of Orange County (MW- uncertainty than the Colorado River supplies, pri-
DOC) provide about 50 percent of Orange County’s marily due to challenges in the Sacramento-San Joa-
water needs. Imported water is delivered from the quin River Delta (Delta) system—insufficient up-
Colorado River through the Colorado River Aque- stream storage, inadequate conveyance, wastewater
duct and from Northern California through the State discharges into the system, vulnerable Delta levees,
Water Project. The dependability of these supplies endangered species, invasive species, institutional
directly influences the reliability of water service complexity, regulatory and legal decisions and more.
to Orange County consumers. Orange County is The Delta’s ecosystem is not sustainable in its cur-
continually improving its programs for developing, rent form. A time horizon of 15 to 20 years will be
storing, treating and delivering water to consumers. needed to implement a “Delta fix” once a solution is
However, Orange County’s supply reliability is fac- agreed upon.
ing many challenges, beyond our span of control, to Recent legal decisions and federal regulations,
imported water supplies. known as biological opinions, have been put in
The Colorado River system has suffered through place to protect threatened fish species in the Delta.
nine years of drought, and reservoir storage has de- These decisions have allocated more and more wa-
clined to about 50 percent of capacity. The Colorado ter to fish and other environmental needs, and have
River system is oversubscribed, and California faces restricted the times of the year when water can be
continuing competition from neighboring states for pumped to supply agricultural and urban needs. The
the system’s resources. Metropolitan has been suc- availability of imported water from the State Water
cessful in developing additional supplies through Project has been reduced by about 40 percent (about
cooperative transfers and exchange agreements, to 800,000 acre-feet per year). This has reduced Or-
the extent that in 2009, the Colorado River Aque- ange County’s overall water supply by about 10 per-
duct will carry about 92 percent of its capacity into cent, or about 70,000 acre-feet per year.
50 Orange County Coastkeeper
Another new and not fully understood challenge is source. Innovative research such as the use of slant
climate change. Our growing awareness of natural wells and subsurface intakes is being pursued to
and human causes of climate change has improved avoid environmental impacts.
our understanding of the potential impacts on water Water agencies in Orange County are widely rec-
supply, but much uncertainty remains. Australia’s ognized for advancing innovative water resourc-
“drying” over the past three decades has brought this es solutions, which include: water use efficiency,
issue home to its populace. groundwater basin management, water recycling,
groundwater recovery and integrated water resourc-
Where Does Desalination Fit in? es management. From the water supplier standpoint,
it is not any one of these components that will pro-
With all of the uncertainties facing the water com- vide for our future needs. It is the collective benefit
munity, ocean desalination is gaining increased at- from all of these options—including ocean desalina-
tention and acceptance as an important new compo- tion—that will allow us to meet future demands.
nent of water supply. This technology can produce
Orange County’s current and future water sup-
a dependable (not subject to hydrologic variations),
ply and demand scenarios for 2010 and 2035 are il-
high-purity water supply. Ocean desalination will
lustrated below. Supplies from ocean desalination
not solve all of our water problems, but it is another
projects are shown at about 9 percent (Dana Point
important resource that will likely contribute 10 per-
and Huntington Beach) of the total demand in Or-
cent or so of Orange County’s future water supply.
ange County, and would offset an equal amount of
Protecting the ocean environment and reducing the imported water. Key to the development of ocean
energy needed are requirements for successful ocean desalination projects is figuring out how we can de-
desalination projects. Advancing technology has the sign these systems to be environmentally friendly as
potential to significantly reduce energy requirements well as cost-effective.
and lower the overall cost of this potential supply
Orange County Water Supply and Demand
690,000 AFY 780,000 AFY
Orange County Coastkeeper 51
52 Orange County Coastkeeper
Dana Point (aka South Orange Coast- The Test Slant Well Demonstration Project has
al) Ocean Desalination Project received four permits to date from the California
Coastal Commission, as well as permits or juris-
Since 2002, the Municipal Water District of Or- dictional determinations from the California State
ange County has conducted investigations to deter- Parks, California San Diego Regional Water Quality
mine the technical, institutional and economic fea- Control Board, the California Department of Fish &
sibility of developing ocean desalination projects. Game, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish &
The South Orange County Water Reliability Study Wildlife Service and the County of Orange. In addi-
(2004) recommended an ocean desalination supply tion, a lease from the State Lands Commission was
be considered in the Dana Point area to provide both granted.
system and supply reliability. MWDOC and its part- Before design and construction of the facility can
ners are committed to proceed in an environmentally move forward, the following major efforts would be
responsible manner. Key efforts to date have fo- required after completion of the “Phase 3 Extended
cused on research and demonstration of subsurface Pumping and Pilot Plant Testing” work.
slant well intake technology, brine disposal, system
• Project EIR/EIS (CEQA and NEPA), includ-
integration, power supply, and assessing the overall
ing bio-surveys, impact analysis and mitiga-
The Dana Point project is being planned to utilize
• Offshore hydrogeology investigation
slant well technology to draw in ocean water through
sands and gravels that underlie the ocean offshore of • Beach erosion and coastal processes study and
San Juan Creek. This approach avoids impacts to wellhead siting
the marine environment, including entrainment and • Outfall coastal dispersion studies for the Re-
impingement of marine organisms (drawing in and gional Water Quality Control Board for brine
killing them), provides excellent natural filtration of disposal permitting
the water and reduces project costs significantly by • Source water quality studies for the California
eliminating the offshore intake and pretreatment fil- Department of Public Health
tration facilities. The reverse-osmosis concentrated
ocean water “brine” will be co-disposed two miles • Project power and green energy plan
offshore through the adjacent San Juan Creek Ocean
Outfall. The desalination plant site is being reserved
by the South Coast Water District on the San Juan
Creek site where existing regional pipelines can be
used to distribute the desalinated water, after it has
been treated and disinfected.
Phase 3 work at the Dana Point site currently in-
volves an extended pumping test to collect better data
on the groundwater basin and construction of pilot
plant facilities to test treatment processes for the wa-
ter. Construction of the pilot plant is scheduled for
fall 2009, with start up of the two-year pumping and
treatment investigation in January 2010. This work
is being managed by MWDOC, with five participat-
ing local agencies funding and overseeing the project
development: Laguna Beach County Water District,
Moulton Niguel Water District, South Coast Water
District, City of San Juan Capistrano, and the City
of San Clemente. State and federal grants have been
provided to support the project investigation phases.
Orange County Coastkeeper 53
• Permitting and Approvals and since ocean desalination provides a dependable,
• Financing and funding high quality water supply, it received broad public
• Joint Powers Agreement among the local agen- support.
cies for project implementation Ocean desalination may be positioned similarly in
California and is part of Orange County’s and South-
The above work will require approximately three ern California’s integrated water resources program.
years and $5 to $7 million to complete. Construc- We can learn much from the experiences of our
tion of the project will require about two years. At counterparts in Australia; however, ocean desalina-
the earliest, the project could be operational by 2016. tion is not the silver bullet for solving our future wa-
ter supply needs. These types of projects add to our
Conclusion resource mix and make sense in areas where there
is a very high dependence on imported water sup-
The long and severe drought that caused great ply, such as south Orange County. The additional
hardship in Australia has led to construction of large direct cost of improving reliability is small when
ocean desalination projects in all the major coastal compared to the social and economic costs of having
cities. Australian scientists suggest that the multi- water shortages.
decade drought that was experienced was due in Ocean desalination needs to be part of Orange
large part to global warming. Drought security was County’s water future.
seen as essential to Australia’s economy and welfare
A worker welds a joint on an intake screen.
54 Orange County Coastkeeper
EDITOR’S NOTE: freshwater, why are we proposing to build multi-
Although Coastkeeper agrees that ocean million dollar desalination plants to bring back
desalination is going to be a part of our water saltwater from the ocean and removing the salt at
future, there are some current desalination projects a much greater expense? A better solution is to
being proposed that we vigorously oppose. One capture and treat freshwater as a reliable drinking
such project is the Poseidon desalination plant water source. The Orange County Water District
in Huntington Beach. Coastkeeper objects to has proven this possible today with its Ground Water
desalination that is not done right. Impingement and Replenishment System. The GWRS is currently
entrainment (sucking in and killing) of sea creatures producing 60 to 65 million gallons per day of highly
can be avoided with the right technology. The killing treated water for replenishing our drinking water
of fish and sea animals must be avoided with any underground aquifer. The cost of GWRS water is
new desalination plant. $561 per acre foot compared to RO desalination at
$2,000-$3,000 per acre foot.
The Waterkeeper Alliance achieved a major
victory in the Federal Appeals Court, mandating Yes, ocean desalination is in our future. Let’s give
that old style “once through cooling” (OTC) power new emerging technologies in ocean desalination a
plants must comply with the Federal Clean Water chance to be a part of our future reliable water supply.
Act by eliminating impingement and entrainment up It is the best option in some areas of California and
to 95 percent. This would require these old systems the least advantageous in other areas. In Huntington
to build closed cooling systems, such as the cooling Beach, the proposed desalination project is the least
system on an automobile. Rather than a radiator, advantageous option for the region.
power plants would construct a cooling tower. In
Huntington Beach, the proposed desalination plant
hooks into the old OTC system of the AES Power
Plant for its seawater source. This strategy only
perpetuates what is clearly non-compliance with the
Clean Water Act.
A third issue is the energy consumption required by
older desalination technology. The process proposed
in Huntington Beach is reverse osmosis (RO), which
pushes saltwater through a tiny screen to remove the
salt from the water. Reverse osmosis requires a huge
amount of electrical energy.
Experts from around the world peg the cost for
an acre foot of drinking water produced through
RO desalination to be between $2,000 and $3,000.
Currently we are paying $750 per acre foot to
buy water wholesale from the Metropolitan Water
District. Even more interesting is the documented
cost to recycle sewage by treating it to a level that
exceeds drinking water standards: $561 per acre
foot. Compared to these current costs, using the
technology proposed by Poseidon for Huntington
Beach has the potential of increasing the cost of
water by a factor of 4 to 6 times per acre foot.
There are numerous options available to develop
more reliable sources of water. The options are not
equal. In California we are discharging over 1.5
The photo above is a closeup of the
billion gallons of fresh water into the ocean each
day. When it is much less costly to capture and treat
rotary drill that is used to bore slant
wells for the desalination process.
Orange County Coastkeeper 55
Inland Empire Waterkeeper Strives for Water
Quality in our Upper Watershed Communities
By Autumn DeWoody, Programs Director
“For all at last returns to the sea - to Oceanus, the ocean river, like
the ever-flowing stream of time, the beginning and the end”
Rachel Carson (1907-1964)
M any people question how it
is possible to devote so
much time to the waterways
water quality in the region, but we are
also the only one with the ability to
litigate to enforce the Clean Wa-
of southwest Riverside and ter Act. Our education program,
San Bernardino counties. “River KATS: Kid Activism To-
Our response at Inland gether with Science,” is unique
Empire Waterkeeper is in both its focus on high
always, “There’s more school students, and in our
to do than we have time commitment to completely
for!” The water quality fund the costs of the bus and
and water supply con- substitute teacher for par-
cerns of the Inland Em- ticipating schools. We suc-
pire are gravely serious cessfully facilitated 8 field
and at the forefront of trips for 250 students in the
residents’ minds. That 2008-2009 school year, our
is why Inland Empire highest numbers to date,
Waterkeeper exists—to thanks to generous founda-
fill this critically impor- tion grants!
tant niche in the com- Our advocacy work is also
munity through programs distinctive because of our de-
of enforcement, advocacy, sire to amicably work with de-
education, restoration and velopers in hopes of helping to
research. make their construction-phase and
Not only are we the solitary long-term water quality management
nonprofit organization focused on plans state of the art, instead of fighting
56 Orange County Coastkeeper
Inland Empire Waterkeeper’s latest initiatives in water quality center around education,
public awareness, restoration and access to wetland areas in the Santa Ana Watershed.
and building walls against the development com- Additionally, we have embarked upon our latest
munity as a whole. restoration project, funded through private founda-
tion grants, called the “Southland Open Space and
We are also out in the field every day. Our state-
Forest Preservation Initiative.” This new venture
funded research project, the “Upper Santa Ana
is a yearlong effort aimed to bring attention to the
River Watershed Assessment,” provides support to
Temescal Valley and the importance of wildland
local regulators by gathering weekly water quality
linkages (see article in FYI). With this project,
data to determine the source of pollutants in the
we were lucky to bring on a new project manager,
Redlands/San Bernardino areas. To complement
Rachael Hamilton, who has extensive experience
our extensive research in the field, we developed
in environmental education. Thank you for your
an in-house lab to test bacteria for our weekly
continued interest in Inland Empire Waterkeeper.
Restoring, mapping and providing access in the Temescal Creek sub-watershed will be a
major focus for IEWK. For more, see our Web site at www.iewaterkeeper.org
Orange County Coastkeeper 57
WHAL E S :
Nurturing Water Quality Stewards
By Briana Madden, Education Director
W hat will the students of today become
tomorrow? They could be our next city
planners, journalists, wastewater technicians
and teachers. They could have careers that
don’t even exist today. At Coastkeeper we
know that education holds the key to protect-
ing water quality and coastal ecosystems in the
fast-changing 21st century. That’s why we’re
preparing our students to be the “Watershed
Heroes” through the WHALES Program.
The WHALES Program Because of the ever-tightening budgets in Cali-
fornia school districts, many teachers would not
When looking to design a new education pro- be able to offer their students field trips such as
gram five years ago, Coastkeeper researched cur- those provided through the WHALES program if
rent environmental education offered in the region. Coastkeeper did not coordinate the trips, and pro-
We found that most local programs focused on a vide equipment, transportation and, in some cases,
K-6 audience, with a lack of attention to grades money to pay substitute teachers. For those such
7-12. We felt that if our society expects students as Costa Mesa High School environmental and
to carry on environmental lessons learned in el- marine science teacher Cristen Rasmussen, these
ementary school, there must be an environmen- firsthand experiences are essential.
tal component throughout junior high and high “Because many of our students come from a low
school. socioeconomic background, field trips like those
In keeping with this principle, Coastkeeper provided by Coastkeeper are especially signifi-
launched the WHALES Program (Watershed He- cant,” Rasmussen said. “They are given a rare op-
roes—Actions Linking Education to Stewardship) portunity to learn meaningful content outside the
in 2005. The WHALES program introduces junior walls of the classroom.”
high and high school students to watershed and
ecological concepts. We provide in-class and field Current Regional Challenges
experiences at no cost to local schools, enabling
students to apply concepts taught in the classroom A focus on watershed-based education is espe-
to real-world environmental issues. cially crucial in Southern California. While envi-
ronmental issues such as climate change and en-
58 Orange County Coastkeeper
“We believe that an environmentally sustainable business is just good business, given the grow-
ing concern for environmental problems across America. A key component of an environmen-
tally sustainable business is a highly educated work force, particularly involving environmental
principles.” – Chad Holliday, CEO, DuPont
ergy sources gain global attention, our region has importance of reducing water pollution by visit-
its own unique challenges to face. An increasing ing places such as the Bolsa Chica Wetlands or the
population, paired with a decreasing availability Laguna Beach tide pools, and learning how runoff
of imported water, has put Southern California in can affect these ecosystems.
a critical water situation. At the same time, runoff Research has shown that when students learn
that spills from our streets, landscaping and farms how textbook concepts are applied to real scenar-
threatens the health of our coastal ecosystems. ios, such as investigating water pollution or pro-
Local agencies know that our region will need tecting marine mammals, they are more engaged
creative and qualified young people to tackle these and motivated to succeed in key subject areas.(No
watershed issues. The Orange County Workforce Child Left Inside Coalition)
Investment Board has added “Energy, Environ-
ment and Green Technologies” as a key Industry Real-world Connections
Cluster in its State of the County 2008-2009 Re-
port. The report also highlights water and waste- To show students how environmental problems
water operators as occupations of growing de- are addressed locally, Coastkeeper makes it a pri-
mand. ority to connect WHALES students with public
The need for innovative ways to conserve and agencies. For example, Orange High School’s
reuse water, and reduce water pollution, will only A.P. Environmental Science class begins its water
increase in the years to come. This is why Coast- quality field trip by meeting Mike Carney, a wa-
keeper is working to prepare our young people to
step into these roles. We aim to foster environmen-
tally literate students with a motivation to meet
these challenges. Through the WHALES program,
we expose local students to complex watershed
issues, and challenge them to think critically to
solve environmental problems.
Why Field Trips?
People may wonder why we don’t just bring our
lessons to the classroom, and teach students about
watersheds through lectures and videos. This
would probably be simpler and less expensive.
However, the main reason Coastkeeper is commit-
ted to providing field trips is that we have seen the
lasting impact of these experiences on local youth.
The best way for students to truly compre-
hend the challenges of treating wastewater for
2.5 million people is to actually see (and smell)
raw sewage entering the Orange County Sanita-
tion District. Students will better understand the
Orange County Coastkeeper 59
“Education about the environment, and the research needed to support and enhance this edu-
cation, are the foundation for a creative, diverse, knowledgeable and adaptive environmental
workforce, including scientists, engineers, teachers, technicians, and resource managers.”
– National Science Foundation
ter quality expert for the City of Orange. Carney daily lives. We promote volunteer and internship
meets our group at the exact location where runoff opportunities, because many local environmental
from their campus enters a flood control channel. programs wouldn’t be possible without the sup-
Through this interaction, students have the oppor- port of a committed volunteer base.
tunity to learn about an environmental career first- When our students restore habitat at a reserve,
hand, and see how the Clean Water Act is enforced help to survey fish and invertebrates at an estuary
in their city. or conduct a beach cleanup, they discover ways
These experiences are also valuable to our agen- to get involved as an intern or volunteer on their
cy partners. “I am impressed with the level of in- own time. After WHALES field trips, many of
terest the students show for the topic of surface our students return to places such as Upper New-
water quality protection.” Carney said. “I always port Bay and Crystal Cove to weed out invasive
feel this interaction is an integral part of the city’s plants, sample biodiversity or remove plastic and
public outreach efforts.” Styrofoam. We also hope that our students leave
the WHALES Program with the tools to be active
A New Generation of Watershed citizens who will vote, be involved in their com-
Heroes munity, and take steps to minimize their personal
impacts on local waterways.
In addition to our goals of exposing students to Orange High School teacher Amelia Foreman
environmental education and career paths, Coast- has seen how hands-on experiences have affected
keeper also wants our students to learn exactly her students. She explained, “Kids come up to
how they can help protect their watershed in their me at the end of the year saying that they see the
60 Orange County Coastkeeper
world in an entirely new way and will make life-
long changes based on the course, and WHALES
is a huge part of that awakening.”
A Key to our Future
As public awareness and concern for issues such
as marine protection and water quality are on the
rise, Coastkeeper is excited to see industry and
government increasingly promote environmental
education and research.
Recognizing the need to increase environmental
literacy and prepare a new workforce, policy-mak-
ers at the state and federal level are making envi-
ronmental education a priority. Reintroduced in
the U.S. Senate on Earth Day 2009, The No Child
Left Inside Act (S.866) would mandate that states
“develop environmental literacy plans, approved
by the Secretary of Education, for pre-kindergar-
ten through grade 12.” If it becomes law, S.866
will provide new resources to support environ-
mental education across the nation.
In California, we’ve leapt ahead of the curve
with the Education and the Environment Initiative
(EEI). Signed into law in 2003, the EEI incorpo-
rates environmental principles and concepts into
K-12 math, science, language arts and social sci-
ence. The EEI will help educators to teach existing
subject standards in an environmental framework.
As initiatives such as the No Child Left Inside
Act and the EEI increase the prevalence of envi-
ronmental education in our schools, Coastkeeper
has an ideal opportunity to support teachers and
school districts through the WHALES Program.
We look forward to new opportunities to expand
our reach and empower Watershed Heroes for
years to come.
For more information, see:
No Child Left Inside Coalition–www.nclicoalition.org
National Science Foundation–www.nsf.gov
OC Workforce Investment Board–www.ocwib.org
CA Education and the Environment Initiative–www.calepa.ca.gov/education/EEI/
Orange County Coastkeeper 61
Getting the Copper Out of Newport Bay
Coastkeeper and its partners have proved it’s there, where it’s coming from
and they know how to reduce it, so let’s get together and do it!
N ewport Bay is one of the jewels of the Califor-
nia Coast and a valuable resource for 4 million
Orange County residents. There is a great contrast
Bay. The most vital resource both parts of the bay
have in common is water, and good water quality
is fundamental to ensuring that the bay remains an
between the upper and lower bays, defined as the asset to the community.
areas above and below the Pacific Coast Highway Orange County Coastkeeper has been working
bridge. The majority of Upper Newport Bay is an to improve water quality in Newport Bay for 10
undeveloped ecological reserve—one of the last re- years, in partnership with the City of Newport
maining large wetland areas in Southern California, Beach, the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality
and home to several endangered spe- Control Board (SARWQCB) and
cies and a wide variety of wildlife. the U.S. Environmental Protection
The Lower Newport Bay (also known Agency (EPA). During that time,
as Newport Harbor) is fully developed, the emphasis has been on conduct-
and serves as an economic engine for ing research to identify specific wa-
the community through tourist attrac- ter quality and sediment problems
tions, recreational boating and fishing in the bay and its tributaries, and de-
activities. veloping plans to solve those prob-
Although the upper and lower bays lems. The next step is to implement
are very different, both are magnets for these plans as soon as possible to
tourists and vital areas for wildlife. As such, it is improve the water and sediment quality in the bay.
important to maintain and restore these areas to sup- This next step is occurring at all levels of govern-
port both wildlife and economic activity at Newport ment. The Santa Ana Regional Board has adopt-
62 Orange County Coastkeeper
ed, and EPA approved, the Total Maximum Daily ficiency. Pesticides such as copper are embedded
Loads (TMDLs) for fecal Coliform, nutrients and in the bottom paint and slowly leach out over a
organophosphates in Newport Bay. Each TMDL number of years.
includes an implementation plan Boat bottom cleaning activi-
to reduce the pollutant’s levels in ties (which are necessary on a
the Bay. Other key water quality regular basis) also can result in
issues in the bay include metals the release of copper into the
and pesticides. The EPA promul- water and sediment. Since the
gated a Toxics TMDL in 2002 elimination of the use of tribu-
that includes copper as a pollut- tyl tin in boat bottom paints in
ant, and the Regional Board staff the 1980s, copper has become
is working to develop a Copper the pesticide of choice in boat
TMDL for Newport Bay. Coast- bottom paints throughout the
keeper is taking a major step in United States. However, since
addressing this problem with our copper is toxic to aquatic life,
Newport Bay Copper Reduction new water quality criteria (the
Program. California Toxics Rule) have
This project, funded by the been developed in the last de-
EPA and the City of Newport cade. As a result of the criteria,
Beach and managed by the Re- there are lower allowable cop-
gional Board staff, aims to de- per concentrations and more
crease the amount of copper discharged into the impaired waterbody listings on EPA’s 303d list.
bay through a voluntary program to reduce cop- Since Newport Bay is listed for copper, there is a
per from boat bottom paints—the largest source of new focus on the use of this metal in marine ap-
copper into the bay. plications such as bottom paint.
Boat bottom paints are designed to leach copper
(or other biocides) to reduce the growth of algae, Investigating Copper in Newport Bay
barnacles, and other organisms on the underwa-
ter hulls of boats. This decreased growth limits In the 2002 Toxics TMDL for San Diego Creek
the damage that marine organisms can cause on and Newport Bay, the EPA estimated that bottom
boat hulls, and improves performance and fuel ef- boat paints discharge more than 50,000 pounds of
Orange County Coastkeeper 63
Getting the Copper Out of Newport Bay continued...
The four-year Newport Bay Copper Reduction Program is intended to lower copper
concentrations in bay waters by encouraging boaters throughout the bay to voluntarily
switch to non-toxic bottom paints.
copper a year into Newport Bay, making it by far centrations were also noticeably higher in marinas
the largest source. Additionally, studies in San than in the channel areas of the bay. These results
Diego Bay showed that copper from boat bottom demonstrated the need to reduce the discharge of
paints in Shelter Island Marina made up 98 per- copper from boats into Newport Bay to improve
cent of the copper load that created elevated cop- water quality, especially in the marinas.
per concentrations in the water. To address this It is important to note that while boat bottom
problem, the San Diego Regional Water Quality paint is the largest source of copper to Newport
Control Board issued the Shelter Island TMDL in Bay, it is not the only source. The County close-
2005 that mandated a 76-percent reduction in cop- ly monitors copper discharged into the bay from
per levels. San Diego Creek, which provides 90 percent of
Following up on this work, Orange County the fresh water to the bay. Copper loading from
Coastkeeper partnered with the Regional Board San Diego Creek and Santa Ana Delhi Channel is
staff to conduct the Lower Newport Bay Cu-Met- estimated to be approximately 7000 lbs per year.
als Marina Study in 2007, under a contract from Other sources of metals include more than 200
the city of Newport Beach and using funding from storm drains that empty into Newport Bay. In fall
the Regional Board. The goal of this research was 2009, Coastkeeper will complete a study of metals
to determine whether copper and other metal con- inputs to the bay from storm drains. Coastkeeper,
centrations were elevated in Newport Bay marina with support from Regional Board staff, has con-
waters and sediments compared to channel con- ducted this study under a contract from the city
centrations. of Newport Beach with funds from the Regional
The study found copper concentrations in wa- Board. After carrying out these studies to under-
ter that were above EPA criteria in every marina stand the sources and levels of copper in the bay,
tested. Out of all samples collected, three-quarters Coastkeeper will be shifting our focus toward re-
of the marina samples and one-half of the channel ducing copper levels in Newport Bay through our
samples exceeded the EPA criteria. Copper con- current project.
64 Orange County Coastkeeper
A Voluntary Approach to Reducing in the Marina, and demonstrate a reduction in the
Copper overall load of copper to Newport Bay.
This project is an example of the type of vol-
The four-year Newport Bay Copper Reduction untary initiative that Orange County Coastkeeper
program is intended to lower copper concentrations views as a logical first step in decreasing copper
in bay waters by encouraging boaters throughout loads (and other pollutants) in Newport Bay and
the bay to voluntarily switch to non-toxic bottom other waters. Through this program, Coastkeeper,
paints. Additionally, the program will feature a fo- the City of Newport Beach, Regional Board staff
cused education and financial incentive program and our other partners will provide boaters with
for the Balboa Yacht Basin Marina, with a goal of information explaining why a switch from copper
encouraging 50 percent of the boats in that marina bottom paints is necessary, and what types of non-
to switch to non-toxic bottom paints. copper and non-toxic bottom paint are available.
To document the improvement in water quality We will also assist boaters in making the switch
resulting from the conversions to non-toxic bottom by working with local boat yards to develop non-
paints in the marina, Coastkeeper will monitor the toxic bottom paint services. By reducing copper
water of Balboa Yacht Basin Marina twice a year loading to the target marina and to the Bay over-
for the term of the project. By the end of this four- all, Coastkeeper is determined to yield a healthier
year program, we will be able to document the ac- bay that will better support the activities that make
tual reduction in dissolved copper concentrations Newport Bay an attraction today and far into the
Volunteers like Julie Brelaxer help
Coastkeeper in a number of projects
to measure water quality in the bay.
Orange County Coastkeeper 65
On the Water With Coastkeeper
O range County Coastkeep-
er staff members spend
a lot of time on the water, in
Pa r t i n g S h o t s
the water and being show-
ered with water. It’s all in the
name of protecting local water
quality. Recently, we had the
chance to stop and smell the
salt air from Coastkeeper’s
newly remodeled vessel. We
would like to share the view
with our readers in these part-
Photos by Peter Pham
Coastkeeper is A special thanks to
working to im- Demenno/Kerdoon for
prove water sponsoring our new,
quality and qual- clean-burning engine,
ity of life in Or-
the Evinrude E-Tec!
66 Orange County Coastkeeper
From the heart...
T o accomplish our mission of protecting Orange County's marine habitats and watersheds, we
have extended our efforts to the heart of the Inland Empire, where our water originates. Our
education, advocacy, restoration, research and enforcement work takes us from the highest heights
of Southern California to the depths of the ocean along our coast. All of this work is supported by
grants and the generous support of our members.
You can make a difference!
By joining Orange County Coastkeeper, you can make a difference protecting and preserving Orange
County 's beautiful coastline and improving water quality throughout the region. There is NO COST
to join, but donations are always appreciated.
Join Orange County Coastkeeper Today!
To become an Orange County Coastkeeper Member, email your name, address, phone number, and
email address to email@example.com, or donate using our secure donation page at www.coast-
To join by phone or for more information, call (714) 850-1965.
We thank all of our members for their generous support!
Orange County Coastkeeper is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit supported largely by private-sector contribu-
tions. 100% of your tax-deductible donation is used for the purpose you choose.
The dust from your car’s brake pads is a signiﬁcant source of the copper
in Orange County’s creeks, rivers, bays and coastal waters. Copper is
toxic to aquatic animals and is a common pollutant in Orange County
Please use commercial car washes or a By using alternative transportation options like
buses, trains, carpooling, biking or walking, you
mobile detailer that contains and reuses
can help reduce the amount of copper pollution
or properly disposes of any residual in Orange County waterways.
washwater. Car washing establishments
divert the washwater to the sewer system
where the water is treated, removing
much of the copper that comes from
your car’s brake pads. If you wash your
car at home, use a waterless car washing
product, or at least divert the
washwater to your lawn or
landscaped area to help
prevent water pollution.
T H E O C E A N B E G I N S AT Y O U R F R O N T D O O R .
www.ocwatersheds.com 1 8 7 7 8 9 S P I L L