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2021 Wrap - success amidst a difficult year

Hello California Coastal Defenders!

We are looking forward to 2022, a new year and new opportunities. This year, we look forward to building on the successes that came last year despite difficult and challenging circumstances - not the least of which included virtual advocacy amidst the ongoing global pandemic.

We'd like to take this opportunity to thank and congratulate our California chapter network for a strong year - for persevering through global pandemic challenges in order to protect (and enjoy!) our beloved coast and ocean. If you didn't already, check out this video - a review of our 2021 victories from Surfrider's HQ:

California 2021 Victories!

Oppose West Basin Desalination Plant December-21
Solana Beach Electrification Ordinance December-21
San Diego Divestment from Fossil Fuel Investments November-21
Comprehensive Solution Selected to Stop Border Sewage November-21
San Marcos Plastics Reduction October-21
Keep National Parks Free From Fees in San Francisco and Marin October-21
Support SB 433 – California Coastal Commission Enforcement October-21
Support SB 343: Truth in Labeling for Recyclable Materials October-21
Support AB 962: Create a Returnable Beverage Bottle System in CA! October-21
Support AB 881: Close California's Exported Plastic Waste Loophole! October-21
Support AB 1276: Make Foodware Accessories Available Upon Request in CA! October-21
Support SB 796: Return Bruce's Beach to the Bruce Family October-21
Support AB 72: Coastal Adaptation Permitting Act of 2021 October-21
Support Senate Bill 1 (Atkins) - Address Sea Level Rise September-21
Encinitas Electrification Ordinance September-21
Fund the California Coastal Commission! July-21
Culver City Updated Plastic Foodware Ordinance July-21
Vista Plastics Reduction Ordinance! June-21
Laguna Beach Plastic Foodware Ordinance June-21
LA County Foodware Accessories Upon Request - Skip The Stuff! June-21
Massive Fish Factory Impacts Must Be Fully Considered May-21
City of LA Foodware Accessories Upon Request - Skip the Stuff! May-21
Victory! "Seawalls for All" Bill Stopped April-21
Marine Sanctuaries Protected from Potential Oil and Gas Development April-21
Protect Oceano Dunes from Destructive Off-Highway Vehicle Use March-21
Protect Dana Point – Make Coastal Hotels Ocean Friendly! February-21
Bring Community Choice to Huntington Beach January-22

Coastal Commission 2021 WINS!

Each month, Surfrider's California Policy staff monitor the California Coastal Commission meetings and make a stand on key issues regarding coastal preservation, water quality and coastal access. 2021 was no different - despite the ongoing virtual meetings we were able to effectively advocate for a number of successful outcomes! Here are a few of the Coastal Commission highlights:

  • Adoption of the Local Government Working Group’s 2021 Work Plan for updating local coastal programs to address sea level rise - a commitment to working collaboratively in tackling the pressing issues facing the California Coast.
  • Voiced support for Dr. Charles Lester, Director of the Ocean and Coastal Policy Institute at UC Santa Barbara, recommendations in the recently released Protecting Public Trust Shoreline Resources in the Face of Sea Level Rise. The report analyzes existing legal and policy frameworks for protecting the public trust in light of sea level rise and makes 20 key policy recommendations.
  • Supported adoption and key modifications in the Commission's Critical Infrastructure at Risk: Sea Level Rise Planning Guidance for California’s Coastal Zone – new state guidance to help local jurisdictions plan and adapt critical water and transportation infrastructure to climate change hazards and sea level rise. The guidance will be critical for making water and transportation systems more resilient over the coming decades.
  • Voiced support for the draft Hollister Ranch Coastal Access Program - a plan to help restore coastal access to an 8.5 mile portion of beloved shoreline along the Gaviota Coast. This plan is yet to be finalized but we are heartened that these efforts are underway!
  • Surfrider supported the careful planning of Ocean Rainforest, Inc., a demonstration seaweed aquaculture facility o4 miles offshore of Santa Barbara.
  • With Surfrider and others support, the Commission passed a ban on vehicle use at Oceano Dunes State Park, with a five-year transition and a new vehicular beach camping area between West Grand and Pier Avenues, including for ADA vehicle access as well as an allowance for low-key interpretive hike in or bike in camping in the southern portion of the park.
  • At Surfrider's request the Commission approved a new 100-room resort hotel in Dana Point with requirements for innovative sustainability initiatives including a plastic pollution reduction plan, greenhouse gas emissions requirements and on site low-cost rooms.
  • With Surfrider's support, the Commission overturned a San Luis Obispo County approved permit for the relocation of the Ontario Ridge Trail. Community opposition to relocating the trail abounded due to the highly scenic nature of the existing well-loved vistas and trail route.

For more information on our Coastal Commission related work, please visit and sign up for our newsletter!

A look ahead

We've launched into January in full swing. Just as we expected, the holiday lull has quickly passed and we are diving back into our campaigns! With the departure of Jennifer Savage, Laura Walsh has jumped in as the California Policy Manager and together we are so stoked to work with our amazing chapter network and supporters in 2022!

It's going to be a great year!

Laura, Mandy, Bill and Delia