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Weekly Round Up

Hello coastal defenders and happy Monday! Here’s your latest ocean news update.

Coastal Commission staff recommend elimination of Oceano Dunes off-roading by 2026

The California Coastal Commission has put forth its staff recommendations for the future of the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area in a report released on February 18th. The report outlines the Commission's plan to eliminate off-roading and vehicle access to the park, while ramping up sensitive habitat conservation efforts by 2026. If the plan is passed, then vehicle access to the park would be phased out within the next five years. 

The report “found most recently in 2019 that driving at the park has degraded dune habitats, harmed native species, caused air quality, and public health issues, and made it difficult for the public to walk, swim, and enjoy other non-vehicular activities at the beach and dunes.”  The report will be discussed further on March 18th at the Coastal Commission’s monthly public meeting. 

Oceano Dunes off-roading vehicles. Photograph: California State Parks

Conservationists file lawsuit after Laguna Beach relaxes historic preservation program

Laguna Beach City Council has approved changes to the city’s historic preservation rules, leaving previously defended historic homes without legal protection. Local conservationists are worried that Laguna’s historic buildings will be torn down and developed.  Three groups, the Laguna Beach Historic Preservation Committee, Preserve Orange County, and Village Laguna filed a lawsuit against the city’s new policy. The plan is still awaiting approval from the California Coastal Commission. Read more about the preservation rule changes here.  

Better Beach Alliance

Join the DIY clean up movement today! Despite a rampant global pandemic, The Surfrider Foundation and its amazing network of volunteers continue to clean up our oceans and waterways. Through independent and solo beach cleanups we have made a huge impact on our planet. In 2020, Surfrider removed over 80,000 pounds of trash from our beloved beaches. 

Trash strewn along Seal Beach. Photograph: Jeff Gritchen/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register

This past year, Surfrider also started collecting data on personal protective equipment, also known as PPE, found at cleanups, beginning in June of 2020.  In only six months over 2,270 single use gloves and masks were collected as trash. PPE is life saving and necessary equipment, however the proper removal and disposal of PPE is also extremely important to protect our oceans and waterways. You can read more about how to join a Surfrider DIY beach clean up here and help collect data to ensure the health of our oceans for years to come.