Santa Cruz Good Times

Tuesday
Jan 27th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Saving Sea Otters, One Check Mark at a Time

sea_otterCalifornia’s cutest marine mammals get a legislative boost
Sea otter lovers, rejoice—the threatened ocean critters have hope on the horizon in form of Assembly Bill 971 (AB 971). Santa Cruz’s State Assemblymember Bill Monning (D-17th District) authored the bill, which was introduced in March and approved by the Assembly earlier this week in a 72-3 vote.

The bill will keep an existing voluntary contribution check box on the California tax form for another five years, directing what’s garnered to the California Sea Otter Fund. The collected funds are divvied up to organizations and researchers working to protect and replenish sea otter populations. The Fund is the single largest contributor to sea otter research in California.

“Californians have shown their support for sea otter research and preservation by selecting a voluntary contribution on their state tax returns year after year,” Monning tells Good Times. “The passage of this bill will allow for this choice to continue as an option.”

Less than 3,000 sea otters live off of California’s coast today—only one-fifth of the historic population. Why they’re disappearing and how to solve it remain challenging problems for Golden State scientists and conservationists.

For Monning, sea otter decline is worrisome for several reasons. “This bill is important to me because the sea otter is the proverbial ‘canary in the [coal] mine’ for our ocean habitat,” he says. “A healthy otter population is critical to the health of all marine mammals and the health of our vital tourism industry. I am pleased with the bipartisan support we have mobilized."

Rachel Goodman, Monning’s district director, expounds on these issues, noting that “sea otters are a key species in the Monterey Bay ocean ecosystem, keeping the sea urchin population in balance so we can have healthy kelp forests.”

In order to stay on the tax collections form, the Sea Otter Fund must raise a minimum amount (around $250,000) each year. The minimum for 2011 is $260,890. According to Goodman, the collection numbers are on track to meet the threshold. “Enough people seem to realize that sea otters are in trouble and funds [are needed] to study why they are not recovering well,” she says.

The bill, which was co-sponsored by Defenders of Wildlife and the Monterey Bay Aquarium, now moves on to the Senate, where the Senate Policy Committee will consider it before July 8 and the entire Senate will vote on it between then and September.

Learn more about the California Sea Otter Fund.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Force of Nature

Santa Cruz’s Carlie Statsky brings her love of the natural world to the hyper-personal art of wedding photography

 

Mercury Retrograde in Aquarius

The magical time of Mercury’s retrograde cycle is here once again, until Feb. 11, and then some. The Mercury retro cycle actually lasts eight weeks when we consider its retrograde shadow, giving us six months a year for review. We know the rules of Mercury retro: Be careful with everything; cars, driving, money, resources, friends, friendships, groups, interactions, thinking, talking, communications. Avoid big purchases, important meetings and important repairs. Mercury retrograde times are for review, reassessment and rest. Our minds are overloaded from the last Mercury retro. Our minds need to assess what we’ve done since October—eliminating what is not needed, keeping what’s important, preparing for new information in the next three months (till mid-May). Mercury in Aquarius retrograde … we reinvent ourselves, seek the unusual, we don’t hide, we’re just careful. We live in two worlds; outer appearances and inner reckonings, with both sides of our brain activated. Yet, like the light of the Gemini twins, one light waxes (inner world), the other (outer realities) wanes. Like Virgo, we see what’s been overlooked—assessing, ordering and organizing information. It’s an entirely inner process. When speaking we may utter only half of the sentence. We’re in the underworld, closer to Spirit, eyes unseeing, senses alerted, re-doing things over and over till we sometimes collapse. Because we’re in other realms, we’re wobbly, make mistakes, and don’t really know what we want. It’s not a time for decisions. Not yet. It’s a time of review. And completing things. Mercury retro: integration, slowing down, resolution, rapprochement.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of January 23

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Bye Bye Benten!

Benten closing, plus Award-winning gin, a massive burrito and chocolate review

 

Trout Gulch Vineyards

Scanning the shelves of Deluxe Foods of Aptos, which carries an impressive selection of local and imported wines, I picked up a bottle of Trout Gulch Vineyards Chardonnay 2012, described as “a local favorite” by the busy market.

 

Cremer House

What’s old is cutting-edge again in Felton

 

How are you going to make a tangible difference in your community this year?

Spread more kindness and compassion.