Santa Cruz Good Times

Tuesday
Sep 02nd
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

 

Mercury Enters Libra

It’s the week of Burning Man, the temporary, intentional, alternative, art-filled community on the playas of Nevada. Mercury, messenger of the Sun, enters Libra this week. Libra is the equalizer, a sign of balance and right human relations. Sometimes with Libra, we can be indecisive and confused while learning how to make balanced and right choices. Sometimes to keep the peace we communicate only what others want to hear. Eventually, we learn how to speak from the heart.

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Banter and Spark

Engaging actors, wry script distinguish lightweight rom-com ‘What If’

 

Back to Silicon Beach

With a new wave of startups, the future of Santa Cruz tech looks more promising than ever
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Himalayan Kitchen

Chef Purna Regmi on the secrets of Nepalese cooking

 

What’s the nicest thing you’ve done for someone this week?

Germany  |  Beekeeper

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

A Cab To Be Coveted

I first tasted Villa del Monte’s 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon at a Fourth of July party, where the hosts had bought a case of it because they love it and didn’t want to run out. It’s one of those wines that will grab you—in the best way—with its full body and rich fruit characteristics.