Santa Cruz Good Times

Wednesday
Apr 23rd
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Ocean Advocacy Goes Federal

news_3Executive Order creates Clean Ocean Act
You don’t need to tell a Santa Cruzan how important the ocean is. From our economy to our natural beauty to our hard-fought-formoniker as “Surf City,” Santa Cruz is defined by its relationship to the ocean as much as Colorado is to its Rockies. So when President Barack Obama signed an Executive Order on July 19 creating a national ocean policy for the first time in history, it was like hearing about a big break for an old friend who’s been going through a tough time lately.

The Executive Order came immediately after the release of a report by the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force and establishes many of the recommendations made by local and long-time ocean advocate Congressman Sam Farr (D-Carmel), including the creation of a National Ocean Council and the use of a practice called marine spatial planning (basically zoning laws for the sea). The hope is that the comprehensive policy will remedy major deficiencies and chaotic management of the ocean from the federal level on down.

In the past, the United States has managed its coasts and oceans in an atomized and disjointed fashion, leading to departmental turf wars, jurisdictional overlaps and a lack of a cohesive vision. According to Ocean Conservancy, a nonprofit ocean advocacy group, ocean regulation has been charged to more than 20 federal agencies applying some 140 laws, often independently of one another.

This inefficiency has led to poor long-term planning and, at times, significant delays. One such instance in the Pacific Northwest saw the deployment of wave-powered energy buoys significantly hindered because of conflicts involving overlapping jurisdiction between different agencies authorizing such projects, not concern about the project itself.

The overarching philosophy of the National Ocean Policy will be both science- and ecosystem-based, examining the broader implications of activities like drilling and commercial fishing. The shift in policy priorities is essential for addressing the growing threats to our ocean and coastal resources, including pollution, sea-level rise, ocean acidification and the decline of fisheries.

Accompanying the new policy will be a National Ocean Council made up of top scientists and administrative officials who will provide oversight and regulation for activities such as drilling, fishing and shipping along the nation's ocean shores. The council will work with state, tribal, local, and regional stakeholders to design and implement policies, taking into account local concerns and national long-term goals.

Farr, who has made ocean advocacy a top priority for years, says the new policy helps address many of the oversight problems and piecemeal management that has plagued ocean policy for years.

“We have a lot of conflicts where everybody wants to use [the ocean] for fishing, mining, drilling or so on,” says Farr. “We’ve never been able to resolve all these things so the oceans act is essentially creating a national oceans policy just like we created the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act.”

One of the more significant pieces of the policy, and another that Farr has been pushing for for some time, is the practice of marine spatial planning. Much in the same way cities and governments adhere to zoning laws for commercial, residential and industrial areas, marine spatial planning will designate what activities can be done and where. The idea is to look at our oceans as a whole and proactively minimize conflicts while maximizing benefits with its use, creating coherency of vision.

“It’s a huge step in the right direction—it’s like saying we’re going to go to the moon,” says Farr. “We decided as a country that we’re not going to continue to be contributors to an ocean that’s dying. If the ocean dies, mankind dies.”

Comments (1)Add Comment
Awesome
written by Reba, July 27, 2010
I can't believe this is the first. Great job Sam! You have my vote.

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Cardinal Grand Cross in the Sky

Following Holy Week (passion, death and burial of the Pisces World Teacher) and Easter Sunday (Resurrection Festival), from April 19 to the 23, the long-awaited and discussed Cardinal Cross of Change appears in the sky, composed of Cardinal signs Aries, Libra, Cancer, and Capricorn, with planets (13-14 degrees) Uranus (in Aries), Jupiter (in Cancer), Mars (in Libra) and Pluto (in Capricorn), an actual geometrical square or cross configuration. Cardinal signs mark the seasons of change, initiating new realities.

 

Sugar: The New Tobacco?

Proposed bill would require warning labels on sugary drinks Will soda and other saccharine libations soon come with a health warning? They will if it’s up to our state senator, Bill Monning (D-Carmel). On Feb. 27, Monning proposed first-of-its-kind legislation that would require a consumer warning label be placed on sugar-sweetened beverages sold in California. SB 1000, also known as the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act, was proposed to provide vital information to consumers about the harmful effects of consuming sugary drinks, such as sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, and sweetened teas.

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of April 17

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >

 

Aries Solar Festival

Sunday is Palm Sunday. Symbolizing victory and triumph, paradise, sacrifice and martyrdom, the Pisces World Teacher entered Jerusalem (City of Peace) on a donkey (signifying humility).
Sign up for Tomorrow's Good Times Today
Upcoming arts & events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Foodie File: Red Apple Cafe

Breakfast takes center stage at Gracia Krakauer's Red Apple Cafe Before they moved to Aptos, Gracia and her husband Dan Krakauer would visit friends in Santa Cruz County and eat at the Red Apple Café all the time. Then they moved up here from Santa Monica five years ago, and bought the Aptos location (there’s a separate one in Watsonville) from the family who owned it for two decades.

 

How would you feel about a tech industry boom in Santa Cruz?

I feel like it would ruin the small old-town feeling of Santa Cruz. It wouldn’t be the same Surf City kind of vacation town that it is. Antoinette BennettSanta Cruz | Construction Management

 

Trout Gulch Vineyards

Cinsault 2012—la grande plage diurne The most popular wines on store shelves are those most generally known and available—Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, which are all superb for sure. But when you come across a more unusual varietal, like Trout Gulch Vineyards’ Cinsault ($18), it opens up a whole new world.

 

Waddell Creek, Al Fresco

Route One Summer Farm Dinner You’ve been buying their insanely fresh produce for years now at farmers’ markets. Right? So now why not become more familiar with the gorgeous Waddell Creek farmlands of Route One Farms?