Mid-AtlanticWelcome to Surfrider in the Mid-Atlantic! Here you can find Surfrider news and information from the five states of New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia plus Washington DC. More Details
Surfrider staff attended a meeting of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean (MARCO) in Dewey Beach, DE. on January 29. At the meeting members of MARCO, as well as the affiliated Regional Planning Body (RPB), unveiled never-seen-before data describing the coastal and ocean areas of the Mid-Atlantic.
The information presented included 3600 different data sets synthesized into a handful of data layers showing the distribution of ocean biota including marine mammals, seabirds, coral, and fish. A separate synthesis of data covered varied human uses of the ocean including fishing, shipping, beach going, surfing, and armed forces activities. The data will be available on the MARCO Ocean Portal website by Spring 2016.
With this new insight into the workings of the Mid-Atlantic region, the RPB should have a solid foundation to build their mandated Ocean Action Plan (OAP), due to be finalized by the end of 2016. Stay tuned for public listening sessions in your state on the Draft OAP in June 2016.
DE: The Delaware Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation continues their fight against offshore drilling and seismic testing by helping to pass local government (e.g. city council, town board) resolutions against these activities. The resolutions do not themselves prohibit offshore oil drilling or seismic testing, but mark an official statement by elected officials that they are against such activities. The Chapter has smartly teamed up with other environmental groups and has played a part in several resolutions passing!
ELI: Did you know that Surfrider staff can help you create an online petition or automated emails to your elected officials? This can be a great way to increase pressure on officials to act and demonstrate that you have the community behind you. The Eastern Long Island Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation continues to fight a badly conceived beach engineering project in Montauk, NY. They created a petition that you can sign yourself, here.
CLI: Trying to increase your membership? The Central Long Island Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation organized a fun holiday party for “Surfrider Members Only” that included food, drinks, surf films, and a celebration of the great work done by Surfrider CLI volunteers in 2015. Of course, anyone could sign up to be a member at the door to partake in the event. By creating a fun event they were able to celebrate their victories while also strengthening their Chapter with new members.
Surfrider staff attended public meetings and a Stakeholder Workshop hosted by the Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Body (RPB) last week in Norfolk, VA. The purpose of the meetings, held September 22-24, was to discuss progress made since the January RPB meeting in NYC.
Within the RPB, the Interjurisdictional Coordination (IJC) working group is preparing a list of specific actions for inclusion in the Ocean Action Plan (OAP). The second major working group is compiling mega layers from the MARCO Ocean Data Portal; these layers are combinations of species and habitat data, as well as combinations of human uses, such as shipping, fishing, surfing, and diving. The third major working group is creating the Regional Ocean Assessment (ROA) as descriptive context for the current mid-Atlantic ocean and coastal system.
Each of the working group products will be combined in the draft Ocean Action Plan scheduled to be released for public comment in June 2016. After the public comment period and listening sessions, the RPB will present the final draft to the National Ocean Council (NOC) by September 2016, so that the NOC can approve the plan by the end of 2016. With a busy year ahead for the RPB, Surfrider Foundation supports the valuable work they are doing to help protect ocean ecosystems and non-consumptive recreational use.
Surfrider is holding a series of workshops in the Mid-Atlantic this summer to get additional feedback on data it collected in 2013. We collected economic and spatial data on non-consumptive ocean recreation such as wildlife viewing, diving, surfing, and general beach enjoyment. You can see the results of our data collection here.
Now Surfrider is returning to the five states in the Mid-Atlantic to meet with recreational users face-to-face and discuss the data. We want to get the local context and knowledge that only people that live in the region know, so we can understand our data better.
Our data can currently be found on the Mid-Atlantic Ocean Data Portal, a tool that allows anyone to view data sets in their region, including ones focused on shipping, birds, fish, undersea cables, and potential wind energy sites. This data will be used by the Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Body (RPB) to create a comprehensive ocean plan for the region.
Going forward, Surfrider’s goal is to use the data and additional context we collect from ocean recreational users to protect these sustainable uses into the future. Join one of our workshops or get in touch with Matt Gove at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Body (RPB) announced September dates for their upcoming meeting and a stakeholder workshop in Norfolk, Virginia. These will be great opportunities for the public to voice their thoughts and concerns about ocean planning and the future of our coasts and oceans. See details below.
DE: For their campaign against an ocean sewage outfall pipe, the Delaware Chapter went old school and mailed a letter to all Rehoboth Beach residents. After getting the official address list from the city, the chapter outsourced to a local copy shop that charged them about $2500 for 3000 color mailings. Surfrider is known as a group that uses current communications technology, but for some campaigns, going old school is the right decision.
VA: The Virginia Beach Chapter collaborated with a local shaper to donate a Surfrider branded longboard for a raffle. The chapter sold tickets for $5, raising some much needed funds for chapter activities. Make sure that if you do organize a raffle that you collect contact information on ticket buyers so they can get involved in future chapter activities.
NY: The New York City Chapter also used a raffle to generate involvement, collaborating with Patagonia to give away a wet suit at an event in NYC. The price of a raffle ticket was a Surfrider membership. The chapter also collaborated with Don Q rum to have free drinks at the event. The chapter used the event to educate and get additional petition signatures for their main campaigns.
MD: The Ocean City Chapter hooked up with another coastal focused group, Assateague Coastal Trust, to organize a rally and transportation to a hearing on offshore oil and gas that was not convenient to Ocean City. When the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced a hearing in Annapolis, the chapter got organized and had a strong showing at the hearing, even making it into some local media pieces covering the event!
NJ: The South Jersey Chapter collaborated with the Noyes Museum of Art and White Horse Wine & Spirits for a wine tasting fundraiser, including a wine expert to answer questions. The event was free, but chapter leaders pitched the crowd for donations. The fundraiser was a creative way to bring new faces into a chapter that might not be interested in going to the beach or a surf bar for an event.
VA: The Virginia Beach Chapter also came up with a creative way to host a unique fundraising event—they collaborated with the Norfolk Admirals, a semi-pro hockey team, to receive a portion of ticket sales on a particular game night. In the colder months, an indoor fundraiser or activity can be more attractive to people who aren’t inclined to be on the beach in freezing temperatures.
NY: The Eastern Long Island Chapter has mobilized around a planned Corps of Engineers project to place a hardened structure on the beach in downtown Montauk. The project’s aim is to protect hotels built on top of the primary dune, but will most likely ruin the small amount of beach left there. The Chapter has raised awareness of this misguided project through local media coverage (including creative photographs of the proposed project, below), comments at public hearings, and hosting a fundraiser on the issue. Read all about their great work here!
NY: The New York City Chapter continues its fight against the proposed offshore Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) terminal known as Port Ambrose. Besides using action alerts, social media, and traditional media outreach, the Chapter also organized a paddle out during an anti-LNG rally in Long Beach, NY. They found a way to make a large, waterproof “NO LNG” sign (with Surfrider logo of course) and got in the water on a cold day for a great photo opportunity. See pictures here.
DE: The Delaware Chapter used the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to request documents from a federal agency regarding a proposed sewage ocean outfall off Rehoboth Beach, DE. In this case, the Chapter was able to get some additional information that was not included in the public process for the outfall pipe. This discovery led to some additional media coverage for their campaign to stop the ocean outfall–great work DE!
The Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Body (RPB) held five listening sessions this fall throughout the Mid-Atlantic. Meetings were held in Virginia Beach, VA., Ocean City, MD., Lewes, DE., Long Branch, NJ. and Stony Brook, NY. The next full meeting of the RPB is scheduled for January 21st and 22nd in New York City, see more information here.
The Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Body (RPB) will hold public meetings and a webinar in Fall 2014 to give the public an opportunity to comment on a variety of draft materials that the RPB developed this summer.
All members of the public and stakeholders are invited to participate in the webinar and public listening sessions to comment on a series of draft materials developed by the RPB, and to provide general input on regional ocean planning. The draft materials will be posted on the RPB website October 24th.