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March 2012

Santa Barbara Channelkeeper News & Events

News and Events

Momemtum Continues to Build for Local Bag Bans 9th Annual Student Art Show is March 1st 12th Annual Blue Water Ball is March 17th New Oil Development Proposed for Carpnteria Episode 3 of "The Watchdog Diaries" Now Online Volunteers Needed for MPA Watch State-Wide No Discharge Zone Approved EPA Proposes to Weaken Beach Water Quality Standards Stream Team March 3rd & 4th Become a Channelkeeper Member!

Momemtum for Local Bag Bans Continues to Build

Last night, the Carpinteria City Council had its first reading of an ordinance that would ban plastic bags at all stores in Carpinteria as well as paper bags at large stores. The Council voted 4-1 to move forward with the ordinance with a few minor amendments. The final ordinance will be considered and hopefully adopted by the Council on March 12th. Congratulations to Carpinteria for being the first city on the South Coast to take decisive action to keep plastic bags out of our creeks, beaches and roadsides! Other local cities are finally jumping on the bandwagon to deal with the scourge of single-use shopping bags. The Ojai City Council is considering a draft ordinance tonight which would prohibit the distribution of single-use plastic bags at retail establishments in Ojai and would require grocery stores to charge a 10-cent fee for paper bags (which must be made of at least 40% post-consumer recycled content). In addition, the City of Santa Barbara is tentatively scheduled to reconsider its proposed single-use bags ordinance in the near future. Channelkeeper will continue to advocate for strong local bag reduction ordinances while also encouraging a shift to reusable bags through outreach and education and keeping plastic bags out of the ocean through our frequent beach and creek clean-ups.

Channelkeeper's 9th Annual Student Art Show

Opening Exhibit and Awards Reception on March 1st
For the ninth year in a row, Channelkeeper is hosting our ocean-themed student art show, "What the Channel Means to Me." This year's show was juried by local artist Nancy Gifford. A public exhibit, reception and awards ceremony will be held this Thursday, March 1st from 5-8 pm at the Jodi House Gallery (625 Chapala Street) in Santa Barbara as part of the Downtown Organization's 1st Thursday program. At approximately 7pm, Assemblymember Das Williams will present our awards and cash prizes to the students who produced the winning pieces. The winning artworks will then be on display for their final exhibit at our Blue Water Ball on March 17th. Please join us!

Did You Know?

2011 Art Show winner Jean-Dwight Ledbetter, Dos Pueblos High School

12th Annual Blue Water Ball is March 17th

Please join us in celebrating Channelkeeper's many recent victories for clean water at our upcoming Blue Water Ball fundraising gala! Our 12th annual Blue Water Ball will take place on Saturday, March 17th, 2012 (St. Patrick's Day!) from 5-9 pm at the Santa Barbara Woman's Club (Rockwood). In addition to some exciting surprises (!), this fun and inspiring event will feature fine local wines, delectable hors d'oeuvres and dinner created from local organic ingredients by Fire & Ice Events, a fabulous auction, live music by Mezcal Martini, and a keynote address by Katrina Rogers, Ph.D., Provost and Senior Vice President of Fielding Graduate University (click here to learn more about Dr. Rogers). To sponsor, donate or reserve your tickets or table today, please email or call us at 805-563-3377 ext. 4. You can also purchase tickets online. We look forward to seeing you there!

Swimming in polluted water can make you sick. Typical health reactions to exposure to waters with unsafe levels of bacteria include gastrointestinal illness, acute respiratory disease, and ear and eye ailments. Depending on the time of year, Channelkeeper or the Santa Barbara County Environmental Health Department test the water at major public beaches in the Santa Barbara area for fecal indicator bacteria on a weekly basis. Results are available on our website, and beaches with unsafe levels of bacteria are posted with signs to warn ocean users that contact with the water may increase the risk of illness.

New Oil Development Proposed for Carpinteria

There is a new movement afoot to drill for more oil in the Santa Barbara Channel. The Carone Petroleum Corporation is proposing to slant drill approximately 25 new offshore wells from Platform Hogan, located in federal waters off the Carpinteria coast. The federal Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management and the California State Lands Commission, the lead agencies reviewing the proposal, recently solicited public comments on the scope of the environmental review that will be conducted for the proposed project. Channelkeeper submitted comments urging that the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) be comprehensive in its assessment of the dangers that new oil drilling poses to our community, ocean and coastline. We called for a detailed analysis of the antiquated platform and related infrastructure that would be used and its ability to handle the expected ten-fold increase in daily production and 40 more years of drilling. Channelkeeper will continue to follow and weigh in on this proposed project as the environmental review process moves forward.

Episode 3 of "The Watchdog Diaries" Now Online

Channelkeeper recently released the third episode of The Watchdog Diaries, our new online video blog chronicling Channelkeeper's strategic watchdog monitoring efforts to identify and document sources of water pollution impacting the Santa Barbara Channel and its watersheds. In this brief 3minute episode, Channelkeeper joins forces with LightHawk, a volunteerbased aviation organization, to conduct aerial surveillance over the Ventura oil fields in order to monitor compliance with stormwater pollution prevention regulations. Click here to watch it now! To view previous episodes of The Watchdog Diaries, subscribe to our YouTube Channel or visit our webpage.

Volunteers Needed for MPA Watch

Fish and other marine species in the 36 new Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) that recently went into effect off the Southern California coast have now had three months to grow and reproduce in these underwater safe havens. Channelkeeper will be assisting scientists from UCSB and other institutions in monitoring what happens to wildlife in and around these new MPAs. Through our MPA Watch program, we're also enlisting volunteers to help us collect data about how people use and access the new MPAs. This information will be critical in interpreting the results of biological monitoring while also helping to inform and improve the management of our MPAs. Become an MPA Watch volunteer today! Channelkeeper will be hosting two volunteer training workshops this month - Monday, March 12th and Thursday, March 22th - at 5:30pm at the Channelkeeper office (714 Bond Ave., Santa Barbara). If you want to attend or learn more about MPA Watch, please email or call us at 805.563.3377 ext. 2. In addition to these monitoring efforts, Channelkeeper is actively working to spread the word about the new MPAs in our community. We helped develop maps with the precise locations of the new Santa Barbara-area MPAs as well as nearby landmarks to help ocean users understand and comply with MPA rules, and we've been distributing these for free at the Santa Barbara Harbor, tackle shops, dive stores and other local businesses. In addition, ocean users can now access current information about MPA rules and boundaries from their smartphones. The CA Department of Fish and Game recently launched a new mobile app that features a comprehensive, interactive map of all California's MPAs and a GPS plotter that tracks your location relative to the protected zones. Click here to check it out.

State-Wide No Discharge Zone Approved

On February 9th, the US EPA approved a ban on discharges of sewage from cruise ships and other large vessels into the ocean within three miles of the California coast. This 'No Discharge Zone' - the largest in the nation - strengthens the protection of California's coastal waters from the adverse effects of sewage discharges from a growing number of large vessels transiting our coast. Each year, several dozen cruise ships make multiple calls to California ports, in addition to the 2,000 cargo ships that make more than 9,000 California port calls. The ban stems from state legislation adopted in 2005 and spearheaded by Channelkeeper Executive Director Kira Redmond, who ran Bluewater Network's (now Friends of the Earth) Clean Vessels Campaign at the time. EPA estimates that the ban will prohibit the discharge of over 22 million of the 25 million gallons of treated sewage generated by large vessels in California marine waters annually, greatly reducing the contribution of pollutants still found in treated vessel sewage.

EPA Proposes to Weaken Beach Water Quality Standards

The US EPA is proposing to revise its Recreational Water Quality Criteria, which are designed to protect swimmers from illnesses due to exposure to pathogens in recreational waters. Unfortunately, EPA's proposal is severely lacking and is based on the premise that it is acceptable for 1 in 28 people to get sick when they go to the beach! The proposal allows water testing to be averaged over a 90-day period, and allows one out of four samples to exceed safe levels before pollution reduction is required. EPA's approach would mask serious pollution problems and expose people to high levels of bacteria-with increased chances of illness. California Coastkeeper Alliance, on behalf of Santa Barbara Channelkeeper and the other 11 California Waterkeepers, joined together with Heal the Bay and a host of environmental groups to submit a comment letter urging EPA to use the most current and best available science to establish the new criteria in order to improve beach water quality and better protect the health of the millions of people who visit our nation's beaches each year. After considering public comments, EPA anticipates publishing its final Recreational Water Quality Criteria recommendations this fall.

Stream Team - March 3rd & 4th

Stream Team is Channelkeeper's volunteerbased water quality monitoring program. Every month, volunteers join Channelkeeper staff to test for common water quality parameters at numerous sites in the Ventura River and Goleta Slough watersheds. Come join us to help protect our local waterways; we will be sampling in Ventura on Saturday, March 3rd at 9 am and in Goleta on Sunday, March 4th at 10 am. For more information, visit our website, email us or call 805.563.3377 ext.0.

Become a Channelkeeper Member!

Become a Channelkeeper Member! Your support for Channelkeeper's efforts is needed now more than ever. Become a member of the Channelkeeper crew today with your taxdeductible donation. You'll be investing in clean water and healthy communities along the Santa Barbara Channel today and for future generations. With your membership, you will receive our regular newsletters, news updates and action alerts, invitations to special Channelkeeper events and fun volunteer opportunities, and a free Channelkeeper sticker. All new donors contributing $50 or more can also receive a Channelkeeper t-shirt, and for donations of $250 or more, quarterly issues of Waterkeeper magazine. Sign up today by calling 805.563.3377 ext. 4 or emailing us.

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Santa Barbara Channelkeeper | 714 Bond Avenue | Santa Barbara | CA | 93103