Environment

Conquering Marine Debris

Thousands upon thousands of volunteers combed coastal regions and waterways on International Coastal Cleanup Day for trash and waste removal.  These photos by Charmaine Coimbra were taken at Estero Bluffs State Park, with volunteers from the Cayucos Land Conservancy in cooperation with the local coordinating agency, ECOSLO.

Join the World In Coastal Clean-Up Sat., Sept. 16

The first California coast cleanup began in the mid 1970s when an Arcata recycler operated beach cleanups in search of recyclables. Oregon, however, was the first state to organize a state-wide volunteer beach cleanup in 1984, called the “Plague of Plastics.”
The California Coastal Commission began the California Coastal Cleanup in 1985. From 1985 through 2016, 23,054,067 pounds of trash and recyclables were removed and properly disposed or recycled by 1,437, 549 volunteers, the commission reports.

Elephant Seals Contaminated with Mercury

Researchers at Ano Nuevo found the mercury level in the water during the molting season 17 times higher than what it is at other times of the year. That led them to look at where the mercury was coming from: the seals themselves. The molted skin takes with it some of the mercury that the seals have accumulated from the prey they eat in the ocean. Their blood and muscles have higher concentrations of mercury than would damage the nervous system of a human.

Marine Sanctuaries Under Attack for Resources

National marine sanctuaries are similar to underwater national parks. Although fishing is allowed in many of them, offshore oil and gas drilling is banned in all of them, as is underwater mining and other activities that could harm wildlife or the environment. In the 45 years since President Richard Nixon started the program, no president has ever reduced or eliminated a national marine sanctuary.

Study Says Continue Great Lakes Restoration Efforts

Environmental groups say the report underscores the need for the United States and Canada to keep supporting Great Lakes restoration efforts. A budget proposal released by President Donald Trump zeroed out funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, but members of Congress from the Great Lakes area say they’ll fight to retain it.