Posts tagged "blog"

Containers Overboard

January 20th, 2022 Posted by Uncategorized 0 comments on “Containers Overboard”

Written by Staff Attorney Lauren Chase

While cruising down PCH, walking along the beach, surfing, bird or marine mammal watching in Southern California recently, have you found yourself counting the ships dotting the horizon?  1… 2… 3… 4… 20… 40… 60… 100?! 

Indeed, the nation’s largest ports – the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, respectively – are experiencing record-breaking bottlenecks due to a perfect storm of supply chain disruptions, crushing consumer demands, and increased ship sizes with more containers to unload than ever before. Over the last few months, there have been a series of unprecedented numbers of cargo ships anchored or drifting offshore waiting for a berth at the ports. Despite White House attention, both ports moving towards 24/7 operations, and heftier fines for idling containers, the backlog is expected to last through the holiday season. Starting November 16, arriving ships will have to wait farther offshore in an effort to improve safety and air quality, but pushing the problem farther out of sight does not address the root cause.

Clogged ports, more extreme weather events, and larger ships with ever-growing container stacks create increased risks for marine environments.

You may have heard about the ongoing investigation into a cargo ship’s anchor as the suspected cause of the recent Huntington Beach oil spill, but there is another shipping industry issue you may not be aware of: containers going overboard.

According to the World Shipping Council, an average of 1,382 containers were lost at sea each year from 2008-2019, and given the lack of mandatory reporting requirements, many take these figures as a conservative estimate. Last year, amidst COVID-19 restrictions and online shopping crazes, this figure spiked with an estimated 3,000 containers lost at sea from November 2020 to early January 2021. In one incident alone, the ONE Apus lost a reported 1,816 containers in heavy weather while traveling from China to Long Beach. 54 of the lost containers had “dangerous goods,” including fireworks, batteries, and liquid ethanol.

Port of Los Angeles by Steve Saunders

In January 2021, the Maersk Essen lost a self-reported, approximate 750 containers in severe weather en route from Xiamen, China, to Los Angeles. The following month, a different Maersk ship, the Eindhoven, lost a self-reported 260 containers during the same crossing. Already this season, a cargo ship carrying hazardous materials caught fire and lost approximately 109 containers near British Columbia in late October 2021. To date, only four of the containers have washed ashore. Why does this happen and what does all of this mean for our oceans?

Containers fall overboard for a variety of reasons ranging from incorrect container loading and securing to increasingly extreme, climate change-induced storm events. While the impacts of sunken containers on marine environments have not been widely studied, a research team of scientists from the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS) and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) assessed the impacts of a submerged container discovered within the MBNMS. The team found that the container altered local flow patterns and benthic community make-up with a disturbance zone around 20 times its footprint. Estimating the container will remain on the seafloor for hundreds of years, the researchers expressed concerns that the continuous build-up of sunken containers throughout the ocean could act as “stepping stones” for invasive species. The team also expressed concerns about the potential, longer-term impacts of container toxicity on marine life.

So what can we do about this?  At an industry level, and with your support, we can advocate for more standardized and effective restrictions on stack height, weight distribution, and lashing.  These policy measures, when paired with robust enforcement regimes, can help prevent container losses.

Additionally, we can pressure industry and government to impose …

Mandatory container loss reporting and recovery requirements; andMore robust enforcement regimes for instances of container loss, including automatic, mandatory minimum penalties to fund restoration efforts.

Meanwhile, at the individual level, we can all use the power of our pocketbooks.  With every purchase, you make and within the resources available to you, opt to shop used, local, and sustainable. If you truly need new things shipped to you, select the slowest available speed to minimize haste.

This holiday season, Coastkeeper challenges our members to opt-out of traditional consumer gifting and opt-in for a slightly different approach.

Rather than buying “stuff” for loved ones on your holiday list, consider…

Planning an experience you can share together, such as a hike, beach picnic, surf lesson, or scuba diving course;Creating a DIY gift, with bonus points for using upcycled materials;Baking and gifting your favorite holiday treat; orDonating to Orange County Coastkeeper or another organization near and dear to your loved ones’ heart for a gift that keeps on giving.

Together, we can work to stop the loss of containers into our oceans and build a world more swimmable, drinkable, and fishable for all.

The post Containers Overboard appeared first on Orange County Coastkeeper.

5 Coastkeeper Highlights from 2021

December 23rd, 2021 Posted by Uncategorized 0 comments on “5 Coastkeeper Highlights from 2021”

Our team was busy this year! Check out these five big victories from 2021.

Enraged by the Amplify oil spill in October, we have reignited our fight for expedited offshore oil rig decommissioning. In the past two months, we have worked with partners such as CARE, Vans, Assemblywoman Petrie-Norris, and Senator Min to push forward a workable plan that would provide a clear path to decommissioning. In an effort to clear our coast of oil drilling, we are planning an extensive decommissioning summit in April. We are excited to share more details with you in January!

In addition to planning our summit, we developed a new oil spill curriculum for our watershed education programs and sent out numerous Public Records Act requests to uncover more details about the spill.

This year saw the return of two of our most popular programs: beach cleanups and field trips! While our team adapted well to the challenges of pandemic safety measures, we are happy to be out engaging with our wonderful volunteers in person. Our cleanup dates are set for January, February, and March if you’d like to register early on our website!

2021 was the fifth year of our continued partnership with CSUF and CSULB to restore eelgrass beds in Newport Bay. The initial plan was to establish a third of an acre, but we have tripled that! With recruitment growth from our beds, the bay is home to approximately four new acres of eelgrass. This provides a habitat for many sea animals, including sea horses. Read more about our restoration projects here.

Our clean water enforcement program cleaned up more illegal pollution discharges from industrial facilities, continuing our legal department’s 100% success rate in over 130 enforcement cases over the years. We fill the void of water quality enforcement left by our Regional Water Board that no longer prioritizes enforcement of clean water laws. An added benefit is that we have directed nearly $500,000 in penalties from these cases to other NGOs in 2021.

Have you seen a specific source of pollution impacting your waterway? Report it to us using this form, and we will investigate it.

Lastly, we continued to oppose the Poseidon desalination project in Huntington Beach, a battle that we have been fighting for over 20 years! This nearly $2 billion privately held project (though planning on government subsidies) has never proven a need for their water. In truth, a water reliability study conducted by the Municipal Water District of Orange County found that Poseidon’s plant is the most infeasible and expensive of all proposed new water projects.

In March 2022, this boondoggle will seek coastal development permit approval from the California Coastal Commission. For the latest news regarding the #StopPoseidon campaign, follow our coalition’s Instagram page or visit our website,

Will you help protect clean water in 2022?

Donate Now

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5 Best Tips to Start Fishing

December 1st, 2021 Posted by Uncategorized 0 comments on “5 Best Tips to Start Fishing”

In coordination with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife ending the fisheries closure, here is a guest blog from expert angler Kristian Rørbye of

Fishing is one of the few pastimes that is particularly well suited to vacations. It’s the ultimate way to unwind: fishing is soothing (or should be), it can be done with the whole family and from various locales, and it makes for exciting vacation stories.

Another benefit is that fishing is a sport that people of all skill levels can enjoy. Even if you’re not particularly good at it, you’ll be able to chuckle and have fun at the end of the day.

A day passed on the wide-open water with a fishing rod and reel in hand is absolutely a day well spent for many people. Others, on the other hand, find the idea of spending a day fishing a little dull and monotonous.

Fishing is one of the most popular outdoor leisure activities in the United States, with almost 50 million people venturing into our country’s lakes and streams each year to enjoy the excitement of catching something.

Here are five pointers to keep in mind when you first start fishing:

1. Come Prepared

Always make sure you’re well-prepared and equipped to purchase fishing equipment and a fishing license.

If you are a first-time traveler, finding out what equipment and licenses you’ll need before your trip may seem daunting, but don’t get bogged down in the details! Maintain a straightforward approach and try to keep it simple.

Choosing the appropriate equipment is crucial, but it may be an intimidating task. There is no quick fix for figuring out which gear is best for you, but there are a few things to keep in mind:

Will you most likely fish from the rocks, beach, pier, boat, or another platform?Will you be fishing at the ocean, a river, a lake?What kind of fish are you looking for to catch?

Fishing does need some planning ahead of time. To ensure a smooth and pleasurable day on the trip, make sure you have all of the materials you’ll need ahead of time.

It’s OK to become enthusiastic if you see a fish chasing your bait…Just make sure you don’t stop spinning! Don’t alter your rhythm too much; this will serve to alert the fish to the idea that something isn’t quite correct.

Try your hand at fishing using robotic fishing lures. After 5-10 seconds, robotic swimming lures will come to a complete halt, waiting for the prey to be hooked. With super-realistic strokes and lighting spurs, you can capture more fish at any time during the day or night.

2. Be Aware of the Rules and Regulations

It’s critical to be aware of numerous fishing restrictions once you’ve been outfitted to seem like an A-grade angler. The most important limitations are the minimum permitted size and quantity of your catch. For recreational fishing, a license is required in some states.

Marine protected areas (MPAs) safeguard seas, oceans, estuaries, and, in the great lakes of the United States. These maritime regions can take many different forms, including wildlife refuges and research centers. MPAs are protected areas that restrict human activities for conservation, usually to conserve natural or enriching resources.

Some of the marine reserves allow fishing as long as no bait is gathered. On the other hand, other aquatic reserves restrict fishing in whole or part of the reserve to aid in the conservation of all forms of marine life in the region.

Orange County is lucky to have some great MPAs along its coastline, with Laguna Beach being the only place where fishing is prohibited. They appreciate being able to tell fishers about the recreational possibilities available in their regions and any water concerns that may affect them.

3. Do Your Research and Pack the Right Gear

It pays to do your homework if you want to be a successful angler. Those familiar with the sport will tell you that luring a catch involves planning, talent, research, dedication, and more.

Grasp as much fishing-related information as you can by reading, watching, and listening. If you have a limited amount of time, think about the optimum time to fish in your allocated area and the most incredible place to lure a catch.

Please make a note of locations where other fishers are attempting their luck when you arrive at your destination. Alternatively, ask around for some recommendations, as local knowledge is hard to match.

Here is a list of essential fishing equipment to bring with you.

Fishing rod and reelFishing lines with different strengths and weights. monofilament lines, which are very user-friendly and easy to knot.Assorted fish hooks. Sizes range from number 32 (smallest) to 19/0 (most significant)Live or artificial baits/fishing lures.BobbersSwivelsFirst aid kit. Accidents tend to happen its best to be well preparedWaterproof bag and rain gearSunscreen and polarized sunglassesTacklebox

If the only thing you’re at risk of contracting is a cold, it’s a good idea to have a backup plan. Plan a fishing location and select proper bait. These straightforward procedures will assist you in determining the optimal casting position for your reel and the best bait to utilize. You’ll have a more enjoyable time if you do some research before leaving the house.

Consult a local fishing guide for information on the region. Many may provide helpful information in the hopes of attracting fishers to their area.

4. Have a Plan

If the only thing you’re at risk of contracting is a cold, it’s a good idea to have a backup plan. Plan a fishing location and select proper bait. These straightforward procedures will assist you in determining the optimal casting position for your reel and the best bait to utilize. You’ll have a more enjoyable time if you do some research before leaving the house.

Consult a local fishing guide for information on the region. Many may provide helpful information in the hopes of attracting fishers to their area.

5. Invite a Friend to Join You and Embrace the Adventure

While being alone on the lake is a beautiful way to connect with your thoughts, sharing the experience with others is much better. Friendships are enhanced when they have a common interest. Fishing is a great way to meet new people, make memories, and have a few laughs.

The exhilaration of trying their luck every time they throw is addictive, according to many fishers. They like the element of surprise. True, no two fishing expeditions are ever the same.

To truly enjoy fishing, you must appreciate the unknown that awaits you on each trip.

The post 5 Best Tips to Start Fishing appeared first on Orange County Coastkeeper.

Now Hiring: Inland Empire Program and Outreach Director

October 29th, 2021 Posted by Uncategorized 0 comments on “Now Hiring: Inland Empire Program and Outreach Director”

The Inland Empire region spans the developed areas of western Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. Running through the I.E. from the mountains to the Pacific Ocean, is the historically rich Santa Ana River. The Santa Ana River (SAR) is 96 miles long and the watershed is 2,650 square miles in size with approximately 3.5 million residents. NotableI.E. cities the SAR runs through are Redlands, San Bernardino, Riverside, and Corona.

One of the primary goals of the Inland Empire Waterkeeper is to be a steward of the River; to introduce and educate the public to the River, to collaborate with local cities and agencies to improve conditions along the River, and to be proactive and visionary to ensure a swimmable, drinkable and fishable River.

The Inland Empire Waterkeeper is seeking a motivated and talented Program and Outreach Director to manage the Inland Empire Waterkeeper Program, assisting the Coastkeeper executive staff in fulfilling our mission by collecting accurate information on the health of the River, engaging the public to be knowledgeable stewards of the River, and ensuring ample operating funds are generated for the IEWK by grant writing, fundraising, and building corporate relationships. This unique position will also participate in effective regional coalitions working to effect positive change for our water and natural resources.

This is a full-time position. The ideal candidate must be flexible to work some weekends and evenings. Salary starts at $50,000 alongside a generous vacation policy, paid holidays, and health insurance.


Conduct regular water quality monitoring and citizen activities to supportwater quality monitoring in the Santa Ana River watershed.Coordinate and lead regional efforts on the Santa Ana River Trailprogram.Participate in public speaking engagements and presentations to educatecommunity groups, school children, and potential members about issuesimpacting the Santa Ana River.Organize and conduct volunteer activities; including regular river cleanups,paddle trips, and invasive species removal.Participate in public relations and communications efforts with media,members, and the public via press released, marketing materials, biannualnewsletter, website, social media and email alerts.Work to cultivate donors, recruit members, and solicit corporate sponsors.Manage the membership database to log and track donations, andsolicitation letters.Identify and apply for grant opportunities that support programs and staff.Work with local educators to provide school presentations and field trips.Perform other duties as assigned by the Executive Director.The Program and Outreach Director reports to the Executive Director andwill have guidance from the Associate Program Director and DeputyProgram Director. In addition, this position will have the support fromCoastkeeper’s education, science, and legal staff.This position may require flexible hours, including working occasionallyafter hours, evenings, and weekends.


Very important is the ability to take initiative and work independently as well aswith a team.Committed to environmental justice and protecting and preserving theenvironment, especially our water resources. Knowledge of the Inland Empireand Santa Ana River is also preferred.Bachelor’s degree in natural resources, communications, education, or a similarfield is preferred.At least two years of experience working in water science, environmentaleducation, non-profit management, political science, fundraising, or policymaking.Project management experience including directing a project from conceptionto completion.Fundraising and community organizing abilities are preferred.Experience in modern social media & web based communication tools;excellent written and verbal communication skills; public speaking skills. Bilingualskills preferred.Proficiency in database management is preferred.Must possess a valid state-issued driver’s license & own or have access to a reliable vehicle for work-related use.

Interested in Applying?

Please submit your resume, cover letter, and two (2) professional references with contact information to Matt Sylvester, Communications Director at

Applications will be accepted until we find this unique individual. After an initial screening, an interview will be scheduled. A sample of your writing abilities may be requested.

Orange County Coastkeeper does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its activities or operations. These activities include, but are not limited to, hiring and firing or staff, selection of volunteers and vendors, and provision of services. We are committed to providing and inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of our staff, volunteers, subcontractors, and members.

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Women Water Warriors Join Orange County Coastkeeper

September 30th, 2021 Posted by Uncategorized 0 comments on “Women Water Warriors Join Orange County Coastkeeper”

Orange County Coastkeeper seeks to infuse its staff with people from diverse professional backgrounds and finds it beneficial when staff members are role models for future generations. Coastkeeper’s newest hires will help further the organization’s mission of protecting the region’s water resources to keep them swimmable, fishable and drinkable. 

Michaela Coats, Suzanne Welsh and Armita Ariano bring an abundance of experience and love for the environment, which will be essential in their work. We welcome you to meet each of these amazing women joining the team.

Michaela Coats, Coastkeeper’s education coordinator, was born and raised in Orange County. She received her Bachelor of Science in environmental studies from University of California, Santa Barbara in 2018, and her Master of Science from the University of California, Irvine in 2021. Prior to working at Coastkeeper, she worked at several nonprofits providing education programs to local youth. She loves the water and she loves kids, so leading Coastkeeper’s education programs is the perfect fit for her.

“I believe that educating people, especially youth, about the region’s water is an essential first step in ensuring the protection and conservation of this precious resource,” said Michaela. “As education coordinator for Coastkeeper, I’ll be able to share my passion for marine environments with local students, helping shape the next generation of water warriors.”

Suzanne Welsh, Coastkeeper’s volunteer coordinator from Newport Beach, was furloughed during the California’s COVID-19 pandemic shutdown. In that time, she worked for California State Parks as a volunteer coordination assistant before returning full time to Orange County Coastkeeper in July 2021.  She is in charge of coordinating public and private beach cleanups, as well as coordinating Coastal Cleanup Day for Orange County. 

“I’m passionate about community involvement in our public lands,” said Suzanne. “Getting folks outdoors and active in caring for their communities, whether through a monitoring program or through a beach cleanup, is truly important in terms of public engagement in land management and in preserving the health of our local ecosystems.”

Armita Ariano, Coastkeeper’s newest staff attorney working on environmental litigation, spent three years practicing entertainment law honing her transactional and negotiation skills at United Talent Agency and Pilgrim Media Group. Armita is active in her local community and serves as a member of the Sierra Club in Los Angeles County, where she advocates for the just transition from fossil fuels to clean and sustainable energy practices. 

“When we hold our governments and businesses accountable for their impact on our region’s water quality, we are better able to sustain our local ecosystems and protect our communities,” said Armita.

Our new additions to the Orange County Coastkeeper staff bring a blend of experience and willingness to learn new things. They are passionate about advocacy and teaching others to care for the region’s waterways. 

“I’m looking forward to working more closely with these three talented women as they integrate, or re-integrate, into the Coastkeeper team,” said Garry Brown, founder and president of Orange County Coastkeeper. “They each bring diverse experiences and backgrounds to the team which will help us continue to protect the state of your water in the region.”

With ample enthusiasm, strong experience, and a commitment to clean water, it is a team YOU can be proud of. We’re all in on the same fight to keep the region’s water fishable, drinkable and swimmable!


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