Mashable – December 26, 2016
KQED (Public Radio, Northern CA) – December 22, 2016
A patch of Santa Monica’s “plumped-up” beach will soon go au naturel thanks to a restoration makeover — and the reason why is climate change.
Over decades, Santa Monica has expended considerable effort to bring 17 million people a year to walk on its golden sands. What most of those visitors don’t know is that the coastal strand is “nourished” – or, in the words of NASA scientist Bill Patzert, “Botoxed” with added sand. Dredged sand from infrastructure projects and other sources of nourishment has widened the shore to triple what it was a century ago.
That’s why scientists from the nonprofit Bay Foundation, with permission from the city, are testing a way to protect the beach by changing its shape….READ MORE / LISTEN
Santa Monica Mirror – December 12, 2016
The Bay Foundation, in partnership with the City of Santa Monica, announced its Santa Monica Beach Restoration Pilot Project on December 1.
…“The most exciting part of this project for me is the chance to show people what a different kind of beach can look like and what it can actually do,” Tom Ford, executive director of The Bay Foundation, said. “This project may clearly demonstrate that the beach can again be a place for wildlife and people while providing protection from sea level rise in a very cost effective manner.” …READ MORE
Canyon News – December 11, 2016
Santa Monica will undergo a restoration project that will beautify the beach and combat rising sea levels. The three-acre project is located a mile and a half north of the Santa Monica Pier heading towards Malibu. …READ MORE
Time Out Los Angeles – December 8, 2016
Santa Monica’s beaches have an erosion problem and it looks like the solution is dunes. But, it turns out, you can’t just back up a truck full of sand and plop down a dune (who knew?)—instead you have to cultivate the dunes naturally using landscaping and conservation. To that end, a major project to introduce native vegetation and foster dune growth is getting underway.
Designed and organized by the Bay Foundation, in partnership with the city of Santa Monica, the project involves…READ MORE
KPCC 89.3 – December 7, 2016
A stretch of Santa Monica beach is undergoing a makeover. It’s part of a pilot program designed to protect Southern California’s coastline.
The project broke ground Tuesday, and over the next four weeks, three acres of beach will be transformed into a coastal ecosystem, with a low fence and native beach plants. The Santa Monica Beach Restoration Pilot Project is a partnership of the City of Santa Monica and the non profit environmental group, the Bay Foundation.
The Foundation’s executive director, Tom Ford spoke with Take Two’s A Martinez about the pilot and how it help preserve Southern California’s beaches….READ MORE / LISTEN
CurbedLA – December 6, 2016
Santa Monica Beach is going to look a little different soon, thanks to a beach restoration project that will partially enclose and re-landscape about three acres of sand with native vegetation.
The idea is to foster the growth of beach dunes, which accumulate sediment and help to prevent erosion. The dunes are meant to alleviate the effects of rising sea levels, which could soon threaten Santa Monica’s coast, according to The Bay Foundation, which is partnering with the city of Santa Monica on the project.
…The Bay Foundation Executive Director Tom Ford (not that Tom Ford) said the project is about finding sustainable ways to protect the area’s coastline. “In essence we’re using Mother Nature to protect us from Mother Nature by providing Mother Nature with some space on our urban beach,” he noted….READ MORE
Santa Monica Daily Press – December 5, 2016
Development plans near Santa Monica beaches will soon have to take climate change and the long-term impact of sea level rise into account.
For the first time in nearly 25 years, staff members are updating the city’s Land Use Plan, or LUP, which creates guidelines for land use and development near the coast….
…On Saturday, volunteers began the Santa Monica Beach Pilot Restoration Project, which aims to create a dune on three acres of the beach to protect wildlife and buildings from sea level rise and erosion. The city partnered with The Bay Foundation for the pilot project which will incorporate low-lying fencing and native plants, according to permit applications approved by the Coastal Commission. LUP planners will be looking at that project to see if more dunes could be a solution to protecting structures from rising sea level. …READ MORE
Santa Monica Lookout – December 5, 2016
A pilot project is underway to transform a three-acre portion of Santa Monica’s beach near the Annenberg Community Beach House into an area where wildlife can thrive.
Currently being installed is “a low-lying, three-foot tall sand fence for protection and seeding of native beach plants,” according to the nonprofit The Bay Foundation (TBF), which is conducting the project.
…”The most exciting part of this project for me is the chance to show people what a different kind of beach can look like and what it can actually do,” Bay Foundation Executive Director Tom Ford said….READ MORE
WestsideToday.com – September 30, 2016
The Bay Foundation (TBF) hosted its 12th Annual Coastal Cleanup Day event Saturday, September 17, returning to the LAX Dunes, to remove invasive species of plants with a record year of attendance reached, almost double last years’ volunteers.
…TBF’s dunes event drew over 130 volunteers who collected over 3,500 pounds of invasive vegetation….READ MORE
Culver City Crossroads – September 16, 2016
Stormwater runoff pollution carries improperly disposed waste into the storm drain system and enters the ocean untreated. This pollution poses a serious problem for Santa Monica Bay, affecting humans, public health, marine life, and the water’s chemistry. Each year, 30 billion gallons of runoff flow into the Bay without treatment, making it critical for the 30,000 restaurants in the Santa Monica Bay Watershed to practice pollution prevention so that waste from their daily restaurant activities don’t wash away with this runoff.
The Bay Foundation’s Clean Bay Restaurant Program announces the participation of four new cities: Culver City, Inglewood, Palos Verdes Estates, and Rolling Hills Estates joining Malibu, Santa Monica, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach, Torrance, and Rancho Palos Verdes in addressing stormwater pollution runoff generated by restaurants….READ MORE
Beverly Press – September 15, 2016
The Bay Foundation (TBF) will host its 12th annual Coastal Cleanup Day on Saturday, Sept. 17 from 9 a.m. to noon. The event will be held on the dunes between Los Angeles International Airport and El Segundo.
The goal is to remove invasive species of non-native plants. TBF is partnering with Friends of LAX Dunes to help restore Los Angeles County’s largest remaining dune system. Last year, the event included 70 volunteers who collected over 2,000 pounds of invasive vegetation. The clean-up is part of the greater annual Coastal Cleanup Day (CCD), which draws over 14,000 volunteers to hundreds of events across Los Angeles County. ….READ MORE
Quadrangles (U. of Rhode Island Alumni Magazine) – September 2, 2016
You can hear the smile and sense of wonder in Tom Ford’s voice as he describes the experience of scuba diving in a kelp forest in Southern California.
He paints a picture of being on a boat on a quiet sunny day, the water sparkling and clear as the tops of butterscotch-colored kelp fronds undulate at the surface. And then he drops over the side into 50 feet of water.
“It’s like shafts of golden light shooting down to the ocean floor, like flying through a cathedral comprised of algae and thousands of fish, like stained glass windows of extraordinary color,” he said. “It’s an unbelievably gorgeous and wildly dynamic environment, and it’s unlike any other experience I’ve ever had.”…READ MORE
Daily Breeze – August 28, 2016
Billy Meistrell remembers plucking abalone like apples off a tree as a kid from the rocky intertidal zones along Palos Verdes Peninsula and Catalina Island…
…Heavy commercial and recreational fishing, urban runoff, pollution and periods of warmer waters colluded to decimate nearly all abalone species off Southern California by the 1970s. In 2001, white abalone — the most tender of the local species and an animal found only in Southern California and Mexico — was the first marine invertebrate placed on the federal Endangered Species List. Black abalone joined in 2009. Reds, greens and pinks are considered “species of concern.”
…“It’s an economic, political, conservation, research and a cultural issue,” said Tom Ford, executive director of the Bay Foundation, who is working to repopulate them off the Palos Verdes Peninsula. “It was a service the bay provided. We don’t want to forget about abalone. We don’t have any abalone fishermen left. But it used to be a big player here and it can be again.”
“This isn’t just a conservation effort, but also to put an economy and industry back together. That’s going to take decades.” …READ MORE
Daily Breeze – August 22, 2016
The middle-schoolers retrieved their remotely operated vehicle — an assortment of PVC pipe, propellers and wires — out of the pool to re-engineer the robotic creation they spent the weekend designing, building and, now, testing in the pool at Loyola Marymount University.
Fourteen students participated in the two-day, intensive robotics course taught by members of a newly formed private school, The Ocean School.…
…Robotics was chosen for the weekend course because it is an increasingly popular subject in education as modern advances continue to expand human understanding and exploration. It also ties into the theme of ocean conservation. “So much of the work we do is about the progress we can make as a generation learning to protect, conserve and restore the ocean,” [Tom] Ford said of The Bay Foundation [and a member of the Ocean School’s advisory board]. “I need them to continue on this work, to care about these (conservation) issues.”…READ MORE
Santa Monica Daily Press – August 17, 2016
Where the kids see fun, the adults see the future. When middle school students convene this weekend at Loyola Marymount University to engineer remotely operated vehicles and test them underwater, they will also be developing the skills that scientists and ocean experts think they’ll need to address environmental problems decades from now.
“The exercise of designing and building ROVs as a team is a great introduction to problem-solving and the challenges associated with marine research and conservation,” said Tom Ford, the executive director of The Bay Foundation. “And to be completely frank, it’s a lot of fun.”
The workshop highlights a budding partnership between the foundation and The Ocean School, a Playa Vista-based independent educational institution that will focus on marine science and environmental stewardship when it opens in the fall of 2017….READ MORE
A Delicate Balance: The local effort to save the Peninsula’s rich kelp beds from overpopulating sea urchins
South Bay Magazine – Summer, 2016
…Like all ecosystems, the ocean exists in a delicate balance: predators and prey, food supply and consumers—all inextricably linked in a self-supporting web. If even one element is removed, the whole is in danger of collapse….
After 10 years of study, The Bay Foundation came up with a simple solution to restore the natural balance and health of the kelp forests off the coast of Palos Verdes and to assure the supply of plump, delicious uni to sushi lovers everywhere. Tom Ford and his team of scientists/divers have been carefully culling the excess sea urchin population one at a time by hand, eliminating the scrawny, sickly inedible specimen to make room for the healthy, strong sea urchins to survive, thrive and reproduce. …READ MORE
The Hollywood Reporter – August 12, 2016
THR’s ultimate insider’s guide includes the following articles with expert input from TBF Executive Director Tom Ford:
WestsideToday.com – July 22, 2016
On Saturday, July 16, Heal the Bay hosted a daylong event titled Meet the Wetlands, which included a myriad of eco-friendly activities aimed to educate participants about Marina Del Rey’s Ballona Wetlands….
…Rod Abbott, who is the Watershed Programs Coordinator for the Bay Foundation, explained to a crowd of attendees how wetlands essentially serve the same purpose as kidneys, and that one reason that damage to New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina was so bad was due to impacted wetlands. “This to me is the most important project in L.A. County,” Abbott said….READ MORE
Santa Monica Mirror – June 19, 2016
Santa Monica Pier was host to a series of paddleboard races this past Saturday, with an action-packed festival transforming the beach and Pier into full day of sporting, history and coastal fun.
The Paddleboard Race & Ocean Festival stacked a ton into just one day. …Dustin Kushner was volunteering for the Bay Foundation, who sponsored the event, but was also there to watch the competition as an avid outdoorsman himself. “The best person can get some really bad waves. It’s any man’s game – anybody can win it,” he said. …READ MORE
Los Angeles Magazine – June, 2016
With raw sewage no longer pouring into our coastal waters, the executive director of the Bay Foundation, Tom Ford, has been able to focus on a few other priorities. For one, we need to reduce the amount of nutrients flowing into Santa Monica Bay, he says. Too much nitrogen, iron, and phosphate from treated waste increases ocean acidification, forming oxygen-poor “dead zones” and hurting wildlife.
But Ford, who fell in love with the sea as a child watching Jacques Cousteau on TV, believes that effective conservation must go beyond a baycentric approach; he’s thinking about the entire watershed, since wetlands, rivers, and streams all affect the health of the ocean. And he’s optimistic that making investments now—such as restoring nearby wetlands, which act as filters, and revegetating beaches to keep sand from washing away—will help environmental sustainability, especially as the climate changes. ““Our beaches are going to be our first line of defense against a rising and stormier sea…” …READ MORE
Santa Monica Lookout – June 1, 2016
A three-acre portion of Santa Monica State Beach will be included in a pilot project to restore coastal dunes, part of an effort to restore native plant and animal species and demonstrate a natural approach dealing with flooding and other issues.
The Bay Foundation will be in charge of the project along a stretch of beach adjacent to the northern city boundary, between the high tide line and the beach bike path and just north of the Annenberg Community Beach House, officials said. …READ MORE
Marketplace – May 31, 2016
On a bluff in the Westchester neighborhood overlooking the L.A. Basin just inland from the beach, one can see the Ballona Wetlands below. It’s 600 acres of low-lying marshland, an urban refuge for plants and wildlife, and also a major corridor for traffic flowing west to Marina del Rey, with its yacht slips, upscale shopping and housing. It’s also where the concrete channel of Ballona Creek flows to the ocean.
Tom Ford is executive director of The Bay Foundation, which works on coastal preservation and restoration in the region. “We’ve got folks that are living absolutely right on the coast, and a lot of challenges—76 miles of dense urban establishment,” said Ford.
…He said many parts of L.A.—with its multiple mountain ranges and hilly topography—might appear to be more insulated, and defensible, from sea-level rise than other coastal cities with less altitude variation. But he said no one in the L.A. region can afford to be complacent….READ MORE / LISTEN
The California Channel / Charter Local Edition – May 11, 2016
Hakai Magazine – May 5, 2016
Terry Herzik has been diving for red sea urchins in Southern California for more than 40 years. He supports his family by selling the spiny invertebrates’ gonads as the sushi delicacy uni. Yet over the past century, Southern California’s giant kelp ecosystems—the red urchin’s home turf—have been under assault. Spurred on by human-induced environmental degradation, a booming population of voracious, kelp-munching purple urchins has helped turn these once-lush forests into barren wastelands. In such a diminished habitat, the red urchins’ numbers (and their gonads) have shrunk.
So, three years ago, Herzik joined an ambitious project spearheaded by the nonprofit The Bay Foundation to restore Southern California’s kelp forests …READ MORE
Daily Breeze – April 23, 2016
As beach crowds boom, sea levels rise and population steadily increases, a new piece of federal legislation [introduced by South Bay Democratic Reps. Ted Lieu and Maxine Waters] aims to wrap the southern Los Angeles County coastline into a federally protected national park with the Santa Monica Mountains.
…The Ballona Wetlands in Playa del Rey would be included, along with beaches from Santa Monica to San Pedro.
…Tom Ford, executive director of the Santa Monica Bay preservation organization The Bay Foundation, cheered the legislation, saying it could create a more coordinated approach to protecting beaches and wetlands while also making them more accessible for visitors….READ MORE
The Planning Report – April 14, 2016
With Tom Ford at the helm of The Bay Foundation, Los Angeles has made great progress in restoring its coastal ecosystems—progress that Ford argues could benefit the urban population as much as the environment. Ford—a longtime researcher and advocate of the Santa Monica Bay—explains how wastewater emptying into it could instead become a resource, as well as updating TPR on efforts to restore the Ballona Wetlands. He also notes the Foundation’s shift in focus in the face of climate change. …READ INTERVIEW HERE
Santa Monica Daily Press – April 14, 2016
If it were a children’s mystery story, it might have been called “The Santa Monica Mountains and the Curious Case of the Disappearing Red-Legged Frog.”
Except it wasn’t a children’s story. And it wasn’t a mystery.
Ecologists knew that habitat loss and invasive species were contributing to the decline of what had been one of Southern California’s most common amphibians. And they knew something had to be done to keep it from going extinct.
The efforts of several agencies have boosted the population of red-legged frogs in area mountain streams, according to last year’s State of the Bay report, a scientific assessment of local environmental conditions. … READ MORE
Whole Life Times – April/May, 2016
The Santa Monica Bay is such a source of joy and pleasure to many Angelenos, and we are finally seeing progress in improved habitat conditions as a result of restoration efforts. It’s a sad byproduct of our urban life that most habitats in most areas of the Bay and its watershed are degraded to some degree. With a continuously growing population and significant tourist traffic, it would be nearly impossible for it to be otherwise.
The State of the Bay Report produced by the Santa Monica Bay National Estuary Program over five-year periods…is a science-based assessment of the environmental conditions of the Bay and its watershed. There’s good news and bad news, but we’re just going to summarize the good. …READ MORE (page 15)
Terranea Life – April, 2016
The Pacific Ocean off the coast of Palos Verdes can be deceptive. Beneath the seductive, white-capped waves that draw swimmers, surfers and sailors to its waters and artists, sight-seers and romantics to its shores, an invisible war for survival is being fought, and the health and survival of the bay itself is at risk.
…The kelp beds off the coast of the Palos Verdes Peninsula, just beneath Terranea, are home to more than 715 different species of aquatic life. One of the planet’s most diverse and thriving ecosystems, it is currently besieged by an onslaught of unlikely marauders: the California sea urchin.
…This is not, however, a boon to sushi lovers…. READ MORE
Santa Monica Mirror – March 21, 2016
Four free local Dockwalker workshops now through April—as part of ten statewide—are available to train volunteers to promote and educate boaters on environmentally-sound boating practices in Southern California.
“We are pleased to be part of a statewide, cross-sector partnership among government, nonprofits, and non-governmental organizations. And we couldn’t do it without the passionate individuals who volunteer countless hours to protect our State’s waterways,” states Grace Lee, TBF’s Director of Outreach Programs.
…says Stephanie Gomez, Dockwalker since 2014. “As a Dockwalker, I have the opportunity to educate recreational boaters on the effects, provide alternatives and have fun at the same time.” Gomez has talked to over 50 boaters who took their time to learn about clean boating practices and receive a free boater kit….READ MORE
Daily Breeze – March 14, 2016
Ice plant is doing what it does best: icing out native flora and fauna as it spreads across the already devastated Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve.
The durable succulent has dominated 3 acres of the sensitive habitat, killing off any vegetation it encounters and changing the soil chemistry. But conservationists working to rehabilitate the troubled Playa del Rey nature preserve are geared up to end its proliferation.
Last week, The Bay Foundation and state Department of Fish and Wildlife obtained a Coastal Commission permit to dry it out and kill it off with black tarps this summer. Once gone, they expect native salt grass, pickleweed and yerba mansa to refill affected areas immediately south of Marina del Rey and north of the Westchester bluffs….
…The Bay Foundation last week released a 5-Year Monitoring Report on the wetlands’ health in anticipation of restoration work.
“We’ve been doing long-term monitoring to get a comprehensive idea of what’s out there now, how it’s doing, where species live, and to answer other questions like that,” said Karina Johnston, The Bay Foundation’s director of watershed programs. “All of that is informing the draft environmental impact report process that will inform restoration planning. We had to know what was on sight and how healthy it is.”…READ MORE
UCLA IoES News – March 14, 2016
Four UCLA students piled into a tan station wagon and headed south, radio blasting. Time was of the essence, but they weren’t rushing to a music festival or spring break in Mexico—they just didn’t want to miss low tide.
…The students were heading to the craggy shoreline of Palos Verdes to study intertidal zones, critical ecosystem links between land and sea.
…The study is part of the Senior Practicum, a year-long program that pairs small groups of students with real-world clients to devise solutions to environmental problems. The practicum is mandatory for all undergraduates with the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability.
Toneva’s group chose to work with the Bay Foundation. …READ MORE
Los Angeles Times – March 7, 2016
OpEd by TBF’s Executive Director Tom Ford on how to “stop the quiet killing of the Bay.”
…Thankfully, improved sewage treatment processes and efforts to divert dry-weather runoff to our treatment plants, rather than allowing it to dribble onto or under our beaches, have allowed the water in Santa Monica Bay to improve. The wildlife is healthier, and we can surf or swim safely most of the time (when it’s not raining, at least). The center of the bay is alive once again.
That said, scientists such as myself are, generally speaking, a restless bunch; as soon as we figure something out, we’re on to the next hypothesis, the next experiment and more data collection. So with the bacterial and solids loading in our bay largely under control, it’s time to tell a new and equally important story: the potentially overwhelming nutrient load in our coastal waters. … READ MORE
The Argonaut – March 3, 2016
Restoring a biologically compromised and long neglected 600-acre wetland to a more pristine natural state would require a lot of work, particularly when it comes to removing invasive non-native plant species.
The nonprofit Bay Foundation and the state Department of Fish and Wildlife will seek permission to do just that at a meeting of the California Coastal Commission on March 10 in Santa Monica.
The permit application calls for the removal of ice plant, a hearty succulent that stifles the growth of native species and is often used as landscaping ground cover, from a three-acre portion of the wetlands area south of Culver Boulevard in Playa del Rey.
…If the Coastal Commission members grant permission, members of the public will be invited to take part in the work as early as late summer. …READ MORE
OchTamale Magazine (U. of Redlands) – March 1, 2016
For Georgia Tunioli ’13, her revelation about climate change came early, in 5th grade, when her teacher introduced the concept in an earth science class. “I felt surprised and a little scared that there wasn’t more happening,” she says.
…Now an outreach programs assistant at The Bay Foundation in Santa Monica, Tunioli appreciates how [the University of] Redlands gave her the opportunity to dive deep into the multi-faceted issues of environmental studies and offered her extracurricular learning opportunities.
…At The Bay Foundation, Tunioli assists with clean boating initiatives. With almost 200,000 registered boaters in Southern California, says Tunioli, “boating habits make a huge difference in the health of our bay.” …READ MORE
Santa Monica Lookout – February 2, 2016
Levels of harmful bacteria found in Santa Monica Bay have dropped significantly, and the amount of trash littering its beaches has also declined, according to comprehensive update on environmental conditions at the bay and its watershed.
The 2015 “State of the Bay” issued recently by the Santa Monica Bay National Estuary Program concludes there have been noteworthy improvements in conditions at the bay on several fronts, including the amount of bacteria found in its beach waters. It also notes that there has been better coordination among government agencies and others trying to improve water resources management.
…Tom Ford, executive director of The Bay Foundation in Santa Monica, said part of the project’s ongoing mission is determine how the natural beauty and health of the coast can be protected in face of the ever-growing human population. …“We’re loving our beaches to death,” Ford said. …READ MORE
Santa Monica Mirror – January 29, 2016
The quinquennial report revealing the condition of Santa Monica Bay has just been released, and while things are on the improve since the 1980s and 90s, officials say that there is still work that needs to be done.
The State of the Bay 2015 (SOTB) report, is produced by the Santa Monica Bay National Estuary Program (SMBEP) as a science-based comprehensive assessment of the environmental conditions of Santa Monica Bay and its watershed.
…“This means the Bay is a cleaner more productive environment that is benefiting people, 1,000’s of species and our coastal economies,” Tom Ford, Executive Director of The Bay Foundation, said. “Santa Monica has been a leader in many of these efforts; the City staff and residents should be proud of the improvements realized through the hard work and investments.” …READ MORE
NBC4-TV Los Angeles – January 29, 2016
The next trend for homeowners who want to deal with the drought and pull water, naturally, from El Niño rain has arrived. TBF’s Rod Gordon shares a rain garden in Mar Vista. Gordon Tokumatsu reports for the NBC4 News at 6pm. WATCH
KPCC 89.3 – January 7, 2016
Natural habitats in the Santa Monica Bay have improved, according to a new report from the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Foundation, though it says there are strides that still need to be taken to revive the area’s ecosystem.
The State of the Bay 2015 is a report compiled over a five-year span that surveys the natural habitats and resources in the Santa Monica Bay area. According to a Bay Foundation press release, efforts to restore Malibu Lagoon and the Palos Verdes Kelp Forest have proved successful.
Another positive finding: harmful bacteria found on beaches has been reduced, making the water at the beach safer for everybody. … READ MORE / LISTEN
L.A. Daily News – January 7, 2016
Conditions in the Santa Monica Bay have shown progress in categories such as water resources management and improved habitat conditions resulting from restoration efforts, according to a five-year report released today.
The Santa Monica Bay National Estuary Program’s State of the Bay 2015 report — published in a special issue of Urban Coast — calls attention to strides made in improving the bay and outlines issues the group claims still needs to be done.
Among those issues are calls to recognize the impact of a continuously growing Southland population on bay habitat areas….READ MORE