Los Angeles Times – November 7, 2019 (print, Nov. 9)
Hunched over a tank inside the Bodega Marine Laboratory, alongside bubbling vats of seaweed and greenhouses filled with algae, Kristin Aquilino coaxed a baby white abalone onto her hand.
…Eight months before the white abalone were packed up in Bodega Bay, Heather Burdick and her team were on a research boat off the coast of Palos Verdes, tending to the other half of the operation: Learning and practicing how to put abalone deep into the ocean.
On this cold January day, they were checking on 1,200 farm-raised red abalone they had left in 20 makeshift homes built out of milk-crate-like boxes anchored to concrete slabs. Burdick and her team at the Bay Foundation had tucked them along a reef about 70 feet deep. Like easing fish from the pet store into an aquarium, these so-called SAFEs (Short-term Abalone Fixed Enclosures) help reduce the shock of a new habitat. …READ MORE (plus video)
LAist.com – November 6, 2019
The waters off Southern California are rich with marine life. As part of his effort to serve the freshest seafood possible, much of what [Chef Michael] Cimarusti offers at Providence is sourced from the Pacific. “There are so many amazing ingredients that are being harvested right here,” he says.
But for most consumers, it’s not that easy. If you don’t want fish flown in from halfway around the world, if you want your seafood to be as local as your fruit and veg, you’re going to need a definition. What even is L.A. seafood?
…Los Angeles has always been a seafood town. Long before the arrival of the Spanish, the Tongva and Chumash people relied on the waters off modern Los Angeles for sustenance.
“This was an exceptionally rich landscape both on the terrestrial side of things and especially so in the ocean,” says Tom Ford, executive director of The Bay Foundation, a nonprofit group dedicated to protecting the Santa Monica Bay. …READ MORE
Oregon Public Broadcasting, “Think Out Loud” (radio) – November 4, 2019
Populations of purple sea urchin have exploded up and down the West Coast, decimating kelp and crowding out other marine animals. In a recent count of one Oregon reef, the population of purple urchins was 350 million, an increase of 10,000 percent over the last five years. Shellfish biologist Scott Groth with the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife explains the factors that have led to this situation. We also hear from Tom Ford, the executive director of The Bay Foundation, about efforts to remove urchins and restore kelp on the southern California coast. …LISTEN
NationSwell.com – October 31, 2019
There are underwater forests spanning millions of acres — but they’re rapidly dying due to climate change and an unlikely predator.
Kelp forests, which are often referred to as the rainforests of the sea, play an important role in fighting climate change. Kelp, which is a type of macroalgae, is estimated to sequester 634 metric tons of CO2 each year — slightly lower than the amount of emissions released from the country’s largest carbon emitter, Texas.
Instead, the kelp forests are being replaced with the “ecological equivalent of a parking lot,” said Tom Ford, the executive director of The Bay Foundation, a nonprofit environmental group in the Santa Monica Bay area. …READ MORE
GOOD Eco News (video) – October 23, 2019
Belinda Waymouth interviews Tom Ford, noting: “Sea level rise and coastal erosion are already happening. The most effective solution: Helping mother nature help us!
The Santa Monica Beach Restoration Project is the perfect example of Less is MORE. It’s also a double winner: planting native species creates habitat and coastal resiliency. Here’s my conversation with one of the scientists working on the project, Tom Ford, Executive Director of the Bay Foundation.” WATCH
Important, Not Important (podcast) – October 8, 2019
In Episode 81, Quinn & Brian discuss: Legalizing the weed of the sea.
Our guests are Bren Smith and Tom Ford (TBF), two fine, clean-living gentleman who are out on the water, every day, trying to change the way that we eat and use the ocean to our benefit — and, more importantly, to the ocean’s benefit (which seems obvious to us, but apparently is not). …LISTEN
The Planning Report – October 3, 2019
Facing persistent threats to federal funding, leaders of National Estuary Programs (NEPs) across the US were invited to speak before the US House of Representatives Subcommittee on Water, Resources, and the Environment to highlight the incredible success and leveraging power that US EPA funding brings to coastal communities and ecosystems. With the mission to protect and restore Santa Monica Bay and its adjacent waters, The Bay Foundation’s Executive Director and Santa Monica Bay NEP Director, Tom Ford, spoke to TPR on the progress being made to address some of the challenges wrought by climate change and the ripple effect that such success can have when shared. …READ INTERVIEW HERE
LAist.com – September 30, 2019
We covered a lot of ground during our recent special series on climate change, including the grim fate of our beaches. …One of the ways the city of Santa Monica has been working to address specific aspects of that change — sea-level rise and coastal flooding — is with something called “living dunes.”
Part naturally occurring sandhills, part landscaping, the living dunes represent an attempt to help nature restore itself along the Santa Monica waterfront.
The Bay Foundation, a non-profit environmental group, partnered with the city to set aside three acres of sand for this beachside experiment to see how well the dunes could combat beach erosion compared to other methods.
…”Beaches normally want to have plants and dunes,” said researcher Melodie Grubbs, director of watershed programs at The Bay Foundation….READ MORE
Malibu Times – September 27, 2019
From 2012-13, the 31-acre Malibu Lagoon underwent a nine-month-long restoration process initiated by California State Parks. Twelve acres of wetland near the mouth of Malibu Creek were drained, wildlife was trapped and relocated, heavy equipment scooped out a thousand tons of trash and fill, channels and bridges were removed, banks were reshaped and native vegetation was replanted. The reconfigured lagoon netted two additional acres of wetlands.
…In a report released last week, the nonprofit Bay Foundation wrote, “Post-restoration results show the lagoon has been on a positive trajectory for the past six years.”
…Scientists now conclude that, over the past six years, the restoration project has met or exceeded all of their goals in terms of water circulation (which keeps sediments and nutrients from building up), oxygen levels, the successful nesting of rare birds including western snowy plovers and California least terns, functioning as a habitat for juvenile fish like the federally endangered tidewater goby, a diversity of plants and wildlife, less algae, and a more diverse and sensitive invertebrate community (like starfish, crabs, mussels, etc.).…READ MORE
KPCC 89.3 “Take Two” – September 19, 2019
We visit the beaches of Santa Monica to get a tour of its living dunes project. The dunes are just one way researchers are trying to combat the vanishing beaches along the California coast.
Guest: Melodie Grubbs, director of watershed programs with The Bay Foundation. LISTEN (starts at 25:38 min.)
Back to School: Kids at the Environmental Charter Schools in South LA Are Taking Climate Change into their Own Hands
LA Weekly – August 29, 2019 (print), August 26 (online)
Students Giovani Benitez and Kevin Luna just welcomed a wheelbarrow of food waste from neighborhood restaurant Yo Way Eatery and are turning it into mound of sawdust and hay that will both feed their community and make a small dent in climate change.
…The Table to Farm Composting project at the ECS schools in South Los Angeles is a waste reduction pilot program, which started in Inglewood, that combats methane generated by landfills by connecting restaurants with compost hubs, urban farms and community gardens for a multifaceted food waste reduction program.
…The Bay Foundation (distinct from “Heal The Bay”) developed the program, which grew out of their Clean Bay Restaurant program. The organization’s focus is the Santa Monica Bay and efforts to avert trash going through storm drains into the ocean. It also works to educate boaters on how to keep the bay clean….READ MORE
Spectrum 1 News SoCal – July 12, 2019 (multiple airings)
Pulling weeds and removing debris is how many volunteers spend their Saturday mornings once a month. They do this to help preserve the LAX Dunes. One … is Melodie Grubbs who works for The Bay Foundation. The foundation partners with Los Angeles World Airports to host these habitat restoration events.
“When we remove some of these non-native weeds we are just giving that little help they need to grow,” says Grubbs.
According to Grubbs, there are many native species on the dunes that need protecting, like various shore birds, lizards and plants. When a non-native species come in, it disturbs the ecosystem for the native ones….WATCH / READ MORE
Courthouse News Service – June 25, 2019
The House Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment invited experts …to testify this morning against the Trump administration’s proposed 31% cut to the Environmental Protection Agency budget — a move that would cut nearly $650 million in funding for environmental and restorative efforts. One such effort is the National Estuary Program, which is composed of 28 regional organizations that monitor and protect local environments through the help of state, local and federal organizing and funding. The program would no longer receive any federal funding if the cuts go through.
The subcommittee also heard Tuesday from Tom Ford, executive director of the Santa Monica Bay National Estuary Program and the Bay Foundation, one of 28 recipients that divvy up the $26.5 million in National Estuary Program funding. “Collectively, and on average over the last 14 years, the program has tallied up leveraged resources of $19 for every $1 invested by Congress,” Ford testified. “The Santa Monica Bay NEP that I direct leveraged $29 for every $1 over the past 5 years.”…READ MORE
The Log – June 15, 2019
It’s always a good time to manage your boat’s sewage. The Bay Foundation’s Honey Pot Day, which runs from June 1 through Sept. 30, aims to educate boaters about proper waste disposal while also offering a mobile app for free pumpout services….READ MORE
Spectrum News 1 – May 10, 2019
The Eastsider – May 10, 2019
The Bay Foundation announced its first four ReThink Disposable Certified restaurants and two are in Atwater Village and Silver Lake. Gus’ Tacos Mexican Grill in Silver Lake is using silverware instead of plastic-ware, reusable cups and straws upon request. Meanwhile, Palette Food and Juice…READ MORE
The Los Angeles Loyolan – April 24, 2019
This week, Senior Editor Sami Leung sat down with Tom Ford, co-director of the Coast Research Institute, executive director of the Bay Foundation and a part-time faculty member teaching environmental science.
From kelp forest work and other projects, to students, building a team, the Coastal Research Institute and his favorite sea creature …READ MORE
Los Angeles Times – February 17, 2019
When the Los Angeles beachfront community of Surfridge disappeared decades ago to make way for the jet age, nature was slow to reclaim the sandy dunes and upscale lots that once dominated the path of planes taking off from Los Angeles International Airport. …Surrounded by hurricane fencing and “no trespassing” signs, the LAX Dunes Preserve is now a haven for some of the rarest creatures in California.
…[V]olunteers organized by nonprofit organizations such as the Bay Foundation and Friends of the LAX Dunes have been working with authorities and the preserve’s owner — Los Angeles World Airports — to help restore the landscape.
…Today, after three years of weed removal, “we’re seeing a surge in native vegetation in some of the places we’ve cleaned up,” said Melodie Grubbs, director of watershed programs for the Bay Foundation. “Invasive plants including mustard and Russian thistle, for example, are being replaced by lupine, deer weed, evening primrose, buckwheat and California poppies.” …READ MORE
Surfing Dirty: Malibu Magazine investigates the possible effects [of Woolsey fire] on Malibu’s marine life
Malibu Magazine – January / February, 2019
…Tom Ford, the Executive Director of The Bay Foundation, explains that while they have not had the opportunity to monitor the open ocean potentially impacted by the aerial deposition of ash, they have – in assistance with the National Parks – witnessed deposits of sediment, ash, and particles of burnt wood lining the shores of Malibu Lagoon. “We’re going to see additional amounts of organic pollution, organic toxins, and metals in the smoke and ask because of the structural fires” For says. In terms of water quality, even low concentrations of metals can be very toxic.” …READ MORE (Complete Woolsey fire magazine issue here.)
KPCC 89.3 – December 21, 2018
TBF’s Tom Ford is interviewed by A. Martinez of KPCC’s morning show, Take Two, about Malibu Lagoon and the Woolsey Fire: “In 2013, the project to enhance water quality and restore habitat conditions at the lagoon was completed, and long term scientific monitoring began. Since then, the non-profit environmental group The Bay Foundation has hosted monthly monitoring and maintenance events open to the public. Last month was the first clean up since Woolsey fire.” LISTEN (starts at 28:00 min.)
Malibu Times – November 29, 2018
Now that the steep canyon hillsides above the creek are void of vegetation, what happens if landslides or heavy rain wash large amounts of sediment into the water? Local nonprofit The Bay Foundation has begun considering the effects, and how the fire could affect the landscape and the sediment flow to the ocean.
The Malibu Times consulted scientist Tom Ford, executive director of The Bay Foundation, about the possible effects on the Malibu Creek and Lagoon from the Woolsey Fire. …READ MORE
Santa Monica Daily Press – November 16, 2018
The Woolsey fire has destroyed hundreds of homes in Malibu. …Though the city will rebuild, it will never be the same. The same may be true of Malibu’s abundant wild lands and famous shoreline.
Coastal Changes: Local scientists said mudflows could upset the delicate ecosystem of Malibu Lagoon, an estuary at Malibu Point, as well as the Santa Monica Bay and the area’s watershed.
“If there’s a tremendous amount of sediment, the nutrients that come along with that could impair water quality and contribute to harmful algal blooms,” said Tom Ford, executive director of the Bay Foundation. “Organisms … could be buried or displaced by sediment moving down into streams, the lagoon or the open ocean.”…READ MORE
Santa Monica Daily Press – October 30, 2018
The City of Malibu and the Bay Foundation announced the 2018 Clean Bay Certified restaurants with 38 Malibu establishments, highlighting the community’s commitment to clean water and sustainability. The program was started in 2006 by The Bay Foundation to recognize food establishments that integrate sustainability and ocean-mindedness into their business practices.
“I am proud of Malibu’s local restaurants whose management and staff have shown how much they care about the environment and the community by making the Clean Bay Restaurant list,” said Mayor Rick Mullen. “This great program rewards those restaurants by giving them a stamp of approval, and lets customers know which restaurants they can support for being green.”…READ MORE
Santa Monica Daily Press – October 27, 2018
The City of Malibu celebrated the Marine Protected Areas that preserve our coastal environment at Honor the Ocean, Saturday, October 20, at Zuma Beach. …The Bay Foundation hosted a fun, educational scavenger hunt and USC Sea Grant led a guided beach walk. Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wishtoyo Foundation, the City of Malibu Environmental Sustainability Department, Heal the Bay, The Bay Foundation and other organizations that are part of the Marine Protected Areas had educational booths….READ MORE
The Argonaut – September 6, 2018 (Cover story)
Standing amid the sand and brush on the north end of the LAX Dunes, it’s strange to think there once was a neighborhood here — and very hard to believe that a few decades ago this nature preserve was slated to become a golf resort.
…In this smaller space, five years of painstaking scientific work and grueling physical labor have facilitated the return of native fauna such as Blainville’s horned lizard (featured on this week’s cover), the snakelike California legless lizard and the burrowing owl — each listed by the California wildlife officials as a species of special concern — and native flora like the bright yellow beach evening primrose and light green beach bur.
…Revitalization of the butterfly preserve at the south end of the dunes began in the early 1990s, but the northern portion largely sat idle until LAX and The Bay Foundation kicked off restoration work in June 2013. This summer The Bay Foundation released a five-year scientific monitoring analysis detailing restoration activities and progress within the six-acre active restoration area….READ MORE
Santa Monica Daily Press – August 15, 2018
A coalition of local water safety organizations has revived a previously decommissioned sensor at the Santa Monica Pier to provide updated data as part of a Federal ocean monitoring program. Divers from the Bay Foundation, Los Angeles Waterkeeper and the Southern California Coastal Ocean Observing System (SCCOOS) dove below the Pier this week to refurbish a sensor pack that measures temperature, salinity, chlorophyll, and water level at frequent intervals in the nearshore coastal ocean.
…Tom Ford, Executive Director of The Bay Foundation said having a constant stream of data establishes an important baseline for future research than can help frame debates about ocean changes….READ MORE
Santa Monica Mirror – August 12, 2018
Gone are the days where freedivers or scuba-divers can collect abalone in Southern California. …The Santa Monica Bay was once thriving with seven different species: red, pink, green, white, black, pinto and flat. However, according to The Bay Foundation, due to severe over-harvesting and a disease called withering syndrome, the species have been on the decline since the late 90’s.
…The Bay Foundation amped up their efforts for abalone restoration in 2016, creating an abalone research lab at the Southern California Marine Institute in San Pedro. In the lab, they currently have the red and green species. They have been growing juveniles, so they can out-plant them….READ MORE
Hakai Magazine – July 31, 2018
…On a cloudy May morning, she’s [TBF’s Karina Johnston] come out to one particular stretch of beach to show me what an ungroomed beach looks like in an urban environment, and the answer is, in part, flowers. Hundreds of canary-yellow flowers—the blooms of beach evening primrose—dot the rippling contours of the low dunes here. It’s the site of a pilot rewilding project that Johnston has been shepherding for the past two years.
In December 2016, the Bay Foundation, in partnership with the City of Santa Monica, erected a wooden sand fence on this section of the beach—a little larger than a stadium-sized soccer field—to keep the groomers out and encourage the formation of dune hummocks….READ MORE
Talk Nerdy Podcast – July 16, 2018
In this episode of Talk Nerdy, science journalist Cara Santa Maria is joined in studio by Heather Burdick, the Director of Marine Operations for The Bay Foundation. They talk about Heather’s Marine Program work on various projects involving research, monitoring, and ecological restoration throughout Santa Monica Bay. They specifically discuss the Palos Verdes Kelp Restoration Project and southern California abalone recovery efforts….LISTEN
TheScientist.com – July 6, 2018
Disease and overharvesting have depleted the types and quantities of abalones (Haliotis rufescens) found in Santa Monica Bay. The Bay Foundation has been trying to replace the marine snails to their natural habitats since 2010. Most recently, the organization has been spawning abalones in a research laboratory with plans to reintroduce them into the kelp forests off Palos Verdes in California….WATCH VIDEO
Los Angeles Magazine – July 2018
In the Bay Foundation’s two-year-old Abalone Research Laboratory on Terminal Island, abalone of varying sizes pass their days submerged in white tanks of saltwater. They look more like bewhiskered stones than snails, but when a palm-size one is removed from the water, the mollusk rises up on the muscular foot it uses to attach to surfaces and swivels defensively to the left and right. As two tiny eyes peer out from beneath the shell, short tentacles tickle the air, revealing a certain obstinate charm. “You hang out with them long enough, and then you just fall in love with them. I don’t know why,” says Heather Burdick, the foundation’s marine programs manager….READ MORE
The Mariner Magazine – July 2018 (pg. 8)
Two “Off the Wire” posts, about TBF’s new vessel sewage ‘how-to’ video, and this summer’s Honey Pot Day program.
The Smilodon Newsletter (SCAS) – Spring 2018 (p.3)
The Bay Foundation (TBF), a research based environmental non-profit and affiliate of Loyola Marymount University’s Coastal Research Institute (CRI), constructed a laboratory for abalone research and restoration projects in 2016. This research lab allows TBF to conduct controlled experiments to better understand abalone broodstock conditioning and spawning behavior. … The Ab Lab’s many successes over the past several years include. …READ MORE
The Argonaut – April 19, 2018
Pull some weeds: Join The Bay Foundation from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. to help restore the Culver City Rain Garden, native landscaping designed to filter storm water runoff on its way to Ballona Creek. RSVP at santamonicabay.org for location information. …READ MORE
KPCC 89.3 – April 12, 2018
The Pacific Fishery Management Council’s proposed ban would put almost the entire coast of Southern California, between Point Conception and the Mexico border up to 200 miles off shore, off limits to bottom-trawl fishing. It’s meant to prevent the kind of ecological and habitat damage that corals and sponges have experienced further up the coast.
The proposed ban also gives scientists a chance to make new discoveries in an untouched ocean wilderness. “We don’t even really know what’s down there!”, said Tom Ford, the head of The Bay Foundation. “The ocean is difficult to explore, and it’s expensive.”…READ MORE
Santa Monica Mirror – April 6, 2018
Our expansive beaches largely define Santa Monica. How might our community be impacted, both financially and otherwise, should this vital asset disappear beneath the waves?
…Although there are many measures that are needed to protect our city’s assets, the most important is the continued protection of the PCH and the iconic Santa Monica Pier.
…A pilot project currently underway by The Bay Foundation might not solve this problem but is a step in the right direction. In 2016 they embarked on a beach dune restoration project in front of the Annenberg Beach Club. This low-cost solution, at a larger scale, might help protect our coast while simultaneously creating a wildlife preserve with native flora and fauna….READ MORE
The Mariner – April 2018 (p. 9)
The statewide Dockwalker program continues its multi-year boater-education efforts with five free local Dockwalker workshops now through May….“Boat owners appreciate the opportunity to fill out the questionnaire and receive information about environmentally-responsible boating,” states certified Dockwalker John Carroll. “[Boaters] are also thankful that someone is taking the time to spread the word about environmental safeguards among the boating community.”…READ MORE
Le Temps (Switzerland’s French-speaking newspaper) – March 27, 2018
“The Amazon without trees would not be the Amazon. California without its kelp forests is no longer California. “Tom Ford, director of the Bay Foundation in Los Angeles, is not alone in spinning the Amazonian metaphor at the mention of giant kelp forests. All specialists of this wonderful brown alga dare to compare with the lungs of the planet: same biodiversity, same vertical ecosystem, same ecological importance … and same questions as to its future.
For like the other 110 varieties of kelp, or laminaria, listed around the world, “the giant kelp is under pressure,” says Thomas Wernberg, a professor at the University of Western Australia. Co-author of a global study on all the varieties of these algae, published with 36 other researchers in November 2016 in the American journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences(PNAS), he states that “38% of the studied regions knew a decline of the kelp over the last fifty years. …READ MORE
Ventura County Star – March 25, 2018
On Friday, volunteers will receive training and materials qualifying them to be official “Dockwalkers,” with access to local boaters at Ventura and Channel Islands harbors.
Besides talking with boaters about environmental safety, Dockwalkers distribute Boater Kits, which include tide calendars, oil absorbent sheets, oil absorbent pillows and fuel bibs that can be placed around fuel pump nozzles to capture leaks….READ MORE
Whole Life Times – February / March 2018
Trash and pollution affect natural habitats from the mountains to the sea. Similarly, invasive vegetation deprives animals of their preferred habitats, limiting their health and growth. To help reverse this negative trend at the LAX Dunes, The Bay Foundation (TBF) along with Friends of the LAX Dunes (FOLD) and community volunteers are making valiant efforts to restore and protect the Dunes’ valuable resources, including threatened species.
…As part of the regular volunteer days led jointly by TBF and FOLD, local organizations regularly take the initiative to volunteer and make an impact, including Girl and Boy Scout troops, United Airlines, CA Native Plant Society, and various high school groups. Employees of the Santa Monica Patagonia store have volunteered hundreds of hours to help preserve the Dunes. …READ MORE
“California In Focus” / Spectrum Cable – January 30, 2018 (VIDEO)
Karina Johnston, TBF Director of Watershed Programs, is interviewed.
The Argonaut – January 11, 2018 (Cover story)
Imagine Santa Monica’s flat-combed beach covered in pink and yellow wildflowers. It may sound outlandish, but it’s happening as we speak inside a small fenced-off restoration area just north of the Annenberg Beach House.
“Look at this big guy,” says The Bay Foundation’s Rod Abbott, giddy as a schoolboy, examining the pink flowers of a red sand verbena sprouting up next to a hummock of ice-green sea scale. “I don’t have kids, so these plants are like my kids,” he jokes.
Last December marked the one-year anniversary of The Bay Foundation’s pilot project to transform three acres of Santa Monica’s flat, highly groomed beach into a beautiful and healthy ecosystem….READ MORE