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A Taste of the Sea: Nature Documentary ‘The Delicacy’ Dives into Humankind’s Obsession with Sea Urchin Uni

The Argonaut – September 3, 2020

Have you ever gone to a sushi restaurant and wondered what is “uni”? Via Instagram shots, Snapchat stories, TV shows or otherwise, you may have heard of this strange epicurean delight.

…Civilizations as ancient as Rome have indulged in these gourmet gonads, but despite modern technologies, fishing for sea urchins remains far from easy or automated. Jason Wise, founder of the online streaming service SOMM TV, documents the lives of hardworking Santa Barbara sea urchin hunters in his new film “The Delicacy,” which premiered in May. Wise was also honored during a virtual gala hosted by the Westchester-based Bay Foundation on Sept. 1.

…Kelp forests, like the one that ensnared Wise, are important parts of the ocean ecosystem and culture of uni consumption because sea urchins primarily eat kelp. For there to be an adequate population of sea urchins for humans to fish, there needs to be an adequate kelp forest too, explains Tom Ford, Chief Executive Officer of The Bay Foundation, who adds his expertise as an interviewee to the film. …READ MORE

Palos Verdes Reef Restoration Project Begins Again This Week

PV Peninsula News – August 27, 2020

A project to restore reefs and marine animals off the Palos Verdes Peninsula Coast resumes this week …the Palos Verdes Reef Restoration Project will restore the rocky reefs that have been impacted by decades of landslides.

The artificial reef is also designed to attract fish and other marine animals, while creating fishing opportunities, decimated by reef loss and contamination from DDT and PCB, according to scientists involved in the project.

…Another issue, according to Pondella and The Bay Foundation is the loss of kelp forests, which has been impacted by landslides over the decades. According to its website, The Bay Foundation estimates the Palos Verdes Peninsula has lost approximately 75 recent of its giant kelp canopy. The causes include sedimentation development, urban runoff, storms slowing kelp growth and overfishing resulting in the loss of urchin predators.

“This allowed purple urchins, a dominant kelp herbivore, to overrun the reef and devour the remaining kelp,” reads the website. “If left alone, kelp forest recovery may take decades.” …READ ON

Honey Pot Day – The Bay Foundation’s Sewage Disposal Program – Returns

The Log – July 24, 2020 (pg. 16)

News outlets – including The Log – shared stories of how waterways and oceans experienced a decrease in pollution because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Fewer boats were on the water, meaning oceans, harbors, lakes and rivers had less pollution. Decreased pollution also meant marine ecosystems and habitats were allowed to thrive.

The Covid-19 pandemic continues to persist, and The Bay Foundation hopes its Honey Pot Day program will allow local waters to remain clean. A key theme of the program: sewage can be disposed of remotely. …READ MORE (pg. 16)

Can the Forests of the World’s Oceans Help Solve the Climate Crisis?

Ensia – June 24, 2020

…Having spent years studying [kelp’s] benefits, [Cayne] Layton is now trying to bring a patch of Tasmania’s struggling kelp forests back to life. Every few weeks, he dives out to inspect three 12-by-12 meter plots he’s created off the coast, each containing fronds of baby kelp, springing from ropes that are tethered to the ocean floor. …his experiment also brings attention to the extraordinary potential of kelp to absorb carbon and help tackle climate change.

…Other kelp restoration projects around the world are tackling different threats. In Santa Monica Bay, California, conservationists are trying to save local kelp forests from voracious purple urchins… The urchins’ unchecked appetite has contributed to the loss of three-quarters of the bay’s former kelp forest. But fishers [lead by The Bay Foundation] are carefully hand-clearing urchins — the draw being that as kelp is restored, fisheries are too. So far they’ve managed to clear 52 acres (21 hectares), which the kelp forest has reclaimed. …READ MORE

Interview (for the young & curious) with TBF’s Tom Ford – Kelp and Abalone

Little Da Vincis w. Christian Amyx (podcast) – June 1, 2020

Listen as 10-year old podcast host interviews TBF’s Tom Ford about kelp and abalone restoration, making science and technology easy for 1st to 6th graders. …LISTEN

California’s Critical Kelp Forests are Disappearing in a Warming World. Can They Be Saved?

National Geographic – April 30, 2020

KELP NEED OUR help. Which is why an unprecedented alliance of scientists, fishers, surfers, entrepreneurs, and experts is coming together to revive California’s vital kelp ecosystem, decimated by a warming ocean.

“The California coast without kelp is like the Amazon without trees,” says Tom Ford, executive director of the Bay Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to restoring Santa Monica Bay and its coastal waters.

Indeed, scientists call these fast-growing underwater forests the “sequoias of the sea” for their ability to store large amounts of carbon dioxide. By absorbing CO2 in the surrounding water, seaweed decreases acidification that can kill marine life. Through photosynthesis, kelp forests boost oxygen levels in the ocean while helping protect the coast from erosion by reducing the speed and size of waves. …READ MORE

L.A. Environmental Organizations Adapt to Challenges of COVID-19

The Los Angeles Loyolan – April 24, 2020

…Furthermore, current projects have been put on hold due to the pandemic. One specific project [The Bay Foundation’s Heather] Burdick expressed concern about is sea urchin removal efforts. Sea urchin populations have grown to dangerous levels along the California coast in recent years with devastating effects on kelp forests.

“If we leave them too long, they’ll start crawling back to areas we’ve already worked, so we’re trying to defend those fronts until we can get our teams back out there,” Burdick said.

Chris Enyart works as the watershed programs project manager for The Bay Foundation and is also concerned about the limits the pandemic places on the organization’s operations. …READ MORE

Holding Fast, or Failing? There are dozens of confounding elements working against abalone recovery on the CA coast.

Earth Island Journal – Spring 2020

A small, sun-weathered building situated amidst the ceaseless industrial stir of Terminal Island — a primarily artificial slab of land more or less divided between the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach — seems like a strange place to raise endangered marine invertebrates. Yet, that is exactly what Director of Marine Operations Heather Burdick and her team at the Santa Monica Bay Foundation have set out to do.

“We’ve been doing captive spawning here in our lab with greens and reds, and now we’re starting to work with white abalone,” Burdick announces from the parking lot, over a thrum of shipping trucks and ocean freighters. …READ MORE

Whales Are Dying, but Numbers Are Unknown. Coronavirus Has Stalled Scientific Fieldwork

Los Angeles Times – March 28, 2020

As gray whales began their northern migration along the Pacific coast, earlier this month — after a year of unusually heavy die-offs — scientists were poised to watch, ready to collect information that could help them learn what was killing them.

The coronavirus outbreak, however, has largely upended that field work — and that of incalculable other ecological studies nationwide.

…“The biggest challenge we’re facing is the planning for the unknown. So many ‘what ifs’ need to be considered,” Heather Burdick, director of marine operations at the Bay Foundation, said Wednesday.

The Bay Foundation, a research nonprofit, is usually out on the water several times weekly to restore kelp and feed the endangered species that scientists have been trying to reintroduce into the ocean. “Our team … call today was focused on contingency plans for contingency plans,” she said. …READ MORE

Exploring the LAX Dunes

El Segundo Scene – March 2020

El Segundo community member Darlene Gaston gives voice to what so many of us are thinking in her essay “Big Little Blue,” published last year in El Segundo Writes: A Collection of Writing from the Community. “Shouldn’t I have seen a blue butterfly by now?” she asks herself…

Her curiosity growing with time, Darlene eventually finds herself exploring the restricted-access LAX Dunes on foot one Saturday morning, months later, having signed up along with other citizen-volunteers to help remove invasive plant species from the area. The clean-up event is a monthly effort coordinated by Friends of the LAX Dunes (FOLD), The Bay Foundation, Loyola Marymount University’s Coastal Research Institute, and Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), and Darlene is there to help, to learn about the ecology of the dunes, and to finally catch a glimpse of the storied El Segundo Blue. …READ MORE

Girl Scouts Visit the Beach

Santa Monica Daily News – February 28, 2020

On Jan. 21, The Bay Foundation staff’s Karina Alvarez and Nick Pilaud gave a tour, along with the City of Santa Monica’s Andrew Basmajian, on the successful and influential Santa Monica Beach Restoration Project. The tour was for a local Girl Scout group, K-12. …SEE PHOTOS

Manhattan Beach Looks to 2020 and Beyond During State of the City Address

The Beach Reporter – February 27, 2020

Nearly 250 community members gathered Wednesday morning to get overview of the past year and what’s to come for Manhattan Beach.

…Hersman detailed sustainability, the recent tobacco ban and housing at the podium.

…Manhattan Beach with The Bay Foundation and the L.A. County Department of Beaches and Harbors is starting a Beach Dune Enhancement Project this year, she said, which will restore the sandy beach and dune habitat along .5 miles of Bruce’s Beach, from 36th Street to 23rd Street. Restoring the native plants will protect against sea level rise and coastal storms, Hersman said. …READ MORE

Photographing the Future of Sea Level Rise: CA King Tides Project 2020 Launches in Malibu; PLUS…Update on Westward Beach / Zuma Sand Dunes Restoration Project

The Malibu Times – January 18, 2020

A group of locals interested in documenting sea level rise with photographs gathered at Westward Beach last Saturday to learn the ropes. The California King Tides Project—a partnership of the California Coastal Commission, state and federal agencies and nonprofit organizations since 2010—is an annual winter project where citizen scientists volunteer to take photos of the highest high tides of the year, known as King Tides.

PLUS:  The Bay Foundation described its Malibu Living Shoreline Project, which aims to restore three acres of sandy beach and dune habitat at Zuma Beach and Westward Beach (agencies call it “Point Dume Beach”)  in partnership with the City of Malibu, LA County Department of Beaches & Harbors and California State Coastal Conservancy:  “We’re evaluating the potential of restored dunes to grow, keep pace with sea level rise and protect structures from coastal flooding,” explained Karina Johnston, science director at nonprofit The Bay Foundation. …READ MORE