2015 Articles Archive

New Station will Reduce Pollution at Harbor

San Diego Union-Tribune – December 20, 2015

Boaters at the Oceanside harbor can now use a state-of-the-art pump-out station to get rid of oily water that collects in the bottom their boats.  The station outside the harbor’s Coast Guard headquarters was unveiled Dec. 11 after harbor officials worked with the state and a Los Angeles-based nonprofit called The Bay Foundation to build the facility at no cost to Oceanside.

The new equipment will help reduce pollution in the water, officials said.

… “It’s not always a large amount of oil, but oil can be very bad for the marine environment,” said Victoria Gambale, water quality programs manager for The Bay Foundation.

…The station is free to use and open to the public, officials said. … READ MORE

New Pump to Help Water Quality at Harbor – December 15, 2015

A new tool for boaters was unveiled last week at the Oceanside Harbor which will help improve water quality for boaters, swimmers and wildlife.

The project, conceived and led by The Bay Foundation brings a state-of-the-art bilge pump-out and oil-water separator facility, that is free to use and makes it easy for boaters to properly dispose of oily bilge water.

Victoria Gambale, The Bay Foundation Water Quality Programs Manager said the installation of the pump was made possible by ” a true collaboration between State, not-for-profit, commercial businesses and city government.” Gambale added that without funding from CalRecycle, the project would not have been possible. …READ MORE

Oceanside Bilge Pump Makes Dent in Coastal Pollution

KPBS radio – December 14, 2015

Oceanside harbor is now offering boaters free use of a bilge pump that prevents fuel from being dumped into the sea.

…That’s why Oceanside harbor now has one of three on-shore bilge pumps in Southern California that separates the oil from the water.

Victoria Gambale is with the Bay Foundation that helped pay for the pump, which was manufactured by Keco. She said oil is hazardous to marine life, and the bilge pump gives boaters an alternative to using their shipboard pumps. … READ MORE

A New Leaf

The New Yorker – November 2, 2015

…As much as we need seaweed, it may need us more. Tom Ford is a marine biologist and the director of The Bay Foundation, which works to reforest the giant kelp in Santa Monica Bay, three-quarters of which has vanished since 1950. …

Ford refers to seaweed-sequestered carbon as “gourmet carbon,” but not because he’s trying to get people to eat it. The kelp forest is a potential carbon sink—problematic carbon, embodied, makes its way up the food chain until it reaches an apex predator, such as a shark, which when it dies sinks to the ocean floor—and it also rebuilds a decimated ecosystem, providing a place for fish to breed and feed, and for migrating gray whales to hide their young. …READ MORE

With Project, California State Parks Shoots for 20 New Miles of Trout Habitat

Malibu Surfside News – September 28, 2015

It’s a painstaking and exhausting process, but a California State Parks project to remove three creek barriers in Arroyo Sequit Creek at Leo Carrillo State Park to improve endangered steelhead trout habitat is nearly one-third complete and on track to finish by the end of the year.

Project participants and supporters, including representatives from CSP, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the California Conservation Corps, the Bay Foundation and various elected officials, gathered at the construction site to discuss the project on National Public Lands Day on Sept. 25….

…CSP biologist Jamie King described the process as “15 years in the making.”

“The Bay Foundation started looking for grants in 2003,” project manager Mark Abramson said. “This project was always on the books. We have a goal of opening up 20 miles of steelhead habitat [in the Santa Monica Mountains].” … READ MORE

Coastal Cleanup Day: Volunteers Help Remove Trash and Invasive Plants

KPCC 89.3 – September 19, 2015

Volunteers at the LAX Dunes Preserve are weeding out invasive species Saturday as part of the 26th Annual Coastal Cleanup Day.

The event draws thousands of volunteers across 50 spots picking up trash all over Southern California beaches.

But at the dunes preserve, people will be helping to pull out non-native plants like wild mustard and Russian thistle.

“When you remove the invasive species, the types of floral that return will be plants that are native to Southern California,” said Rod Abbott of the Santa Monica Bay Foundation, who helped coordinate the cleanup. “So California Coastal Buckwheat is one of those that the El Segundo Blue Butterfly thrives on.”

Coastal Cleanup Day is a world wide event and has previously collected more than a million pounds of trash.

Turning Trash into Treasure

The Argonaut – September 16, 2015

The Bay Foundation…is partnering up with Heal the Bay and Friends of the LAX Dunes on Coastal Cleanup Day.

For this restoration effort on the largest expanse of coastal dunes in Southern California, the real treasure-hunting task will be sifting through a 48-acre patchwork of both native plants and invasive species that threaten the ecological health of the dunes. …“Knowing the good plants from the bad plants, knowing which ones not to step on, that’s the trickier part of it,” [TBF executive director Tom] Ford said. Staff from the Bay Foundation will be on hand to help volunteers discern the native plants from the non-native ones.

For Karina Johnston, formerly a restoration biologist and now the director of watershed programs at The Bay Foundation, the true treasures are to be found in the site’s natural beauty. …READ MORE

When Every Yard is a Watershed

Santa Monica Daily Press “The Water Issue” – 2015

A water wise garden used to mean some artificial turf, perhaps a southwest inspired landscape or maybe a patch of gravel where grass used to be. Those first generation steps did, and still do, save water but what it means to be a water wise garden has changed, the number of options has multiplied and the importance of landscape to the environment has never been greater. …

Landscape architect Mark Abramson with The Bay Foundation said the process isn’t complicated. “It’s a very simple process of taking back what was taken when it was paved over,” he said. …

“They look interesting, with different flowers that are exciting,” he said. “It’s nice to look at, dynamic, seasonal, but it also brings in hummingbirds and butterflies that come to the native habitat that doesn’t otherwise exist around here. It becomes a focus for people to stop and ask about it, it causes neighborhood discussions.” (Complete article is part of the Water Issue, currently not online, but available through Santa Monica Daily Press.)

LMU Hosts 2015 State of the Bay Conference to Discuss Climate Change, Drought Conditions

Daily Breeze / Daily News – September 10, 2015

More than 200 people gathered Wednesday in Westchester to discuss ways to protect and restore natural resources, adapt to climate change and address California’s diminishing water supply at the 2015 State of the Bay conference.

Water preservation and restoration was the common thread through all the presentations and panels at the daylong conference at Loyola Marymount University hosted by The Bay Foundation, the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission and the Center for Santa Monica Bay Studies at LMU.

“It’s our chance to look back at progress we’ve made toward increasing the health of the bay here, making sure it’s safe for swimming and public contact, making sure the fish and the environment is healthy and productive,” said Tom Ford, executive director of The Bay Foundation. “That overarching goal is what drives us to develop these complex plans, programs and projects within the watersheds as well as inside the bay itself.”

Panelists discussed the physical and chemical changes in the environment, as well and the biological responses of marine life and coastline conditions to it. … READ MORE

Charter Local Edition / Host Brad Pomerance Interviews Tom Ford

The California Channel / Charter Local Edition – September 9, 2015

Host Brad Pomerance interviews TBF Executive Director Tom Ford about the Bay, its watershed, submarine canyons, and kelp restoration.  WATCH

What to Expect from the 2015 State of the Bay Report

KPCC 89.3 – September 10, 2015

The ecology of the Santa Monica Bay is in many aspects improving but in others becoming more dire, scientists said on Wednesday at the State of the Bay Conference.

“I think the take-home message is that the health of the bay has improved,” said Tom Ford, executive director of The Bay Foundation. “The big expansive soft-bottom habitat that is Santa Monica Bay — we had a lot of contaminant issues in there. We had a lot of low dissolved oxygen. It was a very unhealthy place. That has reversed itself in the past 20 years due to a lot of people’s hard work across the board.”… READ MORE / LISTEN

Conference to Focus on State of Santa Monica Bay

Santa Monica Lookout – August 14, 2015

Registration is now open for a conference that takes place every five years to discuss the progress of restoring and protecting Santa Monica Bay, officials of The Bay Foundation (TBF) announced Thursday.

The conference September 9 at Loyola Marymount will feature the release of the “State of the Bay Report” and panel discussions by leading experts, Foundation officials said. Among the topics discussed will be water resources, water quality, urban watersheds and marine resources.

In his keynote address, California’s Natural Resources Agency Secretary John Laird will discuss the state’s drought and water conservation efforts. He also will “provide a state perspective on the importance of protecting and restoring natural resources and adapting to climate change, organizers said.…READ MORE

Seaside Chat (Q&A):  Meet Grace Lee – TBF’s Director of Clean Boating Program

SEA Magazine – August 2015

From Santa Barbara to San Diego, The Bay Foundation keeps Southern California’s coastal waters clean, largely through its clean boating program. Grace Lee, director of the Clean Boating Program, started at The Bay Foundation in 2002, straight out of graduate school. “Water quality, just any issue regarding water, has always been very important to me,” Lee said. Sea spoke to Lee about the foundation’s diverse range of boater-friendly resources and the impact of clean boating on our harbors. …READ MORE (p. CA-7 thru CA-10)

Rain Garden Captures Storm Water Runoff

Culver City News – July 30, 2015

With California in the midst of a severe drought, water has become a premium commodity. Realizing this,…The Bay foundation has stepped up to address the need for water conservation, in the form of rain gardens.

…”It looks like a dry creek bed,” said Ivan Medel, watershed programs manager for The Bay Foundation. “It’s lined with rocks, it has a lot more natural looking features but the essential feature of it is to capture that rain water and allow it to soak back into the ground.”…READ MORE

“Peninsula Beat 53” talks with Tom Ford about Kelp Restoration

Rancho Palos Verdes TV – July 22, 2015

Station Manager Mark Doddy interviews TBF Executive Director Tom Ford.  WATCH (starts at 4:47 min. mark)

The Bay Foundation — Phase 1 of Liberty Canyon Wildlife Crossing for Mountain Lions

Topanga Messenger – July 16, 2015

Since Spring, TBF’s Senior Watershed Advisor, Mark Abramson, has been providing project management support to RCDSMM’s project architect, Clark Stevens, on Phase 1 of “Liberty Canyon Wildlife Passage Improvements Project.”  . . . This is the first phase of a multi-phase crossing effort and will complement the ultimate goal of a highway-spanning overpass at Liberty Canyon that is the focus of the current #SaveLACougars campaign.

Abramson is helping Stevens and RCDSMM’s Senior Conservation Biologist, Rosi Dagit, design the best landscape situation that would lead the mountain lions toward this crossing and encourage them to use that instead of trying to cross the open freeway. The crossing will utilize the lightly-traveled Liberty Canyon Road underpass, altering the topography and adding vegetation to attract these animals to safe passage. … READ MORE

Malibu Lagoon Project Shows Improved Water Quality and Smell

KCET Blogs “River Notes” – July 14, 2015

Revitalization is a tricky proposition. Grand plans and lush renderings can only go so far. Once a project begins, the real test commences. Two years after the opening of the controversial Malibu Lagoon Restoration Project, the Bay Foundation and California State Parks has released the “Malibu Lagoon Restoration and Enhancement Project Comprehensive Monitoring Report (Year 2)” that shows promising results.

The report shows that at the two-year mark, the lagoon showed highly improved water quality, and dissolved oxygen readings exceeded pre-restoration conditions. Circulation at the lagoon had also improved, allowing dissolved oxygen to flow throughout the lagoon, especially in the back channels. It also found an increase in benthic invertebrate and fish populations. Bird populations have also shifted from urban birds to water and shore birds. What was once an oxygen-deprived “dead zone” is now coming back to life.

Mark Abramson, [TBF] Senior Watershed Advisor, says that it’s not just the report that shows the project’s success — one only need to use one’s sense of smell. “If you were someone who frequents the lagoon, you can just smell the difference,” said Abramson, “It hardly has any odor anymore. It’s amazing.”…READ MORE

To Bring Back Healthy California Ocean Ecosystem, NOAA and Partners are “Planting” Long Lost Abalone in the Sea

NOAA’s Response & Restoration Blog – July 13, 2015

They weren’t vegetables but an excited group of scuba divers was carefully “planting” green abalone in an undersea garden off the southern California coast all the same. Green abalone are a single-shelled species of sea snail whose population has dropped dramatically in recent decades.

On a Wednesday in mid-June, these oceanic “gardeners”—NOAA biologist David Witting and divers from The Bay Foundation—released over 700 young green abalone into newly restored kelp forest areas near Palos Verdes, California. This was the first time in over a decade that juvenile abalone have been “outplanted,” or transplanted from nursery facilities, to the wild in southern California. This ongoing project is a partnership between NOAA, The Bay Foundation, Redondo SEA Lab, The Nature Conservancy, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. … READ MORE

The Bay Foundation Wins NonProfit ‘Project Collaboration’ Award

Los Angeles Business Journal – June 29, 2015

We are proud to announce that Tom Ford, TBF’s Executive Director, was awarded the Project Collaboration of the Year award during the LABJ’s Nonprofit & Corporate Citizenship Awards 2015, for the kelp restoration project. …READ MORE

State Parks Tout Lagoon Success

Malibu Times – June 26, 2015

Just over two years into the controversial Malibu Lagoon restoration project, a joint report by California State Parks and The Bay Foundation has declared Malibu’s wetland, located at the foot of Cross Creek Road near the Civic Center, is on track to rehabilitation.

The report, entitled “Malibu Lagoon Restoration and Enhancement Project Comprehensive Monitoring Report (Year 2),” gives extensive details about the state of the lagoon, which State Parks began to overhaul in 2013.

The criteria for various elements of the lagoon’s rehabilitation were developed by a team of experts, explained The Bay Foundation’s Senior Watershed Advisor Mark Abramson. “The criteria [were] developed based on the performance of the past lagoon and the issues identified by the technical advisory committee,” Abramson said. … READ MORE

Fracking Fans, Foes React to First Government Study on Oil-Extraction Method

Daily Breeze – June 6, 2015

An EPA study that downplays the threat of fracking on drinking water supplies was hailed Friday by oil industry supporters of the controversial high-pressure oil-extraction method, but environmentalists also found reason to cheer the findings.  The 998-page report released Thursday, the most comprehensive U.S. government study thus far of the technology…READ MORE

… There weren’t many surprises in the report for Tom Ford, executive director of The Bay Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting the health of the Santa Monica Bay.  “The report (states) that there is a great deal that we don’t fully understand about hydraulic fracturing,” Ford said. “When we look at the history of oil extraction and processing, there are errors. There are mistakes that, regardless of the best industrial practices, we still end up with these catastrophic failures with pipelines or pumps or ships.

“Frankly, dealing with the drinking water supply for millions of Americans and saying: ‘Maybe it’s a problem but it might not be,’ is a hard thing for me to accept. It’s hard to put the oil genie back in the bottle.”

Environmental Group Collects Tar Balls in Effort to Identify Source

Los Angeles Times – May 30, 2015

Ariadne Reynolds and Brian Stirling peered through binoculars, scanning Manhattan Beach for signs of oil or tar balls from aboard a 21-foot, open-deck motorboat. Other than sometimes catching a whiff of oil, they had yet to find anything. Until —

“Black! In the water!” shouted Stirling, an intern with the Bay Foundation, pointing to a dark lump bobbing in the ocean. … Reynolds, a staffer, pulled on latex gloves and opened a small glass jar to collect the sample.

…Test results to determine the source and composition of the petroleum product could take a few days to several weeks. … In the meantime, staff of the environmental nonprofit foundation, which works to protect Santa Monica Bay, took a trip Thursday to see the tar balls for themselves. They hoped to find nothing. … READ MORE

Kelp Forest Rebounding

Palos Verdes Peninsula News – May 28, 2015

About 28 acres of kelp have grown in four coves since the start of a five-year project led by the Loyola Marymount University-based Bay Foundation to restore the kelp forest, which scientists say declined 75 percent in the past century due to urbanization, pollution and overfishing.

…A coalition of researchers from environmental groups and research institutions led by the Bay Foundation decided to reverse the situation by sending a team of 40 divers underwater to selectively smash millions of malnourished urchins with hammers. The goal is to restore 150 acres of kelp forest along the Peninsula…

…“The benefits we were hoping to see have really started to manifest,” Ford said, playing a time lapse video shot underwater of an area once blanketed with purple sea urchins and now thriving with towering kelp. … READ MORE

Interview: A Crucial Moment for Wetlands

The Argonaut – May 14, 2015

As director of watershed programs for the nonprofit Bay Foundation, Karina Johnston implements watershed cleanups throughout Los Angeles and leads the scientific assessment and monitoring program for the Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve.

When the academy holds its annual meeting on Friday and Saturday at Loyola Marymount University, Johnston will be introduced both as a newly elected board member and the lead author of new scientific research….

The Bay Foundation’s work at Ballona is all the more significant as the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission and California Coastal Conservancy work to draft an environmental report that that will outline restoration options for the approximately 600-acre state preserve.

[Q&A follows regarding SCAS and Wetlands]…READ MORE

Greening the Ocean with Abalone – May 14, 2015

It’s a good thing that green abalone aren’t prone to sudden jerky movements – especially when you are trying to delicately affix a millimeter-size color coded circle on them using a tiny squirt of super glue. The intensity level rises when the goal is to tag 1,000 sea snail subjects in one day….

It took a consortium of effort to ready these older juveniles for their new homes; the new residents will be placed in newly restored kelp forests off the Palos Verdes coast.

Joining Witting at the tagging table are representatives from the Montrose Settlement Restoration Program, The Bay Foundation and the L.A. Conservation Corps’ SEA Lab; the overall green abalone program partnership also involves…READ MORE

The Los Angeles Wetland Wars

High Country News – May 11, 2015

…Southern California has lost 90 percent of its original 49,000 acres of coastal wetlands. For Los Angeles, Ballona is the very last patch….

This, right now, is the burden of Ballona, a landscape caught between competing visions of what is good, desirable and even natural in urban wildlands. If restoration ecology, as British scientist A.D. Bradshaw declared in the 1980s, is the “acid test of the ecological movement,” then Ballona is the acid test of the acid test — a place that might prove what restoration can, and perhaps should, achieve in an increasingly urbanized West.

“We can’t look at this and say this is a natural system, everything’s fine and healthy,” says Karina Johnston, director of watershed programs for the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Foundation, an independent nonprofit that supports the work of the state-run Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission. Nor can the necessary overhaul be accomplished with volunteer labor on weekends. “Over 3 million cubic yards of sediment have been dumped there,” Johnston says bluntly. “It didn’t get there with wheelbarrows.”…READ MORE

Restored Kelp Forests Provide a Home for Recovering Abalone Species

NOAA MSRP eNewsletter – May 6, 2015

We are seeing more kelp off the coast of Palos Verdes (PV), California, these days thanks to the urchin removal project that started in July 2013. Since this project started, The Bay Foundation and other partners have removed over 2 million urchins from “urchin barrens” to allow for the regrowth of the Palos Verdes kelp forest. In places where there once was no kelp, we are seeing kelp fronds measuring over 25 ft. in length—a sure sign that the project is working.

Biologists are now preparing to place green abalone, raised at The SEA Lab in Redondo Beach, into the newly restored kelp forest areas in PV….READ MORE

Behind the Scenes: Tom Ford’s Desktop Essentials – April 21, 2015

As today is Earth Day, we decided to focus on a local who is in the trenches, working with his team of science and policy experts to restore Santa Monica Bay. Executive Director Tom Ford (the other one!) and his organization The Bay Foundation are passionate about improving the Bay’s water quality, and conserving, rehabilitating and protecting its natural resources to make a healthy ecosystem for all.

He’s a longtime major diver (he’s even worn out a buoyancy control device which is meant to last a lifetime). …At least once a week, he escapes his desk to dive on the [kelp restoration] project.

Here is a peek at this eco-warrior’s desk….READ MORE

Sea Star Die-Off Unleashes Urchin Hordes

Los Angeles Daily News – April 11, 2015

In Central California, red and purple sea urchins are proliferating wildly now that one of their primary threats is gone. The coast of Los Angeles doesn’t have that problem because urchins already have overrun the seabed.

“We’re expecting to see an increase in mussels and barnacles,” said Bay Foundation Executive Director Tom Ford. “We already had so many sea urchins to start with. They were already dominating the rocks.”

The Bay Foundation is working to remove urchins along the Palos Verdes Peninsula…because they are so plentiful that they’ve killed most other life in the area…. READ MORE

Must-See Video Shows Reality of California’s Historic Drought

EcoWatch – April 6, 2015

The Bay Foundation, [as] part of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power′s (LADWP) Community Partnership Grant, put out a public service announcement promoting water conservation with a quick, humorous look at Los Angeles’s water supply.

This clever, one-minute video highlights the tough decisions Californians have to make with the Golden State in its fourth year of drought. …READ MORE / WATCH

A Short, Funny Video that Shows the Kind of Choices We Have to Make During a Drought – April 5, 2015

This video from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LAWPD) [and The Bay Foundation] shows the kinds of choices that will be made if California’s drought gets any worse. When you’re out of water, things get real. Fast.

…And while the video is funny, it’s not “ha-ha funny.” It’s more “sad funny.” It’s about a very real choice that’s been happening across the state for going on four years now…. READ MORE / WATCH

LADWP Video Promotes Water Conservation with Humor

KPCC 89.3 – March 23, 2015

The city of Los Angeles is drafting a new plan to use more local water sources by capturing stormwater throughout the L.A. basin. And Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday proposed legislation to accelerate more than $1 billion in drought-relief bond spending as we cope with a fourth dry year.

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) has teamed up with The Bay Foundation to educate the public through a humorous PSA. It reminds Angelenos to conserve by emphasizing the fact that half of L.A.’s drinking water is used for landscaping….READ MORE / WATCH

UCLA Unseen:  Stone Canyon Creek

UCLA Daily Bruin – March 12, 2015

Daily Bruin Video introduces UCLA Unseen, a new weekly series exploring lesser-known places on campus.

Behind the Anderson School of Management lies a hidden treasure that often goes unnoticed. What’s left of the Stone Canyon Creek, which once ran through the UCLA campus, is the only part of the creek that remains naturally uncovered. Volunteers work with the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Foundation once a month to help restore the creek and maintain its beauty. …WATCH

With a Little Help from Scientists, Fishermen Reel in Data on California Halibut

CA Sea Grant’s Research News – February 9, 2015

When the bottom fell out of Santa Monica Bay’s halibut fishery, it went quickly. Fisherman Steve Santen saw it happen…
With Santa Monica Bay’s fishery hanging in the balance, the anglers reached out to help.

The team that came together – lead scientist Lia Protopapadakis of the The Bay Foundation, co-investigators Santen and DFW scientist Kim Penttila, and members of Marina Del Rey Anglers – drafted a plan to reel in data on the area’s halibut and were awarded a grant through Collaborative Fisheries Research West and California Sea Grant.

Santen and Protopapadakis say that bringing scientists and fishermen together on a problem like this just makes sense….READ MORE

TBF and LADWP Launch Energy and Water Conservation Program to Engage Public

CitywatchLA – February 4, 2015

As part of a Community Partnership Outreach grant from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), The Bay Foundation (TBF) has launched an online public survey and the first of three Public Service Announcements (PSAs) to engage the public and promote energy and water conservation….