The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Ocean Victory—California Completes Network of Undersea Parks
By Jennifer Savage
Double Cone Rock State Marine Conservation Area. Photo credit: Kip Evans/Ocean Conservancy
Almost every day brings more news about how the ocean is in trouble. Climate change, pollution, plastics, overfishing—staying optimistic about our future challenges even the most buoyant of spirits. But today, from California, comes some great and hopeful news: the state has completed a network of marine protected areas, the first in the nation, from Oregon to the Mexican border.
Efforts to restore the state’s depleted fish populations began well over a decade ago and resulted in the passing of the Marine Life Protection Act in 1999. Over the years, using a combination of the best available science and local stakeholder knowledge specific to each state region, the marine protected area network grew.
The Central Coast was finished first in 2007 and includes gems such as Point Arguello, home to tunas and rockfish, and critical for the recovery of southern sea otters. The North Central Coast followed in 2010, establishing greater protection for remarkable places like Point Reyes, home to 45 percent of North American bird species. South Coast marine protected areas went into effect in 2012, creating safe places for ocean wildlife to thrive in iconic places including Big Sur and La Jolla.
Today, the California network finally becomes complete as the North Coast marine protected areas go into effect. The 19 new North Coast underwater parks span from just south of Fort Bragg up to the Oregon border and cover about 13 percent of the region. They include Pyramid Point’s rugged coastline, Point St. George Reef—home to the second largest nesting seabird colony south of Alaska—and waters at the mouth of waterways such as Ten Mile River that are critical for salmon and steelhead populations.
These underwater parks are meant to be enjoyed. Many of the 19 new protected areas are located adjacent to public beaches and state parks, creating great opportunities for education, research and recreation—whether you’re looking to bird watch or kayak. For example, Pyramid Point at the northernmost tip of the rugged California coastline is popular for shore angling, beachcombing and kite flying.
The environmental problems we face seem insurmountable at times, but we must not grow discouraged. Today brings fresh hope for the future of California’s fisheries and the ocean beyond.
Click here to Watch a slide show celebrating California’s new underwater parks.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Elliott Negin
On July 8, President Trump hosted a White House event to unabashedly tout his truly abysmal environmental record. The following day, coincidentally, marked the one-year anniversary of Andrew Wheeler at the helm of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), first as acting administrator and then as administrator after the Senate confirmed him in late February.
By Tara Lohan
If you're a lover of wilderness, wildlife, the American West and the public lands on which they all depend, then journalist Christopher Ketcham's new book is required — if depressing — reading.
World hunger is on the rise for the third consecutive year after decades of decline, a new United Nations (UN) report says. The climate crisis ranks alongside conflict as the top cause of food shortages that force more than 821 million people worldwide to experience chronic hunger. That number includes more than 150 million children whose growth is stunted due to a lack of food.
By Adrienne L. Hollis
Because extreme heat is one of the deadliest weather hazards we currently face, Union of Concerned Scientist's Killer Heat Report for the U.S. is the most important document I have read. It is a veritable wake up call for all of us. It is timely, eye-opening, transparent and factual and it deals with the stark reality of our future if we do not make changes quickly (think yesterday). It is important to ensure that we all understand it. Here are 10 terms that really help drive home the messages in the heat report and help us understand the ramifications of inaction.
Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Senate Republican who has been a close ally of Donald Trump, did not mince words last week on the climate crisis and what he thinks the president needs to do about it.
By Marlene Cimons
Kyle Rosenblad was hiking a steep mountain on the island of Maui in the summer of 2015 when he noticed a ruggedly beautiful tree species scattered around the landscape. Curious, and wondering what they were, he took some photographs and showed them to a friend. They were Bermuda cedars, a species native to the island of Bermuda, first planted on Maui in the early 1900s.
By Grace Francese
You may know that many conventional oat cereals contain troubling amounts of the carcinogenic pesticide glyphosate. But another toxic pesticide may be contaminating your kids' breakfast. A new study by the Organic Center shows that almost 60 percent of the non-organic milk sampled contains residues of chlorpyrifos, a pesticide scientists say is unsafe at any concentration.