It’s been another great year with the Surfrider Foundation Washington Chapters, thanks in large part to our awesome chapter leaders, members, partners and dedicated staff! Below are a few of the highlights, and a few teasers for what’s on the horizon for defending our ocean, waves and beaches and coastal quality of life here in Washington.

Our new Washington Regional Manager, Amelia Brown

Transitions in WA Surfrider Staff – It was an active year for the staff at Surfrider in Washington. In March, we saw longtime WA Coastal Program Manager Casey Dennehy depart to take on a new challenge with the Dept. of Ecology. In August, WA Field Manager Brice Boland decided to relocate with his family to the sunnier slopes around Lake Tahoe. Together, these two guys had been key cornerstones of our leadership and chapter growth in Washington over the past 7 years. While we were sad to see them go, we appreciate all of their contributions and are excited to see where their next adventures take them. Fortunately, we were able to fill the field manager role with a fresh new face in short order with the hiring of Amelia Brown as our new WA Regional Manager. Amelia has done a great job of getting up to speed in a short amount of time and is working closely with our chapter leaders around the state to improve best practices at the chapter level, grow our statewide membership, and more!

2019 Environmental Lobby Day on the Capital steps with Governor Inslee. All five WA Surfrider Chapters and the Western Washington University Club sent representatives to participate in constituent meetings with their legislators.

Ramping Up Our Advocacy in Olympia and D.C.- It was a busy and successful year in Olympia with the state legislature holding their long session. Thanks to Surfrider WA chapters’ active engagement, we helped to make some really good progress in addressing chronic sources of plastic pollution that will set up opportunities in the coming years, including pushing a statewide plastic bag ban over the finish line in 2020. We also continued to increase our advocacy in the other capital of Washington D.C. by sending a delegation of chapter leaders as part of the Surfrider-led Ocean Recreation Hill Day to focus on clean water, plastic pollution, and stopping offshore drilling.

Executive Committee members from the five Washington Chapters at our annual EC retreat

Engaging Coastal Leaders Towards a Movement for Ocean Protection – Supporting our chapter executive committees and continuing to engage the network of coastal conservationists via the Surfrider Leadership Academy was a significant focus for us again this past year. With numerous retreats, monthly training opportunities, and participation at the Surfrider National Summit, we have been working hard to increase chapter knowledge and effectiveness to continue our movement for enhanced stewardship and coastal conservation in Washington State.

South Sound OFR Coordinator Ranell Nystrom shares the stoke of eliminating single use plastic with the owners of Devil’s Reef in Tacoma

Reducing Plastic Pollution one Ocean Friendly Restaurant at a time- Businesses in Washington and across the country are focusing more and more on how they can reduce waste while cutting costs. Surfrider’s Ocean Friendly Restaurant program works to assist business owners in doing just that, while promoting the business and working on cost-effective methods. Four of our Washington chapters have ongoing OFR programs and this program has experienced significant growth over the past two years. Find an Ocean Friendly Restaurant near you!

The wild Washington coast is a special place worth protecting!

Looking Ahead to 2020- While it’s always hard to predict the future, we know that things are going to ramp up quickly with the legislative session starting in mid-January. With one of our major legislative priorities of reducing plastic pollution teed up in the form of a statewide plastic bag ban, we will be joining our friends and partners at the Environmental Lobby Day in Olympia on January 30th! If you are interested in attending or would like more info, please contact Amelia. We are also keeping a close eye on potential next steps and efforts to reduce nutrient pollution from wastewater treatment facilities throughout the Salish Sea. Our network of coastal defenders will also be keeping their ear to the ground on recent conversations to develop a golf course at Westport Light State Park. We will make sure that ocean and coastal recreation continues to have a seat at the table on various stakeholder advisory committees. Additionally, we will continue making strides towards increasing our focus on the impacts of climate change on our ocean, shorelines and coastal communities via education, awareness, and action towards resiliency for future generations.

Join Surfrider and get active with your local chapter today! Surfrider Foundation’s strength stems from our powerful grassroots network of dedicated activists. We are the most effective ocean/coastal NGO that has members and supporters actively engaged in coastal issues, with one foot in the sand and one in the water. Join or renew your membership with Surfrider today!

Thank you for all of your support in 2019. Our chapters and staff cannot do the critical work we do without support from community partners and committed coastal defenders like you. Happy Holidays, and see you all in 2020! – The Washington Surfrider Team