If you are a Surfrider member who’s membership or donations are $50 or more annually then you have probably received the new Surfrider hard copy journal The Drop in the mail. The document contains information on what’s happening on a large scale with Surfrider, as well as regional updates from field staff throughout the United States. If you are currently not a member please sign-up so you can receive The Drop, support Surfrider’s mission, and be part of a network of activists working for our oceans and beaches. Below is an update on marine spatial planning (MSP) featured recently in The Drop.
The Drop: Recreation Preservation
The Pacific coast of Washington is truly a special place. Boasting numerous offshore sea stacks and cathedral temperate rain forests, giving it a wild and untamed feel, the northern coast attracts the most avid kayakers and wildlife viewers. The southern coast, on the other hand, provides miles upon miles of sandy beaches, perfect for beach walking and access to sports like surfing and kiteboarding. To preserve and protect this iconic coastline and the access to great recreational opportunities, Surfrider activists play a critical role in helping to secure funding and raise awareness of a state ocean planning process called Marine Spatial Planning (MSP).
Offshore energy development and extractive industries such as ocean mining pose a potential conflict with existing coastal uses such as recreation, fishing, and the shellfish industry leading the state to address the need to better understand where these uses occur, and prioritize their protection.. In 2013, Surfrider activists wrote letters, sent action alerts, and met with elected officials, advocating their support to fund MSP. This proved successful as the planning process was funded by the legislature to the tune of $3.7 million.. Without Surfrider chapters involvement in the campaign and their drive for long-term solutions for coastal preservation, this funding may have never been allocated.
Surfrider’s primary role with MSP is to represent recreational ocean users, while also supporting strong ecological preservation. From the funding allocation, Surfrider was able to launch a non-consumptive coastal recreational-use study that accurately characterized the spatial and economic importance of recreation along the Washington Coast. The study was launched in May 2014 and ran through February 2015, with a final report released in May 2015. Following the release, results from the study have been presented to visitors’ bureaus, Washington Surfrider chapters, marine resource committees, and local chambers of commerce. The response has been very positive due to an open and credible process, as well as the robust results and the value they provide to the state and coastal communities in helping shape their future vision.
After gathering data from approximately 6500 completed surveys, we learned Washington State residents contributed $481 million to the Washington economy from non-consumptive recreational uses and trip related expenditures in 2014. The average amount spent per trip, per respondent was $117.14.
The study reflects the value of recreation on a breathtaking coast and will be a strong tool to help protect what we love today and for future generations. Without Surfrider activists’ engagement in the effort to secure MSP funding and their active promotion of the survey, we would not have achieved such a huge win for the Washington Coast. . Surfrider’s involvement in molding a vision for the coast, and building a comprehensive plan for Washington’s ocean resources through the MSP process, will continue through the final draft of the plan, including promoting opportunities for activist comments and actions. For more information on marine spatial planning in Washington and to download the recreational use study, please visit: washington.surfrider.org/rec-use/