California Coast News

Study: Sunflower Sea Star Population in Peril

of large sunflower sea stars once abundant along the West Coast of North America, according to research by Cornell University and the University of California, Davis, in Science Advances.“At one time plentiful in nearshore waters, the sunflower sea stars right now cannot be found off the California coast and are rare into Alaska,” said Drew Harvell, Cornell professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, a co-lead author. “Numbers of the sea stars have stayed so low in the past three years, we consider them endangered in the southern part of their range, and we don’t have data

(Photo: NOAA)

Shipping Companies Recognized for Efforts to Save Whales

, Greater Farallones waters now extend from off Half Moon Bay north of Pt. Arena. Greater Farallones also manages the northern area of the Monterey Bay sanctuary, from Pt. Año Nuevo north to the Bay Area. Sanctuary waters protect significant natural and cultural resources off the North-central California coast, including various habitats and wildlife, including 36 species of marine mammals, such as whales, dolphins and porpoises; white sharks, the largest breeding seabird rookery in the Lower 48 States, and valuable fisheries. The sanctuary also protects several hundred shipwrecks

Map of Southern California coastline showing cliff retreat forecasts using 6.6 feet of sea level rise. Orange and red circles indicate extreme erosion beyond 167 feet. (Image: USGS)

Sea Level Rise Could Speed Erosion in Southern California

By the year 2100, coastal cliffs from Santa Barbara to San Diego might crumble at more than twice the historical rate. Why?U.S. Geological Survey scientists combined several computer models for the first time to forecast cliff erosion along the Southern California coast. Their peer-reviewed study published in a recent issue of the American Geophysical Union’s Journal of Geophysical Research - Earth Surface showed that for sea-level rise scenarios ranging from about 1.5 feet to 6.6 feet by 2100, bluff tops along nearly 300 miles of Southern California coasts could lose an average of 62 to 135

© Dawid S Swierczek / Adobe Stock

US' First Planned Floating Wind Farm Taking Shape

Plans for America’s first floating offshore wind farm are taking shape with the news that California’s Redwood Coast Energy Authority (RCEA) has selected a consortium to enter into a public-private partnership to develop the project off the Northern California coast.   The consortium is comprised of Principle Power Inc., EDPR Offshore North America LLC, Aker Solutions Inc., H. T. Harvey & Associates, and Herrera Environmental Consultants Inc. and was one of six respondents to a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) issued by the RCEA on February 1, 2018.   The proposed project

ROV Doc Ricketts is launched through the moon pool of its host ship, the R/V Western Flyer. (Photo: MBARI)

MBARI ROV Doc Ricketts Makes 1,000th Dive

California, Mexico.   The ROV’s milestone dive could not have taken place in a more picturesque place. MBARI researchers and scientists from the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary were revisiting an area called Sur Ridge, an underwater mountain about 37 kilometers (23 miles) off the California coast. During the dive, Doc Ricketts was monitoring deep-sea corals 1,281 meters below the surface.   The ongoing studies of deep-sea corals provide important information about the role these animals play within the biological communities they inhabit. Researchers monitor size, age, growth

© wanfahmy / Adobe Stock

Trump Aims to Open Nearly All US Offshore to Oil Drilling

oil spills,” said Kristen Monsell, ocean program legal director at the Center for Biological Diversity.   Coastal tourism business groups were girding for a long fight against the proposal, which comes as the Gulf Coast recovers from the Deepwater spill. The plan would open the California coast where drilling opposition has been fierce since a major oil spill in the 1960s soiled popular beaches.   Frank Knapp, founder of the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce, accused the federal agency of favoring the oil and gas sector over the tourism sector.   "

(Photo: Oceans Unmanned)

New Program Sets Out to Limit Drones’ Impact of Wildlife

."    The first two projects underway are a direct outreach campaign and an education partnership. Oceans Unmanned said it is working with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to distribute informational postcards about drone etiquette at coastal access points along the central California coast. In addition, Oceans Unmanned has partnered with DARTdrones, the national leader in drone training and consultation, in development of an ECO-Drone training module to educate drone operators at the beginning of their careers and businesses.   “DARTdrones is focused on training drone

The National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa (Photo: NOAA)

Energy Industry Says 'No Thanks' to Trump Offer of Marine Sanctuaries

.   While it is unclear how much oil the sanctuaries contain, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management estimates that the Pacific Offshore Continental Shelf holds 10 billion barrels – enough to last the United States nearly two years. Some of that oil may overlap with marine sanctuaries off California’s coast.   But the industry has little interest in drilling there.   “Our members are not currently pursuing this opportunity,” said Catherine Reheis-Boyd, the president of the Western States Petroleum Association, referring to four marine sanctuaries off California&rsquo

The new center will investigate key underwater and coastal archaeological sites around the world. (Photo: Scripps Institution of Oceanography)

Marine Archaeology Center Launched

Age collapse of the Mycenaean civilization led by Levy and Scripps paleobiologist Richard Norris in the summer of 2016.    Over the next two years, the center plans to launch a series of research projects in the eastern Mediterranean, southern Peru, Puerto Rico, Belize, and along the California coast.   “There are hidden coastlines all around the world where civilizations and cultures flourished, and so that’s the place that we want to sample when we do these studies,” said Levy, holder of the Norma Kershaw Chair in the Archaeology of Ancient Israel and Neighboring

Scripps alumnae Amber Jackson and Emily Callahan. (Photo: Theresa Stafford / Black Hand Gallery)

Diving Deep for Conservation

Amber Jackson and Emily Callahan reimagine the future of California’s oil and gas rigs with their organization Blue Latitudes   The California coast is lined with 27 offshore oil and gas rigs that can be seen jutting out across the horizon—a reminder of humans’ dependence on fossil fuels. Below the surface, however, these platforms are home to some of the most dynamic ecosystems in the world, harboring everything from mussels and scallops to garibaldi and rockfish. As many of these enormous rigs are approaching the end of their viable production lives, scientists, environmental

California Task Force Will Examine Offshore Renewables

Planning is underway for establishing an Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force between the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and the State of California to examine development opportunities for offshore renewable energy along the Golden State.   California Governor Jerry Brown requested formation of the task force in a May 12 letter to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell. The announcement was made during a BOEM-sponsored Offshore Wind Roundtable that brought together representatives from foreign governments, state policymakers, experts in offshore wind, and members of industry to

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