Letter: Bluebelt Supports AB 65 for Sea-level Rise and Green Infrastructure

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The Laguna Bluebelt Coalition supports AB 65, introduced by Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris, to significantly invest in the use of natural, or “green,” infrastructure along the coast of California.

Working together with individuals and organizations, the Laguna Bluebelt Coalition is dedicated to protecting and restoring Laguna Beach’s State Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) with natural processes. Restoration of tide pools, wetlands and kelp forests capable of sequestering atmospheric carbon is the foundation for coastal green infrastructure. Key to our success is improvements in ocean water quality by reducing anthropogenic impacts such as urban runoff and secondary sewage discharges along the coast.

A dramatic increase in local marine mammal strandings and deaths is alarming evidence we must take multiple steps to address Harmful Algae Blooms (HABs) fed by “nutrient-rich” discharges. As HABs die off, oxygen is removed from seawater leading to Domoic Acid (DO) poisoning of thousands of fish and marine mammals. Dense HABs also retain heat adding to recent elevated sea surface temperatures as ocean waters expand, much like slowly boiling water in a pan, leading to sea level rise.

Along with companion legislation introduced by California Senate Majority Leader Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys), SB 332, the Local Water Reliability Act, would reduce the amount of treated wastewater dumped into the ocean each year and set bold goals for recycling and reuse consistent with Laguna Beach’s Sept. 16, 2014 resolution to modernize the Coastal Treatment Plant.

AB 65 will continue to broaden California’s diverse approach in mitigating climate change, as there is no one solution to this developing crisis. A healthy ocean determines California’s thriving economy and world class quality of life. The State’s eco-nomy depends on a sustainable ecology and courageous leadership.

The community of Laguna Beach will suffer enormous consequences as rising sea levels inundate lower elevations in the downtown areas and beaches. Local coastal properties will also be impacted along with our health in the presence of HABs and Domoic Acid outbreaks. Legislation, such as AB 65 and SB 332, is essential in shaping the future and health of Laguna Beach’s legendary Bluebelt ocean waters, annually attracting over six million visitors from around the world.

As we integrate land and ocean systems with sound science, multiple tools, techniques and technologies implemented with a sense of urgency can support investments in green and gray infrastructure to preserve and protect the California coast. The Laguna Bluebelt Coalition supports AB 65 and remains ready to add to this landmark effort whenever and wherever is necessary. Please join us to support green investments.

Mike Beanan, Laguna Bluebelt co-founder

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  1. Dissolved oxygen die-offs and domoic acid are different issues.
    The loss of dissolved oxygen in the water due to blooms can lead to fish die-offs. A specific species of plankton Pseudo-nitzschia can produce the biotoxin domoic acid that can bioaccumulate in fish and shellfish resulting in poisoning of marine mammals and birds.

  2. No less a non-authority than Secretary of State (formerly) John Kerry categorically stated that even IF the US and Europe stopped using all fossil fuels, it would make no difference. This is because China, India, Africa, and South America are disproportionately poor and continue to grow economically by burning more and more fossil fuel, wood, and producing more concrete for roads and buildings. So this, like everything Al Gore’s Faithful proposes is doomed to expensive failure.


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