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How Do You Save An Ecosystem? OC Hopes To Fund New Organization Aimed Towards Coastal Conservation

Published by Connor Wesson on March 9, 2022

Following the oil spill off the coast of Huntington Beach, California in early October 2021, local coastal ecosystems are beginning their long road to recovery. Senator Newman (CA) recently introduced a bill aimed towards the creation of a new organization to conserve and restore these areas.

Key Points:

  • Huntington Beach oil spill threatens coastal habitats and threatens endangered wildlife.

  • SB 1036 - New legislation that would provide funding for brand new conservation efforts along the Orange County coastline.

  • The future of Southern California wetlands faces challenges, though efforts to preserve and protect them provide hope.

The Damage

When I heard the news of an oil spill in Huntington, I knew I had to rush down to the coast with my camera. I remember calling my partner immediately, grabbing our cameras, and rushing down to the beach. Upon arriving along the sunny coastline, rainbow streaks of oil could be seen in all of the surrounding waterways.

We watched as wildlife rescue teams lifted carriers into their trucks as they tried to save impacted coastal birds like the endangered western snowy plover. There were also oil resistant booms strewn across the marsh entrances in an effort to stop further contamination deeper into the area.

The booms used to contain the Huntington Beach Oil spill helped prevent continuous damage to the marshes. ( Ringo H.W. Chiu / Associated Press )

Hopes for Recovery

The wetlands of Huntington Beach cover roughly 180 acres alongside PCH and Huntington State Beach. ( Pictured: Talbert Marsh / March 2022 )

Now, just over six months later the fight to protect these areas has moved from the coastline and into courtrooms. The introduction of SB 1036 by Senator Newman (CA) is a major step towards gaining funding and support on behalf of Orange County's wetlands.

SB 1036 - What you should know:

  • Allocates 12 million dollars to the Orange County Conservation Corps in order to establish and implement the California Ocean Corps, a division dedicated to providing opportunities to contribute to ocean conservation for young people.

  • The chapter is to only remain in effect until January 1, 2027.

  • Determined a special statute because the oil spill in Orange County has created an urgent need of assistance for the recovery of the coast.

"The California Ocean Corps shall not be considered a local conservation corps program. It is the intent of the Legislature that the California Ocean Corps create and facilitate work and training opportunities to be as expansive and accessible as practicable outside the existing operating structure of the local conservation corps."

Education and conservation going hand in hand, the creation of the California Ocean Corps would be a great support for the entire California coastline.

California Wetlands Moving Forward

Across the state of California, over 91% of the region's total wetland acreage has been lost since the time of European settlement. Should SB 1036 pass legislation, it would be a major win for the wetland ecosystems still existing today.


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