The Blog Aquatic » natural resources http://blog.oceanconservancy.org News, opinions, photos and facts from Ocean Conservancy Thu, 28 Aug 2014 17:32:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 Next Steps in Gulf Recovery: Restoring Region’s Health and Livelihoods http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/07/26/next-steps-in-gulf-recovery-restoring-regions-health-and-livelihoods/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/07/26/next-steps-in-gulf-recovery-restoring-regions-health-and-livelihoods/#comments Fri, 26 Jul 2013 14:25:39 +0000 Bethany Kraft http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=6409 shrimp boat

Credit: Bethany Kraft / Ocean Conservancy

With yesterday’s news that Halliburton intentionally destroyed evidence related to the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, we are seeing that the truth about that disaster is still coming out. The company’s callousness at least has one bright side—it will provide more resources to an important restoration organization. But this isn’t enough.

The people of the Gulf are still suffering from this tragedy.

Three years ago, I found myself at a late-night community meeting on the coast in Alabama to discuss the oil disaster. At that point, oil was still spewing uncontrolled from the wellhead and huge portions of the Gulf were closed to fishing—meaning that thousands of people were out of a job and countless more were unable to enjoy doing the things they’d always taken for granted, like fishing, boating and swimming in the Gulf.

About an hour in, a broad-shouldered, weathered man stood up to discuss what this disaster meant for him. He explained that he made his living as a fisherman and now couldn’t afford to feed his family. As he talked, his voice began to break, and he struggled to keep talking through the tears. It was then that I knew this disaster was deeper than the sheen on the water; it was in the hearts of each Gulf resident.

I think about him often. I think about how we all felt during that awful summer. I remember how unsure we were that life would ever be the same.

I know it’s easy to forget how fearful we were when the oil was gushing. But the truth is we were and still are feeling the impacts of that summer. Luckily, there is a process called the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA). The purpose of the assessment is to compensate the people of the Gulf for the impacts to our natural resources and our lost use and enjoyment of those resources.

Funding to restore the Gulf of Mexico should fully compensate the public for their losses and include the marine environment where the spill happened in the first place. Unfortunately, the money available for this process could be used for projects that don’t help fix the damage done.

We need the NRDA Trustees to spend Gulf restoration funds on bringing back the health and livelihoods of the Gulf region.

NRDA funds are intended to support projects like:

  • Restoring fisheries
  • Restoring oyster reefs
  • Constructing living shorelines
  • Restoring dunes damaged in the BP response effort
  • Enhancing nesting areas for seabirds and turtles
  • Restoring sea grass beds

Right now, we have the opportunity to make sure the trustees listen to the people of the Gulf. They need to understand we won’t stand by and watch funding get misused on projects that don’t work to restore the natural resources we rely on every day.

Ocean Conservancy’s goal is to send 1,000 public comments from Gulf state residents to the trustees before the comment period ends on Aug. 2. If you live in the Gulf or know someone who does, please share this message and help ensure that funding to restore the Gulf is used for its intended purposes for years to come.

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Making Waves as Ocean Conservancy’s New President and CEO http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/02/04/making-waves-as-ocean-conservancys-new-president-and-ceo/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/02/04/making-waves-as-ocean-conservancys-new-president-and-ceo/#comments Mon, 04 Feb 2013 12:00:34 +0000 Andreas Merkl http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=4448 Andreas Merkl

Photo: Paolo Vescia / Ocean Conservancy

As is the case with many career paths, my journey toward joining Ocean Conservancy as President and CEO is a long and circuitous one, and it begins with a childhood spent playing along the Rhine River in Cologne, Germany. Inspired by the post-war environmental awakening in industrial northern Germany, I knew I wanted to dedicate my life to conservation.

When I graduated from high school, my father gave me 3,000 Deutsche Marks and told me to leave out of the front door of the house and return at the back door, taking the long way around. As naïve as it sounds, I started my “walkabout” in the United States by sticking my thumb in the air outside the arrivals terminal of New York City’s JFK airport and eventually hitchhiked my way across the country.

I ended up finding a more permanent home in San Francisco, where I’ve spent nearly four decades working in environmental conservation and natural resource management. That is, until last month, when I made one more long-distance move—this time to settle in Washington, D.C., and begin making some waves at an organization I’ve long admired.

Today is my first day at the helm, and I’m inspired and honored to be leading efforts to tackle the ocean’s biggest challenges. Ocean Conservancy had a banner year in 2012, and I hope to learn from those victories and build on them.

Last year, Ocean Conservancy helped protect polar bears, seals and walruses by pushing for a timeout on oil and gas activity in the Arctic. We completed the nation’s first statewide network of marine parks in California, and helped pass the RESTORE Act, which will direct much-needed funds toward restoring the marshes, fisheries and habitats of the Gulf of Mexico.

As always, Ocean Conservancy mobilized volunteers all over the world to clean debris from beaches and waterways during the International Coastal Cleanup. But in 2012, we did even more in our work toward trash free seas, including the launch of a mobile app, Rippl™, to help consumers make wise choices to reduce their impact on the ocean.

In the last year and over the last four decades, Ocean Conservancy has made great strides in finding solutions to problems that face the ocean. But our work is far from over.

We must continue to protect and restore ecosystems in the Arctic, the Gulf of Mexico and along the Pacific Coast; promote productive and sustainable fisheries; fight for trash free seas; ensure comprehensive ocean planning; and begin critical work to address increasing acidity levels in the ocean. This is a world-class platform for growth.

The ocean is at the very center of the central challenge of our time: how to meet the enormous resource demands of a rapidly growing global population without destroying the natural systems that sustain us. In every aspect of this challenge—food, energy, climate and protection of our natural resources—our ability to manage our impacts on the ocean will make the crucial difference in sustaining the resources that we need to survive.

Ocean Conservancy should be at the very center of these issues. We cannot afford to stand still as threats to our ocean increase and the window to preserve the functionality, resiliency and vitality of the ocean closes.

As CEO, I pledge to redouble Ocean Conservancy’s efforts to foster new ideas and embrace an invigorated spirit to tackle the ocean’s biggest challenges with science-based solutions.

I am fortunate to be working with such a great team of colleagues, partners and friends worldwide to help shape a sustainable ocean future. I am confident that together we will continue our legacy of success for years to come.

I invite you to join me in this commitment to fight for a healthy, thriving ocean. I plan on making some waves. How about you?

 

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