Marin County Chapter

Chapter News and Meeting Minutes

Meeting Minutes Dec 08, 2021


Coastal Recreation Hill Day 2021!

On March 10th and 11th, Surfrider delegates from across the nation participated in a virtual Coastal Recreation Hill day to speak to our representatives about ocean protection, clean water, plastic pollution, and more. Throughout the two days, members met with a record breaking number of 163 senate and house officers, some of which include Jared Huffman, Barbara Lee, and Mike Thompson who met with local Marin chapter delegates. Delegates specifically urged their representatives to support the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act and the BEACH act which have been supported and pushed for by Surfrider for years now. Though this year was virtual, it did not stop Surfrider members from making waves and working towards a better future for out oceans and coasts. To learn more, please check out Surfrider National’s article about the event that can be found here!

Become a Surfrider Intern!

Are you a high school or college student that is interested in getting involved with Surfrider and your community? Apply for Surfrider’s new internship program!

This is a project focused, unpaid, semester or year long internship that will offer academic credit. It will require an organized, self motivator who can attend chapter meetings, organize events, assist with community outreach, and more. Interns will be responsible for getting involved with the chapter, communicating regularly with Surfrider staff, contributing to social media/website, and more. Students who wish to apply must email the Marin County Chair at with the following:

-a 1-page letter of interest introducing yourself and explaining why you are an excellent choice for this internship

-a 1-page explanation of your project idea, including how the project relates to Surfrider’s mission

-a draft of the project budget (with $500 limit)

-any documentation provided by your school outlining the internship class or program requirements (ex. internship description, learning agreement, a predetermined list of learning objectives, etc.)

-contact information for two references

Please email for more details or if you have any questions. We look forward to hearing from you all!


Past Events

Annual Surfrider “Found Objects” Photo Contest!

Surfrider is putting on an annual found object photo contest from September 14th to October 16. We want you to share creative photos of things that you have found/cleaned up and share their story! Use #Surfriderfound and tag Surfrider in your post for a chance to win some super cool prizes.

September Was Coastal Cleanup Month!

Due to COVID-19, we encourage that you take this time as an opportunity to do personal cleanups at your local beaches or small group cleanups while maintaining a safe 6 foot distance! Although September has passed, we encourage members all over to continue participating in individual cleanups at their “local happy place!”

Chasing The Thunder

Event image

 On Saturday, August 22, 2020 we co-hosted a screening of Chasing the Thunder with the San Francisco Surfrider Chapter. Captain Paul Watson joined us for a Q and A and we had a Moderator led Panel with one of the Executive Producers & Directors, Mark Benjamin,  a scientist with Marine Applied Research & Exploration and advisor for the film, Natasha Benjamin, and  a San Francisco based sustainable fishmonger with Sea Forager, Kirk Lombard, moderated by Heidi Weiskel Ph.D, Marin County Chapter’s Treasurer.

      Stinson Beach Cleanup Sunday, March 1, 2020 11am North Parking Lot

Blackie’s Pasture cleanup

Saturday, April 2, 11am – 2:30pm


Stinson Beach cleanup –  Saturday, February 13


Marin County BWTF Fostering Student Scientists & Advocates

May 19 2015

The Marin County Chapter partners with two local high schools to conduct their BWTF water testing program.  Since 2007, the student scientists of the Branson School Water Quality Team, have been running a BWTF lab at their school under the supervision of a faculty advisor.  Surfrider volunteers have been collecting weekly water samples at Bolinas and Stinson Beach and Bay Front Park in Mill Valley and delivering them to Branson School where dedicated student volunteers process the samples in the lab and record the results online. 

Read the full story on the Surfrider website.

Surfrider and Tam High Water Testing Lab

October 24, 2014‏

Below are emails from Loren about getting Tam High involved with water quality testing:

Date: Fri, 24 Oct 2014 18:37:58 +0000
Subject: Fw: Surfrider and Tam High Water Testing Lab

Hey gang –
Good news. We have REAL interest from Tam High Life Sciences teacher Erin Ashley about setting up a new water testing lab at Tam High. She is a surfer, grew up in the San Diego, used to be a Surfrider member, and is about to start a Water Quality unit in January. They have a Life Sciences Lab, with lots of counter space, that they lock up every night. So we are moving onto the next step. Below is a summary of our discussion.
On Friday, October 24, 2014 11:27 AM, Loren Moore <> wrote:
Erin –
Great meeting with you yesterday. I think we are off to a good start. Let me briefly summarize what we discussed:
GREEN LIGHT – lets move onto the next step to establishing a water testing lab at Tam High. You were enthusiastic about the school having high quality testing equipment for the Life Sciences Water Quality Unit that you will begin in January. Surfrider Marin is excited about placing a second water testing lab in Marin to increase the number of water tests, locations and participation from students.
I will contact Surfrider National about exact equipment and supplies required, their costs and when they can be delivered. Surfrider Marin owns the task to obtain the equipment and supplies and insure their installation.
You will secure space for the equipment and supplies in the Life Sciences lab (the room where we met), which is a secure room that is locked every night.
Surfrider Marin will assist in obtaining instruction materials and expert help, such as the Branson water testing team, for training you and students involved in the testing.
You will begin talking up and recruiting responsible students who can regularly bring in water samples and others to conduct the tests.
You mentioned that next Fall you could apply for a mini-grant from the Tam High Foundation to help cover the costs of supplies for the next school year (mini-grants are only available in the Fall).
Again thanks for your interest and we will talk soon,
Loren Moore
Surfrider Foundation
Marin County Chapter


Bayfront Park Boat Dock Project vs Water Quality

March 7, 2014

Letter to the City of Mill Valley:

City of Mill Valley:
Regarding the Bayfront Park Boat Dock project, Surfrider Foundation Marin County Chapter wishes to raise the question of water quality of the Pickleweed Inlet and Richardson Bay.
Surfrider Foundation’s Blue Water Task Force program has partnered with the Branson School to systematically test the water quality of popular recreation areas of Marin County, including Bayfront Park. We test for enterococcus, a bacteria that grows in fecal matter. The water quality along Bayfront Park is “iffy” at best. We recommend rigorous evaluation of the water before proceeding with a project that would encourage more people to recreate in the waters along Bayfront Park.
Here is our evidence: from October 2010 through March 6, 2014, we have conducted 51 tests for enterococcus. Tests results are attached to this email. Number of tests with –
High bacteria
Medium bacteria
Low bacteria
Per our results, 39% of the time the water at Pickleweed Inlet is unsafe.
Again we recommend a rigorous evaluation of water quality before proceeding with the Bayfront Park Boat Dock project.
Thank you,
Loren Moore
Surfrider Foundation
Marin County Chapter


Help the victims of Typhoon Yolanda
Reliable Websites that are Accepting Donations
This list is compiled with Philipine-based organizations that are helping typhoon victims directly. 

As you already know, The Philippines was hit by a Category 5 typhoon, stronger than Hurricane Katrina that hit New Orleans. Many coastal cities have been severely hit and millions of people have lost everything. We have compiled a list of organizations that have been recommended by our Philippine colleagues overseas.Large organizations: organizations: Your donations through these local organizations will be funneled through to the purchase of food and supplies by people we are directly associated with:

Oplan Damayan (Project Open Hand)Thanks so much!!!Balikbayod and crew
Volunteer and Join Us for beginner surf sessions? Email run on volunteer power and through donations by you. Maraming/Daghan Salamat & Thank you for your continued support.

We run on volunteer power and through donations by you. Maraming/Daghan Salamat & Thank you for your continued support.


Pacific leatherback sea turtle is the official CA marine reptile
October, 2012

Assembly Bill No. 1776 was approved by Governor Jerry Brown on September 26, 2012 and filed by the Secretary of State on September 26, 2012, establishing the Pacific leatherback sea turtle as the official state marine reptile.

Existing law establishes the state flag and the state’s emblems, including, among other things, the poppy as the official state flower, the California redwood as the official state tree, and the California desert tortoise as the official state reptile.  This bill designates October 15, 2013, and every October 15 thereafter, as Pacific Leatherback Sea Turtle Conservation Day. The bill encourages public schools, state and federal agencies, nongovernmental agencies, fishers, coastal tour operators, and other interested stakeholders to engage in certain activities, as specified.

The Legislature acknowledges that the Pacific leatherback sea turtle population has experienced a catastrophic decline over the past two decades and might be on the verge of extinction.  The Legislature further acknowledges that Pacific leatherback sea turtles are among the most imperiled of any sea turtle population in any ocean basin on Earth and that populations of the Pacific leatherback sea turtle, a 100-million-year-old species that outlived the dinosaurs, have declined by approximately 90 percent in the last 25 years.

Pacific leatherback sea turtles foraging off the coast of California are part of a distinct Western Pacific breeding stock that nests on beaches in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands.  California’s coastal waters are high-use foraging areas for summer nesters from this critically endangered population of Pacific leatherback sea turtles, according to the National Marine Fisheries Service.

Satellite tracking conducted over the past decade has determined that after nesting hundreds of individual Pacific leatherback sea turtles swim more than 6,000 miles over 10 to 12 months to cross the Pacific to feed on jellyfish in California coastal waters every year.  The Pacific leatherback sea turtles’ trans-Pacific migration involved multiple years of migrating between California coastal waters during the summer and lower latitude wintering areas without returning to Western Pacific nesting beaches.  These movements and foraging strategies underscore the importance of and the need for ecosystem-based management and coordinated Pacificwide conservation efforts.

The Legislature supports efforts to recover and preserve the Pacific leatherback sea turtle population in oceanic feeding and migration areas, which are identified as important strategies for their continued survival.  On February 26, 2012, the National Marine Fisheries Service designated more than 16,000 square miles of California’s coastal waters, and a total of nearly 42,000 square miles along the United States West Coast, as critical habitat to protect high-use foraging areas and primary prey species for the endangered Pacific leatherback sea turtle under the federal Endangered Species Act.


State of California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Fish and Game Commission

On August 20,2012, the Commission received a petition to list the Northeast Pacific population of white sharks as threatened or endangered under CESA. On· August 27,2012, pursuant to Fish and Game Code Section 2073, the Commission transmitted the petition to the Department for review.

The Department has completed its review and pursuant to Fish and Game Code Section 2072.3 and Section 670.1 (d)(1) of Title .14 of the California Code of Regulations, the Department evaluated whether the Petition includes sufficient scientific information regarding each of the petition components. The Department evaluated the sufficiency of the scientific information presented in the Petition, using information in the petition as well as other relevant scientific information available at the time of review.

In completing its petition evaluation, Department has determined there is sufficient scientific information to indicate that the petitioned action may be warranted, and recommends the petition be accepted and considered.

Status of the Species

The Petition concludes that the white shark population of the NEP is in peril, white sharks are rare, and that protections are urgently needed. The Petition states that the white shark population off California is alarmingly low in size, and is genetically isolated from other global populations. Additionally, the Petition states there is an inherent extinction risk due to the likelihood that the NEP population is far below its minimum viable population size. The Petition acknowledges that the population is still in the process of being quantified but notes that direct and indirect human exploitation has likely resulted in a heavily depleted white shark population in the NEP and that populations in the NEP are considerably smaller than other regional populations worldwide using the same amount of coastal habitat.

The Petition states that white shark populations worldwide are in decline and, although population trends in the NEP are unknown, they are likely in decline. Following from cited population estimates for white shark in the NEP, the Petition concludes there is a substantial risk of extinction as the population is far below the minimum viable population (MVP) for most species. The Department agrees that the life history parameters as an apex predator make this species naturally low in abundance. Additionally, due to its low abundance and life history characteristics, white shark populations are difficult to track and measure with a high degree of statistical confidence. The Department agrees that white sharks are vulnerable to incidental fishing pressure, habitat loss and alteration, and other natural and anthropogenic pressures due to a low rate of population increase and naturally low abundance as an apex predator. The current status of the NEP white shark population is unknown. Despite recent advances, there are still large gaps in our understanding of the basic life history of white sharks such as age, growth and reproductive biology. Obtaining this knowledge may be slow due to the small population and restrictions imposed by important protections afforded to the species in recent decades. These factors limit samples to opportunistic interactions with commercial fisheries and non-lethal fishery-independent methods. However, the available literature focused on the NEP population of white sharks is much greater than what is available for other populations (e.g., the Australia/New Zealand population or the western South Africa population).

Although the overall status of the population is unknown, there are anecdotal indications that white shark populations off California in the NEP may actually be increasing as a result of increased fishery restrictions on gill net fisheries, and recovery of West Coast pinniped populations.

Incidental reported catch rates of young-of-the-year and juvenile white sharks have increased in southern California since the California nearshore gill net ban in 1994 and regulation of the offshore drift gill net fishery, despite a significant decrease in the overall gill net fishing effort since the mid-1990s. This suggests the white shark population off California may be increasing because of the reduced nearshore gill net fishing effort and white shark harvest protections in state and federal waters (Lowe et al. 2012). Recovery of other large nearshore-fish populations has also been documented as the result of nearshore gill net ban (Pondella and Allen 2008).

This pattern of increasing white shark interactions is also reflected in progressive increases in white shark bite mortality on sea otters (Lowe et al. 2012; Mike Harris pers. comm.).  Although these patterns are of interest, and may indicate an increase in white shark abundance, further fishery independent research is needed to better assess and understand population dynamics and the status of NEP white shark populations off California.


Surfrider Foundation West Coast Conference
Surfrider Marin sent three members (John Mellquist, Ginger Gmahling and Loren Moore) to Surfrider Foundation’s West Coast Conference held September 28 – 30 in Ventura, a gathering of 180 Surfrider activists from California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington and Texas. Experts from several fields presented details on prominent ocean issues, such as: the Five Gyres, plastic poisoning of our oceans, sea level rise, erosion, coastal retreat, and coastal restoration. At Wednesday night’s meeting John and Ginger will summarize the highlights of these issues and the conference in general.


Shark (Photo:NOAA)

Today, Friday, October 07, 2011, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law AB 376, which bans the sale and possession of shark fins in California.

This is a great step forward for sharks and the oceans and we thank Governor Brown for his important action. California now becomes the largest economy in the world to outlaw the destructive shark fin trade. It is also the 4th state in the United States to ban shark fins, joining Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington state, effectively shutting down the West Coast as a port, distribution center, and market for the shark fin trade.

Authored by Assemblymember Paul Fong (D- Mountain View) and Assemblymember Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael), California AB 376 makes it unlawful for any person to possess, sell, offer for sale, trade, or distribute a shark fin. The bill was sponsored by Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Asian Pacific American Ocean Harmony Alliance and supported by a diverse coalition of organizations that included Shark Savers and thousands of individuals.

“Shark Savers is proud to have worked within a coalition of a great organizations and alongside the voters and legislators of California to bring about this landmark protection of sharks,” said Michael Skoletsky, Executive Director of Shark Savers. “Sharks deserve this win and the California people and legislature deserve to be congratulated for protecting not only sharks, but also the ocean ecosystems.”

Sharks have been shown to be important to overall ocean health because, as the ocean’s apex predators, they contribute to keeping other species’ populations healthier and in proportion. Marine biologists have warned that, when shark populations are destroyed, the overall health of the ocean ecosystem declines rapidly and can ultimately collapse – a principle known as “trophic cascade.”

As essential as sharks are to the oceans, they are being dramatically overfished, primarily to fill market demand for their valuable fins. Shark fins are used for shark fin soup, a luxury food item sometimes served at weddings and banquets.

Tens of millions of sharks are killed each year, many of which are targeted for their fins. Many shark populations have been decimated by as much as 90%. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) reports that a full 1/3 of shark species face extinction. Sharks are especially vulnerable to aggressive overfishing because they reach sexual maturity only after years and produce relatively few offspring in a lifetime.

Polls indicated 70% of the Asian American community and 76% of California voters supported the shark fin ban. Despite this, AB 376 became an emotional battleground as shark fin lobbyists defended their interests and some members of the Asian community felt a shark fin ban unfairly impacted them.

However, Sue Chen, Director of Shark Savers, points out that, “Keeping shark populations healthy is in fact a powerful support of Asian culture and cuisine. Asian cuisine is rich in seafood. If you decimate the shark population, much of the seafood that we love in Asian cuisine and culture is certainly threatened. This is not an Asian issue, this is a human issue.”

A companion bill, AB 853. also passed thatallow sales of shark fin until July 1, 2013 for all fin stock on-hand prior to Jan.1, 2012.

Sharks have shaped marine life in the oceans for more than 400 million years and are essential to the health of our oceans, which are the lifeblood of our planet. Today’s ban on the shark fin trade in California gives sharks another chance to continue this valuable role in the oceans and the overall health of their ecosystems.

Shark researcher David McGuire of Fairfax started the effort to ban fin sales. He worked to get the town of Tiburon — which means “shark” in Spanish — to approve a proclamation in 2008 backing a Bel Aire School student effort to raise awareness about finning. He heads the Sea Stewards, an organization that works on shark conservation.

Mill Valley resident John McCosker, senior scientist and shark expert at the California Academy of Sciences, spoke out against the practice, saying finning irreparably hurts populations.


On April 6, AB 337, The California Ocean Protection Act established the Ocean Protection Council in state government. Existing law requires the council to develop and implement a specified voluntary sustainable seafood promotion program. The program, among other things, consists of a protocol, which is required to be developed in a transparent process and adopted by the council in a public meeting, to guide entities on how to be independently certified to internationally accepted standards for sustainable seafood, as defined, a marketing assistance program, and a competitive grant and loan program. It prohibits seafood produced through aquaculture or fish farming from being certified as sustainable under these provisions until nationally or internationally accepted sustainability standards have been developed and implemented.

For more information, go to:


Full story at: