Today we are attending the 1st planning session for the 2015 Watershed Counts report. Last year we provided two articles in the 2014 Watershed Counts report on page 23 and page 24 about our long terms goals for permanent year-round clean water and improving ocean health by changing human behavior to eliminate trash on the shoreline and in the ocean. You can see the report here. Some of the ideas we are going to share today include (1) Public awareness and education of the more stringent EPA standards for water quality at beaches that will be in place for summer 2015, (2) The connection of public access and water quality and how to bridge the gap, (3) The momentum building for improving watershed health to reduce nutrient levels impacting macro-algae in the near shore zone, (4) Partnership with other organizations in the northeast that are facing similar environmental challenges.
Last night at the Friend of the Waterfront (FOW) Board Meeting we achieved approval to establish a long term collaborative effort of FOW&COA to formally adopt the seventeen (17) CRMC rights of way to the shoreline in the Newport Harbor. This is a great step for a lasting relationship for FOW/COA/CRMC and the City of Newport to protect, preserve and maintain public access to the shoreline. There are many GREAT opportunities that will come about with this initiative. Thank you to all the COA volunteers who have been monitoring access points since 2008; it is your hard work, dedication and effort that has created a program that has respect, recognition and integrity. THANK YOU!
Last weekend we received the best news possible from the IRS; they have approved our application for non-profit status!!! About a year ago we asked the community how COA should move forward, it was agreed to establish a board of directors, create bylaws, apply for non-profit status and become a sustainable organization such that our mission lasts forever. Our next big step is to have a successful fundraiser on October 4th so that we can pay the operating costs and salary to keep the boat afloat. Thank you!
Our approach for the “CLEAN” part of COA is to solve the problem of marine debris on our shoreline and improving ocean health starts with people connecting with each other, outside, doing good things. The conversations that happen outside on the shoreline cover the entire spectrum and it definitely isn’t just about trash! Thank you to the nearly 200 volunteers, 11 beach captains and 1 AWESOME data entry volunteer (Nicol!) for doing a great job this past weekend. Every type of trash we find on our shoreline is an entire initiative in itself to solve, this is why we became a non-profit organization, and with your help and positive energy, we will make sure this is a great place to live, visit and work for future generations. Thank you!