Posts by AnnieSmith

Colorado – The Inland Ocean (Youth Guest Blog)

Posted by on Apr 12, 2016 in Remi's Blog, TopStory | 0 comments

Local youth and river/ocean lover, Grace, recently interviewed the Colorado Ocean Coalition’s founder, Vicki Nichols Goldstein, to discuss her organization and the reasons why an inland community can affect the health of our oceans.  Colorado – The Inland Ocean By: Grace C. An ocean in Colorado? Well, we are all downstream. In Colorado, we have a special responsibility when it comes to protecting water quality. That’s because we’re a “headwater state,” which means that the snowfall in our mountains is a major source of water for eighteen states and parts of Mexico. (Colorado the Headwater State) I had the chance to go to the Making WAVES conference and learn about what the Colorado Ocean Coalition (COCO) is doing to help not only our water, but the water that flows to other states and eventually the ocean. In fact, Colorado is so important that Rep. Mark Stone from California named Boulder a ‘California Inland Ocean Community.’ Vicki Goldstein from COCO says that, “The health of the ocean is connected to the health of our rivers and waterways. By being good stewards of the water that we have we make the ocean and the planet better places too.” The truth is, no matter where you live your day to day activities end up having an effect on not only your local water supply, but the waters downstream and eventually the ocean. At the conference I had the privilege to listen to people who love the ocean give lectures about how we can help it. I learned a few things I didn’t know before, like what really happens to plastic in the ocean, how to make trash into art, how to reduce plastic pollution and how I can help the ocean. One amazing opportunity that I had at the conference was to hear and meet Mr. Fabien Cousteau, grandson of the legendary Jacques Cousteau. Mr. Cousteau talked about his Mission 31 and his organization called Plant a Fish which strives to help people protect and marvel at the world around them. His lecture was all about protecting the ocean, “planting marine life and plants in ecologically stressed areas and educating local communities about the ocean.” (Cousteau) I also heard Stephanie from Green Apple Supply talk about plastics in the ocean. Plastic, once thought to take thousands of years to break down, actually breaks down quite fast in the warm ocean water, but it doesn’t go away completely. Instead it turns into tiny bits of plastic that fish eat and then they die, sea birds also eat the plastic as well as larger marine fish and mammals. The plastic can get so bad that it disrupts algae and plankton growth and that makes the whole food web go out of balance. But, plastic is not the only culprit that makes it to the ocean from our water supply. A lot of chemicals and microbeads make their way into our local watershed. Chemicals from pills we take and things we put into our lawns get flushed into the system. Microbeads, which are found in bath and beauty products, also get flushed or washed into the system. The sewage treatment plants are not equipped to take out all of these chemicals and plastic pollution and it ends up getting washed downstream to the next community. If you think that a few pills and microbeads here and there don’t add up, Mrs. Goldstein from COCO has this to say, “The water quality gets worse as it flows downstream. 5,000 square miles at Gulf of Mexico is a dead zone, that is the end of our watershed. This means that nothing lives...

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The National Ocean Policy is here…but will it stay?

Posted by on Mar 16, 2016 in TopStory | 0 comments

The National Ocean Policy is here…but will it stay?   This past week, two of the Colorado Ocean Coalition (COCO) Ocean Ambassador (OA) Candidate’s, Danielle Duncan and Kara Wiggin attended the Healthy Oceans Coalition’s National Ocean Policy Advocacy Training in Savannah, GA. They learned how to be advocates of the National Ocean Policy to their local representatives and the public.  ​The other trainees included members from the Sierra Club, the Conservation Law Foundation, Island Institute, Ocean Conservation Research, Surfrider, and others. COCO’s OA Candidates were invited to attend on behalf of COCO.  Kara and Danielle were the only two inland representatives that participated! With this upcoming election year, the National Ocean Policy (NOP) may be at risk.  Since the NOP was passed as an Executive Order by President Obama, a new 2016 president has the power to overturn it. But, the NOP’s plan is strong and has the potential to be enforced within the states, with or without the executive order. ​​ In July 2010, President Obama signed an Executive Order establishing an integrated National Policy for the Stewardship of the Ocean, Our Coasts and the Great Lakes, know as the National Ocean Policy (NOP). The NOP provides a framework to better coordinate and integrate the 140 laws and 20+ agencies that currently manage our ocean and its invaluable resources. The NOP creates collaborative opportunities for federal and state agencies to work together, uses science-based decision-making, and allows stakeholders a voice. The NOP is good for the environment AND good for the economy.     The NOP creates a set of nine priority objectives and management actions: Ecosystem-Based Management: Adopt ecosystem-based management as a foundational principle for comprehensive management of the ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes. Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning: Implement comprehensive, integrated, ecosystem based coastal and marine spatial planning and management in the United States. Inform Decisions and Improve Understanding: Increase knowledge to continually inform and improve management and policy decisions and the capacity to respond to change and challenges. Better educate the public through formal and informal programs about the ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes. Coordinate and Support: Better coordinate and support Federal, State, tribal, local, and regional management of the ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes. Improve coordination and integration across the Federal Government and, as appropriate, engage with the international community. Resiliency and Adaptation to Climate Change and Ocean Acidification: Strengthen resiliency of coastal communities and marine and Great Lakes environments and their abilities to adapt to climate change impacts and ocean acidification. Regional Ecosystem Protection and Restoration: Establish and implement an integrated ecosystem protection and restoration strategy that is science-based and aligns conservation and restoration goals at the Federal, state, tribal, local and regional levels. Water Quality and Sustainable Practices on Land: Enhance water quality in the ocean, along our coasts, and in the Great Lakes by promoting and implementing sustainable practices on land. Changing Conditions in the Arctic: Address environmental stewardship needs in the Arctic Ocean and adjacent coastal areas in the face of climate-induced and other environmental changes. Ocean, Coastal, and Great Lakes Observations, Mapping, and Infrastructure: Strengthen and integrate Federal and non-Federal ocean observing systems, sensors, data collection platforms, data management, and mapping capabilities into a national system, and integrate that system into international observation efforts. Support the National Ocean...

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Offshore Drilling is the Fracking of the Sea – Let’s be ready to Vote the Coast!

Posted by on Feb 25, 2016 in TopStory | 0 comments

Offshore Drilling is the Fracking of the Sea: Let’s be ready to Vote the Coast!   Super Tuesday is just a few days away. Join the Colorado Ocean Coalition (COCO) and the Sea Party Coalition to oppose offshore oil drilling. This election year is pivotal to the health of our ocean planet. Our next president can protect our ocean, or open up the east coast and the Arctic to offshore drilling. Check out Where the Candidates Stand on Offshore Oil and be ready to vote for clean renewable energy. Support candidates who oppose dirty, dangerous fossil-fuels obtained from offshore oil drilling and development. Offshore oil drilling contributes to climate change, threatens marine life, and can harm our nation’s coastal economy and way of life. The Colorado SCUBA diving community, the largest consortium of inland U.S. divers, sees first hand the destruction that offshore oil drilling has on their favorite diving spots. Leaks, blowouts, and catastrophic spills harm fragile ocean ecosystems. That’s why so many towns and cities along the coast have passed resolutions opposing offshore drilling.  COCO unites people to protect oceans from a mile high. With our watershed to the sea connection, the ocean is closer than you think. Between climate change, ocean acidification, air pollution and interrelated environmental problems, we all have a responsibility to raise our voices against actions that harm our natural environment. Please, vote the coast.   Organizations: Sea Party Coalition 2016  Colorado Ocean Coalition Blue Frontier Blue the Dive Article:  Where the Candidates Stand on Offshore...

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Watershed Health

Posted by on Nov 18, 2015 in Got Ocean? | 0 comments

Watershed Health The Boulder Creek Watershed is a series of rivers and streams that flow together based on the natural ridge lines of this region. Fortunately for Boulder, the Arapahoe Glacier snow melt is the primary source for this watershed and municipal water supply. We literally reside at the headwater of the ocean. Nonetheless, the Boulder Creek Watershed consists of 50% to 90% effluent based on water flow level. Despite this proximity to pristine glacial melt and the modernized process of the City of Boulder’s Wastewater Treatment Facility, the Boulder Creek Watershed is riddled with products and chemicals that cannot be filtered at this time: 1) microplastics, 2) biochemicals from consumer medications, and 3) nitrous agricultural and lawn runoff just to name a few culprits that compromise our local water supply. aka Kath / Foter.com / CC BY This is as good as it gets. From Boulder, literally the water quality only goes downhill. By the time the Boulder Creek Watershed merges into the Platt River Watershed and ultimately the Mississippi Watershed its refuse exits directly into the Gulf of Mexico. Of the toxins and plastic waste released, scientists estimate that 80% of this contamination comes from an inland source. The final impact is monitored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as this poor water quality has created a “dead zone” due to hypoxia (“water” depleted of oxygen) where life ceases to exist. This dead zone ranges in size from 5,000 – 7,000 square miles, approximately the size of Connecticut. Go Back to the “Got Ocean” Campaign...

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The Shift is Easy

Posted by on Nov 18, 2015 in Got Ocean? | 0 comments

The Shift Is Easy COCO asks this holiday season that you recognize your connection to and impact on the ocean’s watershed.  Please shift your buying habits and purchase products that have low impact on our local water quality.  An easy place to start is with kitchen and bathroom products that are effective, safe, and keep you and our watershed healthy.  Following is a short list of my personal favorites, but please note that COCO does not endorse, promote, receive commission, or non-profit benefit of any kind by suggesting these brands.  The only benefit is to your and our watershed health. Kitchen Bath & Shower Where to Buy                 (alphabetical list) Dishwasher: Biokleen Dishwasher Powder Handsoap: Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Handsoap  Alfalfa’s                                       Biokleenhome.com           Econaturalsoap.com           Honest.com                                   Lucky’s Market                              luckyvitamin.com                      Natural Grocers/Vitamin Cottage                               Pharmaca                                       Sprouts Market                                  Whole Foods Market                                                                                                   Liquid Dish Soap: ECOs Dishmate – Almond Body Wash: Honest Shampoo and Body Wash Counter-top Spray: ECO’s All-surface Cleaner Shampoo: Alba Botanicals (various products for healthy, dry, brittle, treated or curly hair) Sink Scrub: Bon Ami Powder Scrub Conditioner: Alba Botanicals (various products for healthy, dry, brittle, treated or curly hair) Fruit and Veggie Wash: Citrus Magic, The Honest Company Skin Exfoliant: Alba Botanicals Acnedote Face and Body Scrub; MyChelle Natural Enzyme and Exfoliant Wash Go Back to the “Got Ocean” Campaign...

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