Sunday, May 07, 2006

Redirecting open-space advocates to a blue cause

In May 5, 2006 Laguna Beach Independent
Describing damage to Aliso County Beach and its tidepools from contaminated water, Michael Beanan, a long-serving South Laguna Civic Association board member, challenged council candidates to come up with their own ocean-protecting plans at a Monday meeting of the Laguna Canyon Conservancy.
The guest speaker maintained “it is possible to restore a depleted coastal habitat if local communities form a vision and take productive action.”
Beanan also told the meeting of about 100 environmentalists that financially Lagunans should be motivated to act, as “on-going ocean water pollution at the Montage Resort will soon detract from making this a destination resort and our city’s bed tax revenues will certainly suffer once ‘Laguna’s dirty little secret’ is well known.”
He challenged “Save the Canyon” environmentalists, who have done so much to preserve a greenbelt of open space around Laguna, to take on an equally ambitious goal, saving the Laguna “bluebelt.”
“The bluebelt, of course, is the incredible ocean ecology and beaches, which define Laguna Beach, but is suffering from years of pollution and neglect,” Beanan said, which has destroyed kelp forests from Santa Barbara to Mexico.
“But it gets worse. Urban runoff transports soap in the form of phosphates and fertilizer,” he said. “No kelp. No sea life. Lots of mucky water. No fun. And it gets even worse. When large areas of algae blooms die-off, they produce a neurotoxin called domoic acid poisoning,” he said, which sickens sea lions, makes shellfish unfit for consumption and was linked to the deaths of endangered California brown pelicans as early as 1991.
Beanan touted a new definition for the three Rs: reduce, remove and recycle. He said a coherent strategy would reduce urban runoff from inland cities, remove excessive creek flows and recycle water in order to protect Aliso Creek, Aliso Canyon and the coastline.
Similar successful projects are currently installed or planned around the world and nearby, including in Aliso Viejo, Ladera Ranch, Encinitas, and Newport Beach. There is no excuse, Beanan said, for Laguna Beach City Council candidates not to have a plan.
Available tools include modern technology water filtration and satellite controlled irrigation systems, diverting creek water to wetlands, ancient water harvesting techniques such as cisterns, as well as policy solutions such as eliminating fees for diversion of runoff to treatment plans and stepped water rates discouraging overuse, he said.
Also at the meeting were Orange County supervisorial candidates Eddie Rose and Cathryn DeYoung. Former Assemblywoman Pat Bates had a prior engagement and could not attend.
The LCC’s board was unanimously re-elected for another year term. Its members are Jeanie Bernstein, Max Brown, Sonia Campbell, Catharine Cooper, Ed Drollinger, John Keith, Gene Felder, J.J. Gasparotti, Siggy Johnson, Sharon Larimer, Fran McGowan, John Pfeffer, Kimberly Stuart, Patricia Turnier, Diane Valentino, Gayle Waite, and Carolyn Wood.


Post a Comment

<< Home