As the villainous Noah Cross famously said about tidepools in Robert Towne’s Chinatown, “That’s where life begins. Sloughs, tidepools.”
Tidepools harbor a wide range of marine wildlife, but the health of Malibu’s tidepools has been compromised by agricultural and urban runoff, coastal development and over-fishing.
The Surfrider Foundation’s Malibu Chapter unveiled an educational tidepool sign, marking the launch of its new Tidepool Protection Program at Malibu Lagoon State Beach last Saturday.
“Millions of visitors come to Malibu’s beaches every year and love walking on the rocks and looking at the animals in the tidepools, but, unfortunately, they are unknowingly loving the tidepools to death,” said Surfrider’s Southern California Field Coordinator Nancy Hastings.
The 2004 State of the Bay Report, released by the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission, reported a variety of hazards to intertidal marine life, including visitor trampling, but current regulations are often not enforced, according to Surfrider.
In Spring of 2004, Gigi Grazer contacted the Malibu chapter to report the misuse and, in some cases, abuse, of the tidepools near her Malibu home. Subsequently, the Grazer family offered to underwrite both educational signage and a program to teach local youth to value and protect Malibu’s tidepools.
With the funding provided by the Grazers, two more signs will be installed at Leo Carillo State Beach and Point Dume State Beach before the end of 2005.
As beaches, including tidepools, must be treated as vital links to marine and terrestrial ecosystems, Surfrider’s new Tidepool Protection Program is designed to educate the public about the tidepools’ ecological role and the reasons their protection plays a key role in the overall health of the ocean.
In a joint partnership with the Angeles Girl Scouts, the Malibu chapter will hold six Tidepool Protection workshops in 2005 at which marine biologists from Pepperdine University and UCLA will teach the girls about the marine life commonly found in Malibu’s tidepools and how it fits into the food chain. The girls will also be given an opportunity to act as naturalists, documenting everything they hear, feel, and see in the tidepools, as well as learning to read tide charts and how to be responsible stewards of their local tidepools.
“We have anticipated the launch of our Tidepool Program for almost a year now,” said Chapter Chair Alan Reed. “This program exemplifies all aspects of Surfrider’s mission to help protect our beaches and waves through conservation, activism, research and education. The signs and literature will inform our youth and beach-goers on the appropriate way to appreciate the many wonderful creatures that inhabit our tidepools so that their children’s children can do the same. I also hope that the Grazer family donation will serve as motivation for other concerned citizens to join forces with the Malibu Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation to help us with all of our grassroots initiatives.”
To make a donation to the Tidepool Protection Program, please contact the Malibu Chapter at (310) 451-1010 or visit www.surfrider.org/Malibu.