Posts Tagged ‘Montrose Settlements Restoration Program’

In mid-September FCEC stakeholders, representatives and partners gathered at the City of Long Beach Family Health and Education Center for the annual Strategic Planning Meeting.

Take a look inside the Strategic Planning Meeting and see the FCEC Team at work!

Judy Huang, EPA Project Manager, and Robert Lindfors of ITSI kicked off the meeting with an update on the monitoring and capping efforts off the PV Shelf. In the presentation they highlighted that traces of chemicals are reducing in the sediment, but not in the fish. There is no explanation for this quite yet, but they are keeping a close eye on it.

Next, a presentation on the Seafood Consumption Study was given. A significant finding has been that compared to the same study conducted in 1994, for every 3 anglers seen in 1994 only 1 angler is still fishing.  Information on Pier Outreach efforts was then presented, and it was noted that over 8,800 anglers were reached during July 2011 – June 2012. It was found that compared to anglers who haven’t received outreach, a greater proportion of those who did receive outreach reported awareness of the local fish contamination.

The last presentation was given by Gabrielle Dorr from the Montrose Settlements Restoration Program, where she discussed their priorities for the restoration projects on fishing and habitat, bald eagles, falcons and seabirds. In addition, she reviewed the goals of the fishing restoration project, which is to provide public information to restore lost fishing services and construct artificial reefs and fishing access improvements.

The Montrose Settlements Restoration Program (MSRP) consists of six Federal and State of California agencies that are restoring natural resources which were harmed by past releases of DDTs and PCBs into the Southern California ocean environment. MSRP has installed educational kiosks at the SEA Lab in Redondo Beach, the California Science Center in Los Angeles and the Channel Island Park Visitor Center in Ventura. FCEC chatted with MSRP’s Gabrielle Dorr about the kiosks.

FCEC: What is the MSRP kiosk exactly?

Gabrielle Dorr: The kiosks are educational tools that allow users to interact and learn about restoration of natural resources from DDT and PCB contamination. Essentially each kiosk contains software referred to as “Augmented Reality” which allows kids to experience nature in 3D. The kiosks stream short videos about our restoration projects as well. The interactive 3D imagery was developed by Total Immersion while the overall design and concept of the kiosk was created by Pavement.

The kiosks are designed to take viewers through several 3D animation scenarios allowing them to zoom into and out of an eagle’s nest for example. The videos go into more detail about specific restoration projects.

FCEC: What’s so darn cool about the MSRP kiosks?

Gabrielle Dorr: The kiosks contain cutting edge technology that has never been used in this type of setting before. It’s been used in commercial settings but never for educational purposes. First, it’s interactive, which means for the audience we are seeking to educate, kids, it’s a captivating tool.

Since the MSRP kiosks are located in aquariums and science centers it has a lot to compete with. So we worked hard to develop something that will keep the kids engaged.

The kiosks have reached over 200,000 people so far!

FCEC: So the MSRP kiosks are for kids? Why kids?

Gabrielle Dorr: Certainly the MSRP kiosks are geared toward kids, but adults can also enjoy them and learn about restoration.  Kids educate their families by acting as portals of information.  They help spread the word, especially if they get excited about it, which is our hope with the kiosk idea. Not only can they take a brochure home when they finish using the kiosk, they can also download the program on their home computer to continue the learning experience.

The bottom line is that youth are great multipliers of knowledge. Reaching them can have a great effect on the larger community in general. This is where our program overlaps directly with FCEC’s mission to educate the public about fish contamination. It is our hope that our program helps to achieve this same goal.

FCEC: Where can folks find the MSRP kiosks?

Gabrielle Dorr: One of the MSRP kiosks is located in SEA Lab at 1021 N. Harbor Drive, Redondo Beach, 90277. People can find it in the main exhibit area. Another MSRP kiosk is at the California Science Center, located at Exposition Park, 39th Street & Figueroa Street. And a third can be found at the Channel Islands National Park Visitor Center located at 1901 Spinnaker Drive, Ventura, 93001.

MSRP has other fun, interactive educational tools such as their Fish Webcam and Bald Eagle Webcam. Make sure to check them out on the MSRP website!

On Thursday September 15, 2011, FCEC stakeholders, representatives and partners gathered in downtown Long Beach at the NOAA office for the annual Strategic Planning Meeting. The meeting was facilitated by Lori Lewis (Environmental Protection Agency [EPA]), who had been keeping the Strategic Planning Meetings running smoothly for more than seven years now. Since this year marks the Institutional Controls’ 10 Year Anniversary, Carmen White (EPA) kicked off the meeting with an overview of what has been accomplished and where FCEC is headed. Next, Gabrielle Dorr (Montrose Settlements Restoration Program [MSRP]) spoke about MSRP’s past year successes, including bald eagle triplets hatching among the Channel Islands. Marita Santos (Los Angeles County Public Health) took the podium next to update the group on pier signage progress. Presentations on angler outreach followed. A number of presenters then spoke on enforcement and monitoring. Concluding the morning session was a spirited presentation on Fishermen Appreciation Day delivered by Frankie Orrala (Heal the Bay).

Hard hat awards were presented to a handful of organizations to recognize their longstanding contributions to FCEC efforts (and other efforts related to mitigating the effects of the PV Shelf which came before FCEC, or as Gwangyu Wang said “…long before FCEC.”)  Award recipients included Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG), Heal the Bay, Los Angeles County Public Health, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) and Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission.

After refueling with lunch, meeting attendees broke out into four smaller groups. Each group engaged in topic discussions related to three project components: angler outreach, fish tissue sampling and market inspections. Groups brainstormed ideas about how their organizations could help with each of these efforts and how each of these efforts could contribute to their own work. Groups reconvened at the end of each topic discussion to share ideas and identify common themes. The meeting concluded with a discussion of next steps (not to mention an erroneous fire alarm.) Congratulations to everyone involved on 10 years of ICs efforts!

It’s a fish off! That’s right, FCEC invites you to the 20th Annual Seal Beach Fishing Derby for kids that will take place this Saturday, August 27th at the local pier in Seal Beach. Registration will take place at the pier between 7:00-9:00am and the derby will begin at 7:30am and run until 12:00pm. Free refreshments will also be provided!

The Rotary Club of Los Alamitos/Seal Beach is coordinating the event and FCEC partner Montrose Settlements Restoration Program (MSRP) is providing funding for fish contamination education to the youth participating in the derby.

The FREE event is open to all youth up to the age of fifteen years old. Bring your favorite rod and reel, loaners and free bait will also be available! The derby is catch and release and qualifying fish will be weighed once they are reeled in.

The youth involved will not only have fun but will leave having had great first-hand experience in fish identification! After the fish are caught, derby participants will use the sign on the pier to determine whether the fish they hooked are safe to eat or qualify for the tournament.

Kids will be given educational materials on fish contamination and reusable bags to take home with them. The young anglers will also be given a photo of them participating in the derby!

So bring out the kids to have some educational fun at the 20th Annual Seal Beach Fishing Derby!


*Photo courtesy of BD Outdoors

Bald eagle landing on a nest in the Channel IslandsDid you know that the DDT pollution off the coast of Southern California affects other animals, in addition to fish and the humans who consume the contaminated fish?  Bald eagles nesting on the Channel Islands have been heavily affected.  In the middle of the 20th century, bald eagles began to lay thin-shelled eggs that did not successfully hatch.  The bird disappeared from the islands by the early 1960s.

FCEC’s partner, Montrose Settlements Restoration Program (MSRP) has focused on bringing America’s national bird back to the Channel Islands.  MSRP celebrates its ten-year anniversary this year and the program’s staff has a lot to share about the success of their Bald Eagle restoration project–an effort which has existed even before MSRP’s official establishment.

Biologists began efforts to reintroduce the bald eagle to the Channel Islands in 1980, starting with Catalina Island.  Bald eagles were then reintroduced to Santa Cruz Island, one of the Northern Channel Islands, in 2002, following a study conducted by MSRP.  By 2006, the program had its first successful breeding on the Northern Channel Islands.  Today, Bald Eagles on the islands are breeding without the help of humans and their chicks are growing up healthy enough to leave their nests.

To celebrate the program’s success and its ten-year anniversary, MSRP has released a short film that chronicles the bald eagle’s recovery, titled “Return Flight: Restoring the Bald Eagle to the Channel Islands”.  Watch this amazing and educational film, and let us know which part you particularly liked by leaving a comment below.

Happy February!  It’s time to round up the notable events and volunteer opportunities of FCEC’s partners.

Valentine’s Day Discount at the Aquarium of the Pacific

»Visitors who choose to spend their Valentine’s evening at the Aquarium of the Pacific will be able to purchase admission at the child’s price of $12.95 after 5pm (compared to regular adult admission of $24.95).  You can reserve a full-course, gourmet dinner for your family or significant other for $42 per adult or $32 per child ($32 per adult and $22 per child with Aquarium membership).

Become a Leader, Explore a Career and Help the Environment

This month provides several opportunities for those interested in gaining leadership skills while helping the environment.

»If you enjoy spending time outside and are a fifth grader or older, Cabrillo Marine Aquarium has a Sea Ranger Training Program from February 3 to March 3. You’ll be trained to educate others about the Cabrillo coastline and its habitats.  The Aquarium staff requires pre-registration, so please call (310) 548-7562 for more information.

»On February 5, the Aquarium of the Pacific starts its marine veterinarian Job Shadow program for 7th to 12th graders.  Participants will work with a staff veterinarian, visit behind-the-scenes locations and even go on morning rounds to take care of marine animals.  It’s $29 per student or $24 for Aquarium members.  You can call (562) 951-1630 to reserve spots.

»Heal the Bay is hosting a five-week session of Beyond Local workshops from February 16 to March 16.  These workshops are for San Fernando Valley residents who wish to make positive changes in their community and learn more about issues concerning local waterways.

Image via K Chen on Flickr; Creative Commons

Keep our Coastline Clean

Like last month, there are plenty of cleanup activities happening along the coastline.

»Cabrillo Marine Aquarium is having a garden workday and beach cleanup on February 5.  Join the aquarium staff in tending the garden’s native plants and clearing the Cabrillo shore of marine debris.

»The Aquarium of the Pacific is hosting a series of habitat restoration days from February 5 to May 7 at the Los Cerritos Wetlands.  Volunteers will help to preserve native plants and clear the area of invasive species.  The whole family is welcome to participate.

»Montrose Settlements Restoration Program is hosting two volunteer trips to Santa Barbara Island on February 16-19 and February 19-23 to help restore seabird habitats.  You’ll need to be comfortable with physically demanding activities, no running water and rustic camping.  If you love nature and want to help local wildlife, this is a great opportunity for you.

»The monthly Nothin’ But Sand beach cleanup by Heal the Bay is on February 19 at Venice Beach.  You can guess by the name that it’s only involving sand, so you won’t get wet.  Organizers will provide bags and gloves, but consider bringing your own bucket or reusable bag to help cut down on plastic.

Be sure check out other community events on our FCEC calendar.

Image via lagohsep on Flickr; Creative Commons