Friday, September 4, 2009

An oldie but a goodie

The San Diego sea turtles have gotten some new attention from the press! And when it comes to conservation and awareness - this is a good thing.

Issue 3 - Spring 2008 of Wetpixel (www.wetpixelquarterly.com) had a great article "The Green Giants of San Diego: Ancient mariners defy industrial chaos and urban sprawl" by Christopher Bahnsen and shared with the underwater photography and conservation world, some of the work NOAA scientists have been doing on this local population of San Diego sea turtles.

This month, the article has been picked up by EMagazine.com. The slightly different twist on the story "Saving the Green Giants: California's Supersized Turtles Raise Questions about Altered Habitats" also by Bahnsen, talks about much of the research (if you've followed this blog) that we've been looking into.

Conservation, especially in an urban setting, relies on people's willingness to protect natural resources. From charismatic creatures like sea turtles and dolphins, to appealing seafood like halibut and lobster, to the unglamours habitats of marshes and seagrass - they are all interconnected and depend on human choices for their continued existance. Articles like this one, that highlight the hard work being done by scientists on the front-line of conservation, help to increase awareness of habitats, creatures, and even economic resources that may otherwise go unnoticed.

I applaud the efforts of those who help to spread the word and engage the public and decision makers alike. For all the laws in place to protect our resources, it still comes down to individuals making small choices that cumulatively have a large impact. I applaud those business owners too who go the extra mile to protect the resources around them and strive to improve their own business practices. Efforts underway to align incentives with conservation must continue for marshes and seagrass beds to persist, because those habitats are where juvenile halibut and lobster grow into the food we enjoy eating, and it is where childhood favorites like green sea turtles eat and grow in an effort to avoid extinction.

(Author out kayaking the SD Bay for Operation Clean Sweep - see the South Bay Power Plant in the distance. Also discovered a wonderful saltmarsh with amazing birds, crabs, snails, gobies & more!)