One of our proudest achievements here at The Otter Project has been our involvement in the establishment of Marine Protected Areas throughout the Central Coast. Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are incredibly useful in protecting habitat in ways that benefit the marine ecosystems that are hit the hardest by heavy human use.
The process to select a strong network of protected areas in the Central Coast was long and at times contentious, but totally worth it. Now, our friends up north are going through the same thing, and they need our help. On August 5th, 2009 the California Fish and Game Commission are going to make a final decision on the North Central Coast network. We need help spreading the word, and telling the Commission to select the “Integrated Preferred Alternative”, a network that reflects a wide range of interests, but remains environmentally sound.
Some extreme groups are trying to obstruct or delay the process, so it’s important that we let the Commission know just how significant MPAs are.
You can do so easily by visiting our Action Center and signing onto the e-mail we have set up. This will send a message to Cindy Gustafson, the president of the Fish and Game Commission.
If you want to make an even bigger impact, writing a personalized letter makes a big difference–the Commission really wants to know what the public thinks. You can send your letter c/o President Gustafson to the following address:
California Fish and Game Commission
1416 Ninth Street
P.O. Box 944209
Sacramento, CA 94244-2090
Lastly, if you’re in Sacramento on August 5th, attend the meeting! Nothing speaks for you louder than, well, you! We’ll post details about when and where soon.
If you do come out, be sure to find Steve and I to say hi!
Lastly, it’s worth noting that these areas may not have sea otters now (other then occasional rogue young male otters that pop up every now and then), but these peices of California coastline are part of the historic otter range–and hopefully the future one. If all goes as planned, the otter population should be able to return to its historic range, and we’d like to see it healthy and productive when they get there.