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The State of California recently hosted "California and the World Ocean '06" (CWO '06), an international conference focused on improving ocean and coastal management in California and throughout the world. Held September 18-20 in Long Beach, CWO '06 drew 1,000 attendees from 23 States and 6 countries spanning 4 continents. Among the participants were U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Coastal and Marine Geology Program Director John Haines, USGS Western Coastal and Marine Geology Team Chief Scientist Sam Johnson, and numerous additional USGS personnel who gave talks, presented posters, and hosted a large booth in the exhibit hall.
Growing demands on the ocean make such meetings more important than ever, as noted on the conference Web site: "By 2025, 75 percent of California's population is projected to live in coastal counties. These population trends are similar to those occurring throughout the United States and in other coastal locations throughout the world. Our growing population is bringing about additional pressures on resources that will require new and innovative approaches for management. This conference will help us take the next steps."
The meeting opened on Monday, September 18, with the announcement of a tri-State agreement between California, Oregon, and Washington to develop coordinated action on regional ocean and coastal management. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was at the podium, and Governors Ted Kulongoski (Oregon) and Chris Gregoire (Washington) participated via satellite from Portland, Ore., as they announced their West Coast Governors' Agreement on Ocean Health.
Also announced that day was a new USGS report on coastal change along California's more than 450 mi of sandy shoreline. Among the findings in "National Assessment of Shoreline, Change Part 3: Historical Shoreline Change and Associated Coastal Land Loss Along Sandy Shorelines of the California Coast" (USGS Open-File Report 2006-1219) is that 66 percent of California's beaches have been eroding over the past several decades. Both the tri-State agreement and the new USGS report were described in the article, "States link up to protect ocean - Calif., Ore., Wash. plan to lobby Bush, Congress" in the San Diego Union Tribune.
The first and second authors of the new USGS report, Cheryl Hapke and Dave Reid, gave talks at the conference on "Long-Term Coastal Cliff Retreat in California" (Hapke) and "Regional Shoreline Change Trends Along California's Beaches" (Reid). Other USGS presenters gave talks on "USGS Geologic and Habitat Mapping and GIS" (Guy Cochrane), "Huntington Beach 1:24,000-Scale Coastal Mapping: Integrating Bathymetry, Topography, and Geology" (Pete Dartnell), and "Storm Timing and Dispersal of Fine Sediment into the California Coastal Ocean" (Jon Warrick and Katie Farnsworth). At a poster session on Monday evening, Homa Lee presented "Sediment and Contaminant Transport in the California Urban Ocean," Tom Lorenson presented an "Overview of Natural Oil Seepage in the Santa Barbara Channel and Southern Santa Maria Basin, Southern California," and Jon Warrick presented "River Plume Properties and Dynamics Offshore Southern California."
In the exhibit hall, open all day Monday and Tuesday and also during the Monday evening poster session, more than two dozen booths offered information about companies, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies. A large USGS boothstaffed by Helen Gibbons, Laura Torresan, Mike Torresan, and volunteer Mario Torresanattracted numerous visitors with striking views of the sea floor in posters and computer flythroughs. Once drawn to the booth, visitors were offered a wealth of handouts and information about USGS coastal and marine research.
The conference covered a wide range of topics, such as mapping beach and coastal-bluff erosion, reducing the impacts of energy production and industry, sustaining beaches through sediment management, monitoring bacteria in recreational water, desalinating ocean water, improving ocean awareness through education and the media, decommissioning oil platforms, mapping the sea floor, adopting an ecosystem-based approach to managing ocean resources, and much more. In addition to scientific experts, participants at the conference included experts in policy, planning, and government, making it a particularly rich setting for the exchange of ideas and information. This was the fourth California and the World Ocean conference; previous meetings were held in 1964, 1997, and 2002.
in this issue:
California and the World Ocean Conference
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