OCE News

What have we done for you lately? 

See below for some highlights of recent media coverage of OCE Foundation's achievements, as well as information on our current advocacy work.

We are constantly developing cases and campaigns, engaging with communities impacted by pollution, and working toward cleaner and healthier ecosystems to help humans and wildlife thrive. Our lawsuits and other efforts focus on protecting and empowering the most vulnerable among us; especially children, seniors, and threatened species. 

Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for updates on what we're doing, reading, thinking about, and other musings about why we do what we do.

 October 2018:   St. Pete Settles Clean Water Act Lawsuit Over Sewage Releases   St. Petersburg leaders have settled a lawsuit filed by environmental groups in 2016 after the city released millions of gallons of sewage into Tampa Bay.  Under the settlement, the city committed to inspections and improvements to its sewage system. The measures go beyond what was required by a consent order that the Department of Environmental Protection issued in response to the release of up to 200 million gallons of sewage during storms in 2015 and 2016.  “We felt that the consent order that the city entered into with DEP was not going to be adequate to fix the problem,” said Justin Bloom, executive director of Suncoast Waterkeeper. “It lacked adequate investment, investigation and a plan to really fix the infrastructure.”  Suncoast Waterkeeper sued the city under the Federal Clean Water Act. The Ecological Rights Foundation and Our Children’s Earth joined the group in filing the lawsuit.  The settlement has federal oversight and if the city fails to follow the terms, the environmental groups could take it back to court.   Read more here.

October 2018:

St. Pete Settles Clean Water Act Lawsuit Over Sewage Releases

St. Petersburg leaders have settled a lawsuit filed by environmental groups in 2016 after the city released millions of gallons of sewage into Tampa Bay.

Under the settlement, the city committed to inspections and improvements to its sewage system. The measures go beyond what was required by a consent order that the Department of Environmental Protection issued in response to the release of up to 200 million gallons of sewage during storms in 2015 and 2016.

“We felt that the consent order that the city entered into with DEP was not going to be adequate to fix the problem,” said Justin Bloom, executive director of Suncoast Waterkeeper. “It lacked adequate investment, investigation and a plan to really fix the infrastructure.”

Suncoast Waterkeeper sued the city under the Federal Clean Water Act. The Ecological Rights Foundation and Our Children’s Earth joined the group in filing the lawsuit.

The settlement has federal oversight and if the city fails to follow the terms, the environmental groups could take it back to court.

Read more here.

 

 
 April 2018:    Possible new species of Manta Ray spotted off Palm Beach; Local wildlife experts excited about potential find    Local wildlife experts believe they may have discovered a new species of manta ray.  Video of the fish was recorded by Our Children's Earth Foundation photographer Ivy Yin off the coast of Palm Beach.  Yin immediately contacted Dr. Andrea Marshall, co-founder of the Marine Megafauna Foundation, about the find.  Marshall studies these animals here in south Florida and believes it could be a new species.  According to Dr. Marshall waters off the south Florida coast may serve as a nursery for this species.   Read more here.

April 2018:

Possible new species of Manta Ray spotted off Palm Beach; Local wildlife experts excited about potential find

Local wildlife experts believe they may have discovered a new species of manta ray.

Video of the fish was recorded by Our Children's Earth Foundation photographer Ivy Yin off the coast of Palm Beach.

Yin immediately contacted Dr. Andrea Marshall, co-founder of the Marine Megafauna Foundation, about the find.

Marshall studies these animals here in south Florida and believes it could be a new species.

According to Dr. Marshall waters off the south Florida coast may serve as a nursery for this species.

Read more here.

 

 
 June 2017:    Pregnant sea turtle found injured, rescued in Palm Beach    The turtle weighs nearly 200 pounds and was identified as a female with eggs, according to the Loggerhead MarineLife Center in Jupiter.  Smiley suffered a deep wound to her neck muscle making it difficult for her to lift her neck to breathe while swimming. She said it’s not a typical turtle injury. The wound appears to be at least a few days old since they found maggots in it.  Smiley’s caretakers are optimistic she’ll survive, but can’t say for sure if she will.  “She’s staying in the hospital to make sure she doesn’t drown,” Clark said.  Ivy Yin, a photographer with Our Children’s Earth Foundation was driving on South Ocean Boulevard and documented the turtle rescue.  Earlier this week, a  kogia whale beached herself  near Reef Road and Yin found it.  It’s sea turtle nesting season and local organizations and residents make sure turtles have a safe beach to nest on by scheduling beach cleanups.  Bacteria  in the water,  storm-water runoff  and  trash  can harm sea life.  “We have such pretty beaches,” Yin said. “But we have serious issues to address.”   Read more here.

June 2017:

Pregnant sea turtle found injured, rescued in Palm Beach

The turtle weighs nearly 200 pounds and was identified as a female with eggs, according to the Loggerhead MarineLife Center in Jupiter.

Smiley suffered a deep wound to her neck muscle making it difficult for her to lift her neck to breathe while swimming. She said it’s not a typical turtle injury. The wound appears to be at least a few days old since they found maggots in it.

Smiley’s caretakers are optimistic she’ll survive, but can’t say for sure if she will.

“She’s staying in the hospital to make sure she doesn’t drown,” Clark said.

Ivy Yin, a photographer with Our Children’s Earth Foundation was driving on South Ocean Boulevard and documented the turtle rescue.

Earlier this week, a kogia whale beached herself near Reef Road and Yin found it.

It’s sea turtle nesting season and local organizations and residents make sure turtles have a safe beach to nest on by scheduling beach cleanups. Bacteria in the water, storm-water runoff and trash can harm sea life.

“We have such pretty beaches,” Yin said. “But we have serious issues to address.”

Read more here.

 

 
 August 2016:    Environmental Groups Win National Victory for Clean Water    The agreement marks the first time that EPA will evaluate setting numeric standards and practices for responsible stormwater retention at industrial sites. Stormwater retention is a green infrastructure practice that involves holding water and sediment on site through features like bioswales and rain gardens. Keeping and treating stormwater on site instead of discharging it into the nearest river improves water quality and slows erosion in smaller creeks and rivers.  Another first time outcome of the settlement is EPA’s agreement to propose restrictions on the use of coal tar sealants in the United States, a product that is poisoning ecosystems nationwide and exposing infants and children to a high risk of developing cancer later in life.   Read more here.

August 2016:

Environmental Groups Win National Victory for Clean Water

The agreement marks the first time that EPA will evaluate setting numeric standards and practices for responsible stormwater retention at industrial sites. Stormwater retention is a green infrastructure practice that involves holding water and sediment on site through features like bioswales and rain gardens. Keeping and treating stormwater on site instead of discharging it into the nearest river improves water quality and slows erosion in smaller creeks and rivers.

Another first time outcome of the settlement is EPA’s agreement to propose restrictions on the use of coal tar sealants in the United States, a product that is poisoning ecosystems nationwide and exposing infants and children to a high risk of developing cancer later in life.

Read more here.

 

 
 July 2014:    Sewage in San Francisco Bay: Settlement reached to prevent overflows    Over the past 10 years, about 2.4 billion gallons of partially treated sewage has entered the bay, said Jared Blumenfeld, an EPA regional administrator.  “For many years, the health of San Francisco Bay has been imperiled by ongoing pollution, including enormous discharges of raw and partially treated sewage from communities in the East Bay,” Blumenfeld said. “Many of these discharges are the result of aging, deteriorated sewer infrastructure that will be fixed under the EPA order.”  Along with spreading disease-causing organisms that can threaten public health, the raw and untreated sewage can deplete oxygen in the 1,600-square-mile bay and hurt fish, migratory birds and other wildlife.  “It’s more of ‘death by 1,000 cuts’ in terms of impact to the bay,” said Deb Self, executive director of San Francisco Baykeeper, which was among those that brought the legal action to enforce the Clean Water Act.  Others behind the lawsuit were the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Board and the Our Children’s Earth Foundation.  Under the agreement, EBMUD, the Stege district and the cities will assess and upgrade their sewer system infrastructure, including at EBMUD’s three wet water treatment facilities.   Read more here.

July 2014:

Sewage in San Francisco Bay: Settlement reached to prevent overflows

Over the past 10 years, about 2.4 billion gallons of partially treated sewage has entered the bay, said Jared Blumenfeld, an EPA regional administrator.

“For many years, the health of San Francisco Bay has been imperiled by ongoing pollution, including enormous discharges of raw and partially treated sewage from communities in the East Bay,” Blumenfeld said. “Many of these discharges are the result of aging, deteriorated sewer infrastructure that will be fixed under the EPA order.”

Along with spreading disease-causing organisms that can threaten public health, the raw and untreated sewage can deplete oxygen in the 1,600-square-mile bay and hurt fish, migratory birds and other wildlife.

“It’s more of ‘death by 1,000 cuts’ in terms of impact to the bay,” said Deb Self, executive director of San Francisco Baykeeper, which was among those that brought the legal action to enforce the Clean Water Act.

Others behind the lawsuit were the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Board and the Our Children’s Earth Foundation.

Under the agreement, EBMUD, the Stege district and the cities will assess and upgrade their sewer system infrastructure, including at EBMUD’s three wet water treatment facilities.

Read more here.

 

 
 August 2010:    Settlement Reached with City and County of Honolulu to Address Wastewater Collection & Treatment Systems    The settlement which also resolves lawsuits brought by the Sierra Club, Hawaii’s Thousand Friends and Our Children’s Earth Foundation, includes a comprehensive compliance schedule for the city to upgrade its wastewater collection system by June 2020. Under the settlement, the Honouliuli wastewater treatment plant will need to be upgraded to secondary treatment by 2024. The Sand Island plant will need to be upgraded by 2035, but could be extended to 2038 based on a showing of economic hardship.  Work on the wastewater collection system will include rehabilitation and replacement of both gravity and force main sewer pipes, backup strategies to minimize the risks of force main spills, a cleaning and maintenance program, improvements to Honolulu’s program to control fats, oils and grease from entering into the wastewater system from food establishments, and repair to pump stations.  “Today’s settlement represents a significant commitment that will address the city and county of Honolulu’s aging wastewater collection and treatment systems,” said Ignacia S. Moreno, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “The end result will not just be an improvement to the system’s infrastructure. It will also significantly reduce both the public health risk caused by exposure to pathogens in raw sewage and the amount of harmful pollutants entering Honolulu’s vibrant marine environment.”   Read more here .

August 2010:

Settlement Reached with City and County of Honolulu to Address Wastewater Collection & Treatment Systems

The settlement which also resolves lawsuits brought by the Sierra Club, Hawaii’s Thousand Friends and Our Children’s Earth Foundation, includes a comprehensive compliance schedule for the city to upgrade its wastewater collection system by June 2020. Under the settlement, the Honouliuli wastewater treatment plant will need to be upgraded to secondary treatment by 2024. The Sand Island plant will need to be upgraded by 2035, but could be extended to 2038 based on a showing of economic hardship.

Work on the wastewater collection system will include rehabilitation and replacement of both gravity and force main sewer pipes, backup strategies to minimize the risks of force main spills, a cleaning and maintenance program, improvements to Honolulu’s program to control fats, oils and grease from entering into the wastewater system from food establishments, and repair to pump stations.

“Today’s settlement represents a significant commitment that will address the city and county of Honolulu’s aging wastewater collection and treatment systems,” said Ignacia S. Moreno, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “The end result will not just be an improvement to the system’s infrastructure. It will also significantly reduce both the public health risk caused by exposure to pathogens in raw sewage and the amount of harmful pollutants entering Honolulu’s vibrant marine environment.”

Read more here.

 June 2018:    Wood Pellet Company Polluting East Texas at 10x Permitted Rate    The German Pellets facility consumes more than a million tons of trees per year to produce wood pellets, which are shipped to Europe, where they are burned for electricity under the false premise that doing so is carbon neutral. The facility also emits tons of unlawful air pollution right here in Texas.  When German Pellets decided to build its wood pellet manufacturing facility in Woodville in 2012, TCEQ required the facility to limit emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to 64 tons per year. It turns out, however, the facility actually emits 580 tons per year, nearly ten-times more than allowed. VOCs are air pollutants that combine with sunlight to produce ground-level ozone. Breathing ozone can trigger a variety of health problems, particularly for children, the elderly, and people of all ages who have lung diseases such as asthma.  The VOC emissions from the Woodville mill also contain particularly hazardous air pollutants like methanol, formaldehyde, and acetaldehyde. EPA considers these pollutants either probable human carcinogens or capable of causing acute respiratory and neurological conditions.   Read more here.

June 2018:

Wood Pellet Company Polluting East Texas at 10x Permitted Rate

The German Pellets facility consumes more than a million tons of trees per year to produce wood pellets, which are shipped to Europe, where they are burned for electricity under the false premise that doing so is carbon neutral. The facility also emits tons of unlawful air pollution right here in Texas.

When German Pellets decided to build its wood pellet manufacturing facility in Woodville in 2012, TCEQ required the facility to limit emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to 64 tons per year. It turns out, however, the facility actually emits 580 tons per year, nearly ten-times more than allowed. VOCs are air pollutants that combine with sunlight to produce ground-level ozone. Breathing ozone can trigger a variety of health problems, particularly for children, the elderly, and people of all ages who have lung diseases such as asthma.

The VOC emissions from the Woodville mill also contain particularly hazardous air pollutants like methanol, formaldehyde, and acetaldehyde. EPA considers these pollutants either probable human carcinogens or capable of causing acute respiratory and neurological conditions.

Read more here.

 

 
 April 2018:    Does St. Pete want to settle federal sewage lawsuit? Or fight it?    The federal case is the last vestige of St. Petersburg's massive sewage crisis, during which the city released up to 1 billion gallons of waste — up to 200 million of which ended up in Tampa Bay. Environmental groups Suncoast Waterkeeper, Our Children's Earth Foundation and Ecological Rights Foundation filed it in December 2016, hoping to force the city into a pact enforced by the federal government to improve its ailing sewage system.   Read more here.

April 2018:

Does St. Pete want to settle federal sewage lawsuit? Or fight it?

The federal case is the last vestige of St. Petersburg's massive sewage crisis, during which the city released up to 1 billion gallons of waste — up to 200 million of which ended up in Tampa Bay. Environmental groups Suncoast Waterkeeper, Our Children's Earth Foundation and Ecological Rights Foundation filed it in December 2016, hoping to force the city into a pact enforced by the federal government to improve its ailing sewage system.

Read more here.

 

 
 September 2016:    Environmental groups signal intent to sue St. Pete after sewage dump    Suncoast Waterkeeper, Inc., Our Children’s Earth Foundation and the Ecological Rights Foundation filed a 60-day notice of intent to sue for violating the federal Clean Water Act. The groups want the city to undergo sewage system upgrades and to fund “environmental mitigation projects.”  “St. Petersburg’s recent extraordinarily large sewage discharges to Tampa Bay have caused serious human health risks and environmental damage. The needed infrastructure improvements are urgent, the ecological impacts will take a long time to heal, as will the damage to the public’s confidence, shaken by the city’s failure to notify and warn the public of these spills. The systemic improvements required to address these shortcomings are significant and will benefit from citizen participation and oversight,” the groups said in a press release.  The groups acknowledged the city has admitted its failures and promised to improve sewage systems. While the groups called that, “a positive and welcome step,” they also said it’s not enough.  “St. Pete does not have a good record of addressing the root causes of the ongoing sewage system problems. Citizen suit enforcement is needed because the legal system functions differently, and in many cases more efficiently, than the political system.”   Read more here.

September 2016:

Environmental groups signal intent to sue St. Pete after sewage dump

Suncoast Waterkeeper, Inc., Our Children’s Earth Foundation and the Ecological Rights Foundation filed a 60-day notice of intent to sue for violating the federal Clean Water Act. The groups want the city to undergo sewage system upgrades and to fund “environmental mitigation projects.”

“St. Petersburg’s recent extraordinarily large sewage discharges to Tampa Bay have caused serious human health risks and environmental damage. The needed infrastructure improvements are urgent, the ecological impacts will take a long time to heal, as will the damage to the public’s confidence, shaken by the city’s failure to notify and warn the public of these spills. The systemic improvements required to address these shortcomings are significant and will benefit from citizen participation and oversight,” the groups said in a press release.

The groups acknowledged the city has admitted its failures and promised to improve sewage systems. While the groups called that, “a positive and welcome step,” they also said it’s not enough.

“St. Pete does not have a good record of addressing the root causes of the ongoing sewage system problems. Citizen suit enforcement is needed because the legal system functions differently, and in many cases more efficiently, than the political system.”

Read more here.

 

 
 January 2015:    Stanford considering the fate of century-old dam threatening endangered trout    In 1892, a private company built the dam and created the Searsville Reservoir, hoping to make a new source of water for San Francisco. There was a small problem: the water that pooled up in the Reservoir was undrinkable.  The solution: Searsville Lake! For decades, people flocked there to swim and boat. In the meantime, Stanford acquired the 1,200 acres surrounding the dam to study things like local plant life, animals, and air quality. To protect that research, in 1975, the university made the land off-limits to the public.  Today, Searsville Lake is more of a marsh, almost completely full of sediment that people wouldn’t want to swim in. Steelhead trout, on the other hand, would love to swim in it – if they could get there. And that’s what Sproul says the environmental groups want to see. First, they want Stanford to stop taking water out of the creek.  “And we also want them to allow fish passage past Searsville Dam back up to the upper watershed. [There are] various ways they could do that. Taking out the dam would be the best,” says Sproul.   Read more here.

January 2015:

Stanford considering the fate of century-old dam threatening endangered trout

In 1892, a private company built the dam and created the Searsville Reservoir, hoping to make a new source of water for San Francisco. There was a small problem: the water that pooled up in the Reservoir was undrinkable.

The solution: Searsville Lake! For decades, people flocked there to swim and boat. In the meantime, Stanford acquired the 1,200 acres surrounding the dam to study things like local plant life, animals, and air quality. To protect that research, in 1975, the university made the land off-limits to the public.

Today, Searsville Lake is more of a marsh, almost completely full of sediment that people wouldn’t want to swim in. Steelhead trout, on the other hand, would love to swim in it – if they could get there. And that’s what Sproul says the environmental groups want to see. First, they want Stanford to stop taking water out of the creek.

“And we also want them to allow fish passage past Searsville Dam back up to the upper watershed. [There are] various ways they could do that. Taking out the dam would be the best,” says Sproul.

Read more here.

 

 
 November 2013:    Country’s Largest Public Power Provider Takes Next Major Step to Move Beyond Coal    Today the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) announced  it will retire coal boilers at three of its coal plants  in Alabama and Kentucky. Retiring these coal boilers means less pollution in the air and water in the southeast U.S. According to the Clean Air Task Force, the Colbert coal plant in Alabama alone contributed to 940 asthma attacks, 83 heart attacks, and 57 deaths per year. These retirements also mean less of the carbon pollution that is pushing our climate to the brink.  This is big. It’s a great move for public health, for clean air and water, and for our climate. It will also help protect families across the southeast from rising energy bills as the cost of coal-generated electricity has continued to increase. I applaud TVA and its new president and CEO, Bill Johnson, for their leadership in setting this great American institution on a new course for the twenty-first century.  This is also big news for the people of the Tennessee Valley who have been working for years for cleaner air and a healthier environment in the Valley, including our friends at the Southern Environmental Law Center, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Earthjustice, Environmental Integrity Project, Our Children’s Earth Foundation, and National Parks Conservation Association.  Residents, businesses and industries have spoken loud and clear: they want TVA to provide affordable, reliable and clean power.   Read more here.

November 2013:

Country’s Largest Public Power Provider Takes Next Major Step to Move Beyond Coal

Today the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) announced it will retire coal boilers at three of its coal plants in Alabama and Kentucky. Retiring these coal boilers means less pollution in the air and water in the southeast U.S. According to the Clean Air Task Force, the Colbert coal plant in Alabama alone contributed to 940 asthma attacks, 83 heart attacks, and 57 deaths per year. These retirements also mean less of the carbon pollution that is pushing our climate to the brink.

This is big. It’s a great move for public health, for clean air and water, and for our climate. It will also help protect families across the southeast from rising energy bills as the cost of coal-generated electricity has continued to increase. I applaud TVA and its new president and CEO, Bill Johnson, for their leadership in setting this great American institution on a new course for the twenty-first century.

This is also big news for the people of the Tennessee Valley who have been working for years for cleaner air and a healthier environment in the Valley, including our friends at the Southern Environmental Law Center, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Earthjustice, Environmental Integrity Project, Our Children’s Earth Foundation, and National Parks Conservation Association.

Residents, businesses and industries have spoken loud and clear: they want TVA to provide affordable, reliable and clean power.

Read more here.

 

Current Campaigns


Improving Recycling on Long Island

The Long Island Recycling Initiative is a team of concerned citizens focused on recycling practices and programs in Long Island. Its mission is to bring transparency, efficiency and best practices to recycling programs across Long Island. Because of the patchwork-quilt of townships, villages, hamlets, and garbage districts that currently oversee the waste management and recycling functions of Long Island, it is especially challenging for policy makers and waste management businesses to identify and resolve problems in the system and adopt best practices proven to work in other jurisdictions across the country. Through research into the current state of affairs as well as best practices and policies, Long Island Recycling Initiative intends to identify opportunities and aid the towns and villages of Long Island in increasing their recycling rates. Learn more and access resources at https://www.lirecycling.org.

 

Governmental Transparency & Public Advocacy

Throughout its history, OCE has successfully challenged and exposed governmental agencies that fail to meet their responsibility to protect and serve the public. This anti-corruption and pro-transparency work reflects our commitment to educate communities about environmental issues, to investigate noncompliant and negligent polluters, to enforce environmental laws and regulations, and to encourage reform at the highest levels of government. From its start, OCE has built a strong reputation as an effective public interest watchdog by enforcing laws that require governmental agencies to disclose key information about how they manage our natural resources.

OCE is committed to holding publicly-funded agencies and governmental staff accountable to ensure that the public interest remains a central component of our democracy. We fight for full enforcement of public disclosure laws like the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”), including the provision that records be provided without charge when disclosure of the requested information is in the public interest. In the most recent development in our multi-year legal campaign to get documents from the National Marine Fisheries Service, we beat back the federal government’s attempts to sharply limit when public interest groups could be reimbursed for the time they spend trying to get information from agencies.

For more insight into how we have obtained information from agencies and prevailed in our appeals for fee waivers, or to share your experiences seeking documents from state and federal agencies, please contact us.

 

 

Nature is special. 

This is one of OCE's short interviews with cute kids talking about ecological issues. Children tend to intuitively understand the fundamentals of what we need to do to protect the environment and live more sustainably: treat animals with respect and empathy, waste not, keep learning, try to live in harmony with the natural resources and ecosystems that support and sustain life on Earth.

Above all, we must continue to work toward healthy air, water, and ecosystems so that future generations have the chance to thrive in an ever-changing world. As Chester notes, "we have to, we have no choice."

 

Biomass in the South

biomass-in-south-casepage.jpg

The biomass industry in the southeastern United States has expanded 10-fold in the past 10 years. Rural communities bear the brunt of the industrial pollution from this industry, which primarily exists to export wood pellets to Europe. Wood pellets have increased in use due to a loophole in the European Union’s accounting system that is based on the notion that biomass can be carbon neutral because trees grow back and absorb carbon as they grow. But burning wood pellets emits large amounts of greenhouse gases and replanted trees take many decades to grow enough to absorb as much carbon dioxide as the industry emits, and not all the saplings survive. Additionally, the manufacturing process is extremely dirty and dangerous for public health.

OCE is engaged in formal permit challenges of nearly a dozen facilities, many of which are owned and operated by Enviva, Drax, and German Pellets. We face uphill battles in most of these cases, but we will continue to pressure state officials to require basic pollution controls and compliance with legal pollution limits in order to protect nearby communities. Our coalition is strong and led by talented attorneys at the Environmental Integrity Project.

READ MORE: Biomass in the South

 

 

Sick of Sewage in Florida

 Sarasota Bay in September 2016, when a massive fish kill occurred due to red tide that was likely fueled by millions of gallons of sewage that spilled, overflowed, and was dumped into local waters during storms throughout September. Photo by Our Children's Earth Foundation.

Sarasota Bay in September 2016, when a massive fish kill occurred due to red tide that was likely fueled by millions of gallons of sewage that spilled, overflowed, and was dumped into local waters during storms throughout September. Photo by Our Children's Earth Foundation.

Our Children's Earth Foundation has a long history of advocacy related to protecting people and ecosystems from one of the more disgusting realities of modern life: sewage pollution. We've brought lawsuits and worked with cities throughout the United States to ensure that aging, leaky, and otherwise inadequate sewage infrastructure is updated, and that impacted residents have a voice in developing solutions. Spills and overflows of raw and partially-treated sewage occur regularly in metropolitan areas, and the worst instances result in massive die-offs of fish, birds, and other animals that rely on nearby waters.

We are currently involved in a regional effort in Florida's Tampa Bay area to address sewage system failures that have garnered national and international headlines since mid-2016, when hundreds of millions of gallons of raw and partially treated sewage were discharged to Tampa Bay, Boca Ciega Bay, and other waters adjacent to the Gulf of Mexico. 

READ MORE: SOS! Sick of Sewage in Tampa Bay

 

 

OCE @ RWF!

The Right Whale Festival raises local awareness for the endangered North Atlantic Right Whale (E. glacialis), so-named because it was deemed to be the "right" whale to hunt during the height of the whaling industry, because its docile and curious nature made it easy to kill. Sadly, Right Whales were hunted nearly to extinction, and remain in peril. 

 The distinctive V-shaped blow of a southern right whale.  2 whales – mother and calf, Date: 14/7/2010, Time: 12 pm, Place: Bay of Islands, Northland, Latitude: -35.21337, Longitude: 174.15665  Photo from Explore Images, Bay of Islands. Courtesy of the New Zealand Department of Conservation via  Flickr .

The distinctive V-shaped blow of a southern right whale.

2 whales – mother and calf, Date: 14/7/2010, Time: 12 pm, Place: Bay of Islands, Northland, Latitude: -35.21337, Longitude: 174.15665

Photo from Explore Images, Bay of Islands. Courtesy of the New Zealand Department of Conservation via Flickr.

Check out the coverage of OCE at the 2016 event including a short interview with us via Channel 4 News at: http://www.news4jax.com/news/florida/duval-county/jacksonville-beach/festival-works-to-save-right-whales-from-extinction

 

 

Public health concerns at Elkhorn Slough

Our Children's Earth is working to protect public health in the Moss Landing area, where anglers and their families are being exposed to dangerous levels of mercury and PCBs in certain fish tissues, especially leopard shark and bat ray.

California's Office of Environmental Health and Hazards Assessment (OEHHA) recently issued a consumption advisory urging children and women of child-bearing age to avoid eating these species entirely while also limiting consumption of several other species: asian clam, speckled sanddab, and surfperches. 

If you or anyone you know fishes at Elkhorn Slough, please take note of OEHHA's important health guidelines, read OEHHA's full report, fill out the short survey on our Elkhorn page, and contact us with any questions.