The Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission hosted a daylong conference yesterday on the overall state of the bay. The well-attended event at LMU blended science and policy, focusing on such topics as marine debris, climate change, invasive species, contaminated fish risk communication, beach water quality and marine protected areas.
The high points of the day included an overview of the well-written State of the Bay report, which chronicles the status of various bay water quality and coastal resources. Mas Dojuri, the director of the city of Los Angeles’ Environmental Monitoring Division, and Rich Ambrose, a marine ecology professor from UCLA, made a compelling presentation that showcased reductions in sewage solids to the bay and improved summer beach water quality. The scientists also highlighted the current state of bay watershed habitats.
The lunchtime keynote speech from Majora Carter, one of the nation’s foremost environmental justice leaders, inspired the crowd. She gave an impassioned speech on the need and way to green even the most blighted urban environments.The founder of Sustainable South Bronx emphasized the need for community involvement to successfully green education and job programs.
But seeing Shelly Luce, former Heal the Bay science and policy director, in action marked the highlight of the day for me. The well-run conference symbolizes the incredible job she’s done as executive director of the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission. Her staff should earn praise for putting together and running the conference.
And Shelley stood front and center as the gracious host, emphasizing the need for an integrated watershed management approach that protects local ecology and provides water quality, flood control and water supply benefits.Shelley has certainly come a long way since her Heal the Bay days of measuring algae cover in Malibu Creek. The bay is better for it.