Science for a Blue Planet

Science for a Blue Planet

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Threats to the Farallones! We need your help!

By | January 11, 2018

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Point Blue Farallon Biologist and rhinoceros auklet.  Photo: Annie Schmidt/Point Blue/USFWS

Point Blue Farallon Biologist and rhinoceros auklet.
Photo: Annie Schmidt/Point Blue/USFWS

Spring 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of Point Blue’s globally-renowned Farallon Island program. Our scientists have studied and protected the largest seabird breeding colony in the contiguous US for 5 decades–24/7–in a uniquely successful long-term partnership with the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).

Unfortunately, new proposed actions out of Washington, DC seriously threaten the collaborative progress we’ve made to protect seabirds, marine mammals, and the ocean.

Last week, the administration proposed opening offshore federal waters to oil and gas drilling. They’ve also opened the door to shrinking the National Marine Sanctuaries off the West Coast– ocean protection zones that Point Blue’s science helped establish and expand. Without formal designation as a NOAA sanctuary, some of the most biologically productive ocean regions on Earth will be open to fossil fuel exploration. Drilling in these waters poses severe risks from oil spills, construction, and increased vessel traffic that could devastate marine wildlife, the fishing industry, and recreational opportunities on our coast.

On top of that, we just learned that the Department of Interior (DOI) is putting a hold on all of its discretionary grants and cooperative agreements to “better align with the Secretary’s priorities” (see news coverage here and the December 28th directive here), directly threatening the continuation of our urgent conservation science. The USFWS, National Park Service, US Geological Survey, and several other of our partner agencies that sit within DOI are subject to this directive.

Humpback whales and seabirds feeding in California Current waters. Photo: Sophie Webb/Point Blue/NOAA.

Humpback whales and seabirds feeding in California Current waters. Photo: Sophie Webb/Point Blue/NOAA.

Over the past fifty years, we’ve amassed an invaluable long term data set that is crucial for understanding threats to our climate, our ocean, seabirds, sea lions, seals, whales, white sharks, and the ocean food web. The continuity of this vital data, that scores of nonprofit and government agency partners rely on to advance marine conservation in our rapidly changing world, is now at risk.

The good news is that, with your help, we’ll continue carrying out our critical research and stewardship, even as government funding is on hold. Take two actions today:

1) We need your support to continue our stewardship, research, and protection of the Farallon Islands and surrounding ocean ecosystem. Click here to make a gift today!

2) Educate your Representatives and Senators about the damaging impact of the proposed changes. They need to hear from you. With your action today, they can make a difference to protect seabirds and other ocean wildlife in these uncertain times!

With your help, we’ll make this a year to celebrate! Together, we will ensure that Point Blue’s innovative conservation science continues and strengthens!

Thank you very much for your support that makes our unique conservation science work possible.
With gratitude always,

Ellie M. Cohen
President and CEO

Jaime Jahncke, PhD
California Current Director

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