Wetlands are crucial to prevent one of the huge letdowns for surfers: beach closures. Beach closures are a common occurrence all over the world, as you might have found out for yourself. In California’s Orange County, the Health Department ordered a total of 1,134 days of beach closures over the last 12 years. Do the math and those 1,134 days equals 3 years.
So why all of the closures and how do wetlands tie in? If you are a surfer you should be very concerned, because the reason you can’t surf that day is the same reason marine life is put at risk for high viral and bacterial contamination, hard metal toxicity, and extinction. Wetlands help prevent the causes of these beach closures.
Causes of Beach Closures
1) One primary source of coastal water pollution is urban runoff. Urban runoff is the water that flows from the land through storm drains to the ocean. When it rains, it collects animal waste, oil and rubber residue from cars, asbestos and metals from brake linings, and pesticides. It may have high bacterial counts, viruses, and be the cause of death or injury to marine life.
2) Another source is sewage overflow from sewage-treatment plants, homes and businesses. Untreated sewage from spills and overflows have high levels of disease-causing waterborne pathogens causing infections, typhoid fever, viral and bacterial gastroenteritis, and viral liver disease. No surfer, citizen, or marine animal wants to be exposed to these.
As residents in California, we know that the Environmental Health Department is one of many agencies and other nonprofit organizations that constantly monitor the water quality of our beaches, with desperate attempts to educate the public and how to prevent this pollution. However, we are overlooking a big solution: preserving our wetlands. Wetlands are places where the land is covered by water, either salt, fresh or somewhere in between. Marshes and ponds, the edge of a lake or ocean, the delta at the mouth of a river, low-lying areas that frequently flood—all of these are wetlands.
Benefits of Wetlands
You are probably wondering what wetlands have to do with keeping our water quality on out beaches clean. There is a natural process that filters toxins for our waters, through: wetlands. That is why it is very important to preserve our wetlands. Wetlands act as our ecosystems’ kidneys. They purify toxins before the water empties back into the ocean.
As of today in the United States, 22 states have lost at least 50% of their original wetlands. California has lost the most at 91%. Florida has lost the most acreage at 9.3 million acres. That is equivalent to over 7 million football fields. Wetlands have been primarily destroyed due to housing and land development, agriculture and dams.
There needs to be more public concern about preserving wetlands, so educating the public about their importance is necessary. Surfers in particular should want to preserve wetlands because without them, equals poor water quality and beach closures.
Surfers for Wetlands was created to educate the public about the importance of wetlands. The destruction of wetlands is occurring through out the world. According to the World Wildlife Federation, half of the world's wetlands have disappeared since 1900s. We not only want to educate people about wetlands locally in California, but want to bring this attention to the global stage. The best way would be to inform surfers all around the world about why we need to preserve our wetlands.