My name is Emily Fieberling and I am the conservation fellow with Environment California and the Environment California Research & Policy Center, with the shared mission of ensuring that Californians have access to clean air, clean water, and open space for generations to come.
As a California resident, someone who grew up on the beaches of Santa Cruz and now resides in the Bay Area, I know firsthand the importance of protecting our iconic coastline and the rare ocean-dwelling species that call the California coast home.
It’s, in large part, our majestic beaches that fuel the Califorian cultural impetus to protect our most beloved places, and often drive us to lead in environmental protection policy.
California has taken state action to protect our oceans through the Marine Life Protection Act, and adding the Chumash Heritage Sanctuary will help complete the work of preserving California’s ocean heritage and ensure the last bit of the California coastline is researched and monitored for generations to come.
I can personally attest to the educational and biological importance of this region because almost exactly two years ago, I traveled to Pismo Beach and the Kenneth Norris Rancho Marino Reserve to conduct marine botany fieldwork for my degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Over the last five years, we have only further uncovered the augmenting consequences of the climate and biodiversity crises. So, it’s only of more pressing value that this area around Point Conception and Santa Lucia Bank has been identified and marked as a hotspot critical to key ecosystem functions such as trophic transfer and providing nutrients to sustain diverse species, feed planktonic communities and kelp forests, and support various life stages of marine flora and fauna.
I’d also like to echo the previous comments regarding the sad and horrific consequences of the Refugio oil spill and Environment California’s eagerness to limit these disastrous events in the future.
That’s why I am speaking on behalf of Environment California and Environment California Research & Policy Center in support of the extension of the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary nomination, which will help further ocean protection.