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Accomplishments

What we have accomplished together

 

1999 

  • At the request of the Southern Sea Otter Recovery Team, The Otter Project provided funding to study sea otter deaths in the live-fish trap fishery.  Using the research, TOP successfully advocated for regulations preventing sea otters’ death in traps.

 

2000 

  • TOP completed years of effort to create safer oil tanker and container ship traffic lanes through Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.  The United Nations approved the plan.
  • With the urging of TOP, the California Fish and Game Commission banned nearshore gill nets.  Gill nets were killing porpoise, seals, otters, and diving birds.

 

2002 

  • TOP sponsored and facilitated a four day Contaminants Working Group Meeting on chemical contaminants in otters, leveraging research grants, and supporting graduate student research.

 

2003

  • TOP successfully pushed for the release of a new Southern Sea Otter Recovery Plan after 15 years of delay.
  • TOP successfully worked with the US EPA to ban the manufacture of butyltin ship paints linked to sea otter death.  Butyltin is named the “most toxic chemical ever created” in the chemical literature.

 

2004

  • TOP took its first legal action and successfully opposed the development of 36 ‘dormant’ offshore oil leases within the sea otter’s range.

 

2005

  • TOP began its leadership role in the multi-year campaign to implement the Marine Life Protection Act–-a 1999 California state law mandating a statewide network of marine parks, reserves, and protected areas.

 

2007

  • TOP celebrated the successful creation of a 200 square mile network of marine State Parks, Conservation Areas and no-take Marine Reserves along the Central Coast.
  • TOP launched Monterey Coastkeeper, a new water quality program of The Otter Project. Monterey Coastkeeper, is affiliated with the International Waterkeeper Alliance led by Boby Kennedy Jr.

 

2009

  • TOP filed a lawsuit in partnership with The Environmental Defense Center of Santa Barbara against the US Fish and Wildlife Service for failing to protect sea otters and failing to release a final ruling on the no-otter zone.

 

2010

  • Monterey Coastkeeper emerged as a leading force to improve the regulation of agricultural discharges.
  • Monterey Coastkeeper filed suit against Monterey County Water Resources Agency for polluting the waters of Monterey Bay, Elkhorn Slough and the Salinas River.
  • The Otter Project completed six months of monitoring of human use of Central Coast marine protected areas.  The Otter Project’s “MPA Watch” became the ‘standard’ for human use monitoring of MPAs.
  • The Otter Project settled its lawsuit against US Fish and Wildlife Service to end the no-otter zone.

 

2012

  • The no-otter zone is officially abolished; the direct result of The Otter Project’s efforts on behalf of our members.

 

2014

  • After TOP requested study in 2012, Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and the Naval Postgraduate School release a report documenting tanker and container ships not in compliance with the 2000 international and industry agreement.

 

2015

  • Monterey Coastkeeper wins its lawsuit against Monterey County Water Resources Agency.  Monterey Superior Court Wills rules that MCWRA must apply for discharge permits and comply with California’s water quality regulations.  MCWRA has appealed.
  • Monterey Coastkeeper wins a historic and nationally significant victory against agricultural pollution.  Sacramento Superior Court Judge Timothy Frawley rules that the State must do much more to curb agricultural waste.  Big industrial agriculture entered the case and an appeal is expected.
  • Over 300 participating TOP volunteers have now completed over 6000 surveys of human use in California’s marine protected area network.  Six other coastal nonprofits have now launched sister MPA Watch programs.