2018 International Year of the Reef, UNEP

Photograph: © SAF – Coastal Care


Over the last three decades, half of the planet’s coral has died under rising water temperatures and ocean acidification. To address this global crisis, global environmental leaders and countries have named this the International Year of the Reef.

Kicking off the International Year of the Reef, Prime Minister of Fiji Frank Bainimarama announced the nomination of large portions of Fiji’s Great Sea Reef as a Ramsar site in an effort to protect it from threats, such as climate change, chemical and waste water run-off from neighbouring urban settlement, and industry.

A Ramsar site is designated under international treaty as a wetland important for the conservation of global biological diversity and for sustaining human life. Under the convention, wetlands are broadly defined and include areas such as coral reefs.

“We are engaged in a battle for the future of these reefs. We approved the nomination of large parts of the Great Sea Reef as a Ramsar site to protect it for future generations,” Bainimarama said. “Today I appeal to every single person on earth to help us. We must replace the present culture of abuse with a culture of care.

Senior representatives from the United Nations and WWF took advantage of the occasion to announce a new collaboration driving an urgent global response to combat the decline of coral.

“This is a make or break year for the world’s coral reefs,” said Erik Solheim, Head of UN Environment. “We have a short window when we can act, and the United Nations, WWF, and countries like Fiji are calling on the world to take the steps that will fix the problem this year.”

“A healthy planet depends on healthy oceans which cannot exist without preserving coral reefs- a key pillar of WWF’s conservation work worldwide,” Marco Lambertini, Director-General of WWF International said. “While the world’s oceans are under pressure across the board, coral reefs stand out as needing a global response urgently. Holding a quarter of the ocean’s biodiversity and underpinning the lives and livelihoods of millions of people, the stakes could not be higher for corals – and humanity…”

Read Full Article: “Fiji’s Great Sea Reef nominated as Ramsar Site at start of International Year of the Reef”; UNEP (01-17-2018)

Coral reefs ‘at make or break point’, UN environment head says; Guardian UK (01-17-2018)
The battle to save the world’s coral reefs is at “make or break point”, and countries that host them have a special responsibility to take a leadership role by limiting greenhouse gas emissions, plastic pollution and impacts from agriculture, the head of the United Nations Environment Programme (Unep) has said…

Could underwater sound waves be the key to early tsunami warnings?

Photograph: © SAF – Coastal Care


Mathematicians have devised a way of calculating the size of a tsunami and its destructive force well in advance of it making landfall by measuring fast-moving underwater sound waves, opening up the possibility of a real-time early warning system…

Read Full Article; Science Daily (01-24-2018)

Preparing for Tsunami Hazards on Washington’s Pacific Coast; USGS (03-20-2017)
Conventional wisdom about tsunamis says that if you feel an earthquake’s shaking, move to high ground immediately. But what if the area has no natural high ground? Many coastal communities in the Northwest are built on low-lying coastal spits of sand…

Rising Above the Risk: America’s First Tsunami Refuge, Science Daily (10-21-2014)
Washington’s coast is so close to the seismically active Cascadia Subduction Zone that if a megathrust earthquake were to occur, a tsunami would hit the Washington shoreline in just 25 minutes. One coastal community is preparing for such a disaster by starting construction on the nation’s first tsunami evacuation refuge…

More People Could Survive Tsunami If They Walk Faster;

NASA Study Challenges Long-held Tsunami Formation Theory; NASA / JPL (04-26-2017)

Cost of recreating in polluted water estimated at $2.9 billion nationwide!

Photograph: © SAF – Coastal Care


A new study published on January 9, 2018 by Environmental Health Journal estimates the national cost of getting sick from recreating in polluted water is $2.9 billion nationwide…

Read Full Article; SurfRiders (01-24-2018)

Original Study: “Estimate of incidence and cost of recreational waterborne illness on United States surface waters,” Environmental Health(01-09-2018)

MRSA: Bad Boy Bacteria, By Sharlene Pilkey (05-23-2010)
It used to be swimmers ear, (otis exterma,) and then it was swimmers itch (cercarial dermatitis) if you went to the beach, everybody got it at one time or another, but now there is a new bully bacteria hiding on supposedly pristine beaches world-wide…

The Dangers of Surfing After a Rain; Surfline (02-07-2017)

9 Surprising Diseases You Can Catch at the Beach, Huffington Post (08-23-2010)

Top Beach Hazards: How to Stay Safe on the Sand, Web MD (05-25-2017)
Beach hazards can vary by location and change over time. So what do you really need to be worried about? Several experts weigh in with their top picks…

Digging in Beach Sand Linked to Increased Risk of Gastrointestinal Illness, EPA (01-06-2015)

Dog Excrement in Plastic Bags Threatens Beach Safety, BBC News (Uploaded 03-22-2012)

Urban Stormwater Runoff: A Significant Source of Beachwater Pollution; NRDC (12-22-2010)

Coal-Tar-Sealant Runoff Causes Toxicity and DNA Damage, USGS (04-14-2015)
Runoff from pavement with coal-tar-based sealant is toxic to aquatic life, damages DNA, and impairs DNA repair…

Rhône River Delta

Astronaut photograph ISS052-E-15820 was acquired on July 14, 2017, with a Nikon D4 digital camera using an 1150 millimeter lens, and is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations Facility and the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, Johnson Space Center.

By Justin Wilkinson, Texas State University, JETS Contract at NASA-JSC;

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station focused a camera on the delta of the Rhône River in southern France, with its long beaches on the Mediterranean Sea coast. Using a long lens for detail, the photographer captured a part of the delta where the bigger branch of the river, the “Grand Rhône,” enters the sea. The smaller arm of the river is the “Petit Rhône” which is further west and beyond the lower edge of the image.

The long beaches are favored by tourists because they are some of the least developed in the Mediterranean.

Numerous lakes are found on the delta. Some have been converted into the colorful, angular salt ponds near the aptly named town Salin-de-Giraud. Salt winning (from evaporation) has been a local industry for centuries.

The Rhône delta is famous in Europe as a wilderness. This mainly rural region boasts a surprisingly rich natural environment known as the Camargue, based on the grasslands and many marsh ponds. The pastures are famous for rearing animals for bull-running sport and the bullfighting rings of Spain. The Camargue is also home to more than 400 species of birds and has been assigned the status of an Important Bird Area. It provides one of the few European sanctuaries for the greater flamingo.

Unlike the mouths of most large rivers in Europe, the Grand Rhône is not dominated by a major city. The small Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône (population roughly 8,500) is a port annex of the major city of Marseille, which is 50 kilometers to the east.

Original Article; NASA / Earth Observatory (01-22-2018)

The Camargue horse is an ancient breed of horse indigenous to the Camargue area in southern France. For centuries, possibly thousands of years, these small horses have lived wild in the harsh environment of the Camargue marshes and wetlands of the Rhone delta. There they developed the stamina, hardiness and agility for which they are known today. Captions and Photo source: ©© Dmitry Telnov

On the Chesapeake, A Precarious Future of Rising Seas and High Tides; Video

Eroding marsh shoreline, Chesapeake Bay. Photo source: ©© chesbayprogram


Maryland’s Dorchester County is ground zero for climate change on Chesapeake Bay, as rising seas claim more and more land. An e360 video explores the quiet beauty of this liquid landscape and how high tides and erosion are putting the bay’s rural communities at risk…

Read Full Article And Watch Video, Yale E360 (01-22-2018)

Century of data shows sea-level rise shifting tides in Delaware, Chesapeake bays; Science Daily (01-24-2018)

727 People on Chesapeake Bay Island Could Become America’s First ‘Climate Refugees’; LiveScience (12-15-2015)

Communities of Southern Chesapeake Bay Find Sea Level Rise Heightened by Sinking Land, USGS (12-11-2013)
Communities and coastal habitats in the southern Chesapeake Bay region face increased flooding because, as seawater levels are rising in the bay, the land surface is also sinking. A new USGS report concludes that intensive groundwater withdrawals are a major cause of the sinking land, that contributes to flooding risks in the region…

Tangier Island: Another Disappearing Island In The Chesapeake Bay, a BBC Video Documentary (11-29-2011)
Tangier Island lies in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay and is 92 miles (148km) southeast of Washington, DC. This small piece of land is barely above sea level and its 500 residents are fighting for its survival…

Seabed mining could destroy ecosystems

Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care


Mining on the ocean floor could do irreversible damage to deep-sea ecosystems, says a new study of seabed mining proposals around the world. The deep sea (depths below 200m) covers about half of the Earth’s surface and is home to a vast range of species…

Read Full Article, Science Daily (01-22-2018)

Environmental Uncertainties Halt Deep Sea Mining; IPS (12-18-2012)

Mining For Smartphones – “Coast, Coral and Community,” A Documentary Series; by ©Friends Of The Earth (05-29-2014)

Mining For Smartphones: Devastation In Indonesia, Bangka Islands; by Friends Of The Earth (11-24-2012)

Papua New Guinea’s Seabed To Be Mined For Gold And Copper; Guardian UK (08-08-2012)

Surfers Oppose Cornwall Mining Plans; Guardian, UK (02-08-2013)

Aragonite worth billions is being mined in the Bahamas; Caribbean Webcrat International (05-10-2014)

Fiji: Mangrove concern

Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care


Regional environmental protection agencies recently questioned Fiji’s commitment to oceans and coral health by highlighting the continued removal and destruction of mangroves in the country…

Read Full Article, Fiji Times (01-17-2018)

Replanting Mangroves Vital To Protecting Coastline And Fisheries Resources, Fiji; Fiji Sun (11-29-2017)
For many years mangrove forests have suffered from human activities and the ravages of extreme weather patterns. Now the fightback to protect and preserve them has intensified…

Mangroves: A Star Player In The Coastal Protection Game; The Huffington Green (08-07-2017)
They do it all: sequester greenhouse gases, protect marine life, maintain fresh water and, of course, defend against rising sea levels and storm surges…

Sri Lanka to become the first nation in the world to protect all its mangroves; Guardian UK (05-12-2015)
More than half the world’s mangroves have been lost over the last century but all of those surviving in Sri Lanka, one of their most important havens, are now to be protected in an unprecedented operation…

Where the land meets the sea: Governing mangrove forests; Forests News (02-02-2017)
As countries ponder how to encourage mangrove conservation, the role of people, rights, and governance institutions should receive equal consideration…

“Where Land Meets the Sea: A Global Review of the Governance and Tenure Dimensions of Coastal Mangrove Forests,” Center for international forestry research; (2016)

The Human Element of Mangrove Management; USAID (12-16-2016)

Destruction of Mangroves Costs up to US$42 billion in Economic Damages Annually – UNEP Report (10-14-2014)
The world is losing its mangroves at a faster rate than global deforestation, the United Nations revealed, in a new report “Importance of Mangroves: A Call to Action,” adding that the destruction of the coastal habitats was costing billions in economic damages and impacting millions of lives…

South Africa: Setback for Giant West Coast Mine Project

Beach and dune sand mining, South Africa. ©Photo courtesy of: “Sand Wars” Multi Award-Winning Filmmaker: Denis Delestrac (©-2013).


The government has rejected an application by a controversial Australian mining company for a huge expansion of its existing Tormin heavy mineral sands mine near Koekenaap on the West Coast.

Tormin is a relatively small but high-grade mine some 400km north of Cape Town. It has been in operation since October 2013, produces heavy sands minerals from the beach…

Read Full Article, All’Africa (01-09-2018)

South Africa: Authorities Finally Move Against Australian Sand Mining Company; All’Africa (10-20-2016)
Tormin’s mining practice, which deviated significantly from the original environmental authorisation provisions of the mining license, has been in the spotlight since the mine began operations in March 2014. These include the construction of structures on the beach zone, mining directly on the beaches, and questions about a massive collapse of the sea cliffs below the mine processing plant…

The environmental loss of illegal sand mining in South Africa, ENCA (01-07-2016)
Research shows that KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape are home to more than 200 illegal sand mining operations. Umvoti River sand is as good as gold in the construction industry. Its stellar components have placed it among the best sand in South Africa for building purposes. But this comes at a great environmental loss…

“The Shore Break,” A Movie From Riley Grunenwald; Variety (05-02-2016)
A gorgeous stretch of the Wild Coast is the object of a standoff between corrupt pro-mining forces interested in mining the local beach sand for titanium, and a South African coastal community. The drama is structured around two diametrically opposed protagonists. A film review by Variety…

Sand Mining Threatens South Africa’s Coast, Business Report (03-06-2015)

Illegal Sand Mining in South Africa a Report: “Governance of Africa’s Resources Programme, by Romy Chevallier;” All’Africa (12-28-2014)

Sand, Rarer Than One Thinks: A UNEP report (GEA-March 2014)
Despite the colossal quantities of sand and gravel being used, our increasing dependence on them and the significant impact that their extraction has on the environment, this issue has been mostly ignored by policy makers and remains largely unknown by the general public.
In March 2014 The United Nations released its first Report about sand mining. “Sand Wars” film documentary by Denis Delestrac – first broadcasted on the european Arte Channel, May 28th, 2013, where it became the highest rated documentary for 2013 – expressly inspired the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to publish this 2014-Global Environmental Alert.

The Conservation Crisis No One Is Talking About, TakePart (09-21-2016)
Beaches around the world are disappearing. No, the cause isn’t sea-level rise, at least not this time. It’s a little-known but enormous industry called sand mining, which every year sucks up billions of tons of sand from beaches, ocean floors, and rivers to make everything from concrete to microchips to toothpaste…

Sand Wars, An Investigation Documentary, By Award-Winning Filmmaker Denis Delestrac (©-2013)

Sand Mining in South Africa: Learn More, Coastal Care

Global Sand Mining: Learn More, Coastal Care