About Me

The Surfrider Foundation is a non-profit grassroots organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of our world’s oceans, waves and beaches through a powerful activist network. Founded in 1984 by a handful of visionary surfers in Malibu, California, the Surfrider Foundation now maintains over 250,000 supporters, activists and members worldwide. For more information on the Surfrider Foundation, visit www.surfrider.org.

Friday, September 10, 2010


Photo courtesy of Maria Draper

It's not new news that freshwater supplies are in short, er, supply on the Monterey Peninsula. Or rather, water uses are currently far greater than available supplies. In any case, now more than ever it's important to conserve our limited resources to avoid further impacting our surface water bodies-- like the once formidable Carmel River-- our overdrafted groundwater supplies, and now perhaps even our marine environments (should the oft-mentioned idea of co-locating a seawater desalination facility with the Moss Landing power plant or Natural Refractories facilities ever take hold).

The good news is that there are steps that each and every one of us can take to reduce and better manage our own freshwater consumption without reducing our quality of life. Some steps are simpler than others, but rest assured we're not asking anyone to stop bathing or washing their dishes.

However, what we at the Surfrider Foundation Monterey Chapter are contemplating may be above either of these horrors in some peoples' minds: tear out your lawn. What???!! Yes, that's right: kill your lawn. Why, pray tell, would we want you to do such a thing? Well, because grass lawns in Monterey County are:
  • not native
  • not naturally occurring
  • not climate adapted
  • water intensive
  • (usually) chemical requiring (i.e. fertilizers and herbicides)
If we were to pack up our lawns and move to say, the Midwest, it might be a different story. For comparison, Monterey, California's annual rainfall is about 18 inches per year, whereas Peoria, Illinois gets approximately double that--35 inches--and it precipitates year-round. So in Illinois, it's possible for grass to get the water and nutrients it needs to survive and look green. This is an impossible feat where we live. Gotta love the Mediterranean-like climate, but the harsh truth is that it's just not great for natural grass growing. But life goes on.

Fortunately, there is a wide array of beautiful plants-- including lawn substitutes!-- that will grow here without the added water or chemicals.

Now, we can't in good faith ask you to kill your lawn if we are not willing to do the same. I mean, that would be hypocritical, right? Since nobody likes a hypocrite, we have decided to embark on an endeavor to tear out the grass at our office space and begin work on an Ocean Friendly Garden. Stay tuned...

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