Surfrider chap­ter founded in Cleve­land

Wa­ter ac­tivist group to fo­cus on Lake Erie plas­tic waste.

Dayton Daily News - - LOCAL & STATE - By Laura John­ston

Ohio now has CLEVE­LAND — its own chap­ter of the Surfrider Foun­da­tion, a Mal­ibu, Calif.-founded or­ga­ni­za­tion work­ing to pro­tect rivers, lakes and oceans.

The North­ern Ohio chap­ter formed in April and is still “find­ing its sea legs,” said chair Christy Gray. It will roll out its big ini­tia­tive at a meet­ing at 7 p.m. Oct. 17 at Saucy Brew Works, 2885 De­troit Ave., in Cleve­land.

So far, Surfrider has hosted beach cleanups and a Cuya­hoga River cleanup with the Port of Cleve­land’s Flot­sam and Jet­sam boats, be­fore the big Head of the Cuya­hoga re­gatta.

“Now we’re try­ing to fig­ure out how to find a place in this en­vi­ron­ment,” said Gray, a stand-up pad­dler.

Many of the 50 mem­bers are stand-up pad­dlers and surfers, she said. But boaters, an­glers, row­ers and any­one who cares about the en­vi­ron­ment is wel­come. The group plans to work with other en­vi­ron­men­tally minded or­ga­ni­za­tions, in­clud­ing the Al­liance for the Great Lakes and Drink Lo­cal, Drink Tap.

Surfrider plans to con­cen­trate on the Great Lakes plas­tic prob­lem.

Lake Erie has 46,000 pieces of plas­tic per square kilo­me­ter.

The group might con­tinue to do cleanups, or maybe push busi­nesses to elim­i­nate straws.

“We could have a pretty broad out­reach to any­one who uses the wa­ter,” Gray said. “I talk about hav­ing im­pact on the lakes and rivers that we live near and play on. How to keep them clean and safe and healthy.”

The Surfrider Foun­da­tion be­gan in Mal­ibu in 1984 when surfers felt their beloved waves were threat­ened by overde­vel­op­ment and pol­lu­tion. Now the foun­da­tion is fight­ing 90 ac­tive cam­paigns around the world and has 84 chap­ters, in­clud­ing in Michi­gan, Wis­con­sin and Illi­nois. It has helped ban plas­tic bags in Cal­i­for­nia and thwarted de­vel­op­ments planned on ocean shores.

Cleve­landers tried to form a chap­ter about six years ago, but the move­ment quickly pe­tered out, said Bill Cochrane, who owns Nalu Stand-up Pad­dle and Surf.

Cochrane said last spring: “The big thing now with all the stand-up pad­dlers and kayak­ers get­ting out on the wa­ter and re­al­iz­ing how awe­some it is. We’re get­ting peo­ple out there that five or six years ago would not have thought about go­ing out of that wa­ter. The more they’re out there, the more they want to take care of it.”

SPE­CIAL TO CLEVE­LAND.COM

The North­ern Ohio chap­ter of the Surfrider Foun­da­tion hosted a Cuya­hoga River cleanup be­fore the Head of the Cuya­hoga Re­gatta last month.

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