Saturday, April 10, 2010
Dr. Chris Harrold (Moderator),
Historically, the West Coast groundfish industry has relied almost exclusively on bottom trawling. While effective at catching fish, dragging heavy gear across the bottom leads to high bycatch and damages seafloor habitats. Over the last 15 years, fishery management has begun to develop regulation aimed at stemming overfishing and destructive fishing practices. On the water, this growing body of regulation has severely constrained the fisheries' economic performance. Many fishing communities along the Central Coast, such as Morro Bay, are in danger of losing their traditional fishing industries and heritage. Our Central Coast Groundfish Project is a collaboration with fishermen and coastal communities to improve both the economic and environmental performance of the local groundfish fishery and test innovative concepts in the new frontier of sustainable fishing. By leasing out fishing permits with geographic constraints and gear and monitoring requirements, the Conservancy is researching how diverse types of gear and cooperative harvest planning can help maintain fish populations and protect seafloor habitat. We are also conducting the first controlled study on the West Coast of the impacts of bottom trawling and the patterns of recovery on seafloor communities. This information will provide the basis for scientifically sound policies that broaden the range of fishing opportunities while protecting key species and habitats. Ultimately, that will enable fishermen to better adapt to evolving regulatory measures, variable stock status, and changing climatic conditions.
Dr. Jonathan Trent
Having just emerged from the warmest decade on record and watching as the oceans acidify, global resources peak, the world’s population continues to climb, and nearly half of all known species face extinction by the end of the century. We stand on the threshold of one of the most important transition in human history - the transition from hunting-and-gathering our energy to cultivating sustainable, carbon-neutral, environmentally-friendly energy supplies. Can we "cultivate" energy without competing with agriculture for land, freshwater, or fertilizer? Can we develop an "ecology of technology" that optimizes our use of limited resources? Is human activity compatible with improved conditions in the world’s oceans? Will our ingenuity prevail in time to make a difference for our children and the children of all species?
With support from NASA ARMD and the California Energy Commission, a group of dedicated scientists and engineers are working on a project called OMEGA (Offshore Membrane Enclosures for Growing Algae), to provide practical answers to these critical questions and to leave a legacy of hope for the oceans and for the future.
Dr. Fred Watson
Solutions to environmental problems require stakeholders, policymakers, and the public at large to attain a shared understanding of the composition and functioning of ecosystems. This in turn depends on clear communication. The EcoViz approach achieves this using dynamic 3D computer-animations of ecosystem data. These visualizations communicate large amounts of integrated ecosystem information in a brief and accessible format. Dr Watson will demonstrate EcoViz products from prominent protected areas in both the terrestrial and marine realms, and share his experience on the relative benefits of different approaches to visualization design and deployment.
Dr. Phil Levin
Ecosystem-based management (EBM) is not a new idea, nor, I will argue, is it absolutely necessary for sustainable fisheries. However, fishing, even sustainably, has clear ecosystem and conservation consequences, and it is within this realm of multiple objectives and management mandates that EBM is critical. But, how do we actually do EBM? Now that resource managers and policy makers are embracing (or at least accepting) EBM in concept, there is somewhat limited practical advice on how to implement the tenets of EBM. Despite a reasonable understanding of many of the social and biogeophysical components of marine ecosystems, we lack a framework or process for using science to inform decision making about multiple interacting management objectives. In this talk I will outline an approach to inform resource management decisions. This approach allows us to make incremental progress towards EBM given current management, policy and legal constraints. However, the approach is broadly applicable and will be useful to more comprehensive large-scale EBM in the future.
Dr. Brent Constantz
Calera’s Carbon Capture and Mineralization technology with beneficial reuse has been called, "game-changing" by Carl Pope, Director of the Sierra Club. Calera offers a solution to the scale of the carbon problem. By capturing carbon and other pollutants into the built environment, Calera provides a sound and cost-effective alternative to Geologic Sequestration and Terrestrial Sequestration. By chemically bonding carbon dioxide into carbonate minerals, this new technology permanently converts CO2 into a mineral form. The process produces a suite of carbonate containing minerals of various polymorphic forms and crystallographic characteristics, which can be substituted into blends with portland cements to produce concretes with reduced carbon, carbon neutral, and negative carbon footprints. For each ton of product produced, approximately half a ton of carbon dioxide is sequestered using the Calera process. Other valuable outputs of the process are fresh water and clean air. Calera, based in Los Gatos California, operates a pilot and demonstration plant next to a 1000 MW power plant at nearby Moss Landing.
In 2007, Tom Bowman decided to find out whether a small business—using its own resources—could meet or beat the ambitious targets in California’s landmark climate production law (AB 32). If the company could do so, and do it quickly and cost-effectively, Bowman would prove the business case—not a moral or political case—but a pragmatic case for "going green." In 2009, Bowman received one of five inaugural CoolCalifornia Small Business of the Year Awards from the California Air Resources Board for demonstrating a cost savings while slashing emissions by 65%. Bowman will present is company’s results and a simple strategy that other organizations and households can use to achieve similar results.