Owls in Newport Sanctuary At Risk

Developers Have Eye on Banning Ranch

Give A Hoot!

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Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

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Banning Ranch, a 401-acre stretch of private land that parallels the Santa Ana River and ends at the Pacific Coast Highway above Newport Beach, CA may not look like much…just scrub brush, wildflowers, cactus, wetlands, and some oil pumps. But, to developers it’s a potential goldmine.

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And, to the Burrowing Owls that live there it’s home.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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Now that home – where the owls nest, hunt for food and raise their young – is threatened by a ruling in May from the California Coastal Commission that deems Banning Ranch “appropriate” for development…

with 895 homes, 45,000 sq.ft. of retail space and a hotel possibly going on the site. Plus a sports park and skateboard park, two parking lots and 4-lane, 50 mph roadway.  (The developer Newport Banning Ranch LLC wants 1,375 houses.)

The ruling is controversial not only for going against staff recommendations to reject the project, but because it came after the firing of previous coastal commissioner Charles Lester, which upset environmentalists, who fear the commission is becoming politicized.

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Now, on September 7 the Coastal Commission is voting on whether or not to approve the project.

Steve Ray, executive director of the Banning Ranch Conservancy, says the commission’s current recommendation underestimates the amount of natural habitat the owls need to survive. He notes that it fails to consider the owls’ daily activities. “The birds don’t just need a place to sit on a bush where their nest is. They need to forage and disperse.”

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SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel learned that the Burrowing Owls are federally protected in the U.S., Canada and Mexico by the U.S. Migratory Birds Treaty Act.

They are also considered to be at risk at the state level and, depending on the state, are designated as “endangered,” “threatened,” or a “species of concern” (in California).

What’s more, the owls aren’t alone.

To date 93 species of birds have been identified at Banning Ranch, including the endangered California Gnatcatcher and Cactus Wren.

Cactus Wren -- Tahana Chule Park, Tuscon, Arizona -- September 12th, 2006

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Assorted mammals, reptiles, amphibians and aquatic creatures live there, too. If the development proceeds, these animals and many of the site’s native plants could be threatened.

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In addition to serving as a home to the Burrowing Owls and other animals, Banning Ranch is an important stop for migrating and wintering birds, who are increasingly finding fewer and fewer places to rest and nest in today’s urbanized environment.

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After more than a century of development in Southern California, Banning Ranch is one of those rare stopping points and is the largest parcel of coastal open space and wetland property remaining in Orange County.

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Banning wetlands

Banning Ranch images by Nature Commission

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Along with this, SurfWriter Girls found out that Banning Ranch was once a ritual and trading hub for the Tongva and Acjachemen Native American Nations. Eight Native American cultural sites have been identified at the ranch.

Some sites, estimated to date back over 3,000 years, are so significant that they have been listed as “sacred land” by the California State Native American Heritage Commission.

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Any proposed development would have to ensure that these ancient sites are protected – a difficult task considering the project requires moving 2.8 million cubic yards of earth as part of the planned grading activities.

Given all this, do we really need another real estate development on Orange County’s coast? How many more shops, restaurants, coffeehouses and bars do we want?reduce-your-carbon-footprint

How big will our carbon footprint be? How much increased water usage, energy consumption and urban pollution can we tolerate?

Big_Yellow_TaxiNow is a good time to think about the lyrics in Joni MItchell’s song Big Yellow Taxi:

Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
Till it’s gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

The California Coastal Commission is meeting again on September 7, 2016, at 9 a.m. in the Newport Beach City Council Chambers, 100 Civic Center Drive, N.B., 92660, to vote on the fate of Banning Ranch.

Will anyone speak for the owls? Hoo?

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National Park Service Celebrates 100 Years

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Eight Coastal Treasures to Discover!

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Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

100 Birthday CakeJoin the party! America’s National Park Service is celebrating its centennial anniversary.

After decades of lobbying by passionate conservationists, including President Theodore Roosevelt and John Muir, for a special agency to oversee the country’s national parks and monuments, finally they succeeded.

John Muir and Teddy Roosevelt

On August 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the act creating the National Park Service, a new federal bureau in the Department of the Interior, to protect the 35 national parks and monuments that existed then and any future parks.

Woodrow Wilson

Thanks to the vision and pioneering work of nature lovers who saw the beauty and value in America’s undisturbed forests, mountains, valleys, deserts and coasts, these areas –

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from Yellowstone and Yosemite to the Grand Canyon. Denali and the Everglades

– are now protected and preserved for future generations to enjoy.

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Keep it for your children, your children’s children,
 and for all who come after you. – Theodore Roosevelt

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Today there are 58 national parks in all with California and Alaska – with eight parks each – having more parks than any other state.

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel, who were both Girl Scouts, grew up camping and know how lucky we are in America to have so many national parks to explore and enjoy. What’s more, many of them are right on the beach! Each of the eight parks below offers a unique coastal experience that celebrates the world of nature.

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Eight National Parks On the Coast

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Redwood Forest National and State Park, North of San Francisco, combines the majesty of the giant Redwoods with 40 miles of pristine coastline.

 

Santa Monica Cave National Park

The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, near Malibu, is a breathtaking ocean retreat just a short drive from Los Angeles.

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Channel Islands National Park, off the coast of Santa Barbara, CA, encompasses five islands that are home to many rare species of plants and animals and archaeological and cultural sites.

Olympic National Park, in Washington, has close to a million acres of beautiful vistas from glacier-topped Mt. Olympus and old-growth rain forests to over 70 miles of raw coastline.

Olympic Nat. ParkAcadia Nat. Park

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Cape Cod National Park, Massachusetts, has over 40 miles of beaches, marshes and ponds. Observing its tranquility, Henry David Thoreau said, “A man may stand there and put all America behind him.”

Acadia National Park, Maine, a 47,000-mile getaway on a rugged coast, offers the chance to see moose, whales, and bears against a backdrop of deserted beaches and granite mountain peaks.

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Haleakala National Park, Hawaii, on Maui, is considered a sacred spot and offers the opportunity to see glorious sunsets over the Haleakala volcanic crater.

biscayneBiscayne National Park, Florida, is an ocean enthusiast’s dream with turquoise waters, barrier islands and vibrant coral reefs to explore.

These coastal treasures – and America’s 50 other national parks – would be standouts on any Bucket List!

Whether you want to swim, surf, hike, walk, or just admire the view, there’s a park waiting for you to discover and to celebrate on this National Park Service Centennial.

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Party Aussie Style!

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Fashionista Kathryn Porritt Shares the Look

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Presented by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

Say “G’day!” Throw a shrimp on the barbie and get ready to party in style the way they do in the Land Down Under.

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With summer parties still going strong in the Northern Hemisphere there’s always the question “What to wear?”

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When it comes to fashion, guys are lucky. Just pull on a classic T or Hawaiian shirt and you’re all set. But, what’s a gal to do?

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug  and Patti Kishel just heard from Aussie fashion stylist Kathryn Porritt, the owner of online beach fashion website Bondi Lifestyle, that the answer to that is easy.

In a word, she says,”Kaftans!”

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Whether it’s cotton or silk, casual or chic, there’s a style of Kaftan that’s just right for any party occasion. Take a look at this story Kathryn wrote for Surf’n Beach Scene Magazine and channel your own summer fashion fantasies.

Kaftans are your Ultimate Summer Party Choice

Written by Kathryn Porritt

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The famous set are all wearing them at LA pools.  The glitterati are swanning around yachts in the Mediterranean in them.  The glamorous at the beach resort are all relaxing with a cocktail in them.

They’re everywhere, and they’re chic.  They’re kaftans and they’re your ultimate summer party choice.

For a Summer wedding or a party around the pool, a Kaftan embellished in crystals and sequins in the color of your choice, is the ultimate in party glam.  You’ll be ultra comfortable and incredibly chic all at once – and how many pieces of clothing do that for you?

A Maxi Kaftan in Silk

Feathers-Silk-Maxi-Kaftan-002Kaftans come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, but the most chic are maxi kaftans that fall to your ankles – either plain or embellished – and have sweeping batwing sleeves and low necklines.

This shape suits every size and shape, from the petite among us to plus size divas.  Showing off your décolletage with encrusted jewels at the neckline and floating in a silky maxi dress is the ultimate in summer chic.

The maxi kaftan evokes glamour and style – effortless resort chic, that never clings and always feels cool to the touch.  From hand painted kaftans that would look at home in a Grecian resort to a rainbow of sunset colors sparkling at dusk, your pick of hues that suit your mood and the theme of your soiree is unlimited.

A Little Bit of Indie Party Chic

Indie and boho chic is everything right now, and if you want to get the boho look, but you left your inner hippie in the 70’s, kaftans will bring the look you want to your party style without compromising on your contemporary glamour.

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A linen, cotton or silk kaftan in a midi or maxi cut can be worn with sandals or brightly colored heels for an elegantly indie party look.  Add as much bling as you dare to your necklaces, wrists and ears with boho accessories that offer romantic sparkle. Natural loose hair in waves is just perfect with a fun plait on the side to bring a little bit of cheeky fun to the look at night.

Kaftans for Beach Weddings

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A destination or beach wedding always brings excitement!  Planning the perfect outfit can be a disaster, though, if you’re not mindful of cool fabrics and easy to wear pieces.

A kaftan can be the perfect choice because the shape is flattering to every shape and size from petite to plus size, and the fall of the fabric never clings, so you’ll always feel cool, no matter if you’re scorchingly hot!

Depending on the time of day the wedding is being held, and whether it’s a resort or beach ceremony, wear your kaftan with high beaded sandals or low slung flats, masses of gold jewelled necklaces, stacked bangles, and a big statement cocktail ring.

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Kaftan with jewelry bangles

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As you can see, Kathryn Porritt is a fashionista extraordinaire!

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Bondi Lifestyle, her beach fashion and leisurewear website – named after Australia’s famous Bondi Beach – is a top online marketer with customers from around the world seeking it out.

Bondi Beach

Kathryn told SurfWriter Girls, “You’ll find a beautiful range of Australian kaftans shipped worldwide. Every season, shape and size are catered to.”

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Animals Go On Surfin’ Safari

Pets are Hotdog Surfers

surf dog on board

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

Let’s go surfin’ now
Everybody’s learning how
Come on and safari with me

People aren’t the only ones who are following The Beach Boys song and going on a Surfin’ Safari. Dogs of all sizes and shapes, cats, pigs, goats, and more are heading out on surfboards to enjoy the beach action.

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goat surfing

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Every year surf dogs from around the world come to California’s Huntington Beach and Imperial Beach for Petco’s Unleashed Surf Dog Competition.

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With paws on the nose and tails wagging, the canine competitors go all out to see who’s Top Dog.

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Didga, the Aussie skateboarding cat phenomenon, shows that she’s got some surf moves, too, and isn’t afraid to get wet. Go, Didga! Go!

Didga on surfboard

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel love seeing all the animals out in the water having fun. Our friend Huntington Beach surf artist Dave Reynolds is a sight to see when he goes surfing with his best buds Nacho and Lance, a Chihuahua and a Labrador mix. Nacho may be little, but he holds his own against the big dogs.

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When you’re on dry land, to keep the fun going for groms (and adults, too!), take a look at this book we discovered:The Surfing Animals Alphabet by Jonas Claesson, a Swedish artist and designer who lives in Australia.

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Featured in Surfer magazine, this illustrated alphabet book with animals in the ABCs lineup, is just the thing to get little surfer dudes and dudettes on board about reading.

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As for the animals, now that the dog days of summer are here they want to have fun!

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