The Cambrian

Series of talks dealing with marine sanctuary set for May

This month, lecturers again are to help North Coast residents discover more about what’s new in “their” marine sanctuary — the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, which covers ocean waters from Marin County north of San Francisco to a midpoint of the shoreline of Cambria’s Fiscalini Ranch Preserve.

This year’s topics include measuring climate change, gray whales, tsunami debris, steelhead recovery and research done via deep-sea diving.

The free, hour-long lectures are sponsored by the sanctuary and the University of California Kenneth S. Norris Marine Reserve (Rancho Marino). All the talks are to be given weekly from 6 to 7 p.m. every Friday through May at the Veterans Memorial Building, 1000 Main Street, Cambria.

This is the second such series of informational talks focusing on marine topics. The first of the five 2013 lectures is set for May 3, with subsequent talks given Fridays through May 31.

The lecturers and their topics are to include:

May 3: “A Sea of Change, from atmosphere to zooplankton, measuring climate change,” by Steve Lonhart with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) SIMoN program.

May 10: “Gray whale behavior and genetics,” and how that science gleans valuable insight into the behaviors, migratory patterns and distribution of the North Pacific gray whale, which swims past local shores twice a year. Lecturer is Aimee Lang of the Southwest Fisheries Science Center, which has for years sent a team of whale counters to tally the grays migrating past Point Piedras Blancas.

May 17: “Japan tsunami marine debris,” about how the trash travels along ocean currents, including from the the 2011 Japan tsunami. Lecturer Sherry Lippiatt of the NOAA Marine Debris Program also will discuss the ongoing — and growing — marine debris problem.

May 24: “Steelhead recovery on the Central Coast and in Santa Rosa Creek,” by David Boughton, also of NOAA fisheries science center, and Meredith Hardy of the California Conservation Corps. They’ll discuss the trout’s status locally, and describe recent steelhead-restoration efforts in Cambria’s Santa Rosa Creek, including redesign and replacement of the crossing of Ferrasci Creek. That project removed a barrier to fish migration.

May 31: “Adventures from down under: Fascinating tales of 40 years of diving research,” by award-winning scientist Richard Slater, principal of Delta Oceanographics, who helped advance underwater science via scuba and manned-submarine technologies. A book signing is to follow.

For details, call 927-2145.

Carolyn Skinder, coordinator for the sanctuary’s southern sector, will be participating in the lecture series, although she’ll still be on crutches and in a walking cast.

Skinder shattered her foot one March evening after stepping off into a well-concealed, approximately 2-foot-deep drainage ditch along Cambridge Street, near Whitehall Avenue. County Public Works officials are to examine the area and find a way to fix it, according to a discussion held at the April 17 North Coast Advisory Council meeting.

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