Archive for the ‘EPA Messages’ Category

Care about sustainable seafood? Have an iPhone? Well, if so, you can now download a new mobile app that tells you which fish to eat and which to toss back at the touch of your fingers.

Created by our friends at Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program, Project FishMap is an interactive, easy to use application that also gives you the low-down on health and environmental issues associated with each fish. In short, it’s like having one of those handy Seafood Watch wallet cards in digital form, plus quite a few cool features to boot.

You can add your favorite sustainable seafood markets and restaurants to a map, which, in turn, gives you up-to-the-minute information on where to catch some eco-friendly sea fare, no matter where you are.

The app is free for downloading. So plug in and download away. Which are some of your favorite seafood markets or restaurants? Care to share any new finds with us? What features could added? We can’t guarantee you’ll get them, but it doesn’t hurt to make your voice heard.

2010 was a remarkable year for the Fish Consumption Education Collaborative, known as FCEC. We saw a large increase in our outreach efforts. We engaged our community at local piers, clubs and community organizations more than in any previous year. We attended numerous events where we spoke directly to community members about fish contamination in the area.

We also saw a few significant changes these past twelve months. Sharon Lin, who led the FCEC program for several years, moved on to other endeavors within the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. FCEC benefited from her vision and leadership. Sharon was instrumental in creating the foundation for the work we will continue to expand upon.

In case you were wondering, I’m her replacement. I joined the EPA in 1997, working in the Community Involvement Office. It is my hope that my experience there and my various other roles will aid FCEC in its educational and community outreach. Additionally, I’m familiar with the issues around the Palos Verdes Shelf since I’ve been working on the Shelf’s cleanup plans since 2004.

But enough about me. Let’s talk about you! We recently asked you what you thought of our newsletters and blog posts. Thanks to all of you who took the time to share your thoughts.

Here are a few things we learned from the survey. Almost half of the respondents visit our blog monthly. Our newsletter readers also prefer informative videos and posts and like reading about fish consumption information. As a result, you can expect more of what you like! So why not start with our current newsletter that serves up exactly that?

First, check out an interview with Dave Anderson who works with our partner, Seafood For the Future – who talks about the relationship between what we eat and ocean sustainability. We also have a video on what chef and author Barton Seaver dubs “Restorative Seafood” and how to eat with sustainability in mind.

Lastly, we have a short video clip with fish enthusiasts from the Cerritos Rod & Gun Club, where they discuss what they learned about fish contamination at one of their club meetings.

Thanks for reading, and happy holidays!


Carmen White

White croaker. It’s plentiful. It’s easy to catch, and if you are fishing around the Palos Verdes Shelf in Southern California, it’s also highly contaminated with toxins; hence the reason why you should never eat the white croaker.

Below is a short introductory video that explains the history behind this contamination, as well as easy tips on how to identify the white croaker.

If you’d like to watch the video in Chinese, Spanish or Vietnamese, please visit our YouTube channel. Also, let us know what you think about our white croaker video in the comment section below!

As some of you know, I will be going on a six month detail in the EPA Pacific Southwest Region (Region 9) environmental justice office. I am excited about the new career opportunity. My passion in environmental justice and social justice has grown in the past 8 years during my work on the Palos Verdes Shelf (PV Shelf) superfund project. Naturally, my passion has led me to this new opportunity.

In 2002, when I first became the project manager for the PV Shelf project, we were grappling with a real risk exposure and public health problem facing our communities. After my first meeting with the project stakeholders, James Alamillo with Heal the Bay approached me and told me this is an environmental justice (EJ) project. He asked me “what is this administration’s plan to protect the EJ community?” I didn’t have an answer for him.

When I got back to my office, I started reading up on environmental justice and took a fundamentals of EJ training offered at EPA. As an immigrant who came to this country at the age of 18 and someone who is always interested in the history of the Civil Rights movement in the U.S., I got it immediately. The EJ communities are not faceless people to me; instead, they are people like me. This enlightenment put a new resolution in my commitment to my work.

Many of you know this project has been so innovative in linking scientific risk reduction measures with community outreach work.  This project is built on the solid foundation of “meaningful involvement” and “equal and fair treatment” of all people. We were the first EPA Superfund project that introduced the strategic planning tool with a neutral facilitator and have been consistently using this tool to guide our program implementation over the past six years.  We were the first and only Superfund project that has brought environmental justice training to the community, local and state agency partners.   We’ve made decisions together. We worked to get our local and state governmental agencies involved in this mission of protecting people who are the most vulnerable, most in need of our help and are often voiceless.  This project is not just a Superfund site or a job to me, I found my calling in this work.

James Alamillo and I talked again recently.  He asked me how I felt about leaving this project, “Sharon’s baby” in his words.  I think of this change as a short break.  I am taking the knowledge and experience of what I have learned from all of you and applying it to a broader program.  I encourage you to continue sharing with your constituencies this incredible project that we have built collectively. I will keep in touch and update you on my new job.  See you in 2011.

You are what you eat. But what if by eating what you eat, you were destroying ecosystems’ ability to replenish the very thing you enjoy most – fish?

One visionary chef and author based in Washington D.C. looks to “restorative seafood” and vegetables to help save our oceans.

Recently, BPSOS, a partner of FCEC, attended the 6th Annual Southeast Asian at the Aquarium of the Pacific, held on Saturday, October 9. BPSOS is a Vietnamese organization that works to empower the community and is committed to distributing FCEC educational materials at events they attend.

The festival highlighted the beauty and diversity of Cambodian, Thai, Vietnamese, Burmese, Laotian, and Indonesian cultures.

There was live music, dance performances, food, crafts and of course educational booths where our partner, BPSOS, handed out FCEC information. BPSOS reached out to dozens of local residents about fish contamination and had a wonderful time. Enjoy the photos!

Were you at the event?

If so, what did you think of the event? Did you come across any FCEC materials while you were there?

The core of the FCEC program is fishing. The sport runs deep in Southern California culture and history, indeed for some in our greater community it is far more than a sport, it

Do you like to grill up some salmon? Make a tuna sandwich? How about a few oysters and calamari?

Well, before you fix a plate of your favorite sea fare you may want to check out this article from Green Right Now on Food & Water Watch

Can you believe that half of 2010 is already behind us? Well, FCEC is already looking forward to tackling the next six months with as much enthusiasm as we did the last six. And we are proud to kick off summer with another issue of our newsletter.

Before I dive in, I

In the fall of 2009 EPA selected an interim remedy for the Palos Verdes Shelf Superfund site that includes capping about 300 acres of contaminated sediment, tracking natural recovery over other parts of the shelf, and maintaining our public outreach (institutional controls) program to keep members of the public from consuming potentially contaminated fish.

Before proceeding with cap construction, EPA will collect baseline data on levels of DDTs and PCBs in sediment, water and fish in the area. This data will help with the cap design as well as monitoring natural recovery. Baseline data collection began last Fall and will continue onto next year.

Also under the interim remedy, EPA is bolstering the outreach program by conducting a seafood consumption survey in the PV Shelf area. The survey will gather information from local anglers regarding their preferred fish species, fishing locations, and other data to help strengthen our program.

Carmen White, Remedial Project Manager
EPA Region 9