Outer Banks Surf Rider Foundation visits Washington D.C. for Coastal Recreation Hill Day

[Submitted/Outer Banks Surf Rider Foundation]

On March 8, 2023, Tamara Warren, chair of the Outer Banks Surfrider Foundation traveled to Washington D.C. for Coastal Recreation Hill Day to meet with federal leaders and urge them to protect our coasts and oceans.

Along with Tamara were Surfrider members, students, outdoor industry leaders, and ambassadors from around the country. Their grassroots coalition met directly with more than 100 congressional leaders and the White House to discuss Surfrider’s priorities.

This was Surfrider’s 7th year hosting Coastal Recreation Hill Day. Their goal is to elevate the voice of the coastal recreation community and inspire stronger federal leadership on these critical issues. Tamara met with the North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis, aid for North Carolina Congresswoman Deborah Ross, and aid for North Carolina Congressman Greg Murphy.

Coastlines across the U.S. support healthy habitats and wildlife, provide solace, and host incredible outdoor recreational opportunities. Our coasts are enormous economic drivers, bringing billions of dollars into the U.S. economy and into our communities and they sustain critical ecosystem services like absorbing carbon from the atmosphere. Unfortunately, our ocean and coasts are at risk.

Warren spoke on climate change, how it is impacting our waterways, our coast, the ocean, the marshes, and our community that lives near and depends on their resources. Extreme weather events , sea level rise and ocean acidification are disrupting infrastructure, recreation, fisheries and ecosystem health.

Surfrider is calling upon congress to act now on the climate crisis and implement solutions to protect the cornerstone of our planet, the ocean. Tamara asked for our leader’s support on nature-based and ocean climate legislation that leverages the potential of our ocean and coast to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

She also encouraged these individuals to support coastal communities prepare for and respond to climate change impacts by investing in adaptation, resiliency planning, coastal restoration and  natural infrastructure programs at the local/federal levels, and to prohibit new offshore oil and gas development/drilling and oppose new leases in the 5-year plan. This also includes the transition to responsibly developed renewable energy.

Ensure climate change planning is inclusive, just, equitable , respects diversity and includes working with communities to transition away from fossil fuels.to help mitigate climate change impacts by protecting and restoring coastal and marine ecosystems, especially blue carbon ecosystems like mangroves, salt marsh and seagrass.

Tamara has been the Outer Banks Chapter Chair since 2020. Her passion is  educating the community of all ages about the importance of preserving our coast both ocean and sound side and protecting our marine life. She facilitates beach clean-ups and logs all the findings in a national database so we can see what trash is polluting our beaches and what we need to advocate for,  like the elimination of polystyrene containers, plastic straws or helium balloons.

Tamara has also collaborated with Better Beaches OBX to plant seagrass and sea oats on our dunes to sustain the dunes and protect our homes and business against flooding due to sea level rise, as seagrass captures carbon up to 35 times faster than tropical rainforests making it an incredible tool in the fight against climate change.

“We walked away feeling like everyone was receptive to our asks and we are so grateful to have had this opportunity,” says Warren.