Boulder to shining sea: it’s all connected

Colorado Ocean Coalition recognized for vision, action

It’s official: Californians love Boulder.

In a formal resolution, California State Assembly Member Mark Stone recognized Boulder as a center for ocean conservation, naming the city and county an “honorary coastal community.”

The resolution, co-sponsored by NOAA’s Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, highlights the success of local nonprofit Colorado Ocean Coalition (COCO), an organization that is “saving the oceans from a mile high.”

Specifically, COCO works to educate us inlanders on how landlocked communities are directly connected to the oceans. It then turns those connections into action for greater ocean conservation.

Mr. Stone, a state assembly member from Monterey Bay and a longtime ocean preservationist, recognized COCO at its Making WAVES conference, where ocean lovers, environmentalists and ecologists gather in Boulder to explore ways to make our oceans healthier.

Ms. Goldstein, Mr. Stone and Boulder City Council Member Macon Cowels at Making WAVES. Ms. Goldstein later shared the resolution with Boulder County Commissioners Cindy Domenico, Deb Gardner and Elise Jones.

Ms. Goldstein, Mr. Stone and Boulder City Council Member Macon Cowels at Making WAVES. Ms. Goldstein later shared the resolution with Boulder County Commissioners Cindy Domenico, Deb Gardner and Elise Jones.

“Mark’s resolution highlights the fact that the Rocky Mountains are a gateway to the sea,” says COCO founder and executive director Vicki N. Goldstein, a former Californian who is passionate about the ocean. “He acknowledged the traction we’ve gained in rallying people in the middle of the country to support our oceans.”

Listen around town and you will hear it often said: “I miss the water.”  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 40,000 people relocate to Colorado from other states every year, and Colorado is the #1 state for movers ages 25–44.  Although no one tracks it, it is safe to assume that many have relocated here from the coasts.

That may be why, in just four years, COCO has gained the local support it needs to become a national model for inland ocean conservation. Its causes include improving local watershed health, reducing plastic and other ocean pollution, supporting marine sanctuaries and much more. COCO makes participating in ocean conservation easy, with a variety of programs from which to choose.

“Living on the coast of California, I see how important it is to protect oceans. If you are inland, it’s easy to forget how critical each person’s actions are,” Mr. Stone says. “The Colorado Ocean Coalition shows us that inland communities can be engaged, active, and results driven.”

Colorado Ocean Coalition is our November Featured Friend. We are sharing their story in this space all month. Next up, COCO’s Ocean Ambassadors.