Colorado – The Inland Ocean (Youth Guest Blog)

Posted Posted in Remi's Blog, TopStory

Local youth and river/ocean lover, Grace, recently interviewed the Colorado Ocean Coalition’s founder, Vicki Nichols Goldstein, to discuss her organization and the reasons why an inland community can affect the health of our oceans. 

Colorado – The Inland Ocean

By: Grace C.

An ocean in Colorado? Well, we are all downstream. In Colorado, we have a special responsibility when it comes to protecting water quality. That’s because we’re a “headwater state,” which means that the snowfall in our mountains is a major source of water for eighteen states and parts of Mexico. (Colorado the Headwater State) I had the chance to go to the Making WAVES conference and learn about what the Colorado Ocean Coalition (COCO) is doing to help not only our water, but the water that flows to other states and eventually the ocean. In fact, Colorado is so important that Rep. Mark Stone from California named Boulder a ‘California Inland Ocean Community.’ Vicki Goldstein from COCO says that, “The health of the ocean is connected to the health of our rivers and waterways. By being good stewards of the water that we have we make the ocean and the planet better places too.” The truth is, no matter where you live your day to day activities end up having an effect on not only your local water supply, but the waters downstream and eventually the ocean.

At the conference I had the privilege to listen to people who love the ocean give lectures about how we can help it. I learned a few things I didn’t know before, like what really happens to plastic in the ocean, how to make trash into art, how to reduce plastic pollution and how I can help the ocean. One amazing opportunity that I had at the conference was to hear and meet Mr. Fabien Cousteau, grandson of the legendary Jacques Cousteau. Mr. Cousteau talked about his Mission 31 and his organization called Plant a Fish which strives to help people protect and marvel at the world around them. His lecture was all about protecting the ocean, “planting marine life and plants in ecologically stressed areas and educating local communities about the ocean.” (Cousteau) I also heard Stephanie from Green Apple Supply talk about plastics in the ocean. Plastic, once thought to take thousands of years to break down, actually breaks down quite fast in the warm ocean water, but it doesn’t go away completely. Instead it turns into tiny bits of plastic that fish eat and then they die, sea birds also eat the plastic as well as larger marine fish and mammals. The plastic can get so bad that it disrupts algae and plankton growth and that makes the whole food web go out of balance. But, plastic is not the only culprit that makes it to the ocean from our water supply. A lot of chemicals and microbeads make their way into our local watershed. Chemicals from pills we take and things we put into our lawns get flushed into the system. Microbeads, which are found in bath and beauty products, also get flushed or washed into the system. The sewage treatment plants are not equipped to take out all of these chemicals and plastic pollution and it ends up getting washed downstream to the next community. If you think that a few pills and microbeads here and there don’t add up, Mrs. Goldstein from COCO has this to say, “The water quality gets worse as it flows downstream. 5,000 square miles at Gulf of Mexico is a dead zone, that is the end of our watershed. This means that nothing lives there, the plastic, fumes and chemicals from upstream make this area a place where nothing grows.“

Recently I interviewed Mrs. Goldstein from COCO, here’s what she had to say about COCO, the ocean and our water supply. What is COCO? COCO is the Colorado Ocean Coalition and is a project of the Ocean Foundation, a non-profit organization. She started COCO because she, “discovered that there was no other ocean oriented organization in the middle of our county that connects our rivers and actions to the health of our planet.” She realized that everyone needs to be involved in the health of the ocean, not just people who live near it. This is especially true since “80% of all of the plastics and trash that end up in the ocean come from inland communities like ours.” When I asked her about things that people in Colorado could do to help the ocean, she said, “We need to reduce our plastic consumption and discontinue using products that contain microbeads.” Our sewage facilities are not equipped to handle the amounts of trash, chemicals and microbeads that we are putting into the system. This pollution gets washed downstream to the next community and so on until it reaches the ocean. As far as how well we are doing in cleaning our water before it goes downstream, Mrs. Goldstein says, “Boulder has done a lot of effort in pioneering extracting things from the water system, but other communities are behind in this area.”

I came away from the conference with some ideas about starting plastic bag recycling on my street and looking into using bags to make plan. I made a video about things you can do to help the ocean, I had the chance to raise money for Save The Whales and to volunteer with Riverwatch. I got to talk to scientists, artists, lawmakers and people who love the ocean. From my interview I gained valuable information about how to inform people about their local watershed and what we are doing right, and wrong, to our water supply. What I realized is that knowledge is power. People are ignorant about their local watersheds, they don’t realize the impact that their daily lives have on those who are downstream and ultimately the ocean and our planet. By letting people know about plastic pollution, chemical pollution and getting lawmakers involved we can make changes about what goes into our water supply. Our actions can not only affect our local rivers, streams and lakes, but every community that receives our water. No matter where you live, your choices have an impact on the health of the ocean. Eventually all water leads to the ocean and the ocean is life, so let’s keep it clean and healthy.

Algae bloom in Lake Ladora
Algae bloom in Lake Ladora
Rep. Mark Stone from CA presenting COCO and Boulder with Honorary CA Inland Ocean Community recognition.
Rep. Mark Stone from CA presenting COCO and Boulder with Honorary CA Inland Ocean Community recognition.
Fabien Cousteau and me at the Making WAVES conference.
Fabien Cousteau and me at the Making WAVES conference.
Sabrina from Riverwatch and me doing water sampling of the Platte river
Sabrina from Riverwatch and me doing water sampling of the Platte river
My local river, the Platte, is just a few miles from my house.
My local river, the Platte, is just a few miles from my house.


Works cited

“Colorado Ocean Coalition.” Colorado Ocean Coalition. Web. 1 Mar. 2016. <

“Colorado The Headwater State.” Growing Your Future. Colorado Foundation for Agriculture. Web. 1 Mar. 2016. <>.

Cousteau, Fabien. “Plant a Fish.” Fabien Cousteau. Web. 1 Mar. 2016.


Additional Sources

Notes from Making WAVES conference 2013

Phone interview with Vicki Goldstein from Colorado Ocean Coalition on March 2, 2016



All photos used with permission from Liese Carberry


The National Ocean Policy is here…but will it stay?

Posted Posted in TopStory

The National Ocean Policy is here...but will it stay?



This past week, two of the Colorado Ocean Coalition (COCO) Ocean Ambassador (OA) Candidate’s, Danielle Duncan and Kara Wiggin attended the Healthy Oceans Coalition’s National Ocean Policy Advocacy Training in Savannah, GA. They learned how to be advocates of the National Ocean Policy to their local representatives and the public. 

​The other trainees included members from the Sierra Club, the Conservation Law Foundation, Island Institute, Ocean Conservation Research, Surfrider, and others. COCO's OA Candidates were invited to attend on behalf of COCO.  Kara and Danielle were the only two inland representatives that participated! With this upcoming election year, the National Ocean Policy (NOP) may be at risk. 

Since the NOP was passed as an Executive Order by President Obama, a new 2016 president has the power to overturn it. But, the NOP's plan is strong and has the potential to be enforced within the states, with or without the executive order. ​​

In July 2010, President Obama signed an Executive Order establishing an integrated National Policy for the Stewardship of the Ocean, Our Coasts and the Great Lakes, know as the National Ocean Policy (NOP). The NOP provides a framework to better coordinate and integrate the 140 laws and 20+ agencies that currently manage our ocean and its invaluable resources. The NOP creates collaborative opportunities for federal and state agencies to work together, uses science-based decision-making, and allows stakeholders a voice. The NOP is good for the environment AND good for the economy.     The NOP creates a set of nine priority objectives and management actions:

Pseudanthias squammipinnis Scalefin anthias female, Taveuni, Fiji (Serranidae), Taveuni, Fiji-6

  1. Ecosystem-Based Management: Adopt ecosystem-based management as a foundational principle for comprehensive management of the ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes.
  2. Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning: Implement comprehensive, integrated, ecosystem based coastal and marine spatial planning and management in the United States.
  3. Inform Decisions and Improve Understanding: Increase knowledge to continually inform and improve management and policy decisions and the capacity to respond to change and challenges. Better educate the public through formal and informal programs about the ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes.
  4. Coordinate and Support: Better coordinate and support Federal, State, tribal, local, and regional management of the ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes. Improve coordination and integration across the Federal Government and, as appropriate, engage with the international community.
  5. Resiliency and Adaptation to Climate Change and Ocean Acidification: Strengthen resiliency of coastal communities and marine and Great Lakes environments and their abilities to adapt to climate change impacts and ocean acidification.
  6. Regional Ecosystem Protection and Restoration: Establish and implement an integrated ecosystem protection and restoration strategy that is science-based and aligns conservation and restoration goals at the Federal, state, tribal, local and regional levels.
  7. Water Quality and Sustainable Practices on Land: Enhance water quality in the ocean, along our coasts, and in the Great Lakes by promoting and implementing sustainable practices on land.
  8. Changing Conditions in the Arctic: Address environmental stewardship needs in the Arctic Ocean and adjacent coastal areas in the face of climate-induced and other environmental changes.
  9. Ocean, Coastal, and Great Lakes Observations, Mapping, and Infrastructure: Strengthen and integrate Federal and non-Federal ocean observing systems, sensors, data collection platforms, data management, and mapping capabilities into a national system, and integrate that system into international observation efforts.

Support the National Ocean Policy!

Offshore Drilling is the Fracking of the Sea – Let’s be ready to Vote the Coast!

Posted Posted in TopStory

Offshore Drilling is the Fracking of the Sea:

Let’s be ready to Vote the Coast!

Seaparty pic with caption


Super Tuesday is just a few days away. Join the Colorado Ocean Coalition (COCO) and the Sea Party Coalition to oppose offshore oil drilling. This election year is pivotal to the health of our ocean planet. Our next president can protect our ocean, or open up the east coast and the Arctic to offshore drilling. Check out Where the Candidates Stand on Offshore Oil and be ready to vote for clean renewable energy. Support candidates who oppose dirty, dangerous fossil-fuels obtained from offshore oil drilling and development.

Offshore oil drilling contributes to climate change, threatens marine life, and can harm our nation’s coastal economy and way of life. The Colorado SCUBA diving community, the largest consortium of inland U.S. divers, sees first hand the destruction that offshore oil drilling has on their favorite diving spots. Leaks, blowouts, and catastrophic spills harm fragile ocean ecosystems. That’s why so many towns and cities along the coast have passed resolutions opposing offshore drilling. 

COCO unites people to protect oceans from a mile high. With our watershed to the sea connection, the ocean is closer than you think. Between climate change, ocean acidification, air pollution and interrelated environmental problems, we all have a responsibility to raise our voices against actions that harm our natural environment. Please, vote the coast.



Sea Party Coalition 2016 

Colorado Ocean Coalition

Blue Frontier

Blue the Dive


Where the Candidates Stand on Offshore Oil

The Shift is Easy

Posted Posted in Got Ocean?

The Shift Is Easy

COCO asks this holiday season that you recognize your connection to and impact on the ocean’s watershed.  Please shift your buying habits and purchase products that have low impact on our local water quality. 

An easy place to start is with kitchen and bathroom products that are effective, safe, and keep you and our watershed healthy.  Following is a short list of my personal favorites, but please note that COCO does not endorse, promote, receive commission, or non-profit benefit of any kind by suggesting these brands.  The only benefit is to your and our watershed health.


Bath & Shower

Where to Buy                 (alphabetical list)

Dishwasher: Biokleen Dishwasher Powder

Handsoap: Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Handsoap

 Alfalfa’s                                                                  Lucky’s Market                                          Natural Grocers/Vitamin Cottage                               Pharmaca                                       Sprouts Market                                  Whole Foods Market                                                                                                  

Liquid Dish Soap: ECOs Dishmate – Almond

Body Wash: Honest Shampoo and Body Wash

Counter-top Spray: ECO’s All-surface Cleaner

Shampoo: Alba Botanicals (various products for healthy, dry, brittle, treated or curly hair)

Sink Scrub: Bon Ami Powder Scrub

Conditioner: Alba Botanicals (various products for healthy, dry, brittle, treated or curly hair)

Fruit and Veggie Wash: Citrus Magic, The Honest Company

Skin Exfoliant: Alba Botanicals Acnedote Face and Body Scrub; MyChelle Natural Enzyme and Exfoliant Wash

Go Back to the “Got Ocean” Campaign Blog

Three new COCO chapters!

Posted Posted in Got Ocean?


Three new COCO chapters! Great Lakes Ocean Coalition, Salt Lake Ocean Coalition, Prairie Ocean Coalition

Support from our past 2014 Colorado Gives Day went to help establish and start new ocean chapters across the USA. As the first NOAA recognized inland ocean organization, we help inspire other states and communities to take action for their watersheds which all lead to an ocean.




Read more about our new chapters here.

If you think that it’s important to inspire other communities to take action for their watersheds and ocean, then consider supporting COCO this year as we develop our new chapters.

Donate Now

Success at the Blue Vision Summit in Washington, D.C.!

Posted Posted in Got Ocean?


Success at the Blue Vision Summit in Washington, D.C.!

Our political leaders now recognize that sustainability impacts our economy, national
security, and ecology. Read more about our successes here.

If you like seeing COCO head to Washington D.C. every two years for the Blue Vision Summit, then consider giving a donation to our organization so we can continue to be the only inland voice for watershed and ocean issues in 2017.

Read more about our most recent Blue Vision Summit here.

Donate Now

You’ve got plastic on your face…and mouth!

Posted Posted in Got Ocean?


Micro plastics or microbeads are non-biodegradable plastics that are used as exfoliant ingredients in items like toothpaste and soap. These plastics are too small to be filtered and end up in our rivers, lakes and oceans. The toxic plastic is consumed by fish and retained. For more information click here.

Illinois was the first state to ban micobeads and we are working with local legislators to
close the loophole and eliminate micro plastic use in Colorado.

If you want to help COCO take on the microbead problem here in Colorado, then please consider donating to our Ocean Ambassador program, which is focusing on micro plastics in our watersheds and oceans.

Donate Now

Got Ocean? Absolutely even at a mile high.

Posted Posted in Got Ocean?

2015VertRectangleLinked_1web (1)

The Colorado Ocean Coalition, a project of The Ocean Foundation is part of Colorado Gives Day, which is an annual statewide movement to celebrate and increase philanthropy in Colorado through online giving. For the sixth year, Community First Foundation and FirstBank are partnering to present Colorado Gives Day on Tuesday, December 8, 2015.

• Colorado Gives Day features a $1 Million Incentive Fund, one of the largest gives-day incentive funds in the country. Every nonprofit receiving a donation on Colorado Gives Day receives a portion of the incentive fund, which increases the value of every dollar donated.

• Colorado Gives Day. It’s more than just a day. It’s a movement that inspires and unites thousands of donors to support their favorite causes online through

Give where you live on Colorado Gives Day, December 8, 2015.

• Can’t wait until Colorado Gives Day? Starting November 1, 2015, donations can be scheduled ahead of time.

Donate Now

Fabien Cousteau to Keynote Making WAVES 2013

Posted Posted in Uncategorized

Keynote Speaker Fabien Cousteau to Address Boulder Community at 3rd annual Ocean Symposium and Film Festival

Colorado organization mobilizes grassroots ‘inland ocean movement’ to protect the Earth’s oceans

Boulder, CO—Fabien Cousteau, aquatic filmmaker, oceanographic explorer and grandson of the noted oceanographic explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau, will present opening remarks at Making WAVES 2013 taking place September 20-22, 2013 in Boulder, CO. This weekend-long Ocean Symposium, Mile-High Blue Exposition and Ocean Film Festival is hosted by the Colorado Ocean Coalition and the Colorado Scuba Retailers Association at the University of Colorado at Boulder to engage the local community in a dialogue on some of the most important ocean issues that affect us all. Cousteau’s presentation comes just two months before his notable Mission 31, where he will venture to live under water for 31 days at a depth of 63 feet—taking a 50-year old legacy left by his grandfather Jacques Yves-Cousteau to new depths. Registration to see Cousteau speak is free and is available online at

“We are delighted and honored to have Fabien Cousteau share his ocean adventures and insights with us here in Colorado,” says Vicki Nichols Goldstein, Colorado Ocean Coalition’s executive director. “You don’t have to be near the ocean to care about it and to make a difference. From our food choices to our energy use, each of us can make a positive impact.”

The Speakers Symposium on Saturday is free for the public to attend and will address a broad range of issues including eco-tourism, adventure travel, sustainable seafood, and the impacts of energy production on the ocean. The film festival on Sunday will feature a selection of films from the San Francisco International Ocean Film Festival. Tickets for the film festival may be purchased in advance for $13 per showing for adults, $7 per showing for youths 12 and under, or $35 for a full-day pass. The full film lineup and tickets are available online at

“As a scuba community, we are committed to sustainable travel options and protecting our oceans through responsible diving,” said Ali Miller, president of the CSRA. “It takes us all working together to leave a legacy for the next generation.”

More than 50 dive shops, tour retailers, non-profit organizations and NGOs from around the world will be exhibiting at the Mile-High Blue Expo throughout the weekend. An interactive Youth Area at the event will have a schedule of educational activities for the younger generation of divers and ocean stewards. Participants will have a chance to win prizes from exhibitors during live drawings throughout the weekend.

Friday, September 20

6:30-8:30PM  Making WAVES Blue Drinks (Restaurant 4580)

Saturday, September 21

8:00AM-5:00PM  Mile-High Blue Exposition/Ocean Symposium (CU Boulder)

6:30PM-12:00AM Mermaid Masquerade Ball (Hotel Boulderado)

Sunday, September 22

10:00AM-5:00PM  Mile-High Blue Exposition (CU Boulder)

11:00AM-7:00PM Ocean Film Festival – 3 showings (CU Boulder)

Registration for this free Ocean Speakers Symposium is available online at:

About Colorado Ocean Coalition

Colorado Ocean Coalition is a project of The Ocean Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, and has a mission to create, unite and empower the Colorado community to promote healthy oceans through education and community engagement. Until now, there has never been a unified voice for ocean protection in the Mountain States. Colorado Ocean Coalition is creating a movement to protect oceans from a mile high. For more information, please visit:

About Colorado Scuba Retailer Association

The Colorado Scuba Retailers Association is an organization designed to express commitment to dive retailers and provide passion and inspiration for a growing community of dive customers, employees and associated instructors. CSRA proactively helps grow the dive industry by sharing experience, input and solutions with retailers, manufacturers and industry stakeholders. Learn more at:


Vicki Nichols Goldstein


Media Contact

Jamie Jimenez

415. 952.6439