Chancellor's Recent Speeches

Remarks by Charles B. Reed
Chancellor, California State University
Council for Ocean Affairs, Science, and Technology (COAST)
CSU Office of the Chancellor
Dumke Auditorium
February 22, 2008

Thank you, Beth (Ambos).

I want to welcome everyone to the first meeting of the Council for Ocean Affairs, Science, and Technology or COAST, as you call your group.

Speaking of the coast, if you were in a room with bigger windows, you could see part of the six-mile Long Beach coastline and the Port of Long Beach. Just past it is the Port of Los Angeles – combined they are the largest port complex in the United States.

And if you looked out the windows on two sides of this building, you would see the Los Angeles River. Well, some call it a river – when it rains, it is more a collection of trash than water.

When I look out my office window every day, especially when it rains, all I see is a sea of Styrofoam and other trash. It is disgraceful.

There has been talk in town about diverting the river to flow into the port one mile west, like it used to 80 years ago. It was redirected then because city officials thought it could interfere with port commerce. However, what that has created is a mess at the mouth of this so-called river.

There is also talk about tearing down part of the breakwall that surrounds much of the beach here in Long Beach. It also was put it to help protect the ports and marinas from the surging waters, but there are many who want to tear it down at least partially to return the waves to Long Beach and circulate the ocean water better to make it cleaner.

So if yours and your students’ research can do something about the dirty river and other issues here, that would be good.

All that is happening here in Long Beach makes this location a good place for the first meeting of an organization focused on the ocean.

Your organization will fill a major need in the CSU system and in California by bringing together CSU faculty and administrators who are teaching and doing research in coastal and ocean sciences.

Several CSU Presidents, such as Rollin Richmond from Humboldt, Warren Baker from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Dianne Harrison from Monterey Bay and several others have been quite involved in this endeavor.

Rollin could not be here today, but he has kept me informed about the need for the CSU to have an organized structure for faculty, staff and students to understand, monitor, and protect marine and coastal environments and resources in California.

Your efforts are also being recognized by the state.

Five CSU faculty/administrators have just been named to the state’s Ocean Protection Council (OPC) Science Advisory Team.

All are here today:

  1. Mark Moline from San Luis Obispo
  2. Steve Murray from Fullerton
  3. Ken Coale from Moss Landing Marine Laboratories (San Jose)
  4. Karina Nielsen from Sonoma
  5. Scott Quackenbush from Humboldt.

This Advisory Team will provide technical and scientific advice, assist in reviewing the state’s research priorities and help identify emerging science issues.

Congratulations to you all.

It’s good that you are organizing into a systemwide group for several reasons

Number one: CSU campuses have the students, faculty, staff, facilities and the coastal access and proximity to make a big difference to the quality and safety of the marine environments offshore California. No other university system in California can say that.

The CSU is positioned better than any other group of institutions to provide the coastal research and monitoring needed to answer questions vital to California’s fishing industries, tourism, recreation, and our water resources: The questions are:

  1. How clean is the water offshore?
  2. How is global warming affecting the life and health of California’s coastal waters?
  3. What is the health of the fish, bird, and marine mammal populations?

Number two: the CSU contributes to the workforce needs of California by educating many of the marine biologists, geologists and oceanographers who go on to do research and teaching.

We train many of the staff and managers who work in federal and state agencies, such as California Fish and Game.

Number three: by organizing into a system-wide group, you can:

  • Share facilities and equipment
  • Collaborate on grants and contracts and
  • Present to the legislature and public a true picture of what CSU is doing to provide the workforce in these areas.

Number Four: you will be following the model of other successful CSU groups such as:

  • ARI (Agricultural Research Initiative), the statewide group the agricultural industry turns to for its applied research and education programs
  • CSUPERB, where leaders in the biotechnology industry turn
  • CICORE, which has been very successful in installing coastal monitoring buoys offshore California
  • And, a new statewide CSU effort will be formed shortly with a focus on California’s water resources and policy needs. It does not have a name yet.

In Summary:

I appreciate what you are doing for our students and our state.

By joining together, you are providing our students with opportunities they may not have at just a single campus. Your focus on our environment, natural resources, economy and quality of life is important.

We are working hard to secure the best CSU budget we can for next year. We are making our case to legislators about how important the CSU is to the state.

The more information you can provide about what you are doing in your research programs, classrooms, and labs, the stronger our case.

I look forward to hearing what your ideas are, and what you will need to be successful in bringing COAST from a vision to a reality.

Thank you.