More than 22 million people live within the Southern California urban ocean's watershed, which stretches from Santa Barbara to the U.S.-Mexico border. It contains all of the state's offshore oil platforms and oil islands, as well as the nation's two largest container ports. Millions of gallons of treated municipal waste water are released into this segment of the ocean each year. It is also home to some of the busiest beaches in the world, where Southern Californians and tourists from all over the world come to enjoy recreation and scenery. Marine life flourishes here in one of the most biologically productive areas of the entire Pacific Ocean, and large and diverse assemblages of whales migrate along this coast.
Solutions are needed to reduce society's conflicts with coastal and marine ecosystems and to stimulate appropriate and compatible human uses. The Southern California urban ocean could provide a model for developing these solutions.