Seabed Mining: A Threat to Washington's Waters, and our Successful Campaign to Ban this Practice

Lee First and Liz Schotman

Start Time & Date

Start Time & Date

Seabed Mining graphic from Pew Charitable Trusts

(Archived video of this presentation.)

Seabed mining (SBM) is a damaging extractive industry and growing threat to our global oceans as well as our own coast. Washington's state waters contain known mineral deposits that could become a target for industrial extraction. Given the present reality of rising ocean temperatures and acidification, our coastal ecosystems and communities do not need another threat. 

Surfrider and Twin Harbors Waterkeeper joined the Pew Charitable Trusts to mount a successful campaign against SBM in Washington State Waters.  But this issue is still a real and growing threat to our global ocean.  We’ll explain what seabed mining is, where it's happening, and what it could mean for our marine ecosystems, as well as steps we can take to promote a sustainable circular economy.

- Lee will discuss what steps Twin Harbors Waterkeeper is taking to work with coastal youth to reduce the use of single use plastic, and she’ll discuss the “yellow ropes project.”

- Liz will explain Surfrider’s many years of marine plastics activism, and highlight recent and ongoing legislation, both local and national, that makes Surfrider Foundation a leader for this important issue. 

Lee First, Speaker

Lee First is a co-founder of Twin Harbors Waterkeeper, on the SW Washington coast.  She has worked in the Waterkeeper movement for 15 years; as the North Sound Baykeeper, and with the Spokane Riverkeeper.  When not working to prevent a new dam from being built in the Chehalis headwaters, or out in her canoe or kayak, she is looking for solutions to pollution in the Chehalis River, Grays Harbor, and Willapa Bay watersheds.

Liz Schotman is the Washington Regional Manager for Surfrider Foundation, supporting Washington's five volunteer chapters in their efforts to address plastic pollution, climate change, and threats to our water quality, and to protect public coastal access. With a Master's degree in Sustainable Development and Conservation Biology and a background in fisheries and marine science, she's always looking for opportunities to share her knowledge and learn more about the PNW and all its majesty! 

More Information

The Huxley Environmental Speaker Series is hosted by Huxley College of the Environment at Western Washington University.

The Series is free and open to the public.

Location & Time

Presentations are held each Thursday at 4:30pm On-campus and ONLINE.


Due to the pandemic, the in-person presentations are not open to the public. However, the talks will be live-streamed ONLINE for the off-campus audience.


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