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Sea Otter Savvy

Sea Otter Science And Community Outreach

Become a Certified Wildlife Steward!

  • You could be featured here!

    You could be featured here!

  • Your dive shop can join!

    Your dive shop can join!

  • Certified! Monterey Bay Kayaks

    Certified! Monterey Bay Kayaks

  • Special Recognition: Morro Bay Harbor Department

    Special Recognition: Morro Bay Harbor Department

  • Certify your business

    Certify your business

  • Certified! Monterey Bay Eco-tours

    Certified! Monterey Bay Eco-tours

  • Program Sponsor, Cara O'Brien

    Program Sponsor, Cara O'Brien

  • Certified! Elkhorn Slough Safari

    Certified! Elkhorn Slough Safari

  • Certify your organization

    Certify your organization

  • Founding member, Sea For Yourself Kayaks

    Founding member, Sea For Yourself Kayaks

  • Program Sponsor, Sea Otter Savvy

    Program Sponsor, Sea Otter Savvy

  • Certified! Morro Bay Paddlesports

    Certified! Morro Bay Paddlesports

  • Founding member, Kristen Sanchez

    Founding member, Kristen Sanchez

  • Certified! Whisper Charters

    Certified! Whisper Charters

About Community Active Wildlife Stewards

CAWS logo pelican

Sea Otter Savvy is partnering with Respect Wildlife, and Central California coastal communities to offer an innovative and exciting recognition program for businesses and others demonstrating exceptional wildlife stewardship-- the Community Active Wildlife Stewards (CAWS) group and certification program. Designed to encourage voluntary adherence to responsible wildlife viewing guidelines, this certification system will offer rewards to commercial operators, organizations, school groups, and individuals who, having demonstrated compliance with a clear set of criteria promoting and encouraging respectful coastal wildlife viewing, will be recognized as "Certified Wildlife Stewards". Participants will receive certification "swag" featuring one or all of our multi-species designs to display proudly in their shop, visitor's center, on their boat, or digitally on their website or social media accounts.

Additional participation benefits:

  • Reviews on Trip Advisor and Google
  • Promotion on websites and social media
  • Inclusion/promotion in wildlife-related media projects and press releases

Community Active Wildlife Stewards is a program rooted in the central coast community. The framework has been developed and reviewed with the participation of local stakeholders (our founding members) in Monterey and San Luis Obispo counties. Community participants (and applicants) have a voice in building on the current framework and adapting it to best serve both wildlife and businesses. At the intersection of that which benefits busineses with that which benefits wildlife, is a place that benefits an inclusive coastal community. 

caws VennDiagram

Our goal with the participation rewards system will be to not only encourage not only sea otter savvy, but wildlife savvy behavior within the community, but create an atmosphere of consumer choice, encouraging all commercial groups within a region to join Community Active Wildlife Stewards and apply for certification. Certification of commercial operators will include such elements as:

  • Presentation of  information/guidelines to customers prior to tour or gear rental
  • Display of  informational graphics where customers can view them
  • Compliance with guidelines for avoiding disturbance, and established laws protecting designated species
  • Participation in an educational workshop showcasing wildlife behavior, natural history, conservation, defining harassment and disturbance and presenting Community Active Wildlife Stewards' guidelines for responsible viewing

Meet our certified participants! You can reward their stewardship by patronizing these sea otter (and wildlife) savvy businesses and recommending them to others!

2020's Steward of the Year!

2020's Steward of the Year!

In 2020 Community Active Wildlife Stewards awarded our first Steward of the Year to Morro Bay Paddlesports, owned and operated by Mary and Jim Robinson. Mary and Jim adhered to their high standard of customer education in the face of an unpredicatable pandemic year and, in fact, tested and implemented new measures to ensure their customers paddle away from their dock as wildlife stewards.

See Mary talk about their customer education strategies at the 2020 California Coastal Wildlife Distrubance Symposium!

Visit their website!

Monterey Bay Kayaks

Monterey Bay Kayaks

Staff at both the Del Monte Beach and Moss Landing shops go the extra mile to educate their customers and partner in local conservation efforts. Monterey Bay Kayaks is a true stewardship pioneer in Monterey Bay!

Certified January 2020

Visit their website!

Morro Bay Paddlesports

Morro Bay Paddlesports

Morro Bay Paddlesports owners, Mary and Jim Robinson, are committed to inspiring their customers about Morro Bay's rich and disverse wildlife population and are role models of stewardship in the local community!

Certified January 2020

Visit their website!

Whisper Charters

Whisper Charters

Whisper Charters captain and owner, Joonya Lopez, offers his pasengers his unique sense of aloha for the wildife of the "California Serengeti" that is the Elkhorn Slough. Take his silent cruise aboard the electric-powered Selkie II to explore the waters of the slough and Moss Landing Harbor without raising a whisker or feather. Mahalo, Joonya!

Certified January 2020

Visit their website!

Elkhorn Slough Safari

Elkhorn Slough Safari

Explore the channels of Elkhorn Slough and Moss Landing Harbor with Owner and Captain Joe Mancino and his expert naturalist staff who will guide you through these precious waters with an informed eye and a stewardship heart!

Certified January 2020

Visit their website!

Monterey Bay Eco Tours

Monterey Bay Eco Tours

Monterey Bay Eco Tours offers a silent cruise experience of their custom electric catamaran the "El Cat". Owner Wendy and her crew offer a wildlife-aware tour with a conservation message.

Certified December 2020

Visit their website!

Special Recognition: Morro Bay Harbor Department

Special Recognition: Morro Bay Harbor Department

The staff of the Morro Bay Harbor Department has continually demonstrated extraordinary stewardship of the wildlife of Morro Bay. Whether helping rescue a lost sea otter pup or facilitating the reunion with its mother, responding to incidents of wildlife disturbance or harassment, or helping to keep the bay clean and trash-free, this team always stands guard for Morro Bay's human and non-human residents.

Visit their website!

Join the team!

Do you want to become a Certified Wildlife Steward? Click here to view the checklist of participation criteria to become a certified participant in this community-based program. You can review the Community Active Wildlife Stewards Draft Program Framework here. The Framework is intended to be a dynamic document that will continue to evolve as the group incorporates feedback and new program elements and so will always be in "draft" form.

Complete our Certified Wildlife Steward inquiry form:

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Resources

The Marine Mammal Protection Act

The Endangered Species Act

The Endangered Species Act Basics

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act Basics

About National Marine Sanctuaries

NOAA Fisheries Marine Life Viewing Guidelines

National Marine Sanctuaries Regulations

California Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation of Mammals

California Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation of Birds

California Department of Fish and Wildlife Marine Conservation

California State Park Regulations

CalTIP

California Whale Rescue

The Marine Mammal Center

Oiled Wildlife Care Network

Pacific Wildlife Care

Monterey SPCA Wildlife Center

Santa Cruz Native Animal Rescue