[aesop_image imgwidth=”500px” img=”http://www.signaltribunenewspaper.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Screen-Shot-2016-09-30-at-4.53.20-PM.png” credit=”Cory Bilicko | Signal Tribune” align=”left” lightbox=”on” caption=”From left: Artist Art Martinez, LBUSD District 1 Board Member Megan Kerr and 8th District Councilmember Al Austin look on as Gabrielle Dorr, communications coordinator for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries, opens an event Monday morning to dedicate a new mural at Orange Avenue and Market Street. The mural, painted by Martinez and students from Bret Harte Elementary School, was designed to bring attention to the topic of healthy watersheds for endangered fish like steelhead trout, which is featured in the painting.” captionposition=”left”] [aesop_character name=”Cory Bilicko” caption=”Managing Editor” align=”right” force_circle=”off”] City officials, nonprofit representatives and community members presented a new mural in north Long Beach Monday morning that was designed to bring awareness of the need to protect watersheds for endangered trout and other fish.
The mural, located on the north side of Dr. Shamanna Mohan’s Family Dentistry office at Orange Avenue and Market Street, is the result of a partnership between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 8th District Councilmember Al Austin’s office, the Arts Council for Long Beach and students from Bret Harte Elementary School. Artist Art Martinez created the painting with help from the students.
Gabrielle Dorr, communications coordinator for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries, opened the ceremony by explaining the intended message behind the artwork.
“A polluted watershed puts our drinking water at risk,” she said. “Your watershed’s health can directly impact you and your family’s health. This mural, titled ‘Healthy Urban Watersheds Support Life,’ portrays an endangered steelhead trout and how our collective actions can impact the watersheds where this endangered species lives. The mural demonstrates how our everyday actions— like driving leaking cars, applying pesticides and using too much water— can impact watersheds and the animals living in them.”
The mural of an ocean-going steelhead trout is part of a larger campaign by NOAA’s Fisheries West Coast Region to bring social awareness to the topic of healthy watersheds for endangered fish like steelhead and salmon. Similar murals have recently been painted in Oregon and Washington.
Muralist and art student Esteban Camacho Steffensen, who received a “Science in the Studio” award grant, as a collaboration between the Pacific Northwest College of Arts (PNCA) and NOAA, designed the work.
Steffensen is an international muralist with commissioned artwork in Costa Rica, Spain and the United States, according to NOAA. He received his bachelor of fine arts in painting from PNCA in 2010, with an emphasis in public art. Most of his artwork has been created in public spaces, such as universities and city institutions, where he teams up with community leaders during the design process and involves local young people in the production.
The grant Steffensen received aims to communicate stewardship messages and motivate people to take action.
“This mural, with its message about the importance of healthy rivers and oceans, is a beautiful addition to the 8th District,” Austin said. “And I think it symbolizes so much more. Long Beach is home to the L.A. River, the San Gabriel Valley River but also the Pacific Ocean. Today we are bringing the ocean and the river to this community here in north Long Beach.”
According to NOAA’s website, a variety of conservation efforts have been undertaken to protect steelhead trout. Some of the most common are captive-rearing in hatcheries, removal and modification of dams that obstruct migration, restoration of degraded habitats, acquisition of key habitats and improved water quality and instream flow.
For more information, visit noaa.gov.
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