Conservationists, surfers and hikers, all united in a desire to protect the Sonoma coast, gathered Saturday at Doran Beach for the annual Hands Across the Sand effort sponsored by Surfriders Foundation.

The ocean was the focus, from concerns about plastic trash in the sea to sonic oil exploration disrupting sea migration patterns. Offshore oil drilling and last year's BP spill on the Gulf Coast drew extra interest.

"The Sonoma coast has never been in more jeopardy," said activist Richard Charter who lives at Duncans Landing. "The House is behaving like it's a wholly owned subsidiary of the oil companies, and only a narrow margin in the Senate is preventing drilling right now."

Richard Stocker of Ocean Conservation Research spoke about noise pollution. "Oil exploration using sonics creates explosions that can be heard 2,000 miles, and they happen every 10 to 15 seconds," he said.

Sonoma County Supervisor Efren Carillo noted green initiatives the county is taking. "We need renewable energy and initiatives that move us in that direction, move us away from oil," he said.

-- Andrea Granahan