Heal the Bay Blog

Author: Heal the Bay

Exciting advancements are happening right now when it comes to tackling the climate crisis. Global action continues to move forward with the Paris Climate Accord, as the US re-enters this agreement with a renewed focus on climate justice. California continues to push climate progress with legislation like SB467, which would ban the most dangerous types of oil drilling and fracking and introduce health and safety setbacks across the state. And right here in Southern California, the City of LA is finalizing plans to achieve 100% Clean Energy by 2035. But in each of these cases, the question remains: Are we doing enough? 

While we are excited about the progress that is being made globally and locally, we can still step back and question if our goals are robust enough to actually achieve climate resiliency and justice, if decision makers are doing what is necessary to achieve those goals, and if big industries (oil, gas, plastics, etc.) are being held accountable. 

Worldwide, we are spewing 152 million tons of human-made global warming pollution like CO2 into the thin shell of our atmosphere every day, causing average temperatures to rise and throwing natural processes off track. 

CO2 levels passed 420 parts per million (PPM) for the first time in April 2021. This unfortunate milestone means we’re halfway toward doubling pre-industrial CO2 levels.⁠ And, we are rapidly approaching the 1.5°C climate tipping point that makes it more difficult to sustain healthy natural systems. If we continue “business as usual” we are on a fast-track to double our CO2 levels by 2060, and the world will be 3°C warmer on average, which would mean significant food shortages, more intense droughts and wildfires, and more frequent deadly urban heat waves.⁠

⁠Oceans have helped to buffer this steady pollution stream by absorbing ¼ of our CO2 emissions, but this has wreaked havoc on our marine ecosystems with sea temperature rise and ocean acidification.⁠

Tackling the climate crisis is a massive undertaking and all these questions are difficult to know how to ask, let alone answer, which may leave many of us with climate anxiety, wondering what one single person can do.

But the truth is that we are not alone. Together, our actions can make huge waves. Whether you are starting with small changes at home, or playing your part in critical systemic change by signing petitions or calling political representatives, your actions play an essential role in this transformative time! 

Take the Climate Challenge

As we continue our struggle through the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges of life in general, it is a privilege to have the time, energy, and financial resources to make environmentally conscious choices and take action against climate change. Yet for many communities the decision to take climate action now or later can mean the difference between life and death. 

So let’s do our best to get creative and be intentional with our actions and resources. Whether you have money, time, creativity, passion, or something else entirely your own, we all have a unique contribution to make in the fight against climate change. 

Start by picking one action you can take today. 

Don’t stop there! Consider the skills, experiences, and resources you have to offer and create a personal list of climate actions. And because Every Day is Earth Day, take this list with you throughout the year, and do what you can when you can with what you have. 

Here are some ideas to choose from to get you started with your personalized climate challenge…

Where We Live

  • Pick up trash around your neighborhood 
  • Ditch single-use plastic and switch to reusables at home
  • Reduce, reuse, and recycle our waste – yes the order matters! 
  • Remove any hardscape or lawn on your property and replace it with a vegetable garden or drought tolerant native vegetation 
  • Start or join a community garden
  • Sign up for Green Power or install solar panels
  • Reduce your energy needs 
    • Turn off lights, unplug unused electronics, and swap out old lights with LEDs (once the bulbs burn out)
    • Bring in a professional to insulate your home, or find simple swaps around the house like adding thick curtains around your windows  
    • Set your thermostat for maximum energy (and cost) savings, or regulate temperature without a thermostat by opening/closing windows and using those thick curtains
    • Wash clothes in cold water, and hang dry rather than using the dryer
  • Decrease your water usage

How We Commute

  • Telecommute if it is an option
  • Choose public transportation
  • Walk or skateboard for shorter distances
  • Ride a bicycle
  • Support projects that improve access to alternative and active transportation 
  • If you must drive
    • Carpool
    • Invest in a hybrid or electric vehicle
    • Use car sharing services with electric vehicles
    • Make sure your vehicle is in tip top shape for optimal efficiency (secure gas cap, inflate tires, etc.)

What We Eat

What We Learn

How We Vote

  • Vote in local, statewide and national elections!
  • Support just and equitable environmental policies in support of:  
    • Climate resiliency
    • A tax on carbon
    • The end of fossil fuels
    • Regenerative agriculture
    • Renewable energy
    • A reduction in plastic waste
  • Be an advocate
    • Attend and give public comments at local Agency, City Council, or County Board of Supervisor meetings 
    • Send a letter to your representatives so they know climate action is important to you
    • Participate in public demonstrations and rallies
    • Sign petitions
    • Create climate inspired art and share it with the world
  • Join existing efforts by Heal the Bay and partner groups to demand climate action now 

Questions about any of these possible actions? Contact Annelisa Moe here at Heal the Bay for more information or support in your advocacy work!

En 2021, vamos a abordar una de las grandes amenazas para nuestras aguas costeras y cuencas fluviales en Los Angeles y sus alrededores. Los siguientes tres objetivos representan las áreas clave del enfoque de este año:

Acción climática urgente

Qué estamos haciendo: Estamos pasando a la acción de forma urgente, por el clima y para empoderar a la gente, demandando cambios sistémicos, y defendiendo soluciones con múltiples beneficios que nos muevan a todos hacia un futuro más equitativo, sostenible y resiliente ante el cambio climático.

Cómo lo estamos haciendo: La crisis climática debe ser ralentizada, o las comunidades sufrirán más impactos negativos y habrá muchas pérdidas. A nivel nacional, necesitamos recobrar las políticas medioambientales rápidamente para recuperar la protección del océano, los ríos y las marismas, así como los recursos acuáticos ratificando la Ley de Agua Limpia. De forma local, apoyamos las soluciones basadas en la naturaleza para proteger las comunidades de la subida del mar, la erosión y las marejadas ciclónicas; abogar por la limpieza de los drenajes pluviales a través de espacios verdes con múltiples beneficios; y demandar una transición equitativa hacia las energías renovables. El Acuario de Heal the Bay trabaja directamente con nuestra comunidad, involucrando a los estudiantes y al público a través de la acción climática y las iniciativas educativas.

Proteger la salud pública con ciencia y divulgación

Qué estamos haciendo: Protegiendo la salud de la gente y el ecosistema a través de una educación  sobre las aguas contaminadas, los peces, y los sedimentos en nuestras playas, ríos y litoral, basada en la ciencia, la divulgación y la defensa.

Cómo lo estamos haciendo: El agua limpia y segura y los espacios verdes accesibles son fundamentales para la salud pública. Heal the Bay empuja a los líderes del gobierno a proteger a la gente en las áreas recreativas acuáticas de LA con nuevas leyes sobre la salud pública. Nuestras tarjetas-reporte de las playas, NowCast y las tarjetas-reporte del río están expandiéndose en alcance y rigor científico. Hacemos responsables a los contaminadores corporativos y las agencias públicas por el vertido de DDT en nuestra costa y concienciamos sobre la peligrosa contaminación en LA. El Acuario de Heal the Bay empodera estudiantes y familias usando tanto operaciones, como un curriculum educacional sobre las cuencas, usando narrativas acerca de la salud de las personas.

Prohibir el uso de plásticos de un solo uso de una vez por todas

Qué estamos haciendo: Eliminar la dañina polución plástica de nuestro océano y cuencas fluviales para defender la vitalidad de nuestras comunidades.

Cómo lo estamos haciendo: El legado tóxico de nuestra producción de plástico y desechos impacta nuestro día a día. Heal the Bay apoya el veto de productos desechables que dañan nuestros vecindarios y hábitats silvestres. Apoyamos la legislación para reducir y prohibir plásticos de usar y tirar en la ciudad de Los Angeles, el condado de Los Angeles, y California. Nuestro objetivo inmediato es pasar las ordenanzas locales para Dejar el Desperdicio en Los Angeles en 2021. A largo plazo, estamos poniendo los cimientos para una legislación estatal y una iniciativa para votar en 2022: una California libre de plásticos. El Acuario de Heal the Bay está inspirando el apoyo con el lanzamiento de nuevas exposiciones sobre la polución plástica y también educando acerca de su conexión con los combustibles fósiles.



Adopte una playa

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Funcionarios electos de Los Angeles están tomando acción legislativa para reducir la basura que se genera con la comida para llevar tras un gran incremento en el consumo del plástico de un solo uso. ¿Pero qué significa “Deja el desperdicio”? ¿Y cómo ayuda a luchar contra la contaminación por plástico? Vamos a verlo.

Deja el desperdicio es el último empujón legislativo de Heal the Bay junto a la coalición Reusable LA. #DejaElDesperdicio requeriría que los extras de la comida para llevar y a domicilio — como los utensilios de un solo uso, popotes, condimentos, servilletas y demás — fuesen facilitados a petición del usuario. Si los necesita, los puede tener. Y si no, no hace falta desperdiciar.

Añada su nombre a la petición

El consumo de plástico de un solo uso se ha disparado debido al COVID-19, incluyendo aquí en Los Angeles, donde nuestros queridos restaurantes locales se han visto forzados a depender principalmente de los pedidos para llevar y a domicilio. El consumo de plásticos de un solo uso se ha incrementado entre un 250% y un 300% desde que comenzó la pandemia, con un aumento de un 30% de basura atribuido en parte a utensilios de usar y tirar. En toda la nación, billones de accesorios para la comida se tiran cada año, muchos sin haberse utilizado siquiera. (Muchos de nosotros incluso los guardamos en el temido cajón de los extras, esperando utilizarlos algún día).

La amplia mayoría de estos objetos de un solo uso no se pueden reciclar. Suman a la crisis de basura plástica, ensucian nuestros vecindarios, ríos, el océano, y atascan los vertederos. El uso de combustibles fósiles para producir objetos de plástico que ni siquiera se usan es lo último que necesitamos durante una crisis climática. Estos efectos también presentan problemas de justicia medioambiental, con las comunidades en primera línea sufriendo desproporcionadamente por el cambio climático, la extracción de crudo, y la incineración asociada a plásticos de un solo uso.

Heal the Bay y Reusable LA están abogando por legislar #DejaElDesperdicio en la ciudad y el condado de Los Angeles. En Enero de 2021, los miembros del consejo de la ciudad de Los Angeles Paul Koretz y Paul Krekorian introdujeron una moción para un borrador de ley para #DejaElDesperdicio. Requeriría que en los casos de comida para llevar, servicio a domicilio o servicios de entrega a domicilios de terceros, todos los accesorios estuvieran disponibles únicamente bajo petición. La Junta de Supervisores del Condado de Los Angeles siguió el ejemplo y en Febrero de 2021 pasó una moción similar de forma unánime tras ser introducida por Sheila Kuehl, miembro de la junta.

Esta legislación reconoce que los miembros de la comunidad pueden necesitar pajitas/ popotes/pajillas, utensilios y / u otros accesorios para alimentos de un solo uso. Es crucial que los restaurantes y las aplicaciones de entrega de terceros promuevan y brinden opciones para todos. Este modelo “a pedido” está estructurado intencionalmente para cumplir con todos los requisitos y adaptaciones de la ADA para garantizar un acceso equitativo para disfrutar fácilmente de comidas en el lugar, comida para llevar o entregas en los restaurantes de Los Ángeles. Según esta ordenanza, las empresas pueden proporcionar accesorios para alimentos a los clientes que los soliciten.

Restaurantes y aplicaciones de entrega a domicilio deberían por defecto, no entregar accesorios de un solo uso para los pedidos, a menos que el cliente los solicite. Cambiar a este modelo de accesorios “bajo pedido” elimina basura innecesaria y ahorra dinero a los establecimientos. Los Angeles ha hecho esto antes con los popotes bajo pedido. En un momento en el que los negocios pequeños y los restaurantes están luchando por mantenerse a flote, esta es una solución simple para recortar costes excesivos y contaminación por plástico. Apoyamos estas ordenanzas porque son una solución donde todos ganan, las comunidades de LA, los negocios y el medioambiente.

Contamos con su apoyo para pasar esta ordenanza, así que pase a la acción mediante los enlaces de aquí abajo y manténgase a la escucha para más novedades de #DejaElDesperdicio.

Pase a la acción!

Firme la petición

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In 2021, we’re tackling the biggest threats to coastal waters and watersheds in Greater LA. The following three goals represent our key areas of focus this year:

Take Urgent Climate Action

What we’re doing: Taking urgent climate action by empowering people, demanding systemic change, and advocating for multi-benefit solutions that build toward an equitable, sustainable, and climate-resilient future for all.  

How we’re doing it: The climate crisis must be slowed, or communities will be further impacted and much will be lost. Nationally, we need to quickly recover environmental policy rollbacks to regain ocean, river, and wetland protections, and protect water resources by upholding the Clean Water Act. Locally, we support nature-based solutions to protect communities from sea level rise, erosion, and storm surges; champion the cleanup of stormwater through multi-benefit green spaces; and demand an equitable transition to renewable energy. Heal the Bay Aquarium works directly with our community, engaging students and the public through climate action and education initiatives. 

Protect Public Health with Strong Science and Outreach

What we’re doing: Protecting people and ecosystem health through science-based education, outreach, and advocacy on contaminated water, fish, and sediment at our beaches, rivers, and offshore.

How we’re doing it: Clean water and safe, accessible green space are fundamental for public health. Heal the Bay pushes government leaders to protect people at freshwater recreation areas in LA with new public health legislation. Our Beach Report Card with NowCast and River Report Card are expanding in reach and scientific rigor. We hold corporate polluters and public agencies accountable for DDT dumping off our coast and raise awareness about dangerous water contamination across LA. Heal the Bay Aquarium empowers students and families with human health narratives in watershed education curriculum and operations.  

Ban Single-Use Plastics for Good

What we’re doing: Eliminating harmful plastic pollution from our ocean and watersheds in order to defend the vibrancy of our communities.  

How we’re doing it: The toxic legacy of plastic production and waste impacts our everyday life. Heal the Bay supports a ban on disposable products that harm neighborhoods and wildlife habitats. We advocate for legislation to reduce and ban disposable plastics in the City of Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, and California. Our immediate goal is to pass Skip the Stuff Ordinances locally in LA in 2021. Longer term, we are laying the groundwork for statewide legislation and a 2022 ballot initiative: Plastics Free California. Heal the Bay Aquarium is inspiring advocacy by launching new exhibits on plastic pollution and educating about the connection to fossil fuels.  

Take Part

Get Involved

Adopt a Beach

See What’s New with Our Aquarium


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The Big Beach Cleanup is a new book written by Charlotte Offsay. Heal the Bay asked the author about her process, discoveries, and single-use swaps at home in this Q&A.

Join Charlotte Offsay & Heal the Bay for a virtual book reading + live animal feeding on Saturday, March 6. 

Learn More

Q: How did you work with Heal the Bay on the book?

A: I first reached out to Heal the Bay in early 2019. I had written The Big Beach Cleanup and was looking to connect with experts regarding fact checking recycling and ocean cleanup facts. I live in Los Angeles and am familiar with the important work that Heal the Bay does to protect our oceans, so I decided to ask for their help. Nancy Shrodes, the Associate Director of Policy & Outreach, kindly agreed to review my manuscript and offer her feedback. Since then numerous staff members at Heal the Bay have continued to offer assistance, including providing input on additional educational materials for the book as well as generously offering to do a live animal feeding at The Big Beach Cleanup virtual launch event!

Q: What inspired you to write about a beach cleanup?

A: One day while walking with my children, I stopped to pick up a piece of trash that was in our way and toss it in a nearby trashcan. Throwing away that piece of trash sparked endless questions from my ever-curious children. They wanted to know where the trash had come from and how it got there in the first place. We ended up in big conversations around pollution and doing our part to protect the planet. It was on that walk that I decided to write an ocean advocacy story featuring little hands joining together to make big change. I went home that day and wrote the first draft of what would eventually become The Big Beach Cleanup!

Q: What was the most interesting thing you learned while working on this book?

A: Honestly the most interesting thing I found is how immune we can become to the things that are right in front of us. I have lived and walked around Los Angeles for a long time. I have also cared about the planet and my environmental footprint for a long time, but it wasn’t until I began working on this book that my eyes really opened to how prevalent our pollution problem is and how frequently it is right in front of me on a daily basis. There is no shortage of trash in Los Angeles, not only on our beaches but right on the streets in my very own neighborhood. On my regular walk with my kids we always find trash, even if we have been picking up trash on that same walk the day before. Things get dropped, trash bags aren’t tied properly and more and more we are finding discarded masks and disposable containers. We really need everyone to join together and make conscious changes in order to tackle this growing problem.

Q: Has the book inspired you to make any single-use plastic swaps at home?

A: Writing this book has encouraged my family to look around our home and evaluate our daily waste. We have been replacing individually wrapped items with bulk sizes and make an effort to use refillable containers whenever possible, we have tried to make choices that avoid plastic containers and to purchase less ‘stuff’ (toys, general excess) overall.

Q: What do you hope readers will take away from the book?

A: My hope is that The Big Beach Cleanup shows readers that big changes begin with small steps. I hope that readers are inspired to think about the changes they want to see in the world, to know that they can make a difference, and are encouraged to join together with those around them to create those changes. I hope they walk away knowing that their hands matter and are needed.

Q: What is your favorite beach in California?

A: Every summer since my husband was little his family has spent time in Coronado. When I met my husband, I was warmly welcomed into this tradition and I look forward to spending time at the beach on Coronado island every year. Locally though we love to visit Will Rogers State Beach as it is close to where my inlaws live and they are often able to join us there!

CHARLOTTE OFFSAY was born in England, grew up in Boston, and currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two small children. Through her work, Charlotte hopes to make children laugh, to inspire curiosity, and to create a magical world her readers can lose themselves in time and time again.

Charlotte’s debut picture book, The Big Beach Cleanup, illustrated by Kate Rewse will be published by Albert Whitman in Spring 2021, followed by How to Return a Monster, illustrated by Rea Zhai releasing Fall 2021 with Beaming Books. A Grandma’s Magic, illustrated by Asa Gilland will be published by Doubleday Books for Young Readers in Spring 2022.

Learn more about Charlotte’s work at and follow her on Twitter at @COffsay and on Instagram at @picturebookrecommendations.

Las playas son unos de los grandes tesoros de Los Angeles, y deberían ser accesibles para todos.


El Acuario de Heal the Bay dispone de sillas de ruedas para la playa de alquiler gratuito desde el 26 de Diciembre de 2020 en el muelle de Santa Mónica.

Estas sillas de ruedas manuales para la playa son de cortesía y están disponibles durante dos horas, durante las que se requiere un documento de identificación con fotografía como señal del alquiler. Las sillas están disponibles por orden de llegada durante el horario de apertura, los sábados y domingos.



1600 Ocean Front Walk
Santa Monica, CA 90401

Saturday – Sunday
9:30 AM – 2:30 PM

Más información: 
(310) 393-6149


Santa Mónica tiene varios senderos accesibles para llegar al agua. Los más cercanos al muelle de Santa Mónica son Santa Monica State Beach, Arizona Avenue, y Bay Street. Descargue este mapa de la Comisión de Discapacidad de la Ciudad de Santa Mónica: Mapa de accesibilidad de Santa Mónica

El alquiler de sillas de ruedas sigue disponible a pesar de que el acuario de Heal the Bay esté temporalmente cerrado para acomodar el distanciamiento social y ayudar a reducir la transmisión de COVID-19. La salud de nuestros seguidores, socios, trabajadores y resto de la comunidad sigue siendo nuestra prioridad más alta.



El programa de sillas de ruedas para la playa es posible gracias a la financiación por parte de The Coastal Conservancy.

The Coastal Conservancy es una agencia estatal de California, establecida en 1976, para proteger y mejorar el suelo natural y las vías de agua, ayudar a la gente a llegar hasta la naturaleza y el aire libre y disfrutarlos, y a mantener las economías locales a lo largo de la costa Californiana. Actúa junto a otros para proteger y restaurar, e incrementar el acceso público a la costa de California, al océano, a las cuencas costeras y la zona de la bahía de San Francisco. Su visión es la de una costa bella, restaurada, y accesible para las generaciones de californianos existentes y venideras.

Para seguirlos en redes sociales:

Failure is not defeat when we hold ourselves accountable, learn, improve, and move forward together. Our Science and Policy team highlights some environmental policy woes in Part 2 below, and in Part 1 we reflect on wins from the past year. 

In a year like 2020, it is worth the time to celebrate our environmental policy wins. But it may be even more important to recognize our woes, setbacks, and challenges. Failure is a part of life, and it may be painful at times, but it does not mean defeat. It is an opportunity to learn, to grow, and to find ways to improve our work moving forward. Let’s reflect on three of our 2020 environmental policy woes, and set some new goals for 2021. 

California Environmental Legislation

It was a challenging year in the CA legislature. With critical COVID-19 relief bills understandably taking priority, many environmental bills that were expected to pass this year did not make it through. One major loss was Senate Bill 54 and Assembly Bill 1080, twin bills also known as the California Circular Economy and Plastic Pollution Reduction Act, which would have set a goal of reducing single-use plastic waste by 75% by 2030. Following heavy and expensive lobbying campaigns from the plastics industry, these bills narrowly missed passing on the final day of the legislative season in August. 

While this was a devastating blow, there were also wins in plastic pollution reduction policy this year. Governor Newsom signed Assembly Bill 793 into law, making California the first state in the country to set minimum levels for recycled content in beverage containers. California residents also got the Plastics Free California Initiative on the 2022 ballot. If it passes, this initiative would be the most comprehensive plastic pollution reduction policy in the nation. Heal the Bay is not giving up the fight and we are ready to push for strong plastics legislation in the coming year. Sign up to learn more on this from Reusable LA. 

Offshore DDT Dumping

The recent discovery (as reported by the LA Times) of a very large number of dumped barrels of DDT off the coast of Los Angeles was a shock to us and many others who have been working on issues surrounding DDT contamination for over 30 years. We knew about the other large site contaminated by DDT and PCBs on the Palos Verde Shelf, but this new discovery of a potentially similar sized underwater DDT dump was devastating, to say the least. The news left us with many questions. Who is responsible and how can we hold corporate polluters accountable? What is the impact to marine ecosystems and human health? Can this pollution be cleaned up? 

Heal the Bay is currently meeting with elected officials, government agencies, and partners to push for increased scientific understanding of the problem, increased education and outreach particularly to communities at risk from contaminated fish, and increased accountability and transparency. 

Stormwater Regulation with the MS4 Permit

The Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Permit regulates stormwater pollution. The LA County MS4 Permit has been around since 1990, and yet stormwater is still the leading source of water pollution. The lack of accountability in the last MS4 Permit has allowed permittees to fall woefully behind schedule in reducing this pollution. Although renewal of this critical MS4 Permit is already 3 years behind schedule, adoption was again delayed until 2021. Unfortunately, permittees have dominated this process, demanding a weaker permit at the expense of our surface water quality, and so far the Los Angeles Regional Water Board has been receptive to their grumbles.

Heal the Bay’s Take LA by Storm campaign launched this year to provide support for new advocates to engage in this permit process, too. Voices from respected NGOs across LA County attended the Regional Board’s October MS4 Workshop; and in December, 34 NGOs and 19 individual community members weighed in through written comments. We are starting to shift the narrative as the Board hears from communities, but there is still a lot to do before permit adoption in summer 2021.

Heal the Bay will continue to advocate for a strong permit and provide better support to LA communities. Sign up to Take LA by Storm, and together we can hold permittees accountable and reduce stormwater pollution.

2020 was a long and difficult year. At times it felt like we were going backwards. In this 2-part series, our Science and Policy team highlights some forward-moving progress and setbacks on the environmental policy front in California. We review our wins in Part 1 below, and in Part 2 we reflect on policies woes from the past year. 

2020 was tough. Systemic racism and environmental injustices continue to disproportionately impact BIPOC communities. More prevalent media coverage has elevated this painful reality, and as a nation, as organizations, and as individuals, many of us have challenged ourselves to do better. Despite this awakening, injustices remain, the climate crisis is escalating, and we’re struggling to maintain our day-to-day lives in the face of a new global public health pandemic with the spread of COVID-19. 

Even as these crises rage on, the wheels of government keep turning to address ongoing environmental issues, and Heal the Bay’s Science and Policy team has done its best to keep up. Let’s take a few minutes to highlight three environmental policy wins from 2020.  

Statewide Toxicity Provisions

After nearly two decades, the State Water Board adopted Toxicity Provisions in December, establishing an approach using Whole Effluent Toxicity (the collective adverse effect on aquatic life from all pollutants contained in wastewater) as a numeric limit with a clear pass/fail result. Toxicity testing provides an important back-stop to detect harmful conditions caused by chemicals and chemical mixtures that aren’t otherwise tested like new pesticides, household chemicals, pharmaceuticals, etc. 

Heal the Bay has been waiting for this since 2003. We even released a report in 2009 on the impacts of not including numeric toxicity limits in permits. In 2014, our Los Angeles Regional Board took a prudent step forward by adopting the use of numeric toxicity limits in local permits, creating momentum for the State Board to follow suit. We’re excited to finally see the adoption of these Provisions, though we did make a few concessions over the years. For example, these Provisions apply only to non-stormwater permits; however, thanks to our advocacy work alongside our partners at the California Coastkeeper Alliance, the State Board committed to starting on stormwater toxicity requirements next. 

Biological Objectives

The San Diego Regional Water Board became the first region in CA to adopt Biological Objectives for streams using numeric water quality standards for the biological community of a stream (based on the benthic macroinvertebrate community) in December. The Clean Water Act’s objective is to “restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nation’s waters,” but until now, implementation has focused solely on chemical integrity. Biological Objectives tell a meaningful and comprehensive story about the stream’s water quality, habitat, and biota. Unfortunately, these objectives do not apply to concrete lined streams; however, while not perfect, this is a big step forward. 

Heal the Bay advocated for the San Diego Biological Objectives alongside our partners at San Diego Coastkeeper and LA Waterkeeper. With this momentum from the San Diego region, we also advocated for the LA Regional Water Board to adopt their own Biological Objectives. We were thrilled to see a data project related to Biological Objectives make the Los Angeles Regional Board’s priority list this year! We will continue to work with our NGO partners and the Regional Board staff to move this effort along.

Safe, Clean Water Program Implementation

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved over $95 million in new investments under Measure W (the Safe, Clean Water Program) in October. The nine Watershed Area Steering Committees (WASCs), which each include five community representatives, have been working diligently all year to determine where and how funds should be spent. This first round of funding was approved for each WASC to hire Watershed Coordinators, and for the Program to fund 41 infrastructure projects, 15 technical assistance projects, and 4 scientific studies.

Heal the Bay, as a core team member of the OurWaterLA Coalition, has been involved in this program since its inception. We have engaged with the public and met with County staff to help ensure that the goals of the Program are met, while our President and CEO, Shelley Luce oversaw progress as Co-Chair of the Regional Oversight Committee. Heal the Bay has been selected as the Watershed Coordinator for the South Santa Monica Bay. We will lead public engagement efforts in this area for the Safe, Clean Water Program, and coordinate across the county with all 12 Watershed Coordinators. We also applied to be Watershed Coordinators for the Central Santa Monica Bay watershed area – the final decision for that position will be determined within the next few weeks.

Mikaela Loach reminds us all that “we have a lot of power to make changes to these [problematic] systems.” And so we urge you to advocate with all your might for good policies and the systemic changes we need. As hard as we fight, there will be setbacks. Read Part 2 to learn about three environmental policy woes in 2020.

Necesitamos su ayuda para hacer responsables a los contaminadores y a sus aliados políticos.

Una reciente investigación del LA Times destapó que la corporación contaminadora Montrose no solo vertió medio millón de barriles con residuos contaminados con DDT en la bahía, el doble de lo estimado, sino que junto a agencias del gobierno escondieron el vertido cerca de la isla Catalina durante décadas, exponiendo a personas, animales y ecosistemas marinos enteros a uno de los compuestos químicos tóxicos más peligrosos que se ha hecho nunca.

Heal the Bay está presionando a las agencias y a los cargos electos para que se ocupen de limpiar el DDT y protejan la salud pública.

Foto de LA Times, David Valentine, ROV Jason

Originalmente desarrollado como insecticida, el compuesto químico DDT es conocido hoy en día por su impacto en la salud y la destrucción del medioambiente. El DDT es especialmente devastador porque nunca desaparece. El productor de DDT más grande de los Estados Unidos, Montrose Chemical Corporation, tenía su base en Torrance entre 1947 y 1982. Y durante esa época vertieron cientos de toneladas de residuos tóxicos al océano en la zona de Palos Verdes. Fueron a juicio y terminaron pagando un acuerdo, y el área fue designada como superfund site (zonas contaminadas de Estados Unidos que requieren una respuesta de limpieza a largo plazo por contener contaminantes nocivos) por la EPA en 2000.

Décadas más tarde, nos enteramos de que la misma corporación contaminadora vertió cerca de la isla Catalina el DOBLE de DDT que se había estimado previamente, junto a otros compuestos tóxicos además. Nadie está rindiendo cuentas por ese medio millón de barriles que se están filtrando a nuestro suelo marino hoy en día.

Las agencias gubernamentales necesitan redoblar sus esfuerzos de una forma clara. No nos podemos escurrir de estos desastres del pasado. Y tampoco podemos ignorar los retos que suponen estos compuestos tóxicos para el presente y el futuro.

Las pruebas demuestran que el DDT ha entrado en la cadena alimenticia, afectando la salud de miles de personas que comen alimentos del mar procedentes de la bahía, y también está llevando a especies, como las águilas calvas, hacia la extinción. La comunidad científica y los expertos en salud están preocupados por el impacto a largo plazo de la bioacumulación de DDT en el océano.

LA no puede esperar otra década para lidiar con los compuestos tóxicos en nuestro océano. La crisis climática está acelerando la subida del nivel del mar y las temperaturas, que ya de por sí tienen un impacto suficientemente negativo en el océano y nuestras comunidades.

Heal the Bay está lista para embarcarse en otra batalla para proteger nuestro océano, hacer responsables a los contaminadores, y a mantener al público, especialmente a los pescadores locales y usuarios recreativos del agua, informados sobre los riesgos para la salud del legado tóxico de DDT en LA. Su contribución posibilita nuestra misión de mantener el agua limpia para todos. Done a Heal the Bay.

Traducido por Beatriz Lorenzo

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Beaches are one of the great treasures in Los Angeles, and they should be accessible to everyone.


Heal the Bay Aquarium has beach wheelchairs available to rent for free at the Santa Monica Pier starting December 26, 2020.

Complimentary manual beach wheelchair rentals are available for two hours, and a valid photo ID is required as collateral during the rental period. The wheelchairs are available on a first-come, first-served basis during operating hours on Saturday and Sunday. 


1600 Ocean Front Walk
Santa Monica, CA 90401

Saturday – Sunday
9:30 AM – 2:30 PM

More Information: 
(310) 393-6149 


Santa Monica has several accessible pathways to the water. The closest pathways near the Santa Monica Pier are Santa Monica State Beach, Arizona Avenue, and Bay Street. Download this map from the City of Santa Monica Disabilities Commission: Accessible Santa Monica Map

While wheelchair rentals are available, Heal the Bay Aquarium is temporarily closed to accommodate physical distancing and help reduce the transmission of COVID-19. The health and safety of our supporters, partners, staff, and community remain our top priority.



Heal the Bay’s beach wheelchair program is made possible thanks to funding from The Coastal Conservancy.

The Coastal Conservancy is a California state agency, established in 1976, to protect and improve natural lands and waterways, to help people get to and enjoy the outdoors, and to sustain local economies along California’s coast. It acts with others to protect and restore, and increase public access to, California’s coast, ocean, coastal watersheds, and the San Francisco Bay Area. Its vision is of a beautiful, restored, and accessible coast for current and future generations of Californians.

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