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Heal the Bay Blog

Author: Talia Walsh

Tracy Quinn CEO of Heal the Bay poses for the camera and touches a shark at Heal the Bay Aquarium

Photos by Nicola Buck

What does “Heal the Bay” mean to you?

To me, Heal the Bay is about protecting what you love. I find it inspiring that Dorothy Green chose the name Heal the Bay because it conveys hope. Fighting to change policies that don’t adequately protect people and wildlife is challenging—at times heartbreakingand I love that this group was founded on the optimistic idea that we can make things better and that this organization has made things better for the Santa Monica Bay over the last three decades. I’m grateful for Dorothy and Heal the Bay every time I feel that cold, crisp water of the Pacific Ocean on my toes, and I am honored to continue her legacy by leading Heal the Bay in its next chapter.

What about Heal the Bay excites you the most?

I grew up in Southern California (Anaheim to be exact) and the beach has always been a special place for me. I look forward to leading Heal the Bay because our mission, “to make our coastal waters and watersheds safe, healthy, and clean – using science, education, community action, and advocacy” inspires me and aligns with the experiences that first interested me in an environmental advocacy career. I have dedicated my professional life to ensuring safe, reliable, and affordable water for Californians. Education is also very important to me and I have volunteered with local groups in LA, tutoring math and science with Educating Young Minds and serving on the board of Wildwoods Foundation. And, in my free time you can often find me at the beach or paddling on the water. I am excited that our organization brings my passions together seamlessly. 

Tell us more about those early experiences that prompted you to get involved in an environmental advocacy career.

My decision to become an environmental advocate is actually pretty similar to Dorothy Green’s. In high school, I started to notice the beach closures after storms and saw my friends and teachers getting sick from surfing in polluted waters. I was horrified that we were allowing this beautiful place, and the marine animals that call our ocean home, to be harmed. I wanted to do something about it, so I went to college to study engineering and immediately moved back to Southern California to join the fight.

At the helm at Heal the Bay, what are some of your top priorities?

As CEO, I am going to continue the incredible legacies of Dorothy Green, Felicia Marcus, Mark Gold, Shelley Luce, and others who have led this organization. The area where I can be most effective is helping Heal the Bay build campaigns and partnerships to address emerging challenges and opportunities facing our region. Heal the Bay’s deep water-quality expertise makes us uniquely suited to drive local and state policy. Working closely with our dedicated Board, staff, and community partners, some of the key areas I’d like to focus on are:

  • Helping Southern California communities combat the impacts of climate change while improving water quality in our rivers and ocean. Given Heal the Bay’s incredible science expertise, we have the opportunity to dive into critical issues like ensuring impacts to surface and coastal water quality are considered when making investments in drinking water reliability, mitigating the impacts of sea level rise, and highlighting the multi-benefits of stormwater projects on climate-related stresses like drought, flood, and heat exposure. And using our advocacy, education, and communication chops to build campaigns and drive policy solutions. 
  • Bringing more attention to our incredible Heal the Bay Aquarium as a top destination in LA for learning and community connection, and shining a light on our amazing Aquarium team who care for the animals and develop educational programming that inspires the next generation of planet protectors.
  • Building on Heal the Bay’s core value of inclusion, our “JEDI” committee work (Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion), and our policies to recruit and retain staff that reflect the diverse communities in Greater LA, we are committed to incorporating environmental justice, social justice, and accessibility into our work by collaborating more with local organizations leading on the issues, and implementing a process to evaluate the equity impacts of our programs, projects, and campaigns.

Before you joined Heal the Bay, what were you up to?

I started my career as a scientist and engineer here in Southern California over 20-years ago, working on a variety of projects like modeling the transport of pollutants in groundwater, designing water infrastructure, and working with industrial facilities to prevent pollution from entering our rivers and ocean.

Prior to joining Heal the Bay as CEO, I served as the Director of California Urban Water Policy for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and as the Interim Director of NRDC’s national Urban Water Program. My team at NRDC included lawyers and policy experts and our mission was to ensure safe, reliable, and affordable water for all across the country. In my 11-years at NRDC I led efforts to pass transformational climate adaptation legislation, assisted the state in setting the strictest standards in the country for water-using products, and helped the state develop emergency regulations as we navigated the worst drought in 1200 years. I also worked with NRDC’s incredible team of public health scientists to develop recommendations for the regulation of PFAS “forever chemicals”, which led to the successful adoption of drinking water standards in states across the country.

I also serve on the Board of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD), the largest water utility in the country. On the MWD Board, I’ve had the opportunity to focus more of my time on local water policy and collaborate with community groups, like Heal the Bay, doing exciting work here in the Greater Los Angeles area. Being able to build partnerships within your community and see the positive impact of your collective work on people and neighborhoods is one of the more exciting and fulfilling things I have experienced in my career.

I am overjoyed to bring everything I have learned as an engineer, advocate, utility Board Member, and water enthusiast to Heal the Bay, an organization that is focused on the things I’m most passionate about—protecting our beautiful ocean and rivers and inspiring and educating the next generation of environmental stewards.

When did you know that water was your happy place?

I’ve had a deep connection to water since I was a child. I never feel more at home than when I am on a paddle board or rafting down a river. I fell in love with the ocean the first time I felt the power of the waves off of Newport Beach, California. As a kid, my favorite thing to do at the beach was charge into the water and stand underneath the first breaking wave, and as it curled over me, I would jump, letting the water carry me into a backflip. It was magical and the beach has been my happy place ever since.

You’ve been Heal the Bay CEO for a couple weeks now, what’s a memorable moment so far?

Feeding the baby sharks at Heal the Bay Aquarium. I mean, come on! How fun and meaningful is that?! I’ve also loved getting to know our team–they are so unique, full of energy, and good at what they do. I can’t wait to see what we do together.

 



Heal the Bay’s mission is to protect local coastal waters and watersheds through science, education, advocacy, and action. We are dedicated to making progress for clean water in LA.

Our top goals this year include exciting outcomes for our communities. In 2022 we are building our first-ever stormwater park in South LA, ramping up public outreach about smart water solutions throughout LA County, and supporting major plastic policies that reduce pollution locally and statewide. Heal the Bay Aquarium is growing ocean stewardship in LA by expanding our public hours and accommodating hybrid learning programs through field trips and public activities. And, that’s not all we’ll be doing.

Scroll down below to review Heal the Bay’s Goals, and some details about how we plan to accomplish them in the coming months.

Goal #1: Protect public health with increased access to science-based water quality information for ocean, river, and stream water users.

How we’re doing it: The River Report Card, Heal the Bay’s public map-based tool for water quality at LA County’s popular freshwater areas, is about to get a fresh upgrade. We’ve created the River Report Card Technical Advisory Committee, with experts representing Tribes, agencies, NGOs, and academia. We are going through a rigorous process to enhance our River Report Card by aligning the freshwater grading methodology with scientific standards as well as our well-known Beach Report Card’s “A through F” grading system. We’re also focusing on outreach, advocacy, and education at Heal the Bay Aquarium about the health and safety risks of poor water quality at local swimming holes.

Goal #2: Champion equitable, multi-benefit, and nature-based solutions to address water quality and supply issues for the communities most impacted by climate change.

How we’re doing it: For the first time ever, Heal the Bay is building a stormwater park in collaboration with LA City Councilman Curren Price Jr. and community members! The new community-designed, multi-benefit green space Inell Woods Park is coming to South LA this year. To keep raising awareness about nature-based solutions like this park, we’re hosting workshops for South LA communities where we’ll share climate-ready clean water projects that can be implemented. The success story of Inell Woods Park will be shared with Heal the Bay Aquarium visitors and volunteers across our programs, to foster a broader understanding about essential environmental and public health services that protect the most impacted communities from dangerous heat and flood effects caused by extreme weather. We can’t talk about the dangers of the climate crisis without talking about the dangers of fossil fuels the number one contributor to climate change. Our organization continues to advocate for an end to oil drilling in our ocean and neighborhoods locally and statewide through allyship and support of legislation and ordinances. 

Goal #3: Enhance ocean, river, and stream habitats by cultivating environmental stewardship and action for our local waters.

How we’re doing it: Will 2022 be a pivotal year in the fight against plastic pollution? Yes—and our work includes an advocacy campaign, targeted at Southern California voters, in support of the statewide 2022 ballot measure (California Plastic Pollution Reduction and Recycling Act), to reduce plastic pollution in communities and aquatic environments. While we are set on passing comprehensive policies at the state level, we’re not losing sight of the critical importance of local change. We’re pushing the City of LA and LA County to greenlight comprehensive ordinances that address single-use plastic waste. Plastic isn’t the only cause of harm to our environment, and Heal the Bay Aquarium is creating more community resources for habitat and wildlife restoration information while ramping up efforts in the rescue, rehab, and release of critically endangered species. 

We are proud of our goals. They are bold. They are big. You can trust Heal the Bay to get them done. Stay connected with us, so we can continue to take action together!



Jamal Hill, Paralympic swimmer and educator

Jamal Hill, Paralympic swimmer and educator based in Los Angeles, believes the next US Olympic Games champion is 5 years old right now and waiting for their first swim lesson.

To reach them, and many others, Jamal has a goal to teach one million people to swim.

His own love for swimming began at a local YMCA “Mommy & Me” swim class in Inglewood. Even back then, it was evident Jamal was a natural born swimmer.

After paralysis and recovery at age 10, his parents encouraged him to use the experience to inspire others to overcome challenges. Jamal trained and swam competitively in high school and college, and then became a professional Paralympic swimmer. He is currently ranked number one in the US Paralympic 100 Freestyle and number 22 in the world. Watch a short documentary about Jamal’s story.

Jamal’s passion for swimming extends well beyond his personal and professional goals for competing in the next Olympic Games. He also has set his sights on empowering Black and Brown youth locally and globally with water safety and swimming lessons.

The latest statistics from the World Health Organization show that 320,000 people lose their lives to drowning every year. Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury death in children aged 1-14 years in the United States.

Due to a history of systemic racism in the US, Black and Latinx children are disproportionately impacted by a lack of equitable access to pools for swimming and water safety lessons. 

“It’s reported that 64 percent of Black children have little to no swimming ability, compared to 45 percent of Hispanic children and 40 percent of White children. Black [children] ages 5-10 are 5.5 times more likely than White [children] to drown in swimming pools. To further diversify the sport, and make it safer, it’s important to look at the long history of systematic racism that has led to the dearth of Black [people] having opportunities to swim,” writes Peggy Shinn in an article titled, “The Deep End: The History of Pool Access for Black Americans & What Team USA Athletes are Doing to Get More Kids of Color into the Pool”.

In an attempt to lower the global drowning rate and provide equitable access to water, Jamal founded Swim Up Hill (download brochure) and provides 1:1 swimming and water safety lessons. Since the COVID-19 pandemic closed many public pools for most of 2020, Jamal got creative and is offering virtual family swim and safety lessons through Airbnb

Swim up Hill with Heal the Bay on Nov. 28

If you are celebrating Thanksgiving at home this year, we have a fun family activity to do that week. Get your household together for a Creative Family Swim on Zoom with Jamal Hill and Heal the Bay at 11am on Saturday, November 28. Together, we’ll unlock basic swim and water safety skills at home without a pool! You’ll just need these supplies: (1) 10-inch bowl, (2) 5-gallon buckets, (1) bench or table that supports your body weight, (1) Note pad, and (1) Pen.

Register for the Creative Family Swim

Watch our IG Live series on Nov. 24

Tune in to Instagram Live with Jamal Hill and Kelly Kelly – Education Manager at Heal the BayDanni Washington – TV Host and Co-Founder of Big Blue & You), and Soleil Errico – World Longboard Champion for a series of conversations about equity in water safety and swimming, environmental education and advocacy, and the journey to becoming a pro water athlete. We’ll get started at 11am PT on Tuesday, November 24. Follow @swimuphill on Instagram to watch live and ask questions.

Instagram Live Swim Up Hill



Earth Day is Every Day!

Earth Day 2020 may just be a few days away on Wednesday, April 22… but we protect our waters every day! Get involved, be inspired, and learn something new all throughout April. Join us this month for special guest social media takeovers, new blog posts, live videos from Heal the Bay Aquarium, and our freshly launched Knowledge Drops science education series. Scope out our full calendar below for details on how to connect and celebrate.

 

What’s coming up in April:

4/14 Facebook Live: Heal the Bay Aquarium @ 11AM

4/14 Instagram Takeover: Activist Melati Wijsen @ 5PM

4/15 Knowledge Drops: Community Science @ 1:30PM

4/15 Twitter Takeover: Author Joel Harper @ Noon

4/17 Knowledge Drops: Contaminated Seafood @ 1:30PM

4/20 Knowledge Drops: Kelp @ 1:30PM

4/21 Instagram Takeover: Latino Outdoors @ 9AM

4/21 Facebook Live: Heal the Bay Aquarium @ 1PM

4/22 Facebook Live: Heal the Bay CEO Dr. Shelley Luce at Noon

4/22 Knowledge Drops: The 50 Year History of Earth Day (English) @ 1:30PM

4/22 Knowledge Drops: La historia del Día de la Tierra (Spanish) @ 3PM

4/23 Instagram Takeover: 52 Hike Challenge @ 9AM

4/24 Knowledge Drops: Climate Change @ 1:30PM

4/24 Instagram Takeover: Chef Brooke Williamson @ 11AM

4/27 Knowledge Drops: Tide Pools @ 1:30PM

4/28 Facebook Live: Heal the Bay Aquarium @ 1:30PM

4/29 Knowledge Drops: Sea Turtles @ 1:30PM

4/30 Facebook Live: Heal the Bay Aquarium @ 1:30PM

 

Stay in the know: Follow @healthebay on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter.

Check out even more ways to get involved and support.


 

Shop, Support, Save

Shop with Heal the Bay, support our work, and save $8 OFF your order with code “HTBEarthMonth” (expires 4/30). On Earth Day only, you can save $50 on orders of $150 or more with code “EarthDay50” (expires midnight on 4/22).



Volunteers remove trash at the Arroyo Seco Confluence.

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This year, we celebrated our 30th anniversary as the LA County coordinator for Coastal Cleanup Day. It has been an honor for Heal the Bay to steer this annual event since the 90s, especially with such vibrant community support.

Shelley Luce, Heal the Bay president says, “After 30 years of beach cleanups, we are still picking up tons and tons of trash on Coastal Cleanup Day. That’s frustrating, but the good news is that our work continues to make a difference. We see fewer plastic bags since they were banned in LA County and statewide a few years ago, so we know that changing our habits does make a difference.”

From diving underwater in the Santa Monica Bay to hiking along the East Fork of the San Gabriel River and everywhere in between, 13,914 volunteers removed more than 30,165 pounds of trash — from 79 locations in Los Angeles County, in a span of three-hours — on Coastal Cleanup Day 2019.

The Most Trash:

  1. Agoura Hills/Medea Creek (120 people, 4,500 pounds of trash)
  2. Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve (153 people, 3,358 pounds of trash)
  3. Long Beach – Alamitos Bay Marina (1,226 people, 2,376 pounds of trash)

The Most People:

The location with the most people was Santa Monica State Beach – North of Santa Monica Pier, which clocked in at 1,260 volunteers and 782 pounds of trash.

The Local Heroes:

Overall 229 intrepid divers took journeys at 6 different underwater locations to remove an incredible 1,078 pounds of trash from the ocean.

At the Redondo Beach Pier in King Harbor, Thomas Kruger, head of the Dive Division at Dive N’ Surf and fellow divers Michael Cruz, Cory Alexander and Redondo Beach Police Department officers Jason Sapien and Nolan Beranek took to the waves to uncover and pull a 20-foot, 250-pound industrial ladder out from under the pier.

The ladder required three 50 pound lift bags and a 200 pound lift bag to raise it off the seafloor. This was the biggest and heaviest piece of trash collected in LA at this year’s event.

“More than 13,000 people gave their time and energy to pick up trash today, including hundreds of divers who were our heroes on Coastal Cleanup Day, going to great depths to pick up trash, including tangled fishing lines, dozens of pairs of sunglasses and goggles, a huge industrial ladder and e-scooters. That’s some nasty trash! We so appreciate their help,” remarks Shelley.

The Weirdest Finds:

  • A laptop and electric scooters (underwater in Santa Monica)
  • A 20 foot industrial ladder (underwater in Redondo Beach)
  • Horseshoe (Compton Creek)
  • Cat skull  (South LA)
  • Positive pregnancy test (White Point Beach)
  • Shake weight (Venice)
  • Half a rat (Arroyo Seco Confluence)
  • California King Mattress-sized Styrofoam block  (Arroyo Seco Confluence)

LOCAL TREASURES

We organized 79 sites this year – here’s a deeper look at four incredible locations in Los Angeles County from summit to sea.

San Gabriel River – East Fork

This year, for the first time, the San Gabriel River – East Fork area took part in Coastal Cleanup Day!

From mountain lions and bighorn sheep to the threatened Santa Ana Suckers, this special place in the San Gabriel Mountains is a hotspot for biodiversity. The San Gabriel Mountains were designated as a National Monument in 2014. According to the U.S. Forest Service, “The designation will help ensure these lands remain a benefit for all Americans through rock art that provides a glimpse into ancient civilizations, an observatory that brought the world the cosmos, and thousands of miles of streams, hiking trails and other outdoor recreation opportunities.”

A volunteer, @adventureiscallingme_ tells us, “As a first timer in Coastal Cleanup Day, I’m glad to have been invited by the East Fork’s Golden Preservation and Nature for All Stewards. I was shocked by the amount of trash we found. It was bittersweet helping because of the amount of trash we saw, but also the difference we made together. We’ll be back!”

Other new sites added to LA County’s Coastal Cleanup Day this year included Zuma Beach, Temescal Canyon Park and Rio del Los Angeles. Emely Garcia, Heal the Bay Beach Programs Manager and organizer of Coastal Cleanup Day says, “the new sites are extremely important because they add to the spectrum of representation for unique wild places you can only find in LA.”

Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve

Tucked away in the San Fernando Valley, adjacent to the Santa Monica Mountains, the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Area boasts winding, flat trails through the floodplain, marshes and ponds in an expansive recreation, habitat restoration and wildlife area.

On Coastal Cleanup Day, 153 volunteers removed a whopping 3,358 pounds of trash from the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve, a refuge for 240 bird species that migrate, nest or live in the area. Kris Ohlenkamp, a resident expert on the endemic and migrating birds of the Sepulveda Basin who works with the San Fernando Valley Audubon Society, says many birds come and go with each season and therefore it’s always an exciting time for bird watching. Kris hosts monthly bird walks in the area, which is also home to local California plants, including Fremont’s cottonwood, Coast live oak, Valley oak and California sycamore.

He shared our concern for the declining bird populations. The number of birds in the United States and Canada has decreased by 3 billion (29 percent) over the past half-century as reported recently in the NY Times. This sobering statistic has put the spotlight on what we can do locally to save the birds. Important actions we must take include protecting and restoring the remaining wildlife areas in our region, which provide habitats for birds and animals.

Arroyo Seco Confluence

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The Arroyo Seco is a major tributary of the LA River; the confluence of the Arroyo Seco and the LA River is historically and culturally significant as it was an area utilized by the Gabrieliño-Tongva people and others. Today, the confluence’s ecosystem is drastically different; the two channelized waterways are encased in concrete – often mistaken for roads, not the rivers that they are. 

On Coastal Cleanup Day, there were groups from Pasadena City College and CSULA among others and in total 73 volunteers showed up at Arroyo Seco Confluence. Participants cleaned along an access road down to the LA River and in the channels, pulling out over 1,500 pounds of trash, including a potato, half of a dead rat, shopping carts, a Home Depot metal lumber cart and so much plastic and smaller items stuck in river muck and sediment. 

“Nearing the end of the cleanup, I was so impressed to see many of the volunteers really getting adventurous – some were just in sneakers, but fully in the river muck and water, going after that next piece of trash just out of arm’s distance,” recalls Katherine Pease, site captain and Heal the Bay scientist.

Speaking of weird trash, Scouts from Troops 5 and 55 of Pasadena removed a California-King mattress-sized block of Styrofoam from a different part of the Arroyo Seco, near the Rose Bowl. As volunteers carried it up a hill, the foam crumbled apart, so they had a train of followers picking up all the pieces. 

Dockweiler Beach

Coastal Cleanup Day at Dockweiler Youth Center.  Photo by Venice Paparazzi Coastal Cleanup Day at Dockweiler Youth Center.  Photo by Venice Paparazzi Coastal Cleanup Day at Dockweiler Youth Center.  Photo by Venice Paparazzi Coastal Cleanup Day at Dockweiler Youth Center.  Photo by Venice Paparazzi Coastal Cleanup Day at Dockweiler Youth Center.  Photo by Venice Paparazzi Coastal Cleanup Day at Dockweiler Youth Center.  Photo by Venice Paparazzi Coastal Cleanup Day at Dockweiler Youth Center.  Photo by Venice Paparazzi Coastal Cleanup Day at Dockweiler Youth Center.  Photo by Venice Paparazzi Coastal Cleanup Day at Dockweiler Youth Center.  Photo by Venice Paparazzi Coastal Cleanup Day at Dockweiler Youth Center.  Photo by Venice Paparazzi Coastal Cleanup Day at Dockweiler Youth Center.  Photo by Venice Paparazzi Coastal Cleanup Day at Dockweiler Youth Center.  Photo by Venice Paparazzi Coastal Cleanup Day at Dockweiler Youth Center.  Photo by Venice Paparazzi Coastal Cleanup Day at Dockweiler Youth Center.  Photo by Venice Paparazzi
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Coastal Cleanup Day at Dockweiler Youth Center. Photo by Venice Paparazzi

One cleanup site, welcoming families with games and good, clean fun, was the Dockweiler Youth Center and State Beach, co-hosted by the Los Angeles Department of Beaches and Harbors and LA Waterkeeper. Together these organizations threw a cleanup party with colorful arts and crafts, raffles and an annual poster contest that wraps ocean-inspired artwork around trash receptacles on public beaches and parks in LA.

“The Dockweiler cleanup drew hundreds of volunteers who affirmatively demonstrated their desire for a better, cleaner coast. The number of young people who participated gave us hope that our future leaders will care deeply for the ocean and our cherished beaches. They understand what must be done and are not afraid to make the needed changes in their daily lives that will lead to healthier, cleaner beaches and oceans – setting a great example and inspiring adults around them,” says Gary Jones, Director of the Department of Beaches and Harbors

SAYING THANKS

Heal the Bay has many to thank – from our statewide organizers to site captains to sponsors to all the partners and organizations that came together to make this day relevant and unique for so many people in LA and beyond.

“Some of the most memorable moments were meeting our new and returning site captains at our site captain trainings. Our 100+ site captain volunteers ranged from 16 to 75 years old; it was inspiring to see everyone engaged in lively conversation and listening to one another,” says Emely.

We’re grateful to get a front-row seat for the moment when so many local environmental all-stars shine!

A special thanks to ALL our Coastal Cleanup Day sponsors:

“We have amazing partners in this work. The Ocean Conservancy coordinates Coastal Cleanup Day all over the world and comes to our Los Angeles event every year, and this year we also had the K-Swiss team here picking up trash and sporting the new Heal the Bay shoes, which are made with recycled plastics and a reduced carbon footprint. We love working with both of these partners, and so many more, to keep our coasts and oceans clean,” Shelley continues.

WHAT’S NEXT

“Our biggest concern today is still all the plastic trash – takeout containers, water bottles and caps, cigarette butts, food wrappers and disposable packaging are everywhere. We have got to reduce the volume of this toxic trash in our waterways and in our daily lives,” states Shelley.

We’re already saving the date for next year’s Coastal Cleanup Day on Saturday, September 19, 2020! Sign up for our email alert to stay in the loop.



The California legislative season has officially ended and the transformative waste reduction policies, SB 54 and AB 1080, did not pass. However, they did not fail either! The bills were never voted on, so they are still eligible for votes starting in January 2020 and throughout the 2020 session.

We know this isn’t the news you wanted to hear – and we share your deep disappointment. But, there is always a silver lining, right?

Heal the Bay, along with our Clean Seas Coalition, did make incredible headway this year thanks to the momentum you helped create. Here are three things re-energizing us to keep fighting for plastic reduction policies:

1. The time for us to act is now: Landmark legislation that transforms industry practices can take years to pass. Your voice of support changed the conversation. Now, it’s not a matter of IF we will pass legislation that reduces single-use plastics, it is a matter of WHEN. Representatives and manufacturers heard our message loud and clear: The longer we delay the inevitable push to reduce single-use plastics, the more damage is done to public health and the natural environment.

2. Every bit of progress counts: While we didn’t see this monumental legislation pass, action was taken in California this year to reduce waste. Lawmakers approved multiple recycling and single-use plastic waste reduction bills that are now on the Governor’s desk for signing. AB 54 will provide $5 million to fund a pilot mobile recycling project overseen by CalRecycle. AB 792 includes a requirement that plastic bottles be made of 50% recycled materials by 2030. AB 1162 will curb single-use plastic bottles in the lodging industry. AB 1583 (The California Recycling Market Development Act) is focused on developing and bolstering the state’s recycling market as a response to China’s National Sword Policy. SB 8/AB 1718 will ban smoking in state beaches and parks and combat the number one item we find on beaches at cleanups, cigarette butts. And, earlier this summer, Governor Newsom signed the newly approved AB 619 into law, which allows vendors at concerts and festivals in California to serve food on reusable containers. There is another comprehensive piece of environmental legislation – SB 1 – that protects California from the effects of recent and future environmental protection rollbacks. SB 1 ensures that our state maintains tough standards under the Clean Water Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Clean Air Act and the Endangered Species Act. We hope to see Governor Newsom sign all of these bills into law!


Trash collected at a Heal the Bay cleanup in 2019. Photo by Marvin Pineda

3. Big change can happen locally: Heal the Bay is zooming in on local regulations and activities that reduce single-use plastics here at home in the Los Angeles region. For example, we’re hoping more communities and cities in Los Angeles will reduce plastic waste by adopting ordinances aimed at tackling single-use and disposable items. Wherever you may be located, we encourage you to attend a city council meeting or a town hall near you and speak during the public comment session about your concerns. When we pass strong policies locally, there is a greater likelihood that the state will take similar action. Check out our FAQs to bust some common myths about passing plastic reduction legislation.

We will continue to push for local and statewide single-use waste reduction to protect our communities and our environment in 2020 and beyond. Thank you to everyone who supported our efforts to combat plastic pollution. From the 410,000+ people who signed our petition to the thousands of people who called their representatives and posted on social media in support of SB 54 and AB 1080, thank you.

 

Finally, thank you to the authors of this legislation, Senator Ben Allen and Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez, we could not have made it this far without you.



(Photo of Santa Monica Bay taken by Lidia Grande-Ruiz on February 16, 2019.)

Los Angeles decision-makers, and leaders throughout California, announced three major initiatives this February. The moves could dramatically shift our region and state toward a sustainable future.

What a month for our natural environment! And, no, we don’t mean this crazy weather.

Our policy leaders just took a big stand against these notorious environmental offenders: single-use plastics, fossil fuels, and wasted water. Here is the rundown on what action was taken and how it directly impacts the health of our ocean and communities.

1. Solving our pollution crisis by rethinking our waste stream

New legislation has been introduced in California, which tackles single-use waste and pollution at the source! The proposed legislation will push ALL industries to meet California’s single-use waste standards — requiring single-use plastic packaging distributed or sold here to be truly recyclable or compostable by 2030. It also requires industries to decrease single-use disposables by 75 percent through source reduction or recycling.

We are so proud to help California take the lead on reducing single-use waste. Heal the Bay volunteers have removed four million plastic items from our beaches over the last two decades (the most common plastic finds are polystyrene and plastic pieces, wrappers, snack bags, bottle caps, and straws).

While the bills (AB1080 & SB54) are in the early stages of development, we are thrilled to be working on this comprehensive solution that will impact generations to come. Please stay tuned for developments. And thanks to Ben Allen Lorena GonzalezScott Wiener Nancy SkinnerLaura FriedmanPhil Ting and Tasha Boerner Horvath for leading the charge!

Read More


2. Increasing our water supply with a smart plan for wastewater

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant (aka sewage treatment plant), one of the largest in the world, will recycle 100% of the City’s wastewater by the year 2035.

The water will be treated extensively and then put into our local groundwater supply for additional treatment by natural soils. Afterwards, the clean water will be pumped up to replenish our local tap water supply. Hyperion’s capacity is 450 million gallons per day and treated water currently flows out to the ocean. But with full recycling at Hyperion we can re-use that water!

Los Angeles is a big city, and pulls a significant amount of water from the Eastern Sierra and San Francisco Bay-Delta. Our local water use impacts the entire state of California. By taking smart action, we reduce our reliance on far-away water sources and become more self-sufficient.

Back in the 1990s, Heal the Bay won the fight to stop partially-treated sewage flowing from Hyperion into the Santa Monica Bay. Once again, we’re seeing the results of collective action with the new plan to treat and re-use all that water — instead of sending it uselessly to sea. Our founder Dorothy Green would be so proud of L.A. for taking this giant step forward.

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3. Saying farewell to fossil fuels for clean and safe alternatives

Garcetti made another big announcement this month in favor of sustainability. He stated that the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has a deadline to close three coastal gas-burning power plants in El Segundo, Long Beach and the Los Angeles Harbor area by 2029. The plants will be replaced by renewable energy sources and storage.

Not only does this drastic change help to reduce the emission of greenhouse gas, it also puts an end to the harmful practice of using ocean water for once-through cooling, which makes sea water more acidic and destroys marine and estuarine life in the process. Nearly 10 years ago, Heal the Bay was instrumental in advancing a policy to address the phase out of once-through cooling at coastal power plants in California. Finally, the tides are a-changin’.

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If you squint out onto the horizon, you’ll see them. Local marine animals are jumping for joy and celebrating a brighter tomorrow.

Thank YOU for your commitment to clean water. We wouldn’t be having these critical conversations about policy without your ongoing support and advocacy.



Heal the Bay is excited to announce its partnership with Coastal Co. and Pledgeling, which recently caught the attention of the NY Times.

As passionate surfers in the Southland, Coastal Co. founders Kevin Tighe II and Mark Healey often see plastic pollution in the water and on the beaches. This year, they decided to take action with their subscription-based, coastal lifestyle startup. As they developed a business plan and launched their new brand, the entrepreneurs made a commitment to a model that would not only promote the surfing culture that they live and breathe, but would also make a positive impact in the world by improving water quality in our oceans.

“Our mission as a company is to deliver the beach life to our members’ doorsteps every season. It’s imperative that we do our part to help protect our oceans and beaches, otherwise, we won’t have much of a beach life to deliver. To accomplish this, wanted to partner with a local non-profit who aligned with our mission and values. Heal the Bay was that perfect partner,” says Kevin Tighe.

A rewarding idea

Once a season, Coastal Co. curates the latest beach-inspired apparel, accessories and lifestyle products which it sends directly to its members’ doorsteps. The special at-home delivery takes a little bit of Cali sunshine a long way to benefit our coastline. Coastal Co. has boxes for both men and women. Each box costs $99 per season and contains over $200 of retail value inside. This Winter, female members will find items such as the limited edition “Sea La Vie” fleece from Alternative Apparel (made specifically for Coastal Co. members), a tropical scented candle from Maui Candle Company, an ethically made beanie from Krochet Kids International, a necklace from Salty Cali jewelry and more. Recent products that could be found in the men’s box include a Nixon Watch, a tee from Drifter Surf Shop in Bali, a flannel from Lira Clothing, a zip-up hoodie from Rhythm apparel and more.

Whenever anyone purchases a Coastal Co. box, proceeds fund Heal the Bay beach cleanups. The partnership funds a couple beach cleanups each month as well as other critical local ocean protection initiatives.

“8 Million tons of plastics are dumped into our oceans each year! If we all do a little, we can do a lot,” states Kevin. “That is why we’ve partnered with Heal the Bay and Pledgeling to help keep our fragile coasts pristine and clean.”

Coastal Co. is also taking steps to remove plastics from their seasonal deliveries while pushing manufacturers and suppliers to consider alternative options that are safer for the environment. In addition to curating non single-use products, the team recycles plastics they receive in the product supply chain before this waste reaches the consumer.

“If we all took one small step forward toward sustainability daily, we’d be much closer to solving our global plastic pollution problems,” says Shelley Luce, Heal the Bay chief. “Heal the Bay is excited to partner with Coastal Co. and Pledgeling because of their long-term commitment to protecting our coast.”

When businesses opt-in to major sustainability initiatives, local community collaboration is key to making an impact. Step in, Pledgeling, a Venice-based tech company that aligns brands with causes around the world to increase their business and achieve a sustainable impact.

“We are excited to bring together two great organizations – Coastal Co. and Heal the Bay – who are committed to truly making a difference. When we can link customers’ purchases to impact that they’re helping to make in the real world, people feel good about the transparency and are more inclined to trust brands that give back to causes they care about,” says James Citron, CEO of Pledgeling.

Heal the Bay Volunteer Giveaway: Win a Winter Box from Coastal Co.

To kick off our partnership, Coastal Co. is giving away a Winter Box (over $200 retail value) PLUS a $50 giftcard from Krochet Kids, a featured brand in the Winter Box! If you’d like to enter the giveaway, please make sure to comment below and follow @healthebay, @coastalcobox & @krochetkids on Instagram. It’s free to enter, but you have to be 18 or older. The winner will be selected on December 21.

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GIVEAWAY TIME for a December Aloha Friday! Today, we’re excited to introduce our new non-profit partner, @healthebay! Proceeds from Coastal Co. will fund monthly beach cleanups hosted and organized by Heal The Bay. Let’s work together to keep our coasts pristine and clean! ???? To celebrate the launch of our new partnership, we’re giving away a Winter Box (over $200 retail value) PLUS a $50 giftcard from @krochetkids, a featured brand in the Winter Box! If you’d like to enter the giveaway, please make sure to: • Follow @healthebay, @coastalcobox & @krochetkids • Tag three ocean lovers •The winner will be selected on December 21st! Good luck! ???????? #beacheveryday #alohafridaygiveaway ????: @richardpodjr

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If this partnership inspires you and you’re interested in doing something similar with Heal the Bay. Please contact Logan on our Advancement team.



L.A.’s wildlife is taking over just in time for the midterm elections. In this critical vote on November 6, L.A. County voters will decide on candidates, propositions and measures. There’s one item on the ballot that will directly impact local ocean wildlife and a thriving ocean: Measure W!

Check out our new series of Snapchat Lenses created by @wrld.space, inspired by underwater animals found right off the SoCal coast.

Spread the word with a Snap.

Dolphins popping out of your reusable water bottles, a whale hovering over the I-405 freeway, jellies joining you at the gym…the possibilities are endless! Remember, no matter what we do, no matter where we do it – we all are connected to the ocean.

Unlock Snapcodes:

Scan the Snapcode or follow the link to unlock each Lens and start Snappin’. Learn more.

heal the bay snapchat lens whale
????Whale

heal the bay snapchat lens jellies
????Jellies

heal the bay snapchat lens dolphin
????Dolphin



Strawless Summer - Heal the Bay

Big news today from City Hall. Single-use plastic straws may be phased out of Los Angeles restaurants and food establishments by 2021.

L.A. City Councilmembers Mitch O’Farrell and Nury Martinez announced the citywide Straws-on-Request initiative.

“Straws on request is another step by the L.A. City Council to remove more trash from our waste-stream, a waste-stream that currently and historically flows through the communities I represent,” said Martinez.

According to City Hall’s press release, “During the Energy, Environment, and Social Justice Committee  on Tuesday afternoon, O’Farrell instructed the Bureau of Sanitation to report back within 90 days regarding the feasibility of phasing out single-use plastic straws by 2021, and instructed Sanitation to work with the Department of Disability on methods and approaches to mitigate impacts to the disabled community associated with the phase out.”

“Plastic straws endanger our marine wildlife and they foul our lakes, streams, and rivers,” said O’Farrell. “With our economy of scale here in L.A. and a phase out, all businesses and manufacturers can join the initiative and pioneer low cost, biodegradable, disposable products.”

Heal the Bay’s ceo Shelley Luce spoke at the press conference about protecting L.A. for future generations.

“Since 2000, Heal the Bay volunteers have picked up over 121,000 straws and stirrers from Los Angeles County beaches,” said Luce. “It’s heartening to see businesses recognizing the problem and becoming part of solution.”

The Mon-straw-city made unsightly appearances in DTLA and at City Hall. Shout out to Danielle Furuichi, Heal the Bay Programs Coordinator, for rocking the straw-suit. And a special thank you to Susan Lang, Super Healer volunteer, for designing this upcycled trash costume made from 1,750 single-use plastic straws that were picked up at beach cleanups by Heal the Bay volunteers.

Stay tuned for more updates at Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Take the pledge to stop sucking at LAsucks.org.