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Heal the Bay Blog

Heal the Bay today released our 28th annual Beach Report Card, which assigns yearly A-to-F water-quality grades for more than 400 beaches statewide based on levels of harmful bacteria.

Our staff scientists put a ton of work into this comprehensive county-by-county survey of pollution along the California shoreline. We encourage you to geek out on all the stats and charts we’ve assembled in the colorful, easy-to-read report.

But if you are short on time, here are the major findings:

  • There’s one silver lining in Southern California’s recent swing back to drought-like conditions – improved beach water quality.
  • Less rain means less bacteria-laden urban runoff carried to the sea via the stormdrain system. Accordingly, bacterial pollution at our local beaches dipped dramatically in 2017-18. Some 95% of the beaches monitored in Southern California earned A grades during the busy summer season, a 5% uptick from the reporting period’s five-year average.
  • In another positive sign, a record 37 beaches in California made the Heal the Bay Honor Roll this year – meaning they are monitored year-round and score perfect A-plus grades each week during all seasons and weather conditions. You can see the full list on page 20 of the report.
  • Northern California beach-water quality sagged slightly in 2017-18, driven in large part by troubled beaches in San Mateo County and Humboldt County.
  • Some 88% of the 96 Northern California beaches monitored by Heal the Bay received an A or B grade for the busy summer season. That figure marks a 3% dip from the region’s five-year summer average.
  • In a somewhat surprising twist, Northern California held seven spots on our infamous Beach Bummer List, a ranking of the top 10 most polluted beaches in the state based on levels of harmful bacteria.
  • Poche Beach (creek mouth) in Orange County has the dubious honor of holding the top spot on our Beach Bummer List this year. For the full list, please see page 16 of the report.
  • You can get a county-by-county, beach-by-beach breakdown in the full report.
  • Download our press releases for Southern California and Northern California.

NowCast program

We’re also expanding our predictive beach water-quality NowCast program this summer, which could be a game-changer for better protecting people at the beach. Using sophisticated statistical models, environmental data, and past bacteria samples, the scientific team can accurately predict each morning what beaches might be impacted by bacterial pollution that day. Knowledge is power! This summer, Heal the Bay will run models for 20 beaches, from San Diego to San Francisco counties, posting predictions each morning on our digital platforms.

New website and mobile app

We’re also stoked to take the wraps off our newly redesigned Beach Report Card website, which allows users to get the latest water-quality grades for their favorite beaches in real-time. We’ve streamlined functionality and incorporated the new data sets from our NowCast program. Our tech team also is readying a new mobile app to launch this summer, just in time for prime beachgoing season. Learn more about what is new.

How to stay safe at the beach

  • Check beachreportcard.org for latest water quality grades
  • Avoid shallow, enclosed beaches, which usually suffer from poor circulation
  • Swim at least 100 yards away from flowing storm drains, creeks and piers

Download the Report

Visit Our New Beach Report Card website

Support This Work



 

Heal the Bay’s science and policy department recommends the following votes on ballot measures that directly affect the health of Southern California shorelines and inland waterways.

YES on Proposition 68

 A vote to authorize $4 billion in general obligation bonds for parks, natural resources protection, climate adaptation, water quality and supply, and flood protection. The bond measure addresses some of California’s most important water, park and natural resource needs.

The issue: California has been facing frequent and severe droughts, wildfires, and the impacts of climate change. This bond measure would invest in our natural resources and help prepare for any possible disasters. Funds would help keep toxic pollutants out of our drinking water, clean up groundwater, increase local water supplies, and create safe parks for children while protecting the land around the rivers and lakes that provide our drinking water. Prop 68 commits 40% of the bond measure funds to underserved, low-income communities. Accountability will also be ensured through annual audits. Help provide clean water and safe parks for every community with this measure.

The stakes: California continues to face a reduction in support of our water supplies and natural resources from our federal government. Many communities in Los Angeles are underserved, lacking safe spaces and parks for their children to use, as well as lacking access to safe drinking water in their homes. With the continued drought, natural disasters and wildfires could become more frequent and damaging. By capturing and recycling more water locally in communities, Californians can help prepare for these devastating events by increasing our local water supply while protecting our natural resources for future generations.

Our recommendation: Stand up for clean, safe drinking water and protect our natural resources. Vote YES.

YES on Proposition 72

A vote to prevent property tax increases for homeowners who install rainwater capture and reuse systems.

The issue: Stormwater is a great potential resource for water supply on a local scale as well as throughout California. Homeowners can install rainwater recycling systems that collect, store and reuse thousands of gallons of stormwater each year for outdoor use in landscaping and gardens. These projects reduce the use of potable water in landscaping, buffer the effects of drought, and benefit our entire state. Currently, installation of a rainwater capture system can increase property value, and consequently increase property taxes owed. Help Californians conserve water by eliminating this extra tax for homeowners who choose to capture and reuse rainwater.

The stakes: Much of the rain that falls in California is wasted as stormwater runoff, which flows through our waterways and out to the Pacific Ocean. In Los Angeles County alone, 80 billion gallons of stormwater runoff is lost every year. In the process, stormwater transports oil, trash and other contaminants into our rivers, our lakes and our ocean. These pollutants pose a serious risk to public and environmental health. Californians who choose to install rainwater capture systems help to improve water quality and reduce water waste. These efforts should be encouraged and rewarded.

Our recommendation: Reward homeowners who choose to recycle our rainwater resources. Vote YES.

 

 



Eric Garcetti and Zooey Deschanel at Heal the Bay Gala 2018

Please browse Flickr for images from the Gala and our Blue Carpet.

The fates shone on Heal the Bay last night at our annual “Bring Back the Beach” Annual Awards Gala.

After a week of May Gray, the sun gloriously took over at the Jonathan Club in Santa Monica. Under a gentle breeze and the gaze of a beaming lighthouse, more than 700 guests schmoozed on the sand and saluted our honorees: Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Univision TV anchor Gabriela Teissier and Hollywood couple and sustainability champions Zooey Deschanel and husband Jacob Pechenik of The Farm Project.

L.A.’s biggest beach party always draws an eclectic crowd — from Venice artists to Silver Lake activists, DTLA policy wonks to South Bay surfers. Buoyed by tasty cocktails (blood orange margaritas!) and good vibes, our guests came out in beach-chic style to support our biggest fundraiser of the year.

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Thanks to their generosity we met our goals, raising more than one-fifth of our annual operating budget in a single night. Proceeds of the night underwrite a number of programs, from water-quality monitoring to subsidized field trips for underserved youth to visit our Aquarium.

Mayor Garcetti was the undeniable star of the evening. His sincere and humble comments about what Heal the Bay has meant to our city – and to him personally – had the crowd rapt. With his quick wit and clear command of policy, it’s easy to see why he’s a rumored candidate for the 2020 presidency. The Mayor bookended his speech with poems by Nobel Prize winner Pablo Neruda. Here is the beginning of “The Sea”:

I need the sea because it teaches me.
I don’t know if I learn music or awareness,
if it’s a single wave or its vast existence,
or only its harsh voice or its shining
suggestion of fishes and ships.
The fact is that until I fall asleep,
in some magnetic way I move in
the university of the waves.

In addition to Univision brass, Teissier brought her entire family to salute her longtime commitment to broadcasting stories about ocean and river protection to L.A.’s Spanish-speaking community. Fundraising galas can be long events, so it was endearing to see her sons patiently playing on a jungle gym while waiting for Mom to get her big award. Speaking passionately in both English and Spanish, Teissier recounted stories of her own upbringing and reaffirmed that Latino women have historically stood at the forefront of the environmental movement in Southern California.

Board member and fellow actress Amy Smart welcomed Deschanel and Pechenik to the Heal the Bay family. The couple, who run The Farm Project to better connect consumers directly to the producers of the food, spoke passionately about the growing scourge of plastic pollution in our food chain and greater environment. To cheers, Zooey talked about making smarter choices as consumer: “You weigh the options — single-use plastic vs. a healthy planet … get rid of that single-use plastic! It’s not worth it. It’s convenient filler. It doesn’t do ANYTHING for you. It doesn’t make you laugh or cry!” Well said.

Other supporters making waves: Meg Gill, an HTB board member and founder of Golden Road Brewing, sampling the newly revised version of Heal the Bay IPA with other beer lovers. (Gill is an avid swimmer, who still holds the female record for the fastest 50-meter swim ever recorded in the Ivy League!); Black Surfers Collective leaders Jeff Williams and Greg Rachal charming “Jumanji” co-star Ser’Darius Blain into participating in our upcoming Nick Gabaldon Day; a determined and persistent online bidder from New Jersey who triumphed at our Live Auction to secure a private Goodyear Blimp tour of the Santa Monica Bay.

Major props to the musical talent for the evening – the James Gang. The multi-player party band had supporters boogieing to the very end with their diverse chops, from spirited covers of Dr. Dre to soulful send-ups of Van the Man. They sent many a guest shimmying to their awaiting Lyft rides.

And a deep thank you to our dinner co-chairs: Malibu architect David Hertz and South Bay champion Kim Conant-Blum. Their boundless energy proved to be the ideal one-two punch for a successful evening under the stars.

A final thank you to our dynamic team of Heal the Bay volunteers, staff, leadership, Board, our incredible photographers Colin Young-Wolff, Dan Do-Linh and Nicola Buck, our brilliant event producer Natalie McAdams of NAMEVENTS and all of the gracious staff at the Jonathan Club.



Wildlife along our inland waterways are getting ready for their Heal the Bay close-ups, writes staff scientist Dr. Katherine Pease.

If you live in L.A., you know it’s not too hard to find its wild side. We all know our share of party animals. But let’s talk about the real-life fauna  — the wildlife that has found a way to co-exist in the concrete jungle of L.A.

Heal the Bay has joined a new consortium of environmental groups working together to collect data about the amazing animals that call the area around the L.A. River home.

We’re working with the National Park Service to use “camera trapping” to monitor wildlife activity along the L.A. River corridor. Cameras are set up in the wild, triggered by motion and heat and left out for weeks to months at a time to document passing animals. It’s similar to the now-famous camera-trap photos of mountain lion P-22 in Griffith Park and other animals throughout the Santa Monica Mountains. (In the photo above, you can see a screen grab of an active coyote.)

The new photographic data will help us understand urban biodiversity and how animals use the L.A. River corridor. We expect lots of shots of our urban wildlife neighbors, including opossums, squirrels, coyotes and raccoons.  The information will help inform protections for wildlife, which will certainly be impacted by the city’s ambitious $1-billion plan to revitalize the river.

Some 39 cameras are being placed near the L.A. River from its headwaters in the Woodland Hills areas to south of downtown L.A. The sections are broken up into grids and different organizations are “adopting” grids. Heal the Bay has adopted grid #9. This grid covers the Sepulveda Basin Area and upstream from there to Reseda. Each grid has (or will have) three cameras and the cameras will be deployed for a month at a time in the months of April, July, and October.

Heal the Bay staff and volunteers are responsible for deploying the cameras, checking on them mid-month, and taking them out at the end of the month. We will help clean up the photos (remove photos of ourselves, vegetation, etc.) and then the images will be uploaded to Zooniverse. Anyone using the site can help tag and identify wildlife in the photos.

Heal the Bay has been monitoring water quality in the Sepulveda Basin recreation zone since 2015, so we are excited to see what wildlife is using this area in addition to the humans who boat, fish, and hike there.

The new camera-trapping initiative also supports recent City of L.A. efforts to promote and protect biodiversity in our region. Last year the City Council funded an index to assess urban biodiversity, policies and project to enhance biodiversity, and options for community engagement and outreach strategies. Heal the Bay is serving as a member of the Biodiversity Expert Panel to help inform this city-wide effort.

And the County of L.A. is just beginning an update of its L.A. River Master Plan. Heal the Bay is proud to be a member of the Steering Committee. We want to ensure that the L.A. River Revitalization plans include ecological and water-quality improvements. Data on wildlife and biodiversity of the River will guide planning by providing basic baseline information on what wildlife is there. We can use that information to set goals for ecological restoration and to assess success.

Stay tuned for more photos and updates over the upcoming months. Once the project is established in Zooniverse, we will share it with you all so you can pore through the many photos.

Other organizations participating include Friends of the Los Angeles River, The Nature Conservancy, LA Conservation Corps, Friends of Griffith Park, and others. The project is part of a nationwide effort to understand the impacts of urban development on wildlife. Currently, eight cities are part of this Urban Wildlife Information Network and another 12 cities are expected to participate in the next two years.

More information can be found in this post from the National Park Service.



Vice president Sarah Sikich exits Heal the Bay this week after 13 amazing years of service to our coastline and inland waterways. She’s moving to Carpinteria with her husband and young daughter, taking on a new challenge as a Director of Development for Principal and Leadership Gifts at the University of California at Santa Barbara. She’ll stay connected to the ocean, helping strategize and fundraise for marine and environmental sciences, among other duties. Here she shares some thoughts about her accomplished career at HtB:

A friend and mentor, Paula Daniels, recently asked me what I was most proud of during my Heal the Bay tenure. Surprisingly, I found it an easy question to answer.

Three campaigns immediately came to mind:

  • Helping design and establish Marine Protected Areas in Southern California;
  • Contributing to the passage and defense of California’s single-use bag ban;
  • Producing the State of the Malibu Creek Watershed report, with recommendations based on Heal the Bay-led citizen science.

That’s not to diminish the other important work I’ve had the privilege to complete over the past 13 years. There’s just something about these three efforts that resonates with me. Personally, I’m proud of the inner tenacity I found to reach the finish line in each race – often in the face of stiff opposition. Professionally, it feels good to have helped lead initiatives that will provide environmental protection in California and beyond for decades to come.

The campaigns were all incredibly complex and protracted, and I only played a small part in making them happen. But, they each challenged me in ways that I couldn’t have imagined, and helped me learn a lot about myself and qualities necessary to succeed in the environmental arena. Here are some lessons learned:

Plastic Bag Ban:  Policymaking isn’t a sprint …

When Heal the Bay first started to work on statewide plastic pollution prevention legislation in 2007, we sponsored a flotilla of five bills collectively called “The Pacific Protection Initiative.” Each bill addressed a specific aspect of pervasive plastic pollution: pre-production plastic pellets or “nurdles,” lost fishing gear, polystyrene food containers, toxic plastic additives and plastic bags. The bills all supported actions called out in the Ocean Protection Council’s landmark 2007 resolution on marine debris. Naively, I thought the plastic bag ban had the best chance of passage because it seemed like a no-brainer. Society already had a readily available alternative to single-use carryout bags — reusable bags! Alas, only one bill passed though — AB 258, which prohibits pre-production pellet discharge at plastics facilities.

It took a full decade to go from concept to reality for California to become a plastic bag-free state, thanks to the voter passage of Proposition 67 in November 2016. No single person or entity can claim ownership of this victory – it required leadership from dozens of municipalities, environmental groups, community groups, scientists, agencies, businesses, and legislators. Some close friendships grew through this effort, with people I will carry forwards with me, including Angela Howe, Kirsten James and Meredith McCarthy. And, for me the statewide bag ban is the archetype for the wise words of my friend and mentor, Leslie Tamminen: “Policymaking is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.” Even with a practical alternative, it took California 10 years to enact its plastic bag ban.

Marine Protected Areas: The value of compromise

Designing Southern California’s network of marine protected areas (MPAs) required enormous amounts of diplomacy and compromise. On one hand, environmental groups felt very strongly we had to protect our most valuable ocean habitats from fishing pressures; on the other, the angling community felt very strongly that reduced fishing access placed an unreasonable burden on its members. As one of 64 people negotiating about where these underwater parks should be located, progress could not be made without building alliances and finding common ground. It was difficult to hone the diplomacy skills required to figure out the moments to give in and when to stay firm. Finding common ground often proved elusive, given the diverse set of stakeholders – from commercial and recreational fishermen to environmental groups and municipalities.

I had seen the mediation and science-based deliberation prowess of my colleagues to the north – Karen Garrison, Kate Wing, and Kaitilin Gaffney — who had gone through a similar process establishing MPAs off California’s Central Coast. And, I worked hard to channel their knowledge and approach. Still, in the toughest of times I found myself frustrated, exhausted, and in one moment overcome by tears.

I now realize that the strenuous process made me tougher and stronger. All that hard work means that I can take my young daughter kayaking, snorkeling, and tidepooling within MPAs that I helped design for Southern California. I can show her rich areas of life that are more abundant and diverse, and now protected, because of the work so many devoted people, including her Mama, did. It is a source of pride.  I will forever be grateful for the support of colleagues who became friends during the toughest moments of MPA design and adoption – Dana Murray, Jenn Eckerle, Samantha Murray, Marce Graudins, Phyllis Grifman, Lia Protopapadakis, Calla Allison, and others.  Even when it took a circuitous route, the compromises made throughout this process allowed for California to go from less than 1% to roughly 16% of our coastal waters safeguarded by MPAs.

Malibu Creek Watershed Report: Take the high road

Heal the Bay’s niche in the water world is advocating for science-based solutions to environmental problems. Our methods vary, from making policy recommendations based on citizen science and scientific literature to partnering with university researchers to advance new studies to fill data gaps. Our recommendations often stir controversy – and downright anger. They often require behavior change and/or financial outlays that some opponents resist quite vigorously.

Heal the Bay’s effort to revitalize the Malibu Creek watershed marks one of the most involved and contentious projects on which I have ever worked. We evaluated over a decade of water quality and habitat data taken through our Stream Team citizen science program to inform a comprehensive report on the State of the Malibu Creek Watershed. The data compilation and analysis efforts required meticulous work by our entire scientific team, including Katherine Pease, Mark Gold, Shelley Luce, and Sarah Diringer. The final report included pages of recommendations, many of which have been realized. These include the restoration of Malibu Lagoon, certification of a strong Local Coastal Plan for the Santa Monica Mountains, and the current work of Las Virgenes Municipal Water District to greatly increase water recycling at its Tapia wastewater treatment facility. All these efforts will reduce pollution in the watershed and Santa Monica Bay, while protecting habitat and wildlife in one of L.A.’s most important natural areas. But as with many issues in the Malibu area, local residents dug in their heels to fight what they perceived as environmental overreach.

After we released the report and advocated for its policy recommendations, my colleagues and I experienced name-calling and bullying, and attempts to undermine our credibility from people who didn’t agree with its findings. I even had people viciously calling me out in the lineup at Malibu as I surfed the waves at First Point. At times it was tough to keep focus on the work and not feel deflated by all the personal attacks and distractions. But, the success of the report’s outcomes is a strong reminder that there is great value in taking the high road. It is incredibly rewarding see the positive results of projects with science on their side, like the Malibu Lagoon restoration that has greatly improved water quality and wildlife diversity in this important wetland habitat.

I feel great pride in the protections that I’ve helped advance for the vibrant coastal and ocean resources throughout Southern California. And, after over a decade of work at Heal the Bay, I realize that it’s not the natural resources that move me the deepest. It’s the dedicated people working so hard to protect what we love. I hold a particularly special place in my heart for the women water warriors that I’ve come to know through this work, as they are a powerful and impressive force of positive change-makers.

I had the treasured opportunity to work with Dorothy Green, Heal the Bay’s founding president, for a few years. In the brief time we shared, she taught me the importance of empowerment. She had an amazing ability to help people reflect on and find the individual value that they could bring to a cause, empowering them to take leadership in that area and be the change. She did that for me when I was fresh out of graduate school beginning work on my first project at Heal the Bay – ocean desalination.

By that time she had moved on from Heal the Bay, and I imagine that she had no idea who I was or what I could bring to the topic. But, she listened to me and made me feel valued, as if she knew I would provide meaningful contribution to the effort. I’ve carried that support with me throughout my time at Heal the Bay, and have tried to invest it back into Heal the Bay’s staff, interns, and volunteers as I’ve grown in my career. This type of empowerment made a huge difference for me, and I believe it is imperative to continue to cultivate in future leaders. We need to help smart young leaders grow and learn so they can be ready to conquer challenges yet to come.

As I wrap up my final days at Heal the Bay, it’s hard not to get lost in the check list of tasks to close out and set forth a path of transition. Of course that’s just the nature of work, but it’s also probably a bit of a coping tactic to avoid sitting with the deeper feelings of working at a place that has meant so much to me personally and professionally. Heal the Bay is such a big part of my heart and identity. Working on environmental issues about which I am deeply passionate, and around such amazingly bright and dedicated people has been a true gift that I will carry forward with me to new endeavors.

 




(Photo by: Jessica Weinberg McClosky)

Heal the Bay is taking part in the third annual City Nature Challenge! The competition runs from April 27-30, so you can make observations the entire weekend.

The City Nature Challenge is a four-day competition between major cities to see who can make the most observations of nature, identify a variety of species, and engage their residents in a BioBlitz. This year, over 60 cities are competing on six continents.

Heal the Bay is hosting a BioBlitz at Malibu Lagoon State Beach, which is part of a region with high biodiversity and high risk of habitat loss. Malibu Lagoon is a tidal lagoon, and one of the few wetland habitats in Southern California. The lagoon has faced tremendous pressure from development in the surrounding area causing the ecosystem to become impaired. From 2012-2013, Malibu Lagoon underwent a substantial habitat restoration, which makes it a fascinating area to study for theBioBlitz.

We are primarily using the iNaturalist app in thisBioBlitz, though submissions are also accepted through Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and email. The iNaturalist app is easy to use: snap a photo of wildlife and animals and it will make species ID suggestions for you. If none of them fit, upload the photo and members of the community will make recommendations for you. Remember to use the hashtag  #NatureinLA when posting on social media or email your observations to nature@nhm.org.

Join Heal the Bay for ourBioBlitz on April 28th! We will begin with an overview of the City Nature Challenge, iNaturalist, and a brief beach cleanup to incorporate site stewardship into our biodiversity project. The event begins at 1pm and ends at 4pm with a raffle for all participants. During that span of time, the tide in the lagoon will be lowering and we’ll search for sea stars, anemones, and chitons in the tide pools. If you can, please download the iNaturalist app before arriving at our cleanup. More info can be found at inaturalist.org.

RSVP TO BIOBLITZ



#NationalVolunteerWeek starts on April 15 and we’re getting an early start on saying thanks to the awesome Heal the Bay and Santa Monica Pier Aquarium volunteers who go above and beyond! 

We’re doing a lil giveaway just for Heal the Bay and Santa Monica Pier Aquarium volunteers. Share a photo of you protecting the Earth and get entered for a chance to win our giveaway. See details and enter.

Our work at Heal the Bay wouldn’t be possible without our volunteers. Every year we host an awards party to recognize our most dedicated volunteers: Super Healers. Earlier this year in March, we gathered our fintastic Heal the Bay volunteers and staff went back in time to the 80’s for an Under the Sea prom-themed Volunteer Party. It was an evening well spent with funny costumes, jellyfish floating above our heads, silly props for photo booth pictures, and ocean-inspired activities.

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Big thank you to Bodega Wine Bar for hosting us. The food was delicious, and their staff was accommodating as always. We would also like to thank our volunteer party donors for the awesome raffle prize contributions. Many thanks to: Rockreation, Sweetfin Poke, Washed Ashore Adornments and Manhattan Stitching Company.

We can’t forget about the real all-stars of the night: our 2018 Super Healers.

These individuals truly go above and beyond their volunteer roles. They inspire others in their community, they bring amazing technology advancements to Heal the Bay, they are involved in multiple Heal the Bay volunteer programs, and they are always eager and enthusiastic.

This year, we awarded one Jean Howell Award, and thirteen Super Healer Awards. Read more about these exceptional individuals below:

Susan Lang (Jean Howell Award)
Susan’s introduction to Heal the Bay began in high school when she was given class assignment to create a presentation about Santa Monica Bay’s water quality. She made her way to the then one room Heal the Bay headquarters where a very helpful staff member gave her armfuls of data. That class assignment and the information she obtained from Heal the Bay sparked her commitment to environmental issues and the health of the Bay. She trained to be a beach captain and eventually expanded her support to several Bring Back the Beach Galas and Suits on the Sand events as well as helping out with Nick Gabaldon Day, doing community outreach for Prop 67 and lending her theatrical crafting skills to Straw-less Summer Campaign. Recently she completed Speakers Bureau training and looks forward to her next Heal the Bay project!

Jim LaVally (Speakers Bureau)
Jim, who has spent nearly 40 years in LA-area newsrooms, including at the Los Angeles Times, joined Heal the Bay as a volunteer in 2016.

Retirement allowed Jim to pursue a role in environmental advocacy, a longtime wish, and Heal the Bay was the perfect fit. He was familiar with Heal the Bay’s track record of environmental successes. Its mission also meshed nicely with Jim’s interests in natural history, geography and resource conservation.

Finally, by joining the Speakers Bureau, Jim hoped to achieve another goal: overcoming a sweat-inducing, bone-chilling fear of public speaking. And for helping him do exactly that, Jim will always hold a special place in his heart for Heal the Bay.

Grace Young (Street Fleet)
Grace’s first encounters with the ocean were the childhood trips to San Pedro tide pools. There she was wowed by a humongous darting octopus escaping to deeper waters during low tide. She has been in love with the ocean ever since. Her first volunteering experience with Heal the Bay started at a few Nothin’ but Sand clean ups in 2015. Eventually she wanted to take a more initiative approach in educating the public about how awesome our coast is, in tabling events and as a Beach Captain. Even though she works in the fashion industry, she would like to dedicate her career to marine conservation. Once said in Moana “Once you know what you like, well there you are”. Her dream job is to study tide pool ecosystems and implement less damaging activities in the area.

Nazeeg Mahserejian (Wednesday Warriors)
Naz first began volunteering at Heal the Bay in April 2017, as a Wednesday Warrior. Her most memorable projects have included the preparations for the Heal the Bay annual gala centerpieces, and the preparation and reparation on the straw monster costume for the Strawless Summer campaign, creating the hat and cup using the most chewed up, gnarly straws found during Heal the Bay’s monthly Nothin’ but Sand beach cleanups. Naz enjoys volunteering for Heal the Bay because of their mission to keep the beaches clean, and the wonderful, interesting, diverse people she’s met on Wednesdays. The projects are usually artsy, fun, and challenging. She looks forward to continue challenging herself, volunteering for Heal the Bay and meeting people of all ages, disciplines and backgrounds. And she’s also a beach captain!

Patty Jimenez (Community Leader)
Patty has been a teacher at Bell Gardens High School for 20 years and advisor to the Environmental Club for 17 years. Her students don’t have the luxuries other students take for granted, but what they do possess in abundance is passion and concern for others. She loves the outdoors and has learned to appreciate it because her parents exposed her to nature through camping, hiking and traveling. Unfortunately, many students at Bell Gardens High School haven’t had those same experiences and she tries to bridge the gap as much as she can. Her hope is that as they grow, they will become involved outside of their community, and ultimately will learn to appreciate what she grew up loving and is now fighting to protect. Her students are involved locally: by improving the campus within the City of Bell Gardens, and were also instrumental in passing a city ordinance banning smoking in all public parks and regionally, with the support of Heal the Bay and Generation Earth/Tree People. With Patty’s leadership, her students have learned that they can have a tremendous impact on the health and well-being of our people and environment.

Ian Kimbrey Beach Programs
Ian transplanted to Santa Monica in 1979. He is a lifelong environmentalist, recycler and trash picker-upper. His long-suffering wife, Joanne, says he can ruin a perfectly good beach walk by always picking up trash. He is famous (infamous) for approaching random strangers on the shore and asking them to consider picking up at least one piece of trash before they leave the beach.

Ian started volunteering at Heal the Bay in 2016 as a Wednesday Warrior. He worked his way up from “bottle-washer’s bottle-washer”, to “deputy to the assistant bottle-washer-in-chief”.

Our previous Beach Programs Manager, Zoe, greatly praised Ian. To quote her: “He’s been a kick butt volunteer for both Suits on the Sand cleanups and Nothin’ but Sand cleanups. He has a great energy about him and does a fantastic job of engaging cleanup volunteers whether they’re from a corporation or young ones, plus he’s always up to date with the latest environmental news and likes to use props and articles in his beach talks. I was super fortunate to have such a dedicated volunteer to help facilitate cleanups and give advice about ways to make the beach programs more efficient, and I hope he continues to provide the same unwavering support to Heal the Bay’s beach programs in the coming year.”

Ian is currently working on a completely organic, re-usable drinking straw called “The Final Straw” as it is the last straw you will ever need!

Sowgand (Sue) Baharloo (Santa Monica Pier Aquarium All Star)
Sue’s life dream is to study and work with animals. In fact, she wants to learn everything and anything she can about our planet: its wonders, its vast oceans, and the beautiful animals that inhabit it. Her passion led her to volunteer at the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium in October 2016. A year and a half later she says that volunteering at the aquarium has given her an amazing foundation – she has learned so much and has been given the tools and opportunities to stand up for our local marine animals.

Sue is an All-Star SMPA because she knows everything about the aquarium. She can tell you about any animal we have, read a great story during story time, lead thrilling sea star feedings, and never fails to greet you with a smile when you walk through the entrance. You’ll feel like you’ve known her your whole life because very quickly you’ll be nicknamed as one of her “loves” or “honey’s”. Sue is excited to continue building her experience at the aquarium.

Taj Lalwani (Santa Monica Pier Aquarium Public Programs)
Taj has been fascinated with animals since a young age. He is passionate about protecting all the amazing life than lives on this planet, so he started volunteering at Heal the Bay because he wanted more children to care about animals and wildlife.

He loves his experience at the aquarium. To ensure that other Public Program volunteers at Santa Monica Pier Aquarium also have a positive experience he is working on a project analyzing long-term volunteer experiences, which began with a volunteer survey. He wants to work in marine or land ecology and conservation when he grows up.

Laura Schare (MPA Watch)
Laura’s love affair with the ocean began as young girl when she first watched Jacques Cousteau, a marine documentary pioneer who quickly became my science Super-hero. Although she didn’t develop a career around the ocean, she did finally circle back as an adult to volunteer with both Heal the Bay and Santa Monica Pier Aquarium. Laura first became involved with Heal the Bay through iNaturalist and was invited to a bioblitz at Malibu Lagoon. Shortly thereafter, she became an MPA Watch volunteer and then joined the Aquarium education team. Ask Laura about iNaturalist and Citizen Science, she would love to share her passion for all things nature, especially our beloved oceans.

Zehner Group (Advocacy)
Here’s the secret to any good nonprofit advocacy campaign. Go to a creative agency and find the frustrated but brilliant surfer. That’s what we did when we hooked up with Mick McCarthy at the Zehner Group to help us devise a clever, catchy campaign for our “Strawless Summer Campaign.” Working with his partner, Hany Zayan, Mick helped us build a microsite and social media campaign that encouraged visitors to take the pledge to go strawless. They cleverly reminded us all that LA SUCKS as long as we keep using single-use plastics. Thanks to their hard work, we built public momentum for a number of new measures, such as Malibu’s recent decision to make straws available on a request-basis only.

Alex Warham (Communications)
Alex Warham has brought a virtual paradise to our Santa Monica Pier Aquarium. As the brains behind Diatom Productions, Alex donated many hours of creativity to us last year in helping us launch a virtual reality-style exhibit at the Aquarium. His crew captured footage of Heal the Bay staff diving off Marine Protected Areas (MPA) in Catalina and created a series of 360-degree films that show what an MPA really looks like. Our guests can now don goggles and dive in MPAs without ever getting wet! His gripping images will wow, inspire and motivate Aquarium visitors for years to come. If a picture is worth a thousand words, his images are worth a million!

Nicola Buck (Outreach)
Nicola Buck is an L.A.-based photographer with a unique eye and a big heart. She helps Heal the Bay tell our vibrant story through photography. Nicola volunteers at countless events, including our Gala, Coastal Cleanup Day, and Explore Ballona series. Her photographs capture the joy, curiosity and teamwork that energize our community of volunteers, advocates, donors and Aquarium visitors. Thanks to Nicola’s compelling work for Heal the Bay, we have reached more people in our social media and digital channels, especially Instagram (follow Nicola at @lapicnic)!

Luann Laval Williams (Board Member)
In case you didn’t know, all Heal the Bay Board members are volunteers. They don’t get paid to keep our doors open. Luann has been involved with Heal the Bay since she attended her first benefit dinner in 1997. Since then, she has been the Chairperson for Development, a Chairperson for a number of benefit dinners, is one of the agency’s most dedicated fundraisers and played a key role in Heal the Bay taking ownership of the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium. Luann brings a high level of energy, enthusiasm, creativity and FUN to everything she does. Additionally, Luann has introduced Heal the Bay to dozens of people who share our commitment to the ocean and who have since become strong advocates and donors.

Her advice to others thinking about volunteering: “When I came to Heal the Bay, I was just starting to get involved in the community. Heal the Bay helped me realize that I could make a difference in something as huge as keeping the ocean clean and safe. It’s a powerful thing to believe that you have something to bring to the table. I still have the excitement and enthusiasm for Heal the Bay now that I did when I first joined the Board”.

Friends of Ballona (Super Science Support)
Established in 1978, Friends of Ballona Wetland’s mission is to champion the restoration and protection of the Ballona Wetlands, involving and educating the public as advocates and stewards. Their primary objective is to inform and empower visitors of all ages. Through their educational tours, Explore Ballona! K-12 curricula, and restoration projects, the Friends help their neighbors and students from throughout the Greater Los Angeles area acquire the knowledge needed to take action to reduce negative human environmental impacts. Heal the Bay was honored to join forces with the Friends this past year in efforts to analyze, review, and comment on the Draft Environmental Impact Report for the restoration of the Ballona Wetlands. As a Coalition, we advocated for a robust restoration of Ballona Wetlands that was based in strong science. The Friends showed true leadership and vision in our Wetlands Coalition as well as provided critical hands-on opportunities for the public to visit and engage with the Wetlands.

Become a Heal the Bay Volunteer



Party People, we’ve got some good news to share about our huge gala next month.

We’ve got an eclectic list of honorees for our annual “Bring Back the Beach” bash, drawing from the worlds of politics, entertainment and media.

We’re super stoked to salute the good work of three leaders who embody the spirit of protecting what you love: Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Univision news anchor Gabriela Teissier and sustainability advocates Zooey Deschanel and Jacob Pechenik.

All guests of honor will mingle on the sand with us May 17 at the Jonathan Club in Santa Monica. A lively mix of artists, surfers, policy wonks, engineers, business owners and everyday ocean lovers always turns out for the year’s biggest beach party.

Mayor Eric Garcetti has a long history of collaboration with Heal the Bay, starting with his days as an L.A. City Council member. (He’s pictured above on the L.A River). His administration has made significant progress in making our region more environmentally healthy and economically prosperous under his ambitious 20-year Sustainability pLAn. He is the first L.A. Mayor to design and implement a master sustainability blueprint for the city. Under his leadership, the city has partnered with Heal the Bay and other nonprofits to meet a goal of producing 50% of our water locally by 2035.

Gabriela Teissier is a longtime supporter of our work. Led by her vision and editorial direction, Univision has provided thoughtful coverage of such issues as plastic pollution, climate change, contaminated seafood, and beach safety. By covering these issues, the region’s leading Spanish-language broadcaster has connected Latino audiences to the shoreline, to their watershed and to each other. Her husband, famed surfer and chef Raphael Lunetta, is also a longtime fixture on Venice and Santa Monica beaches.

Zooey Deschanel, a native Angeleno, may be best known for her work in film and music. But the actress and singer spends considerable creative energy on The Farm Project, an initiative to connect people directly to their food. Together with entrepreneur husband Jacob Pechenik, they help reduce carbon emissions – and warming seas – by empowering city residents to easily grow their own food at their home or business through their new service Lettuce Grow.  The couple also has been creating awareness around the dangers of plastic pollution in our ocean and food chain through short-form videos.


We hope you can join us May 17 to celebrate good people doing good work. The event is loose and fun, but it’s seriously our biggest fundraiser of the year. We rely on the support of the community on this one night to sustain us year-round

Seats always sell out each year, so please purchase your table or individual tickets today to avoid being disappointed. Here’s a visual roundup of last year’s gala in case you missed it.

See you on the sand!

 

 



¡Involúcrese con Heal the Bay este Mes del Planeta! Celebre el Planeta con nosotros y diviértase aprendiendo de todas las criaturas marinas locales que habitan nuestras costas.

DISFRUTE
Noche de Película en el Acuario
Viernes, Abril 13, 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Los estudiantes del Club Heal the Bay tendrán una noche de película este viernes 13 de abril en el acuario para ayudar a celebrar este mes del Planeta. También habrá una exposición virtual cual solo estará en exposición esa noche. Por cierto, cada viernes a las 2:30 p.m. ustedes pueden darles de comer a las estrellas del mar en nuestro Acuario y a la vez aprender más de los hábitats marinos locales.

ACTUE
Limpieza Costera del Día del Planeta
Sábado, Abril 21, 10 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Acompáñenos y a cientos de voluntarios locales en proteger lo que amamos – las playas y el océano. No se necesita talentos o experiencia – solo un cariño al mar y las animales cual le llaman casa. Los participantes de la limpieza también recibirán la entrada gratis a nuestro Acuario.

EXPLORE
La Celebración del Día del Planeta en nuestro Acuario
Sábado, Abril 21, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

¡Vengan a conocer los animales marinos locales! Tenemos tiburones pequeños, caballitos del mar, langostas, anguilas, y docenas de otras especies cuales pueden explorar. Relájense con nuestras sesiones de cuentos, y asómbrense con nuestras exposiciones de polución este fin de semana.

Haga su donación del Mes del Planeta

¿Quiere hacer un impacto cual durara todo el año? Considere hacer una pequeña donación a nuestros programas de ciencia y póliza.  Una donación de $50 paga por la monitorización de la calidad de agua en una playa impactada por polución en el Sur de California.

¡Vean mas eventos del Mes del Planeta!



¡FELIZ MES DEL PLANETA!

En honor al Mes del Planeta, les ofrecemos una lista breve cual contiene los retos más desafiantes que enfrentan nuestros océanos – y lo que se puede hacer este mes y el resto del año para hacer una diferencia.

PLASTICO

Se estima que habrá más plástico que peces en los océanos del mundo en el año 2050.

En los últimos 33 años, los voluntarios de Heal the Bay han removido más de 2 millones de libras de basura de nuestras costas. La basura asociada con bebidas como: pajas, botellas de agua de plástico, y contenedores de poliestireno, son los más comunes cual se encuentran en las limpiezas de Heal the Bay.

Por esa razón Heal the Bay estará lanzando la campana #FoamFree este mes en cual usted puede decirle “No Gracias” a las pajas, botes de agua de plástico, y al poliestireno. Hablen con su bolsillo – ¡intenten remplazar el plástico o poliestireno con utensilios alternativos reusables!

EL CLIMA

De acuerdo a la Encuesta de Geológica de E.E. U.U, el condado de Los Ángeles está en riesgo de perder alrededor de la mitad de sus playas para el año 2100 debido a la erosión costera relacionada con el calentamiento del océano.

Reduciendo nuestro impacto ambiental es un esfuerzo sumamente complicado cual requiere acuerdos multi-nacionales – pero si hay pasos cual se pueden tomar en su vida diaria que pueden ayudar a reducir el impacto al océano. Como consumidores, podemos empezar a realizar cambio en nuestros modos de transportación, igual que con nuestras opciones de comida. So no son vegetarianos o vegano, piensen en remplazar la carne una vez a la semana, talvez tener un “lunes sin Carne.” Si tienen un carro, piensen en tomar transporte publico una vez a la semana o organice un viaje compartido con amigos, familia, o compañero de trabajo.

LA SOBRE PESCA

Aproximadamente, 90% de las poblaciones de peces depredadores grandes han desaparecido mundialmente.

Además, más de la mitad de las poblaciones de peces han sido maximizadas. Esto significa que deberíamos de comer menos en la cadena alimentaria del océano. Aparte de la tuna, el salmo, y el halibut, existen muchas más especies de pez cual pueden ser consumidos. Es tiempo de ampliar nuestro paladar, y el océano nos agradecerá.

EL SUMINISTRO DE AGUA

El 80% de basura e bacteria cual es encontrada en las costas del condado de Los Ángeles es acabo de la escorrentía urbana.

Hasta en los días más secos y calientes del verano, un estimado de 100 millones de galones de escorrentía contaminada fluye hacia el océano vía los drenajes de tormenta del condado de Los Ángeles. La corriente contiene desechos humanos e de animal, químicos y fertilizantes, gasolina, plástico, y embalaje y los deposita directamente al océano.  Para reducir su flujo, Heal the Bay sugiere que remplace su césped con opciones más ecológicas, que use un lavacoches de la vecindad (la mayoría reciclan agua) en vez de lavar los carros en casa, e instalar barriles en su propiedad cual puedan capturar el agua en vez de mandarla directo al océano.

Al nivel más amplio, el condado de Los Ángeles necesita hacer un mejor trabajo de capturando e reusando el agua cual ya tenemos. Se necesita construir una infraestructura cual capturara las aguas pluviales y reciclara las aguas residuales. Heal the Bay está trabajando en una medida publica cual estará en los boletos de votación este Noviembre.