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Heal the Bay Blog

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

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

California Environmental Legislation

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

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

Offshore DDT Dumping

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

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

Stormwater Regulation with the MS4 Permit

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

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

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



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

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

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

Statewide Toxicity Provisions

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

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

Biological Objectives

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

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

Safe, Clean Water Program Implementation

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

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

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



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

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

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

Foto de LA Times, David Valentine, ROV Jason

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

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

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

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

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

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

Traducido por Beatriz Lorenzo


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

 

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

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

 

Where:
1600 Ocean Front Walk
Santa Monica, CA 90401

When: 
Saturday – Sunday
9:30 AM – 2:30 PM

More Information: 
(310) 393-6149 
aquarium@healthebay.org 

 

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

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

 


 

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

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

Follow them on social media:

 



angler outreach los angeles county

El sur de California ofrece una variedad de muelles con todo tipo de actividades para los lugareños y visitantes, además de servir como lugares privilegiados para la pesca deportiva y de subsistencia. Anteriormente hablamos del muelle de Venice como un favorito de la pesca local. Ahora dirigimos nuestra atención al muelle de Redondo Beach, un muelle preferido por los pescadores para la pesca de macarela que se puede capturar durante el año.

El muelle de Redondo Beach es un hermoso lugar para caminar, disfrutar de la vista al mar, comer y pescar. El muelle fue construido originalmente en 1889 y ha sufrido numerosas interaciones a lo largo de los años. Es único porque es el muelle “interminable” más grande de la costa de California. Se considera “interminable” porque tiene forma de herradura y no tiene un final como un muelle tradicional. Los pescadores son diversos aunque ciertos grupos étnicos como los filipinos son más comunes en el muelle.

Desafortunadamente, este muelle se encuentra dentro de la zona roja, al igual que otros muelles de la Bahía de Santa Mónica, donde ciertos peces no deben consumirse debido a su alto contenido de químicos tóxicos (DDT y PCB) y debido a la proximidad al sitio Superfund Palos Verdes Shelf. Los peces que no deben consumirse son la corvineta blanca, corvineta negra, cabrilla, pejerrey y barracuda.

En una visita reciente en noviembre de 2020, observé plena actividad pesquera, vi familias con niños, que en gran medida desconocían los riesgos de consumir peces contaminado.

Habían carteles con avisos en diferentes partes del muelle que recordaban a los visitantes que mantuvieran una distancia social de 6 pies para reducir la transmisión del coronavirus. A pesar de las señales, muchos de los pescadores no llevaban mascarillas protectoras.

Antes de la pandemia, este muelle operaba las 24 horas del día y era común ver a numerosos grupos de pescadores de subsistencia en la noche pasando largas horas para obtener sus capturas.

Esperamos que los miembros de nuestro Equipo Edcuacional Pesquero pronto pueda continuar educando a nuestra comunidad en los muelles locales sobre los riesgos de consumir pescado contaminado dentro de la zona roja. Por ahora, continuaremos conectándonos con pescadores a través de nuestras publicaciones de blog, redes sociales y presentaciones educativas en inglés y español.

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Southern California offers a variety of piers with all kinds of activities for locals and visitors. Piers also serve as prime spots for sport and subsistence fishing. We previously highlighted Venice Pier as a local fishing favorite. Now we turn our attention to Redondo Beach Pier, a pier favored by anglers for mackerel fishing throughout the year.

Redondo Beach Pier is a beautiful place to walk, enjoy ocean views, eat, and fish. The pier was originally built in 1889 and has undergone numerous iterations over the years. It is unique because it is the largest “endless” pier along the California coast. It is considered “endless” because it is shaped like a horseshoe and does not have an end to it like a traditional pier. Prior to the pandemic, this pier operated 24-hours a day and it was common to see numerous groups of subsistence anglers out at night spending long hours to get their catches. See this recent survey of anglers to learn more about the vibrant community.

Unfortunately Redondo Beach Pier is within the red zone, like other piers in Santa Monica Bay, where certain fish should not be consumed due to their high content of toxic chemicals (DDT and PCBs) and due to the proximity to the Palos Verdes Shelf superfund site. Fish that should not be consumed are the white croaker, black croaker, barred sand bass, topsmelt, and barracuda.

On recent visit to Redondo Beach Pier in November 2020, I observed lots of fishing activity! I saw families with children fishing. There were signs along part of the pier reminding visitors to maintain a social distance of 6 feet to reduce coronavirus transmission. Despite the signs, many of the anglers were not wearing protective face masks. It seemed like anglers were unaware of the contaminated fish risks within the red zone.

We hope our Angler Outreach Team members can continue educating our community at local piers, especially Redondo Beach Pier soon. For now, we will continue to connect with anglers through our blog postssocial media, and educational presentations in English and Spanish.

View en Español



UPDATE: Originally published on October 6, 2020. Last update on December 21, 2020 with the election results.

Download Graphics and Share Voter Guide 2020 Results

 

Yes on Prop 16: Affirmative Action / State of California

Notes: Failed

A success in Los Angeles County, but didn’t gain enough support from California voters to pass. The fight to allow people the option of considering equitable access to opportunity in the workforce of government agencies, contractors, and universities continues.

_____

Yes on Prop 17: Restored voting rights for felons / State of California

Notes: Passed

Finally possible for people who are on parole for felony convictions to vote. Voters also passed the potential for people who are on parole for felony convictions to run for office in California. People who have served their time deserve to participate in democracy.

_____

Yes on Prop 18: 17 year old people vote in primary / State of California

Notes: Failed

First introduced 16 years ago, would have allowed 17 year old people to vote in primary and special elections, if they turn 18 by the subsequent general election. This modest effort to expand voting rights and increase youth civic engagement failed. There are already 18 states and Washington D.C. where this is legal.

_____

Yes on Measure J Reimagine LA County / Los Angeles County 

Notes: Passed

Investments in programs that respond directly to local needs is how we move toward healthier communities. Heal the Bay advocates for prioritizing equitable access to green jobs and a clean environment across Greater Los Angeles.

_____

Yes on Measure RR / $7B Bond for LAUSD / City of Los Angeles

Notes: Passed

All children in Los Angeles County deserve clean water, improved school safety standards, asbestos-free facilities, and classrooms equipped with technology for the 21st century. This funding for the Los Angeles Unified School District was deeply needed to protect students, families, teachers, and faculty.

[END OF UPDATE]

 


 

If you want to make waves, you have to get in the water. With voting season upon us, make use of these handy resources to create your ocean of change. 

  • Dive into Heal the Bay’s Voting Guide (below)
  • Vote early!

Did you know California is one of a few states that allows “Conditional Voter Registration?“ This means you can register to vote conditionally all the way through Election Day on November 3. Contact the Los Angeles County Election Office for more information if you still need to register to vote. Early Voting takes place October 5 – November 2. If you are voting by mail-in ballot, the USPS recommends that you do so no later than October 27

Heal the Bay’s missionto make our coastal California waters and watersheds safe, healthy, and cleanis affected by issues of environmental justice.

We can only keep our rivers and oceans clean and accessible when we support and invest in all of our communities. That is why we are recommending yes votes on ballot initiatives that enact reforms that support communities most impacted by environmental injustices. Environmental justice is inextricably linked to social justice, and improving equity improves the health and environment across our communities. 

Heal the Bay Voter Guide: 

The Heal the Bay team created this brief voter guide for the November 3, 2020 election in Los Angeles County.

Yes on Prop 16: Affirmative Action / State of California
Yes on Props 17 & 18: Increasing Access to Voting / State of California
Yes on Measure J Reimagine LA County / Los Angeles County
Yes on Measure RR / $7B Bond for LAUSD / City of Los Angeles

_____

Proposition 16: A vote to allow the consideration of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin to address diversity in public employment, contracting, and education.

The issue:  This proposition repeals Prop 209, a ban on affirmative action in the California Constitution. This will allow for the consideration of diversity as a factor in public employment, public contracting, and public education decisions.

The stakes: Proposition 16 would diversify the composition of the workforce and the hiring pool available to government agencies, contractors, and university collaborators that work with Heal the Bay. As members of the environmental NGO community, we recognize the lack of diversity in leadership and staff within environmental organizations. Diverse perspectives provide a wider array of creative solutions to the environmental problems we face. With our commitment to advance environmental justice, Heal the Bay has taken strides to increase internal diversity, including updating our hiring policies. This proposition would help other agencies and universities to do the same in an effort to increase diversity at all levels. 

Our recommendation: Cast your ballot to advance equity. Vote YES on Prop 16.

_____

Propositions 17 and 18: Votes to increase access to voting. 

The issue:  Proposition 17 would amend the Constitution of California to allow people who are on parole for felony convictions to vote. Proposition 18 would allow 17-year-olds to vote in primary and special elections, if they will turn 18 by the subsequent general election.

The stakes: The issues confronting our state, including climate change, the resulting intensity of wildfires, and the human right to clean water, affect everyone, and everyone should have a say in them. The felons who’ve served their time and are on parole, as well as our youth in California, have to live with our decisions and should be able to participate in making them. 

Our recommendation: Cast your ballot to increase voting access. Vote YES on Props 17 and 18.

_____

Measure J (Los Angeles County): A vote to dismantle systemic racism by investing in health, housing, and jobs.

The issue: Los Angeles County spends vastly more money – 42% of all revenues – on law enforcement and the legal system, at the expense of other community needs including the environment. Measure J will permanently allocate at least 10% of the county’s unrestricted general funds to community counseling, mental health services, youth development programs, small businesses, job creation, career training, and affordable housing. These much-needed investments move us toward healthier communities and can support green jobs and a cleaner environment for low-income communities and communities of color in Los Angeles. 

The stakes: Heal the Bay wrote a comment letter in June 2020 supporting the People’s Budget to increase investments in community health in Los Angeles. Measure J includes programs and values similar to those we advocated in Measure W two years ago: good jobs, career training opportunities, and equity.

Our recommendation: Cast your ballot for the health, housing, and jobs of the communities who need it most. Vote YES on Measure J.

_____

Measure RR (Los Angeles): A vote to upgrade LAUSD schools and increase school safety.

The issue: Heal the Bay believes deeply in the value of education. We must invest in our children and our future. LAUSD infrastructure requires upgrades to aging buildings that aren’t safe for students. This Measure would authorize $7,000,000,000 in bonds at legal rates to address real infrastructure issues at LAUSD schools. It would include independent audits and citizens’ oversight, with none of the money going to administrative salaries. 

The stakes: Heal the Bay works with LAUSD schools regularly, and we have seen first hand through our Speakers Bureau program the inequities and lack of resources between different school districts. We believe that all children in LA County deserve clean water, improved safety standards, asbestos-free facilities, and classrooms equipped with technology for the 21st century.

Our recommendation: Cast your ballot for long-needed upgrades and safety measures in LAUSD schools. Vote YES on RR.

 

View En Español

 

 

 

PAID FOR BY HEAL THE BAY

 



A Note from our CEO

As the year comes to a close, we feel energized for what’s ahead. 2021 will not be business as usual. There is too much at stake. Now is our chance to take bold action for present and future generations.

Climate change must be slowed or much will be lost. Heal the Bay pushes government leaders to protect water and biodiversity from the San Gabriel Mountains to the Santa Monica Bay.

Clean water and safe, accessible open space are fundamental for public health. Heal the Bay fights for strong permits that require green solutions to our local pollution problems.

The toxic legacy of plastic production and waste impacts our everyday life. Heal the Bay supports a ban on disposables that harm our neighborhoods and wildlife habitats.

A better world is possible when we empower our youth. Heal the Bay gives students the tools to advocate for their future by testifying at hearings and writing letters to elected officials.

We must recover environmental policy rollbacks. Heal the Bay has the expertise to regain ocean, river, and wetland protections, and solve today’s problems by upholding the Clean Water Act.

We are living in a critical decade for our planet. The hard work in front of us won’t happen by itself. Your donation to Heal the Bay supports our mission of making the coastal waters and watersheds in Southern California safe, healthy, and clean through science, education, community action, and advocacy.

Amidst all the challenges, you can trust that Heal the Bay is here for good. We will not stop until we succeed.

Donate

Thank you for doing your part.

Dr. Shelley Luce, Heal the Bay President and CEO

Interested in learning more about Heal the Bay’s impact in 2020? View Shelley’s reflection on the year behind us.

 



Recent school closures mean many students are not getting the daily science education they need. We need to practice physical distancing at this time, and we also need to put our brainpower and creative energy to good use, so students can learn about our environment remotely.

Heal the Bay created the online science education webinar series, “Knowledge Drops” in 2020 and it covers dozens of topics ranging from single-use plastics during COVID-19 to interesting marine animals found in SoCal to the most pressing local climate issues we are tackling today. Our team of scientists, experts, and advocates explore the water world and offer fun lessons about the marine environment. Each video session is about 1-hour long and includes a prerecorded live presentation, Q&A, polls, and videos. Our archive of webinars and resources are generally geared for 3rd – 8th grade students and up, but all ages are welcome!

See all recorded Knowledge Drops.

See Gotitas Del Saber Archivo en Español.

 

Knowledge Drops:

 

2020 Knowledge Drops Live Schedule (Link to Resources and Recordings Below… Keep Scrollin’)

3/18 – THE SEWAGE SYSTEM 🚰
3/20 – KNOW THE FLOW 💦
3/23 – MARVELOUS MOLLUSKS 🐚
3/25 – STORM DRAINS ☔️
3/27  – MARINE PROTECTED AREAS 🛡
3/30 – SHARKS AND RAYS 🦈
4/1 – BEACH REPORT CARD 💯
4/3 – PLASTICS 🥤
4/6 – SEA JELLIES 💧
4/8 – ECHINODERMS ⭐️
4/10 – CLEAN WATER ACT 📜
4/13 – COASTAL SHORE BIRDS 🦆
4/15 – COMMUNITY SCIENCE 🔬
4/17 – CONTAMINATED SEAFOOD ⛔️
4/20 – KELP 🌿
4/22 – HISTORY OF EARTH DAY 🌎
4/22 – LA HISTORIA DEL DIA DE LA TIERRA 🌍
4/24 – CLIMATE CHANGE ⚠️
4/27 – TIDE POOLS 🐌
4/29 – SEA TURTLES 🐢
5/1 – STREAMS OF THE SANTA MONICA MOUNTAINS ⛰
5/6 – CONOCE EL FLUJO 💦
5/8 – VIRUSES AND WATER QUALITY: IS IT SAFE TO SWIM?
5/11 – MICROSAFARI 🔎
5/13 – DESAGUES PLUVIALES 🌧
5/15 – ALGAL BLOOMS 🌊
5/18 – PENGUINS, OUR OCEAN FRINDS 🐧
5/20 – PLASTICOS 🥤
5/22 – NATURE-BASED SOLUTIONS 🌳
5/27 – PESCADO CONTIMINADOS 🎣
5/29 – NATIONAL ESTUARY PROGRAM 🏞
6/3 – BLOOMS ALGAL 🌊
6/4 – NICK GABALDON DAY 🏄🏾‍♂️
6/8 – HISTORY OF WORLD OCEANS DAY  🌏
6/10 – VIRUS Y CALIDAD DEL AGUA
6/12 – AQUATIC TOXICITY: SOURCES AND SOLUTIONS ❗️
6/15 –  HOW DO I EAT? 🍴
6/17 –  SITIO SUPERFUND 🆘
6/19 –  SEA LEVEL RISE AND CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION 🔝
6/22 –  SEAHORSES AND OTHER FINTASTIC FATHERS 🏅
6/24 – ACUARIO Y LIMPIEZA COSTERA 🐙
6/26 – RIVER REPORT CARD 📊
6/29 – GO WITH THE GLOW: MARINE BIOLUMINESCENCE & BIOFLUORESCENCE 💡
7/1 – ÁREAS MARINAS PROTEGIDAS (MPAs)🛡
7/6 – CRUSTACEANS 🦐
7/8 – MICROSAFARI 🔎
7/10 – THE SCIENCE OF SURFING: MAKING WAVES 💨
7/15 – TOXICIDAD ACUÁTICA
7/17 – THE SCIENCE OF SURFING: BREAKING WAVES 🏄🏽‍♀️
7/22 – SEAHORSES AND GARIBALDI / LOS CABALLITOS DE MAR Y GARIBALDI 🐴
7/24 – THE FUTURE OF CALIFORNIA’S MPAs 🔮
7/29 – SHARKS AND RAYS / TIBURONES Y MANTARRAYAS 🦈
7/31 – NOWCAST AND COMPUTER CODING 🖥
8/28 – UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHY 📸
9/9 – COASTAL CLEANUP MONTH: STREAMS OF THE SANTA MONICA MOUNTAINS / MES DE LA LIMPIEZA COSTERA: ARROYOS DE LAS MONTAÑAS DE SANTA MÓNICA 🌄
9/10 – COASTAL CLEANUP MONTH: STREAMS OF THE SANTA MONICA MOUNTAINS 🌄
9/16 –
COASTAL CLEANUP MONTH: RIVER WATER QUALITY AND RECREATION /
MES DE LA LIMPIEZA COSTERA: HEAL THE BAY’S CALIFICACIONES DEL RÍO 🚣🏾‍♀️
9/17 –
COASTAL CLEANUP MONTH: RIVER WATER QUALITY AND RECREATION 🚣🏾‍♀️
9/24 –
COASTAL CLEANUP MONTH: HOW TO PROTECT OUR COASTAL RESOURCES AND PEOPLE 👨‍👧‍👦
11/19 – BALLONA WETLANDS: HISTORY, NEED FOR RESTORATION, & FUTURE PLANS 🌾
12/3 – WAIT, WHAT’S HAPPENING TO THE LA RIVER? 🧐

 

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Resources and Videos Archive:

All previously recorded Knowledge Drops webinar videos are posted here as an ongoing marine science education repository for you to access. (To view the webinar recordings please visit the ‘gotowebinar’ links below and enter in your contact information. We will only use your email address to update you about upcoming “Knowledge Drops”, volunteer events, and action alerts – you can opt out at any time.)

Knowledge Drops: The Sewage System

Recorded Webinar:
https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/4060559519187745537

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Knowledge Drops: Know the Flow

Recorded Webinar:
https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/3731720880131676929

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Knowledge Drops: Marvelous Mollusks

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/1113287814740681997

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Knowledge Drops: Storm Drains

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/3714805993360585228

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Knowledge Drops: Marine Protected Areas

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/6774566533598479118

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Knowledge Drops: Sharks and Rays

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/2799933154324367873

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Knowledge Drops: Beach Report Card

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/2647981746921586183

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Knowledge Drops: Plastics

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/2108763652518416390

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Knowledge Drops: Sea Jellies

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/7805031030394553612

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Knowledge Drops: Echinoderms

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/1666934800615825409

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Knowledge Drops: Clean Water Act

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/49080406197676296

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Knowledge Drops: Coastal Shore Birds

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/8011810684827116557

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Knowledge Drops: Community Science

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/5143253017727002625

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Knowledge Drops: Contaminated Seafood 

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/3010226848162550540

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Knowledge Drops: Kelp

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/7135795686275352323

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Knowledge Drops: History of Earth Day

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/9196918193512903691

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Knowledge Drops: La historia del Día de la Tierra

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/4446715700219695361

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Knowledge Drops: Climate Change

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/4260433141749869576

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Knowledge Drops: Tide Pools

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/7691541639666544642

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Knowledge Drops: Sea Turtles

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/4124039823946440967

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Knowledge Drops: Streams of the Santa Monica Mountains

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/836241671707943942

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Knowledge Drops: Conoce el Flujo

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/2622740259256834566

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Knowledge Drops: Viruses and Water Quality

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/3755868355584721676

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Knowledge Drops: MicroSafari

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/3060639456826881296

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Knowledge Drops: Desagues Pluviales

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/6033268098610078222

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Knowledge Drops: Algal Blooms

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/9101984161056214031

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Knowledge Drops: Penguins, Our Ocean Friends

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/5651654000998667271

Knowledge Drops: Plasticos

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/3195564926916837132

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Knowledge Drops: Nature-Based Solutions

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/5626478483345947656

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Knowledge Drops: Pescados Contaminados

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/848989410095476225

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Knowledge Drops: Blooms Algal

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/7583230949052736528

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Knowledge Drops: Nick Gabaldon Day

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/5352684695196396558

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Knowledge Drops: History of World Oceans Day

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/5875102252017903117

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Knowledge Drops: Virus y Calidad del Agua

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/9161552403089257478

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Knowledge Drops: Aquatic Toxicity: Sources and Solutions

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/4000079784492577294

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Knowledge Drops: How Do I Eat?

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/5523565295028591874

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Knowledge Drops: Sitio Superfund

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/3636684594553388047

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Knowledge Drops: Sea Level Rise and Climate Change Adaptation

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/5604186985223808015

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Knowledge Drops: Seahorses and Other Fantastic Fathers

Recorded Webinar:
https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/5378112001456551435

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Knowledge Drops: Aquario y Limpieza Costera

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/5657488010514034189

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Knowledge Drops: River Report Card

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/5829170154165669133

 

Knowledge Drops: Marine Bioluminescence & Biofluorescence

Recorded Webinar:
https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/4556212766197647874 

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Knowledge Drops: Áreas Marinas Protegidas (MPAS)

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/6766161868839098128

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Knowledge Drops: Crustaceans

Recorded Webinar:
https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/1116456609554810369

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Knowledge Drops: MicroSafari (en Español)

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/6461401435030243855

Knowledge Drops: The Science of Surfing: Making Waves

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/3483683154009164559

Knowledge Drops: Toxicidad Acuática

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/5609503124519119873

Knowledge Drops: The Science of Surfing: Breaking Waves

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/8071947375896586247

Knowledge Drops: Seahorses and Garibaldi / Los Caballitos De Mar Y Garibaldi

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/3450783567349679107

Knowledge Drops: The Future of California’s MPAs

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/3986487622678927873

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Knowledge Drops: Sharks and Rays / Tiburones y Mantarrayas

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/1511927852828490255

Knowledge Drops: NowCast and Computer Coding

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/3265895189780110337

Knowledge Drops: Underwater Photography

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/2030045220290813452

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Knowledge Drops: Coastal Cleanup Month: Streams of the Santa Monica Mountains / Mes de la Limpieza Costera: Arroyos de las Montañas de Santa Mónica

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/8526730675111592195

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Knowledge Drops: Coastal Cleanup Month: Streams of the Santa Monica Mountains

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/2305934678223571970

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Knowledge Drops: Coastal Cleanup Month: River Water Quality and Recreation / Mes de la Limpieza Costera: Heal the Bay’s Calificaciones del Río

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/8003309264375293707

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Knowledge Drops: Coastal Cleanup Month: River Water Quality and Recreation

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/4673747262445181187

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Knowledge Drops: Coastal Cleanup Month: How to Protect Our Coastal Resources and People

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/1065643780960024080

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Knowledge Drops: Ballona Wetlands: History, Need for Restoration, & Future Plans

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/8069581229644865283

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Knowledge Drops: Wait, What’s Happening to the LA River?

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/2950761965889808642

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Activity Guides

 

Last updated: December 3, 2020



Luke Ginger, Water Quality Scientist at Heal the Bay, recaps a tough summer for water quality monitoring at LA County’s freshwater recreation areas, and outlines the urgent need for equitable, climate-resilient communities in the face of a health pandemic, extreme heat, unprecedented wildfires, and beyond.

Heal the Bay concludes another summer of freshwater sampling and monitoring with the River Report Card. Over the course of the summer of 2020, we provided inland water-goers with water quality grades for 27 freshwater recreation sites across Los Angeles County, California. This included 5 sites in Malibu Creek State Park and the LA River, where Heal the Bay staff collected water quality samples. We updated grades on a weekly basis and posted them online to be viewed by the public. 

Summer 2020 was filled with many challenges that impacted our program. Due to COVID-19, Heal the Bay was unable to hire local college students to monitor water quality at recreation sites and storm drains like in previous years. Instead, Heal the Bay’s permanent staff carried out water sampling. This was a major blow to our program because one of our main goals has always been to provide knowledge, skills, and career training to emerging professionals. Additionally, without a full crew, we sampled fewer recreation sites and storm drains, leaving the public with less information on how to stay safe.

We also had to take extra precautions while sampling – wearing masks at all times, driving in separate vehicles, and sporting extra protective gear (face shields and extra-long gloves) to reduce exposure to potentially contaminated water. These were necessary precautions because the research on the risk of contracting COVID-19 from recreational waters is still ongoing. 


Photo by Alice Dison

There were also major changes in accessibility and use this summer at the sites Heal the Bay monitored. Malibu Creek State Park was open all summer, but the swimming holes (Rock Pool and Las Virgenes Creek) remained closed due to concerns over the ability to maintain proper physical distancing. However, this closure was not clearly enforced as we saw many swimmers throughout the summer. The official LA River recreation zones were open from Memorial Day until the end of September, but kayaking was not allowed due to safety concerns around COVID-19.   

Monitoring efforts by LA Sanitation, Council for Watershed Health, and San Gabriel Regional Watershed Monitoring Program were impacted this summer as well. There were weeks where certain recreation sites in the Upper LA River Watershed and San Gabriel River Watershed were not monitored due to park closures or overcrowding concerns. According to LA Sanitation officials, Hermit Falls was not monitored this summer because it is a particularly crowded area that posed a health risk to the water quality monitors. Worker safety is incredibly important, as is the health of all Angelenos and visitors. Unfortunately, these tough decisions resulted in critical water quality information not being available at a very popular location all summer. LA Sanitation instead sampled the Vogel Flats picnic area, which is a new addition to the River Report Card. Toward the end of the summer, monitoring in the San Gabriel River Watershed and some of the Upper LA River Watershed was cut short due to the Bobcat Fire and the subsequent closure of Angeles National Forest. 

This summer, the pandemic, a record setting wildfire season, and extreme heat culminated into one even larger public health crisis. The pandemic forced people to stay local and opt for close-by areas to take a swim. Because of this, as well as the reduced risk of contracting COVID-19 outdoors, people flocked in unusually high numbers to ocean beaches and freshwater recreation sites to stay active and cool. Unfortunately, if outdoor crowds become too big and dense, there is an increased risk of COVID-19 spread. The fact that so many people sought respite outside made clear the importance of open space for physical and mental health. But, the benefits of open space are not equally experienced by all. Black and Latinx communities have been systemically denied access to parks and nature, and there is a lot of work to do to provide justice for these communities. LA City and County must work hard to meet their target of 65% of Angelenos living within half a mile of a park or open space by 2025 (and 75% by 2035). 


Photo by Alice Dison

The summer’s extreme heat waves coincided with the largest wildfires in California’s history, which created harmful air quality across the entire west coast. Many people endured hazardous outdoor air quality in order to cool off at rivers, streams, and beaches. Tragically, exposure to wildfire-induced poor air quality exacerbates the harmful health effects of COVID-19. So for low-income households without air conditioning, it was impossible to escape harm; people were either subject to extreme heat at home or subject to harmful air quality outside. We must acknowledge that in the United States, the communities facing the brunt of climate change impacts like extreme heat and wildfire are disproportionately Indigenous, Black, Latinx, and Asian people.

Summer 2020 was a tough time for many, and it underscores the need for immediate and equitable action to address the climate crisis and environmental justice.

Looking forward, Heal the Bay will continue to advocate for water quality improvements across LA County, so everyone is protected from waterborne illness. And, we will continue to push for nature-based policies that stem the impacts of climate change and make our communities climate resilient.


Summer 2020 Results

Here are the water quality results from the sites Heal the Bay monitored during summer 2020.

Malibu Creek State Park

Rock Pool – did slightly better than last year

  • 64% Green
  • 35% Yellow
  • 0% Red

Las Virgenes Creek – worse than last year

  • 0% Green
  • 93% Yellow
  • 7% Red

Los Angeles River

Sepulveda Basin at Burbank Ave. – slightly better than last year

  • 31% Green
  • 69% Yellow
  • 0% Red

Rattlesnake Park – worse than last year

  • 15% Green
  • 33% Yellow
  • 51% Red

Steelhead Park – same as last year

  • 64% Green
  • 33% Yellow
  • 3% Red

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