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california earth month and earth day with heal the bay

L: South Bay. C: Underwater in SoCal by Chris DeLorenzo. R: Rocky Point at Mugu Beach.

Our excitement for Earth Day can’t be contained to just 24 hours – that’s why we’re celebrating our environment all month long. Of course it goes without saying, every month is Earth Month at Heal the Bay, but April will be something else altogether.

This month, Heal the Bay is involved in over 40 different events and programs all over Los Angeles County. From an epic sandcastle competition to our monthly beach cleanup, to exciting new activities at the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium — below are the best science, art, and educational events to celebrate a clean and thriving ocean this April.

So choose your path, have fun, learn something new, and make a wave with us all month long to protect what we love.

Featured Earth Month Events

Protect What You Love Sandcastle Competition

Unleash your inner architect! Builders are wanted for a friendly competition with Heal the Bay and the Boys & Girls Club to design some amazing sandcastles in celebration of Earth Month. Do you have what it takes to work on the sandy shores while curious beach cleanup volunteers stand by?
When: April 15, 8:30-11:30am
Where: Santa Monica Beach near Lifeguard Tower 1550
Sign Up


Nothin’ But Sand Beach Cleanup

Do you like dirty beaches? NO!? Then, one of these buckets has your name on it. In April, we’re gathering in full force to sweep Santa Monica Beach clean and leave behind Nothin’ But Sand. This is a great opportunity for families and friends to volunteer for good cause. Feel free to saunter on over to the nearby Sandcastle Competition and gaze upon the sandy constructions. Participants also earn free admission to the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium that afternoon, and with it the chance to interact with the local animals that call our Bay home.
When: April 15, 10am-12pm
Where: Santa Monica Beach near Lifeguard Tower 1550
RSVP


March for Science on Earth Day with Heal the Bay

H2O is life! The rest is just science. As a science-based organization, we know that scientific literacy drives informed decision-making. That’s why on Earth Day we are marching for science in Los Angeles — joining hundreds of other locations worldwide and thousands of scientists and advocates — because the threats to our local waters and waterways are real and must be addressed scientifically.
When: Earth Day, April 22, 9am-12:30pm
Where: Pershing Square, 532 South Olive Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013
See More


Earth Day at Santa Monica Pier Aquarium

Thanks to our friends at The Albright, admission to the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium will be free on Earth Day! It will be chock-full of eco-friendly activities down at the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium. Make a biodegradable planter, enjoy a special Earth Day story time followed by live animal presentation, join in our interactive “Who Pollutes?” presentation, and check out the local fauna.
When: Earth Day, April 22, 12:30pm-5pm
Where: Santa Monica Pier Aquarium
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Trivia Night at the Aquarium

Get your thinking caps on and sharpen your pencils! Heal the Bay Young Professionals are back with the first trivia night of the year. Gather your friends for a night of fun and games among the fish. Tickets include light snacks, three drinks, and entertainment. All proceeds benefit Heal the Bay. 
When: April 6, 7-9pm
Where: Santa Monica Pier Aquarium
RSVP


“Breath of Disruption” Exhibit by Chris DeLorenzo at Gallery 169

Gallery 169, the “hub + cultural generator” of Santa Monica Canyon, is hosting an exhibit “Breath of Disruption” by LA/NY based photographer Chris DeLorenzo. The collection features beautiful, abstract photos taken under waves along the Southern California coast. Gallery entry is free. Best of all, 10% of proceeds from artwork sales support Heal the Bay.
When: April 8, 5-8pm (Artist meet and greet with Chris DeLorenzo from 5-5:30pm)
Where: 169 W Channel Rd, Santa Monica, CA 90402
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Spring Break Camp at the Aquarium

In honor of Earth Month, our campers will have fun becoming Planet Protectors as they explore the ocean through games, crafts, animal interactions, beach investigations, and science experiments.
When: April 10–14, 9am–2pm daily
Where: Santa Monica Pier Aquarium
Sign Up


Aquarium Volunteer Open House

Learn about all our amazing volunteer and internship opportunities at the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium, requirements to join our volunteer and intern teams, and Aquarium expectations, as well as all the great benefits the Aquarium has to offer our volunteers and interns.
When: April 13, 6-6:45pm
Where: Santa Monica Pier Aquarium
RSVP


Heal the Bay’s Volunteer Orientation

Get an introduction to Heal the Bay, our current issues, and how you can get involved in one of our many exciting volunteer programs. Founded on the principle that one person can make a difference, we’ve empowered thousands of volunteers to improve their environment and communities. Now you can make a difference too.
When: April 17, 7pm-9pm
Where: Heal the Bay main office, 1444 9th St, Santa Monica, CA 90401
RSVP


Earth Focus: “Vanishing Coral” Documentary

Tune in for the latest episode of EARTH FOCUS, a television program that reflects on Earth’s changing resources and climates and how it affects people, animals, and habitats all over the world. This installment explores the story of scientists and naturalists who are working with local communities to protect coral reefs that are facing imminent danger from warmer seas, pollution, and unsustainable fishing practices. 
When: April 18, 8:30pm
Where: KCET in Southern California, Link TV Nationwide. Also streaming at KCET.org/Coral and LinkTV.org/Coral.


Climate Day LA

The second annual Climate Day LA will be held at the historic theatre at Ace Hotel in downtown L.A. This all-day event will bring together local leaders and advocates to strategize, implement, and celebrate solutions to climate change. And don’t miss out on the evening concert in the theatre!
When: Friday, April 21 (Conference: 1:00-5:30 pm | Gala: 6:00-8:00 pm | Concert: 7:30-12:00 am)
Where: The Theatre at Ace Hotel, 933 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90015
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Ella Fitzgerald’s 100th Birthday

We’re thrilled to celebrate Ella Fitzgerald’s “would-be” 100th birthday at the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium. There will be Ella-themed decor and music, and the chance to feed some sea stars in honor of one of our favorite stars. The Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation has been an amazing partner to Heal the Bay for the past 7 years, providing assistance in educating over 3,000 students about protecting the ocean.
When: April 25, 2-5pm
Where: Santa Monica Pier Aquarium
See More


If you can’t make it to any of our events in April, you can still make your voice heard by signing our petition urging Congress to maintain EPA & NOAA funding. Keep the Earth Month party going in May, and reserve your seat for our annual awards gala at the Santa Monica Pier. Don’t miss out! This exclusive seaside experience happens just once-a-year and goes a long way towards our mission to make Greater L.A.’s coastal waters and watersheds safe, healthy, and clean.



Our work at Heal the Bay wouldn’t be possible without our spectacular volunteers, which is why we threw a fantastic intergalactic-themed party to recognize our most dedicated volunteers: Super Healers.

It was a night filled with awe and wonder, as we flew to the moon and played among the stars, all in honor of our down-to-earth volunteers and partners.

Shout-out to Bodega Wine Bar for hosting the party in February; the food was tasty, the staff welcoming, and the atmosphere was perfect for a game of “Defeat the Death Star” cornhole.

We’d also like to take a moment to acknowledge our volunteer party donors and participants, for the breathtaking photo booth, the liquid nitrogen ice cream, the awesome raffle prizes, and more. Much thanks to Allison SUP Race Fins, ChicoBag, ECOBAGS, GoPro, Ice Cream Lab, Lemonade, Life Without Plastic, Manhattan Stitching, REI, Rip Curl, Rockreation, Sidecar Doughnuts, Snapfiesta, StubHub Center, U Konserve, and Washed Ashore Adornments.

And of course, where would we be without our stellar 2016 Super Healers? These are our most dedicated volunteers, who continually go above and beyond the call of duty. Their commitment is commendable, their dedication and passion for protecting water quality and the environment undeniable.

We’re proud to honor the following outstanding individuals with the prestigious Super Healer Award:

David Coles (Speakers Bureau)

While David was getting his masters in Marine Biology, he came to realize that while he is passionate about nature, he’s not really a scientist (endless data analysis, tedious academic journals, etc. – bo-ring!). However, he learned he loved public speaking. Through Speakers Bureau, he continues to use his Marine Biology training in a format that fits his personality and interests. In fact, he has been a guest speaker at over 30 beach talks and lectures since first joining the program in March 2015! He uses his speaking talents to communicate his love of nature to a diverse audience- to inspire people to care about the ocean. Opening up with video footage of dives he did for his thesis research, he gets the room excited while breaking the ice. David is one of our most consistent volunteers to go into the classroom and educate students and adults alike. He reaches out on the regular to volunteer, and can always be counted on when we ask him for help. David is an exemplary reason that the Speakers Bureau program is so successful, reaching out to 40,000 Angelenos annually. Thank you David, for your passion and commitment, for inspiring ocean stewards for years to come.

Zeph Nowland (Beach Programs)

(Almost) Immediately after flying into LAX from South Korea in 2014, Zeph volunteered for his first Nothin’ But Sand cleanup at Dockweiler Beach, and nothing has been the same since. Although Alys Arenas was yet to be hired as HtB’s nefarious Beach Programs Manager, Zeph still knew in his heart of hearts that he wanted… nay, NEEDED!… to get more involved. One volunteer training later, he emerged as a newly-minted Beach Captain — capital letters and all (but, sadly, no cape or captain’s hat) — ready to help turn the tide (pun!) on pollution. Donning his super HtB t-shirt (because, again, no cape), Zeph tirelessly sets his alarm every 3rd Saturday of the month (except for December, of course!) and helps erect tents, build tables, and direct humans. Yes, he WILL take care of that needle you found. Of course he’s fine picking up that condom you simply cannot touch. But, no, that dead seagull must not be disturbed, nature taking its sweet time to reclaim it once more. Although Zeph mostly enjoys working the supply tent because of the power it brings him, he’s acquired other super powers over the years, assisting where needed, including packing/unpacking the truck at HtB headquarters, giving safety talks, harassing other HtB staff, and holding the coveted raffle jar! His favorite saying? It’s this: “Most of the trash at the beach is coming from somewhere else, so picking up litter in your own neighborhood is like doing a mini beach cleanup every day.” Copyright. Trademark.

Jeri Miller (Wednesday Warriors)

When you think of Jeri Miller, you automatically think of a Wednesday Warrior. Whether she’s inputting those tedious safety waivers or helping bundle cleanup supplies, Jeri’s outgoing spirit always brightens the Large Conference Room on Wednesdays. Her academic background, vocational interest and true passion center around the environment, particularly the marine environment. When she joined the Office Support team in 2015, she was on a break from work and wanted to contribute to an organization she felt was making a difference.  It was here at Heal the Bay, that she felt inspired by the variety of volunteer opportunities, the people and the vibe of the office. To her, the office is such a chill place to be at, yet there is still that buzz generated by a group of people committed to doing what they believe in.  When she’s not helping at HtB, you can catch her volunteering for Reef Check Foundation – she’s since been hired by them on a part-time basis! Her other hobbies include working out, working out, and working out — swimming, walking the beach, going to the gym, riding her beach cruiser everywhere and yoga. When its’ not Wednesdays, she also manages to find time to hang out with friends at any one of the many local Redondo Beach bars and restaurants!

Erin LaBrie (Street Fleet)

Erin was inspired to volunteer with Heal the Bay years ago by her mom, Lollie, who teaches at CSULA and has someone from the organization come speak to her class every quarter. Erin knew she wasn’t quite ready to volunteer in a formal classroom setting, so she decided to join the Community Advocates (Street Fleet) crew in 2014. When she’s out tabling, Erin enjoys the ability to reach out to people and teach them about the small, simple changes that can be made to help protect and preserve our ecosystem. Being part of the Street Fleet crew has allowed her meet other amazing and wonderful volunteers and staff that share their passion and knowledge of the environment with her. When she’s not volunteering with HtB, Erin spends some time with several animal rescue organizations and shelters with adoption events, humane Education programs, fostering, and mentoring new pet parents. She spent part of last year volunteering as a summer camp director working with kids 8-17 as well as mentoring young adults as counselors. Her other year-round volunteering activities include working with people in jails that are trying to get/stay sober. What’s her favorite thing of all when she’s not at work or any community service events? Snuggling and spoiling her 4 dogs.

Mary Billings (Street Fleet)

Mary is one of Street Fleet’s go-to volunteers. Having retired a couple of years ago, Mary knew she wanted to find something where she could make a difference, meet new people and learn new things. As a long-time Hermosa Beach resident, she feels very fortunate to live in such a beautiful place and decided helping Heal the Bay would be a good use of her time. She began her journey as an HtB volunteer by helping phone bank for the campaign to stop oil drilling in Hermosa. Soon after joining the Street Fleet Crew in 2015, Mary realized that she enjoyed talking to all the different people who visit the HtB table at the fairs and events. The other volunteers she tables with are great too. Since becoming a volunteer, Mary has learned so much about LA water. More importantly, she loves that the Heal the Bay staff are always so welcoming. When she’s not volunteering with HtB, Mary also volunteers for an education organization called “Families in Schools.” Their mission is to work with schools to involve parents and communities in their children’s education to ensure lifelong success. She also recently started tutoring ESL through the South Bay Literacy Council.

Ben Kay (Community Leader)

As a high school and college teacher for Santa Monica High School and Santa Monica College, Mr. Kay has acted as a longstanding advocate for and steward of the Santa Monica Bay. His involvement with Heal the Bay spans upwards of 10 years, in which time he’s steered his students towards the aquarium, beach cleanups, community eco-events, and youth summits, all while spearheading and mentoring Team Marine and partnering for programs such as Day Without Bag Day, No on O phone banking, STEAM Rube Goldberg Machine Contest, and RETHINK eco-artwork campaign. He’s taken student advocacy to the streets by participating in six SaMoHi plastic bag ban marches, and to the government by bringing students to testify for sustainable solutions at city halls all over LA County and to lobby in Sacramento on Ocean Day. For his unwavering commitment to inspire environmental stewards for over a decade, we are honored to present him with the Super Healer Award for an outstanding Community Leader. Thank you for your service Mr. Kay!

Alexandra "Sasha" Ivanona (SMPA Aquarist)

Sasha was a high school student when she first started as an aquarist intern, and now she is in the middle of her first year at UCLA. I knew she was very intelligent, and participated in 3,000 different extracurricular activities in high school, and that number has only increased, now that she in college. But what is surprising to me is her positive outlook on life. Even though she has gone through some hardships, she always looks on the bright side, like how she had curly hair for a while, how fun the children’s ward of the hospital is, and how she got to go to Antarctica and jump in the ocean afterwards. She is usually very cheerful (after a morning cup of coffee or tea), even when she has a terrible migraine, and may seem carefree, but she is one of the hardest working people I have ever met. She is not afraid to take charge and be the boss (in her own quiet way), and I know she will do great things in the future. So, I want to thank you on behalf of Jose and I, for all that you do for us, my fellow lover of the oxford comma, Sasha. – Akino Higa, SMPA Aquarist

Grace Luis (SMPA Public Programs)

Grace Luis is like the Swiss Army knife of volunteers. She began her volunteer service almost 2 ½ years ago at the Aquarium, and since then has donated over 1,500 hours of time (even with her busy school schedule) in practically every program we offer at the Aquarium. Whether she is helping to train and guide new volunteers, introducing marine science to preschoolers, entertaining delighted birthday kids and their friends with animal presentations and fun stories, or helping to design fun new activities/displays for the Aquarium, Grace has always brought her friendly smile and incredibly funny sense of humor to any situation. We have all joked about locking Grace in the Aquarium after she graduates so she could stay with us forever—she not only donates so much of her time/service; she also shares her dedication, passion and kindness with everyone she meets. Grace exemplifies what we look for in a Super Healer, and we are so honored to work with her each week.

Juan Lopez (SMPA Education)

Juan loves cars.  He builds them, races them and fixes them when they break.  His other passion is the ocean and he matches his same love of cars with the watery world he surfs on, wades in and helps students understand.  This past year we have watched Juan grow from a volunteer, who devoted four days a week to help us teach students about the ocean, to an intern, then summer camp intern and finally as a Key to the Sea Naturalist.  He took the direction we gave him to heart, fine-tuned his deliveries and developed his own teaching style, making him an important part of our education team.  We have the great fortune of working with many wonderful education interns and volunteers, but Juan pushed himself to grow and learn, and always did it with his trademark smile and laugh.  He always steps up when needed and helps the other volunteers grow themselves. Juan has developed so much as an educator, he has found himself teaching at the Roundhouse Marine Studies lab and Aquarium three days a week, yet still comes in to work with us on his free days… a true commitment to educating others about a place that brings him so much joy, the ocean!

Michael Barnes (MPA Watch)

“I simply wanted to do some good and looked for a cause that I cared about. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, I’ve always enjoyed the outdoors & nature so environmentalism was a natural fit for me. In searching for a volunteer opportunity, I looked for an organization that shared my passion, had a track record of community engagement, and who used the majority of their funds for actual programs rather than administrative and fundraising expenses. I found all of this in Heal the Bay. Being outdoors while contributing my small part to positively impacting our beautiful coastlines. I never get tired of the sun (remember I’m from the Pacific Northwest) so when I’m conducting an MPA survey its more than just a survey, its a walk on a nice sunny day 🙂 I also volunteer for Tree People and Habitat for Humanity when I have the time. In terms of hobbies, I enjoy surfing, hiking, and running.”

Brittney Mercado (Advocacy)

Brittney Mercado, a senior at Da Vinci Communications High School, has been passionate about the environment throughout her life. She knows that it is her future at risk and the only way to make a difference is to let her voice be heard. She did just that by coming to our advocacy training session, and then used her voice to spread information about the Yes on Prop 67 campaign. She organized her friends to call people across Los Angeles at our phone banking events and to walk door-to-door in their Hawthorne neighborhood to canvass for the cause. She wrote a fantastic article in her school’s newspaper to inspire her classmates to use their voices as well. She is certainly a great voice for the environment and will set an example for her generation and generations to come.

Ronald Fagan (Development - Donor)

10 years ago Ronald walked into the aquarium and struck up conversation with Nick Fash (Heal the Bay’s Education Manager) about the fact he had just seen a pelican on the pier tangled in fishing line.  This discussion on the impacts that fishing line can have upon our oceans and marine life led to the months long process of designing, constructing and seeking approval from the city and the pier to install 3 monofilament recycling bins on our pier.  He is a contractor who lives nowhere near the coast, and only ventures out to the pier a few times a year but his passion for this project drove him on through multiple design changes and safety checks with the fire department as well as working with the maintenance crew to get them properly mounted with signage.  Over the past 10 years, not only has he made the effort to make sure they are functional, but he continues to send donations for “fishing line recycling”.  Based on the amount of line pulled out over the years, it is clear he has helped save countless animals that would otherwise find themselves entangled in fishing line.

Beatriz Lorenzo (Spanish Outreach)

“I love the ocean and I had such a happy times with my elder son in the aquarium, it made sense to give back in both fronts. The sense of community and the fact that you can make a difference. I thrive by continuously learning new things and I like to surf. I love the ocean in all of its ways, I enjoy sailing, swimming, playing in the sand… going to the beach to stroll or just to look for little creatures (or big!) with my family. I enjoyed the sea salty air and the ever changing shades of blue.”

Patagonia (Business Award)

Patagonia believes in building the best product, causing no unneccesary harm and using business to inspire solutions to the environmental crisis. The brand donates 1% of all sales to grassroots environmental causes, and the 4th Street location in Santa Monica has been proud to partner with Heal the Bay all these years.

Erin Selleck (Board Member)

Erin Selleck was first introduced to Heal the Bay through her husband and longtime friend of the organization, Kurt Holland. Kurt is an environmental education consultant and former marine science teacher at Santa Monica Alternative School House. Both avid sailors with a life-long love of the ocean, they took a three year sabbatical and fulfilled a lifelong dream to cruise the oceans in their 41 foot sailboat. Kurt’s passion for the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium was contagious and ultimately led Erin to join the Heal the Bay Board of Directors in 2009.
Since joining the Board, Erin has served on various committees including a seat on the Executive Committee, and serving as Chair of both the Finance and Audit committees. She currently is a member of the Finance Committee, and the Aquarium Advisory Committee, along with Kurt. Through her deep connections and experience in the finance world, Erin has helped guide the organization through some challenging fiscal periods, proven to be an effective fundraiser and has helped us form meaningful, fruitful relationships with potential foundations and donors alike.
Since her recent retirement from a successful 30 year career as a top banking executive, Erin has pursued a portfolio career centered on her other passions, including mentoring and empowering young women. Her deep passion for the ocean and Heal the Bay’s cause, combined with her tireless devotion to motivate and uplift young women have proven to be a positive driving force for the betterment of her community.

Doug Wiita (Jean Howell Award)

When Doug first joined HtB he was working in an office, and was looking for volunteer work that was outdoors. MPA watch perfectly fit the bill. Wanting to spread the word, he later joined Speakers Bureau and started doing outreach. He’s favorite thing is talking about the ocean to kids. Doug retired a year ago, and when not spreading the word for HtB, he spends most of his time doing volunteer work for the American Red Cross.

Leslie Tamminen (Bob Hertz Award)

Leslie Mintz Tamminen is a consultant for Seventh Generation Advisors, a nonprofit environmental organization in Santa Monica CA. She is the Director of the Ocean Program, and in this capacity she facilitates the Clean Seas Coalition nationwide, a growing group of environmentalists, scientists, students, and community leaders pushing states to strengthen laws reducing plastic pollution at its source. Leslie spearheaded Clean Seas Coalition efforts to create and pass California’s SB270 law to ban single-use plastic bags. Formerly, Leslie was a special advisor to Lt. Governor John Garamendi, and the Legislative Director and staff attorney for the California environmental nonprofit organization Heal the Bay, where she was responsible for development and implementation of statewide water quality regulation and legislation, including the first federal pollution limit for trash in an urban river (Los Angeles). Leslie also worked to pass and implement California’s Education and the Environment Initiative, a state requirement for environmental education principles and curricula development in all core disciplines in public schools for K-12. Leslie is currently appointed to California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson’s Environmental Literacy Steering Committee, tasked with implementing the 2015 Blueprint for California Environmental Literacy. Leslie is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, and the University of Southern California Law Center, and lives in the Los Angeles area with her husband Terry Tamminen.

Check out a few of the many memories from our volunteer party below. Thanks again to our volunteers, and hope to see you there next year. P.S. Our photo booth gallery is available here, with password HEALTHEBAY.

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The environment took a big hit in Washington D.C. this week, writes Sarah Sikich, Heal the Bay’s Vice President. Today, we’re launching the first of three actions you can take to fight back locally. Stay tuned for two more actions in the coming days.

If you’re a scientist or a clean water advocate, it’s hard not to be concerned about recent developments in Washington, D.C. I’ve tried to remain positive. I’ve taken an observational attitude for overheated rhetoric about reining in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, hoping it would be more talk than action. I’ve hoped for the not-so-terrible, while preparing for the worse. Unfortunately, these threats are becoming reality.

3 Strikes & Clean Water Is Out

Three big blows have been dealt by the new administration to environmental and public health protections. These actions come from the White House, but their effects will ripple from D.C. to Santa Monica Bay:

Strike 1: Massive cuts to the US EPA budget and workforce.

The administration recently proposed the US EPA budget 2018 plan, which includes funding cuts of 25%, staff reductions of more than 3,000 people, and the complete elimination of funding for beach water quality monitoring across our nation. The impacts here in California will be felt deeply.

US EPA grants help underwrite the weekly sampling and testing of beaches in California, support public health protection against contaminated fish off the Palos Verdes Shelf for under-served communities, our local Santa Monica Bay Natural Estuary Program, and much more.

The administration has said it is committed to promoting clean water and clean air, but these actions demonstrate otherwise. It seems virtually impossible to maintain basic protections, given such deep cuts and job losses.

Strike 2: Weakening of the Clean Water Rule.

This week’s executive order directing US EPA to reevaluate the Waters of the U.S. rule has the potential to weaken clean water and habitat protections for countless streams and wetlands throughout our nation. The Obama administration expanded the definition of what water bodies are afforded protection by the federal Clean Water Act in 2015, safeguarding the drinking water of nearly 120 million Americans.

We have lost over 95% of wetland habitat in the greater L.A. area. With the threat of rolling back wetland protection at the federal level, it is imperative to bolster wetlands protection here in California. The California State Water Board is currently in the process of finalizing a statewide Wetland Policy. Heal the Bay scientists have been actively engaged in this process and we urge the State Board to adopt a strong policy that ensures wetland habitat is meaningfully protected and enhanced throughout our state.

Strike 3: Repeal of the Stream Protection Rule.

This law – enacted late last year under the Obama administration – protects waterways from being polluted by coal mining. The waste is not just toxic to aquatic life, but also poses major community health impacts. Many communities throughout the nation will suffer if these protections are repealed.

Take Action To Protect What You Love

These rollbacks jeopardize public health and economic vitality, both of which depend upon clean water and a healthy environment. But, Heal the Bay and its supporters are not going to remain silent. No matter what happens in D.C., there are concrete steps we can take in our backyard to ensure clean water and vibrant ecosystems.

Here is one simple thing you can do now to protect beach water quality monitoring and other critical environmental and community health programs:

Tell Congress to Maintain EPA Funding



Along the L.A. River, Heal the Bay’s communications director Matthew King comes face to face with our civic shame – our growing homeless population. Fortunately, a solution is at hand on the March 7th ballot in L.A. County: Measure H. #YesOnH

A stocky Latino man rubs the sleep from his eyes. Yawning deeply, he stretches and greets the dawn. Bending over his sink in central Los Angeles, he rubs water through his thick, coal-black hair. He brushes his teeth, gargling loudly as he rinses. He slips into black polyester pants and a starchy white shirt. Jumping onto a beat-up mountain bike, he wobbles off to work.

A ritual like this occurs in thousands of bathrooms each morning, as Los Angeles’ working class comes to life. But this scene unfolded before me in a much more disturbing spot – along the concrete bank of the Los Angeles River, below the intersection of the 5 and 110 freeways.

The man – one of L.A. County’s nearly 50,000 homeless individuals – had turned to the river for basic sanitation. The channelized waterway served as his sink, his latrine.

I watched all this last year, during a live TV news segment I arranged to promote Heal the Bay’s river cleanups. We had arrived at the underpass in darkness, but as morning broke I noticed makeshift shelters wedged between the freeway and the river embankments. A maze of tarp-and-plywood structures resembled a favela in Rio.

A small group of homeless men came to life at first light, scuttling down to the river, like crabs emerging from rocky crevices. After the initial shock, the sight stirred fear, disbelief, and then shame.

Working in the water-quality arena, I wanted to warn the men about washing in the bacteria-filled river. But an uneasy feeling of privilege and futility swept over me. I stayed quiet. It was clear: They simply had no other place to bathe.

Welcome to L.A. – the homeless capital of the United States. Clinging underneath highways, sleeping in underbrush, passed out on doorsteps, roaming parks and beaches, these largely forgotten souls haunt our public spaces and our civic conscience.

The face of homelessness in Santa Monica. Photo taken by permission.

The river camp is at odds with assumptions many hold about the homeless. Colleagues at fellow nonprofit Chrysalis tell me that many homeless individuals are employed. While some people living on the street are mentally ill or drug addicted, most are not. And most would willingly move into permanent housing if Los Angeles had enough resources to serve those in need.

And while many live in the shadows, most homeless hide in plain sight.

On the loading dock of our Santa Monica offices, I frequently see the destitute setting up for the night on cardboard pallets. In the morning, they’re gone, leaving behind a depressing wake of cigarette butts and human waste. During my lunch break, I’ve stepped around bedraggled people sleeping in the middle of a bustling sidewalk. I often hear the terrifying shriek of homeless schizophrenics from my office, shouting senseless profanities to no one and everyone.

The loading dock at Heal the Bay’s offices. Photo taken by permission.

I’ve become calloused to these sights and sounds. Many Angelenos also feel numbed by habituation and helplessness. But the crisis is growing, with a nearly 20% increase in homelessness in L.A. County over the past three years. L.A.’s Skid Row continues to fester into a national disgrace. Did you know Skid Row only represents about 10% of the homeless population in L.A. County? As an L.A. local or tourist will tell you, homelessness is everywhere in L.A. County from San Pedro to San Fernando Valley, and, from Venice Beach to Griffith Park.

Fortunately, a comprehensive solution is at hand – a countywide funding measure to end homelessness for 45,000 individuals and families. On the March 7th ballot, L.A. County voters will be asked to approve Measure H, a quarter-cent sales tax increase to provide roughly $355 million for rental subsidies, emergency shelter, mental health and substance treatment, employment services and case management.

Explore the facts about Measure H via a printable fact sheet (PDF): English / en Español

Unlike previous fragmented initiatives, Measure H is driven by 47 specific recommendations housed in an integrated, cross-departmental plan. The county’s housing, public health and mental health units are unified in a manner atypical of the county’s often byzantine bureaucracy. Instead of just dangling keys, this 10-year campaign offers comprehensive services and support to get the destitute off the street. A citizens committee will perform annual audits to ensure money is spent wisely and real-world results are achieved.

Yes, there’s concern about taxpayer fatigue, with Angelenos recently voting to support separate transportation and open-space initiatives via Measure M and Measure A.

Trains and parks are critical, but now it’s time to invest in people.

A spirit of resolve is palpable among the community and business groups supporting the initiative, which includes Heal the Bay. I felt it in the packed, cheering room when the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the ballot measure late last year. A wide swath of the county’s elite, from LACMA chief Michael Govan to billionaire philanthropist Eli Broad, voiced their support.

Homelessness is foremost a moral issue for Heal the Bay. To be clear, water quality suffers in our ocean and rivers when the homeless lack access to basic sanitation. But our focus is ensuring basic human dignity and access to clean water for all.

Now is the time for everyday citizens to uplift our region’s most vulnerable populations. We can’t wait any longer. It’s easy to get lost in the alphabet soup of initiatives on crowded ballots. But this measure is easy to remember and hard to ignore – H is for humanity.

Measure H can only be implemented if enough people vote Yes on the March 7th ballot.

Will you help us make waves by spreading the word about #YesOnH? It’s simple:

  1. Print this poster (or make your own!): http://bit.ly/votingyesonhbecause
  2. Write in the reason why YOU are voting Yes on Measure H.
  3. Take a picture with your sign OR make a short video telling us why you believe Measure H is the vital solution L.A. County needs to end homelessness.
  4. Share on Twitter and Facebook with the hashtag #YesOnH.


Heal the Bay has been making Southern California safer, healthier, and cleaner since 1985. Using the best science and grassroots community action, we mobilize campaigns that have lasting impact on our shorelines and neighborhoods. Here’s a sneak peek at the year ahead:

Thriving Oceans

Our local waters should be teeming with wildlife, not trash.

Rethink The Drink

Beverage-related items form the bulk of trash collected at our cleanups – plastic water bottles, straws, bottle caps, and bits of Styrofoam cups. To stem the deluge, we’re launching a community campaign encouraging people to go reusable, while our policy staff pursues regulations that hold dischargers responsible for drink-related waste.

Why It Matters: It’s estimated that plastic will outweigh fish in the ocean by the year 2050. We simply must end our addiction to single-use plastics if we want to reverse this frightening trend.

How You Can Help: Skip the straw. Pass on the plastic bottle. Forget the foam.


Healthy Watersheds

Vibrant shorelines depend on fully functioning urban creeks and rivers.

Cleaning Our Creeks

Our science and policy team will dramatically expand its water-quality monitoring program by launching regular analysis at more than a dozen locations along the L.A. River and Ballona Creek. Modeled after our A-to-F Beach Report Card, the new grading program will support public health and aquatic well-being throughout the watershed.

Why It Matters: We can’t expect our beaches and wetlands to be clean if the waters that feed them are filled with harmful pollutants. As we fight for tougher limits on polluters, this advocacy requires consistent and scientifically gathered data.

How You Can Help: Take a tour of the L.A. River or the Ballona Wetlands to understand the stakes. Curtail polluting runoff to our creeks by cleaning up after your pet, opting for copper-free brake pads, and curtailing fertilizer and pesticide use.


Smart Water

Los Angeles imports over 80% of its water – a number that’s far too high.

Re-Plumbing L.A.

The Southland needs to move beyond its centralized approach to water, which relies heavily on massive infrastructure – be it pumping water from the Sacramento Delta or Hyperion discharging millions of gallons of wastewater into the sea. Instead, Heal the Bay will lead the charge to invest in nature-based solutions, such as the L.A. City Council’s proposal to require “green street” capture-and-infiltrate features in all street, median, and parkway projects.

Why It Matters:  A resilient L.A. depends on the widespread adoption of strategies that maximize on-site management of all forms of water. No single entity can win the water wars single-handedly. Local water agencies, business, homeowners, and renters all need to manage water more wisely. Making the most of our local water resources will help keep more environmentally harmful and costly options, like ocean desalination, at bay.

How You Can Help:  Rip out your grass lawn. Break up a driveway. Support civic investment in stormwater capture.


Watch Video

Get the full scoop from Sarah Sikich, Heal the Bay’s Vice President (2-minute video).



Leslie Griffin, Heal the Bay’s chief water quality scientist and Beach Report Card manager, likes to kiss and tell. Here’s her list of the cuddliest spots for couples along the California shoreline.

Wanna enjoy a long walk on the beach?

I know it sounds like a line, but this lovers’ activity is a cliché for a reason. A seaside stroll proves both calming and romantic, with the vast ocean rippling along the shore while your toes sink into the cool sand. Or maybe your dream beach date consists of gazing at a gorgeous sunset while you enjoy a seaside picnic.

Either way, we are all about getting a little sandy, whether with a loved one, a friend, or for a little solo escape into the outdoors for some dedicated me time.

Here are 10 spots we love for love (and their great water quality too!):

Torrey Pines, San Diego

Source: Dan_H, flickr


What we love about it: Torrey Pines State Beach has picturesque views of the San Diego coastline and the adjacent Torrey Pines State Reserve is filled with little trails leading down to the shore. We recommend that you only take marked trails and watch your footing, but the views are worth the adventure.

What to do here: We love the Torrey Pines Trail to Black’s Beach in the morning for a beautiful way to start your day. Fair warning: some nudists like to visit this beach as well.

Water Quality: The only sampling site at Torrey Pines is at the Los Penasquitos Lagoon outlet. That site received good grades in our most recent annual Beach Report Card.


La Jolla, San Diego

Source: Wikipedia Commons


What we love about it: This spot is great for lovers and families alike, with plenty of adventure to be had by all ages.

What to do here: This is the perfect spot for a SUP (stand up paddleboard) adventure, snorkeling, kayaking, or even just a picturesque walk along the beach. For stunning ocean views over dinner, check out the Marine Room at the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club.

Water Quality: La Jolla shores received great grades in our annual report last year.


Victoria Beach, Orange County

Source: Daniel Peckham, flickr


What we love about it: Straight out of a fairy tale, this shoreline spot is guarded by La Tour, a 60-foot castle-inspired tower.  Built in 1926, the structure provided beach access for a home on the cliff above.

What to do here: Looking to be someone’s knight in shining armor? Look no further. To get here, walk to the north end of Victoria Beach in Laguna Beach, around the bluff and past another sandy section of beach. (This is a privately owned structure, so while you can walk up to it, please do not try to go inside or climb on the structure.)

Water Quality: Victoria Beach received A+’s across the board in our last annual report.


Crystal Cove State Park, Orange County

Source: Wikipedia Commons


What we love about it: With such a long swath of open sandy shores, this is an ideal spot for a romantic seaside stroll, or perhaps for a love-inspired photoshoot.

What to do here: If you’re looking for post-beach walk eats with an ocean view, the Beachcomber Café is a fun option.

Water Quality: Crystal Cove has great water quality in the summer or whenever the weather has been dry. Given the buckets of rain we have (thankfully) gotten this year, make sure to heed any beach posting signs you may see.


Palos Verdes Peninsula, Los Angeles

Source: Mark Esguerra, The Marke’s World


What we love about it: We love the PV areas so much, we had to lump the whole peninsula together as one of our top locations. Palos Verdes wraps around from the base of the South Bay down to San Pedro, and features beautiful neighborhoods, coastal trails, clean beaches, and tidepool adventures.

What to do here: If you’re looking for some marine biology-inspired adventure, time your visit for low tide to go tidepooling at Abalone Cove. For a short hike and a hidden rocky beach, check out Palos Verdes Bluff Cove.

Water Quality: The Palos Verdes area is home to multiple Honor Roll beaches, including Abalone Cove Shoreline Park.


El Matador State Beach, Malibu

Source: Elliot McGucken, 500px


What we love about it: This was easily the top rated romantic spot by Heal the Bay staff. Dramatic cliffs and coves (and even secret sea caves) make this beach feel like the backdrop of a steamy Hollywood romance scene. Whether it’s energizing a new flame or a longtime squeeze, you can expect El Matador to light your fire.

What to do here: Explore the dramatic landscape, take Instagram-worthy photos, find little hideaway spots for you and your date to share secret kisses, and wrap up your evening with a gorgeous sunset view.

Water Quality: El Matador is an Honor Roll beach with awesome water quality.


Arroyo Burro, Santa Barbara

Source: Damian Gadal, flickr


What we love about it: Santa Barbara is the perfect little getaway for a weekend of romance. If you’re looking for some time together to rest, rejuvenate, and rekindle the fire, Santa Barbara is the perfect place.

What to do here: We love Arroyo Burro for a sunset walk, and with plenty of parking and restroom access it’s a stress-free beach walk experience.

Water Quality: Arroyo Burro has great water quality in the summer or whenever it has been dry enough that the creek hasn’t breached. Make sure to heed any beach posting signs you may see if you’re feeling like taking a dip. But if the creek is flowing, be sure to stick to the sand over the waves.


Big Sur Coastline, Monterey

Source: Wikipedia Commons


What we love about it: Another area that is just so beautiful, we can’t limit it to just one beach. The shoreline in Big Sur is renowned for its rustic coastal beauty. A drive along the twisty coastline is certain to inspire awe. Pull off whenever your heart desires, and be sure to take photos so you can revisit the view whenever you like.

What to do here: McWay Falls is a stunning spot where you can watch a perfect little waterfall pouring directly to the beach. The Bixby Canyon Bridge is another cult favorite, and there’s even a Death Cab for Cutie song to match. There are plenty of hiking trails, camping sites, and little cafes to warm up in.

Water Quality: Monterey water quality testing only extends as far south as Carmel, so while there aren’t any sampling sites to rely on, the area is un-urbanized and thus less likely to have bacterial problems.


Baker Beach, San Francisco

Source: Wikipedia Commons


What we love about it: If you’re in the Bay Area and looking for an ideal view of the Golden Gate Bridge, this is our favorite sandy spot.

What to do here: The dramatic backdrop makes this spot ideal for a photo shoot, or even just a quick selfie-sesh. We’d recommend cuddling up for a romantic picnic and enjoying the sunset together.

Water Quality: Just be sure to avoid swimming near the creek outlet if you’re looking to take a penguin dip.


Point Reyes National Seashore, Marin County

Source: Wikipedia Commons


What we love about it: The farther north you go in California, often the more dramatic and rural the coastal landscape. This National Seashore is a prime example of that raw beauty, and it is sure to take your breath away.

What to do here: There a quite a few campgrounds and hiking trails within the area if you’re looking to get back in touch with nature.

Water Quality: Marin County no longer samples within this area. The closest active sampling station is Bolinas Beach (another beautiful spot), just south of Point Reyes.


Heal the Bay’s Beach Report Card is the only comprehensive analysis of coastline water quality in California. We monitor more than 500 beaches weekly from Oregon to the Mexico border, assigning an A to F grade based on the health risks of swimming or surfing at that location.



Every year around Valentine’s Day, our Santa Monica Pier Aquarium celebrates its love for whales – just in time to mark the annual migration of the Pacific gray whale.

Pacific gray whales undergo a gargantuan 10,000-mile roundtrip journey between the Arctic and Mexico each year. These gentle giants breed and give birth in the warm Baja waters in late fall/early winter before heading back north with their calves around February. The migration takes the whales through the Santa Monica Bay – sometimes close enough to be spotted from the West end of the Pier.

A photo posted by Dale Frink (@dalefrink) on

Make sure to stop by for Whale of a Weekend at the Aquarium (Feb. 11 and 12, from 12:30 – 5 pm). From baleen to blubber, you’ll leave with a ton of knowledge. Be sure to take a peek through our binoculars from the observation deck; you might just spy a whale!

Our Top Ten Facts About Whales

  1. Whales only breathe through their blowholes – they can’t breathe through their mouths.
  2. There are two categories of cetaceans (whales): those with teeth and those without.
  3. Toothless whales, called baleen whales, include the Pacific gray whale, blue, humpback, fin, and right whales.
  4. Toothed whales include orcas, belugas, dolphins, narwhals, porpoises and sperm whales.
  5. Nearly 90% of all cetaceans are toothed whales.
  6. Baleen whales are the largest mammals on earth but they eat some of the smallest creatures in the ocean: tiny zooplankton.
  7. Baleen whales have two spout openings (like having two nostril openings).
  8. Toothed whales only have one spout opening.
  9. Narwhals actually only have two teeth. One of those teeth is the large spiral shaped ivory tusk that develops through their upper lip.
  10. When baleen whales blow air out of their spout, it creates a spray that sometimes comes out heart-shaped.

Don’t miss out on Whale of a Weekend for an ocean’s worth of fun, and don’t forget to celebrate World Whale Day on February 18!



summer camp in los angeles

Spring Break camp starts soon! Enroll today.

When school is out, camp is in. Whether it’s during spring break or summer vacation, our aquarium camp at the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium offers the perfect balance of fun and learning for your child in an environment that fosters interaction with 100 species of marine life.

Registration is now open for Spring Break and Summer camp sessions for youth from kindergarten through fifth grade, with sessions available April 10-14, and in June, July, and August 2017. Our space is limited and camp sessions can fill up quickly, so please enroll sooner than later to ensure your child gets a spot that works in your schedule.

Wondering what your child can expect at camp? Here are some of the fun activities young marine biologists can look forward to at our Santa Monica Pier Aquarium camp:

1. Interact with live animals.

Whether you’re having a staring contest with a wolf eel or getting a hug from a sea urchin, you’re sure to fall in love with the animals that call Santa Monica Bay home.

2. Explore the beach like a scientist.


Become a beach detective by looking for clues of life and living animals. The Santa Monica Beach is home to lots of cool critters and we regularly find sea birds, sand crabs, worms, striped shore crabs, and more.

3. Play awesome games.

It wouldn’t be camp without time to just run around and play in the sand, sea, and sunshine.

4. Let your creativity shine with arts & crafts.

Crayons, check. Glue, check. Scissors, check. Streamers, check. Put it all together and you get…an eviscerating sea star! Our ocean crafts are super fun and add the “A” for “Art” into STEAM education.

5. Excite your curiosity with hands-on science.

The minute our campers walk through our doors, they become scientists with us. From looking at plankton under the microscope, to running a test on water density, to dissecting a squid, our camps encourage scientific questioning and experimentation in a safe and educational environment.

6. Have fun with your friends – both new and old.

Whether you come to camp with your buddies, or meet new ones here, camp is always better when you have someone to share the experience.

7. Help protect your favorite animals by becoming an ocean steward.

Just like our Heal the Bay mission, our camp focuses on ways we can protect the ocean and its inhabitants. As we clean trash off of the beach and brainstorm ways to go green, our campers earn the right to call themselves Planet Protectors.


And here’s what some parents are saying about our camps:

“Amazing counselors, well-organized, enthusiastic children and overall excellent!”

“My daughter loved dissecting squid and all the beach activities. This is the second year she has gone to Santa Monica Aquarium Camp and it is her favorite camp of the summer. She loved her counselors and how exciting they all made marine science and ecology to her – she wants to be a marine biologist!”

“First day my son said, ‘I learned a new word, Bioluminescence’ to multiple people!”

So what are you waiting for? Let’s dive in!

Registration for Aquarium Camp is now open for both the Spring Break and Summer sessions. Please visit healthebay.org/camps for more information and enroll today.



The new administration ordered funding freezes of EPA grants and contracts yesterday. Communications Director Matthew King examines five ways this directive could harm the Bay.


UPDATE 2/1/17: Today members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works boycotted the vote to confirm Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s nomination to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. A vote will be rescheduled in the coming days. Add your voice to this petition now urging the U.S. Senate Committee to reject Pruitt’s nomination. Tell our elected officials to maintain strong EPA funding for programs that affect our Bays nationwide.


These are strange and unsettled times in Washington, D.C. Many conservatives and populists are euphoric about the promise of a new administration, while progressives grow increasingly pessimistic with each passing day.

It’s also safe to say these are strange and unsettled times here in our offices, as we process what the actions of the Trump administration could mean for our work and the Bay.

As a trusted watchdog, Heal the Bay is guided by the best science, not emotion. And when a federal action from the new administration threatens the health and well-being of the Bay, we speak out forcefully.

Well, this week is one of those weeks.

Coming into work yesterday morning, we learned that the new administration had imposed an immediate freeze on grants and contracts by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The startling move “threatens to disrupt core operations ranging from toxic cleanups to water quality testing,” according to a ProPublica record search.

In all, the U.S. EPA dispenses some $6.4 billion in federal grants each year to support testing, cleanup and remediation initiatives, including several Heal the Bay programs.

Transition officials insist the freeze is merely a pause and allows incoming managers to assess if the programs should move forward. But longtime U.S. EPA employees and seasoned advocates paint a different picture – hiring freezes happen, but grant freezes are unusual and can threaten to disrupt contracted work.

Here’s how one U.S. EPA contractor responded to questions from a stormwater management employee, per ProPublica: “Right now we are in a holding pattern. The new U.S. EPA administration has asked that all contract and grant awards be temporarily suspended, effective immediately. Until we receive further clarification, this includes task orders and work assignments.”

Many questions remain about the EPA freeze, such as how long it will last and which contracts it impacts.

As recipients of nearly $200,000 in yearly U.S. EPA grants, we are rightly anxious. Similarly, many of our partner organizations receive federal funds that power collaborative initiatives with Heal the Bay.

We still have more questions than answers, but here’s a look at our top 5 issues that could be affected by grant freezes:

 

1. Regular Monitoring of Beach Water Quality

Our Beach Report Card provides weekly A-to-F water-quality grades for more than 500 California beaches, protecting millions of oceangoers each year from getting sick. U.S. EPA grants underwrite the weekly sampling and testing of beaches conducted by many county health agencies throughout the state. No money = no testing = no data = no Beach Report Card = compromised public health. We’ve faced this issue with temporary budget reductions in the past, and have scrambled to piecemeal some bridge funds to keep some monitoring alive. But, there is no current plan for the state or other funders to pick up the pieces dropped by EPA if funding for beach programs is slashed.

 

2. Keeping Our Local Streams Healthy

The health of the Bay can’t be separated from the health of the waters that feed it. Fully functioning and thriving creeks, streams and rivers provide numerous environmental benefits – habitat, improved water quality and recreational space. U.S. EPA grants to our Stream Team program fund our staff scientists’ ongoing monitoring and education efforts along the L.A. River. Programs, like U.S. EPA’s Urban Waters Grant programs are specially designed to support restoration and protection of the important waterways that flow through communities in places that are most in need of open and natural space. Loss of programs like these is particularly devastating for L.A.

 

3. Protecting Our Dwindling Wetlands

L.A. has already lost 95% of its coastal lagoons. With climate change and urbanization encroaching on our few remaining wetlands, it’s critical we act now to defend critical habitat. Through its National Estuary Program, the U.S. EPA funds work to coordinate protection and restoration of important habitats throughout Santa Monica Bay, like Ballona Wetlands and coastal dunes. Sarah Sikich, Heal the Bay’s vice president, serves as a Vice Chair of the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission Governing Board, the state partner of the National Estuary Program. Without this Commission, protection and revitalization of habitats and water quality in the Santa Monica Bay would be seriously hamstrung.

These are essential initiatives for the long-term health of the Bay and Southern California. Freezing or cutting back on these programs would truly be pound foolish.

 

4. Getting Rid of DDT in the Bay

Many people don’t realize that the Bay is home to an EPA Superfund site – a tag applied to some of the nation’s most dangerously polluted sites. A 180-acre swath of ocean floor off Palos Verdes is the world’s largest deposit of the pesticide DDT, the legacy of chemical dumping in the ‘50s and ‘60s. The EPA’s decades-long plan to clean up this mess should not be in limbo, because a legal settlement requires it to be cleaned up to protect animal life and people alike.

 

5. Preventing the Unsafe Consumption of Locally Caught Fish

Most fish caught in Santa Monica Bay are safe to eat. Some species, however, are contaminated with toxic levels of DDT, PCB and mercury. Thanks to an EPA grant, our award-winning Pier Angler Outreach team has canvassed local fishing spots and directly warned nearly 150,000 people about what fish are dangerous to eat in a variety of languages from Tagalog to Spanish. Because this is contract work required under a legal settlement, it is buffered against today’s freeze.


These grant and contract freezes are part of a set of bigger concerns. The new administration has begun to advance real threats to roll back clean water programs and regulations that protect public health; offer habitat protections for wetlands and streams that buffer communities from climate change impacts and safeguard wildlife; and many other important environmental achievements. Muzzling its agencies from communicating about their important work and the status of our environment also does a huge disservice to the public, keeping Americans in the dark about important research findings and the state of environmental resources.

In the coming days, we promise to share more information about changes at the U.S. EPA as we receive it. And as concerned as we are about the actions of the past few days, we remain on high alert for the realization of any roll-backs of federal regulations that have been discussed, which may impact California. If you care about these issues, now is the time to make your voice heard. Contact your representative to urge them to protect important environmental policies and programs. We will also soon be posting an Action Alert that will allow you to urge policy makers to maintain strong EPA funding for vital programs that affect the Bay. Stay tuned.

While we strategize on a more formal response to this week’s funding freeze, we encourage you to consider a donation to help support our work to protect the Bay.



Heal the Bay, in association with Storystation.co, is hosting a unique pop-up event at the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium on Jan. 26. Here, the Aquarium’s outreach manager Randi Parent reveals a sneak peak of the evening’s exciting lineup.

What better setting for an evening entitled: “Life Aquatic – Ocean Dwellers + Storytellers,” than the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium?

On Thursday, January 26, in association with Storystation.co, Heal the Bay is hosting a lively, local group of storytellers ready to share unscripted tales inspired by their personal connections to the ocean. Musical improv and the Aquarium’s tanks teeming with marine life serve as the perfect accompaniment for this unique pop-up storytelling event.

Snag your event tickets while space is still available. All proceeds benefit Heal the Bay.

Storystation.co, which produces the pop-up storytelling event series has revealed part of the lineup for our event on Jan 26th, including the following speakers and musicians.

Sneak Peek: Lineup for “Life Aquatic – Ocean Dwellers + Storytellers”

Jeff Ho

Take a cultural trip back to Santa Monica’s “Dogtown” days with storyteller Jeff Ho, Santa Monica’s legendary surfboard manufacturer and creator of the Zephyr skate team.

Marion Clark

Join Marion Clark of Surf Academy and Surf Bus Foundation, as she takes us to the powerful waves of the North Shore to accept an unexpected invitation.

Gregory Bonann, Two Days After “The Rescue” In 1989.

Hear 47-year LA County Lifeguard and Baywatch co-creator Gregory Bonann’s story, as he takes us back to an unforgettable tour of local beaches, while he introduced the original team of Baywatch writers to the world of lifeguarding, and how he ended up earning the Medal of Valor.

Michelle Packman

Add a few more awesome storytellers and ace musicians – including cellist and LA/OC teacher Michelle Packman, singer and songwriter Kira Lingman, as well as Jim “Kimo” West, famous for his slack key guitar playing, and his 30 years playing with “Weird Al” Yankovic – and this will be an evening of eclectic, surprising, and inspiring experiences not to be missed.

Tickets are $20, with all proceeds going to Heal the Bay. Space is limited, so please RSVP in advance.