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Heal the Bay Blog

World Oceans Day is on Saturday, June 8, 2019. Heal the Bay shares a roundup of fun ocean-inspired events in the Los Angeles area that you won’t want to miss!

On World Oceans Day people around the globe come together to honor our oceans, which cover over 70% of Earth’s surface and sustain one million species of animals.

Looking for things to do around L.A. to immerse yourself in the marine world? From the worlds of science, art, film, and fashion, here are six World Oceans Day events nearby that you should consider adding to your social calendar.

Atlas Obscura: Aquatic Gender Fluidity
Fri. June 7, 7pm-9pm @ Heal the Bay Aquarium under the Santa Monica Pier

This unique Heal the Bay Aquarium event was created specifically for Pride Month🌈! Enjoy cocktails, listen to speakers from the LGBTQ+ community, and learn how many marine species in our oceans change sex, gender roles, and use forms of asexuality to survive. Laura Rink, Associate Aquarium Director at Heal the Bay Aquarium will discuss the gender diversity of our local marine inhabitants followed by a presentation from transgender speaker and educator, Michelle Dennis, who joins us on behalf of PFLAG.

RSVP


Recycled Plastic Lifeguard Tower Inauguration
Sat. June 8, 9am-Noon @ Manhattan Beach

See how plastic waste can be transformed into usable products. Get your coffee to-go Saturday morning (in a reusable cup!) and come down to Manhattan Beach pier on the sand at Bruce’s Beach (26th Street). Watch how the ByFusion team diverts 1,420 pounds of plastics and recycled surfboard foam waste into a functional Lifeguard Tower. The tower will be on display until sunset on #WorldOceansDay.

RSVP


“Reef Paintings” Exhibition
June 1-16 @ Silverlake

Dulce Stein and The Neutra Museum are proud to present ‘Reef Paintings, Cataloguing Nature’s Fingerprint’ by Michael Torquato deNicola in honor of World Oceans Day. The art exhibit covers the artist’s surfing adventures in Chile, Sumatra, Nicaragua, Maui, and California alongside his first-hand observations of the environmental impacts on reefs from plastics, polluted run-off, and development.

MORE INFO


“The Smog of the Sea” Film Screening
Sat. June 8, 12:30pm-5pm @ Heal the Bay Aquarium

Explore oceans of inspiration at the Aquarium with marine-themed games, activities, scavenger hunts, and crafts. “The Smog of the Sea” a 30-minute film by musician Jack Johnson about single-use plastic in our once pristine oceans will also be screened throughout the day.

MORE INFO


The MY HERO Project Short Films Screening
Sun. June 9, 2pm-4pm @ Santa Monica

Enjoy a free short film screening of uplifting short films that honor World Ocean’s Day and Peace and Social Justice, hosted by filmmaker and social justice activist, Trey Carlisle, and MY HERO International Film Festival Director, Wendy Milette. The event takes place in Moss Theater at New Roads School.

MORE INFO & RSVP


Fred Segal Malibu Trunk Show
June 6-9, 10am-9pm @ Malibu

Join our fashionista friends at Fred Segal Malibu for a trunk show celebrating World Ocean Day with their fully sustainable vintage collection; both luxury vintage as well as the Morphew Collection, which is made from one-of-a-kind vintage materials. In addition to donating proceeds to Heal the Bay, the Fred Segal team are also hosting a beach cleanup in the ‘Bu to give back.

RSVP


How else can you get involved?

 🐟 Become a Heal the Bay Sustaining Member for $9 a month.

 🐟 Pre-order your Heal the Bay x K-Swiss limited edition sneakers made from recycled and eco-friendly materials.

 🐟 Stay informed about beach water quality and practice safe swimming in freshwater, too.

 🐟 Sign our Plastic Petition to advocate for new statewide policies in California that drastically reduce single-use product and packaging waste.

 



Photo by Dan Do-Linh

And just like that another Heal the Bay Gala has come and gone.

Yesterday, Heal the Bay welcomed over 1,000 guests to the ultimate beach party. Our annual Bring Back the Beach Gala recognizes the fearless leaders who have helped make real progress toward a healthier natural environment in L.A, and celebrates the victories Heal the Bay has achieved. This year, we honored the eco-accomplishments of Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, and the lasting legacy and support of KROQ.

View Gala Photo Gallery

The event started with guests arriving in their white beach-chic attire and walking the signature blue carpet. A mobile tank from Heal the Bay Aquarium offered a deeper look at some local marine animals and wildlife. After a sweet cocktail party, thrilling live auction, and scrumptious dinner and dessert (the donuts!), we danced the night away to the incredible James Gang band, right on the sand and beneath the stars.

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Photo by Nicola Buck

K-Swiss, our event sponsor, even announced their sneaker collaboration with us! It was a wonderful night of making waves, celebrating the great work being done, and creating a sustainable water future in L.A. County.

heal the bay k-swiss

Our wonderful community of supporters also included Bonnie Wright, Harry Potter actor and environmentalist, Ser’Darius Blain, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle actor, Jason Lewis, Sex and the City actor and model, Victoria Konefal, Days of Our Lives actor, Andrew Walker, actor, Jackson Dollinger, Disney’s Sydney to the Max actor, and -of course- Amy Smart Oosterhouse and Sharon Lawrence, actors and our Heal the Bay Board Members. And although he could not be in attendance, our long-time friend and wavemaker, Jeff Bridges, also cheered us on with a special video message!

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


Thanks to ALL of our Bring Back the Beach Gala 2019 Sponsors & Partners

Heal the Bay Gala 2019 Sponsors

Thank you to our official airline partner, American Airlines



River Report CardLas áreas acuáticas para nado y recreación en el condado de Los Angeles brindan oportunidades importantes para quienes disfrutan y valoran la naturaleza de nuestros ríos y arroyos. Desafortunadamente, existe poca información o notificación pública de la calidad del agua por parte del estado. Como resultado, carecemos de datos estandarizados y la información disponible para el público es mínima y difícil de interpretar.

Durante más de 30 años, Heal the se ha dedicado a hacer que las aguas costeras y cuencas hidrográficas del sur de California sean seguras, saludables y limpias.

Desde 1991, Heal de Bay ha priorizado la salud pública, informando y educando a la comunidad sobre la calidad del agua de nuestras playas a través de nuestro “Boletín Informativo de Playas” (BRC, por sus siglas en inglés).  Evaluar la calidad del agua en áreas de recreación acuática y brindar información al público en el condado de L.A. fue el siguiente gran paso de Heal the Bay. Un día de esparcimiento en las vías fluviales del condado de Los Ángeles no debería enfermar a nadie, por tal razón se estableció en el 2014 un programa de monitoreo en los sitios de recreación acuática y se desarrolló en el 2017 el programa River Report Card (RRC) o “Boletín Informativo de Ríos” para brindar al público información de fácil comprensión sobre la calidad del agua.

El RRC asigna calificaciones con los colores verde, amarillo y rojo en función a los niveles de contaminación bacteriana. Esto difiere del BRC de Heal the Bay, que asigna calificaciones a las playas con letras que van de la A a F; sin embargo, consideramos esta evaluación como un informe de calificaciones y nos referimos a los códigos de colores como calificaciones.

Desarrollamos una metodología de clasificación de verde, amarillo y rojo, así como también de sitios clasificados según los niveles de bacterias indicadoras de contaminación fecal. Verde indica buena calidad de agua con niveles de bacterias indicadoras de contaminación fecal bajo los límites permitidos por autoridades de salud. Amarillo indica que al menos uno o más exceden los límites permitidos y que puede aumentar el riesgo de adquirir enfermedades. Finalmente, el color rojo indica mayor riesgo de salud donde todos o casi todos los niveles de bacterias indicadoras de contaminación fecal superan los límites permitidos.

El “Boletín Informativo de Ríos” es el informe de calidad de agua más completo hasta la fecha en áreas de recreación acuática del área de Los Angeles. El conjunto de datos es recopilado por Heal the Bay, Programa de Monitoreo de la Cuenca del Río Los Angeles (LARWMP, por sus siglas en inglés), Oficina de Sanidad y Medio Ambiente (LASAN, por sus siglas en inglés) de la Ciudad de L.A. y Programa de Monitoreo Regional del Río San Gabriel (SGRRMP, por sus siglas en inglés). Los datos analizados fueron monitoreados durante la temporada seca 2017 y 2018 y cubre 27 sitios en su totalidad en tres cuencas hidrogróficas que son utilizadas para nado, pesca y kayak. Datos previos a estos años también están disponibles desde 2014, pero solo para determinados sitios. Se realizaron pruebas para detectar bacterias indicadoras de contaminación fecal que indican la presencia de microorganismos y virus que causan infecciones, irritación de la piel, enfermedades respiratorias y enfermedades gastrointestinales.

En todos los 27 sitios del año 2018, el 57% de las calificaciones fué de color verde, el 25% amarilla y el 18% roja. Las áreas urbanas tienden a tener calificaciones más bajas que las áreas naturales. Los sitios en las zonas de recreación de la cuenca del río de Los Angeles están rodeados principalmente de paisajes urbanos y tuvieron calificaciones más bajas que los otros sitios en este informe. Los sitios en las zonas de recreación del río de Los Angeles obtuvo 38% verde, 36% amarillo y 26% rojo. Los sitios de la cuenca del río San Gabriel y los sitios de la parte alta de la cuenca del río de Los Angeles obtuvieron las mejores calificaciones en general, probablemente porque se encuentran en paisajes naturales y no recibieron aguas de descargas urbanas que contienen contaminantes. Los sitios en la cuenca del río San Gabriel, que se encuentran en áreas naturales, obtuvieron 84% verde, 11% amarillo y 5% rojo para el 2018; los sitios de la parte alta de la cuenca del río de Los Angeles obtuvieron 70% verde, 13% amarillo y 17% rojo.

Los sitios de la cuenca de Malibu Creek se encuentran en un parque estatal y sus alrededores son en su mayoría áreas naturales, con algunos desarrollos urbanos en la parte alta de la cuenca. Estos sitios obtuvieron mejores calificaciones que los sitios en las zonas de recreación de la cuenca del río de Los Angeles, pero obtuvieron calificaciones más bajas que los sitios de la cuenca del río San Gabriel o de la parte alta de la cuenca del río de Los Angeles. Los sitios de la cuenca de Malibu Creek obtuvieron 50% verde, 39% amarillo y 11% rojo en el 2018.

Figura 1: Porcentajes de calificación de calidad de agua 2017 y 2018 para los sitios de monitoreo en el condado de Los Ángeles:  Cuenca de Malibu Creek, zonas de recreación de la cuenca del río Los Angeles, parate alta de la cuenca del río Los Angeles y cuenca del río San Gabriel. Los colores verde, amarillo y rojo son mostrados para cada área y temporada.

Los dos sitios con porcentajes más altos en color rojo para el 2018 correspondieron a Hansen Dam (80%) en la parte alta del río de Los Angeles y Rattlesnake Park (58%) en la zona de recreación Elysian Valley del río de Los Angeles. Sin embargo, seis sitios obtuvieron 100% color verde; cuatro de estos sitios están en la cuenca del río San Gabriel y dos en la parte alta de la cuenca del río Los Angeles. En comparación con el año 2017, las calificaciones del 2018 en general, mejoraron para la cuenca de Malibu Creek,  cuenca del Río San Gabriel y para las zonas de recreación de la Cuenca del Río de Los Angeles (el porcentaje para las calificaciones con color verde aumentó)

Al examinar los sitios individualmente, 15 de los 27 sitios obtuvieron un mayor porcentaje de calificación con color verde para el 2018 en comparación con 2017, 9 sitios obtuvieron un menor porcentaje de color verde y 3 no tuvieron cambios. En todo el condado, la proporción de calificación en rojo emitidos del 2017 a 2018 disminuyó en un 1%, y el porcentaje de calificaciones verde disminuyó en un 2%. Por lo tanto, a pesar de los aumentos observados en la calidad del agua, las disminuciones superaron ligeramente a los mismos.

Desde que Heal the Bay comenzó a monitorear los sitios acuáticos de recreación y hacer público los datos de calidad del agua, los cambios han sido positivos e incluyen:

  • Aumento del monitoreo bacteriano en zonas de recreación del Río de Los Angeles, tanto en sitios como frecuencias, realizados por LASAN.
  • Mayor notificación pública por medio de letreros acerca de la calidad del agua a lo largo de las zonas de recreación del Río de Los Angeles, realizados por LASAN.
  • Mayor difusión pública e información sobre la calidad del agua a través de correos electrónicos, sitios web y otros medios en línea por parte de las agencias que recopilan la información (LARWMP, LASAN y SGRRMP).

Basados en este informe, recomendaciones adicionales para proteger la salud pública incluyen:

  • Notificación y monitoreo estandarizado en todo el estado y región para áreas acuáticas de recreación; designando responsables para el monitoreo y notificación, y recomendar una legislación o algo similar a la Ley de Calidad del Agua de las Playas (AB411) que proporcione financiamiento y monitoreos estandarizados a los condados que realicen la labor.
  • El monitoreo debe incluir los Enterococcus, así como también E. coli para proteger la salud pública y debe incluir la media geométrica en los avisos de calidad del agua.
  • La notificación pública debe incluir la publicación de carteles sobre la calidad del agua en todos los sitios de recreación acuática, en inglés y español.

Personas dirigiendose a áreas de recreación acuática  pueden consultar el Boletín Informativo de Playas de Heal the Bay www.healthebay.org/riverreportcard Es recommendable ducharse con agua y jabón después de cualquier contacto directo con el agua para poder minimizar cualquier riesgo de salud.

 



A day spent enjoying the waterways of L.A. County should not make anyone sick.

Heal the Bay today released the annual River Report Card, which assigns water quality color-grades of Red, Yellow, or Green for 27 freshwater sites in Los Angeles County. Grades are based on levels of bacteria monitored in 2018 and prior years.

Our staff scientists put a ton of work into this comprehensive study of bacterial pollution in our local waterways. We encourage you to soak up all the stats and charts we’ve assembled in the report, so we are all better informed about water quality in our region.

The River Report Card is the most comprehensive water quality report to date on bacterial pollution in popular freshwater recreation areas within the Los Angeles River Watershed, the Malibu Creek Watershed, and the San Gabriel River Watershed. These valued public places are often used for swimming, wading, fishing, kayaking, and other activities, especially during summer months when communities seek relief from hot SoCal days.

Here are some of the major findings:

  • The good news is that over half of all the water quality samples taken at freshwater sites in 2018 received Green grades – so bacterial levels were not a cause for concern at the time of the sampling.
  • However, there is a significant risk of getting sick from freshwater contact in Los Angeles County during dry weather. In 2018, 43% of water quality samples monitored by Heal the Bay came back as Yellow or Red, signaling a moderate to high public health risk.
  • The River Report Card features a Top 10 Freshwater Fails list. Taking the top spot with the worst grades overall was Hansen Dam, located in the Upper L.A. River Watershed, which had the highest public health risk (this site received Red grades in 80% of water samples taken!). Just last week, it was reported that over twenty lifeguards in L.A. developed rashes after swimming at Hansen Dam. See the full list of Freshwater Fails on page 10.
  • The River Report Card also includes a Top 10 Honor Roll list of the freshwater sites with the best grades overall. Six locations earned perfect Green scores in every sampling, including four sites in the San Gabriel River Watershed and two sites in the Upper L.A. River Watershed. Heal the Bay recommends that the public head to Hermit Falls and the East Fork San Gabriel River areas for freshwater swimming, based on the 2018 water quality analysis. Water quality conditions are subject to change so it’s best to check the latest available data when choosing a swimming hole. View the entire Honor Roll list on page 11.
  • Freshwater sites in more natural areas tended to earn better grades than freshwater sites near development. Read the report’s conclusions on page 22.
  • Better State and regional oversight and funding are needed for monitoring and public notice of water quality in freshwater recreation sites. (Our full recommendations starting on page 25) Monitoring protocols and public notification in L.A. County are not standardized, and government agencies only test for E. coli. Testing should also include the fecal indicator bacteria Enterococcus. Solely monitoring for E. coli might be putting the public at unnecessary risk. More on page 23.
  • The River Report Card includes storm drain monitoring. See which eight storm drains in the L.A. River Elysian Valley Recreation Zone need to be prioritized for runoff remediation on page 29.

Download Report in English

Read Executive Summary in Spanish

Download Press Release

Donate to Heal the Bay

Tips for enjoying and staying safe in L.A.’s rivers, streams, and creeks

Before heading to a freshwater recreation area in L.A. County check out Heal the Bay’s River Report Card at healthebay.org/riverreportcard (New data coming on Memorial Day). If water quality is poor (Yellow or Red), consider choosing a site that has good water quality.

People can also minimize their risk by limiting water contact, avoiding submerging their heads underwater, avoiding hand-to-face water contact, and washing off after contact using soap and clean water. For all water recreation, users should avoid entering the water with an open wound, if immunocompromised, or after a rainfall. Always heed official regulatory signs posted by the City or County. Swimming is always prohibited in the L.A. River main channel.


About the River Report Card

We believe the public has a right to know about the conditions of our local waterbodies, and to make informed decisions about how they want to experience them. That’s why Heal the Bay developed the River Report Card — the most comprehensive water quality report to date on freshwater recreation areas in the greater Los Angeles area.

Heal the Bay began monitoring freshwater recreation sites in 2014 and developed the River Report Card program in 2017 to provide easy-to-use water quality information to the public. Water quality grades are based on the levels of fecal indicator bacteria (E. coli and Enterococcus) and are displayed as Red, Yellow, or Green. Green means there is a low risk of illness when there is contact with the water. Yellow indicates a moderate risk, while Red signals a high risk.

Since Heal the Bay started monitoring freshwater recreation sites and making water quality data public, some positive changes have included increased bacterial monitoring and public notification signage in L.A. River recreation zones as well as increased dissemination of water quality information to the public through emails, websites, and other online means by government agencies collecting water quality information. Our annual River Report Card 2018 includes additional recommendations for water quality monitoring and public notification protocols to be the most protective of public health.

Heal the Bay also manages the Beach Report Card, available at beachreportcard.org, which provides A-to-F letter-grades for water quality at hundreds of beaches on the West Coast.

Interested in learning more? Contact our team!



Heal the Bay Gala

Iconic Los Angeles leaders Sheila Kuehl and KROQ to be feted on the sand in Santa Monica

We’re excited to announce our honorees for the Bring Back the Beach Annual Awards Gala 2019 on the evening of Thursday, May 23 at the Jonathan Beach Club in Santa Monica, California. Now in its second decade, Heal the Bay’s Gala has grown into L.A.’s ultimate beach party. Reflecting the eclectic nature of Southern California’s devoted ocean lovers, Heal the Bay will salute the eco-accomplishments of Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl and “The World Famous KROQ”.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl has a long history of collaboration with Heal the Bay, starting with her days as a California State Senator. Under her fearless leadership in public office, she has made the L.A. region more environmentally healthy and sustainable. She protected the long-term health of the local coastline by co-authoring legislation that created the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission in 2002. Last year, she championed Measure W, a ballot measure that will generate $330 million annually to fund projects that capture stormwater, treat runoff and replenish our local water supply. Measure W passed with a huge 69% majority. This crucial progress toward sustainable water would not have been possible without the leadership and vision of Supervisor Kuehl.

KROQ has given a steady stream of support to Heal the Bay over nearly three decades. As the region’s leading alternative rock music purveyor, KROQ has connected millions of music listeners and concert-goers to the shoreline, to their watershed and to each other. Driven by an unrivaled dedication to the Los Angeles community and culture, KROQ has contributed $1,000,000 to Heal the Bay’s local science-based programs since 1992. Proceeds generated from KROQ Weenie Roast and benefit concerts fund Heal the Bay’s work surrounding plastic pollution, climate change, contaminated seafood and beach safety.

The Gala will welcome 1,000 guests to celebrate on the sand, and under the stars, in support of thriving oceans and healthy watersheds. The event consistently sells out and brings together a lively group of artists, entertainment figures, local government officials and business leaders. At last year’s Gala, Bring Back the Beach partygoers celebrated Mayor Eric Garcetti, Gabriela Teissier, Zooey Deschanel and Jacob Pechenik.

This year’s attendees include American Airlines – the official airline of Heal the Bay. The organization is leading the way in their commitment to environmental sustainability.

Group tables and individual tickets are available at www.healthebay.org/bbb.

View Tickets


Download our 2019 Sponsorship Kit, learn more about the event, check out the recap from last year’s Gala, and view more photos from 2018 and 2017.



An aerial view of Kids Ocean Day 2011

Thousands of kids are coming together on May 23 for the 26th annual Kids Ocean Day! Sparking a love for nature in young kids sets them up for a lifetime of appreciation and respect for our oceans, watersheds and natural environment. Plus, they love digging their toes in the sand! At this event, kids will learn about marine animals, the importance of keeping our beaches clean, and what they can do to help.

To wrap up the day’s activities, the kids gather together in formation to create a powerful environmental message on the beach. Far above their heads, helicopters fly by to capture a photo. The result is a spectacular and meaningful image that our team at Heal the Bay looks forward to every year.

Kids Ocean Day 2019 Event Details

Date: Thursday, May 23
Time: 7:00am – 2:30pm
Location: Dockweiler State Beach, Vista Del Mar, Imperial Hwy Entrance, Playa Del Rey, CA 90293 (The end of Imperial Highway between Playa del Rey & Manhattan Beach)

Visit Kids Ocean Day Website


Kids Ocean Day Founder, Michael Klubock, on the importance of youth outreach, hands-on education, and how Kids Ocean Day makes an impact:

“Kids Ocean Day teaches school kids about how litter flows from our neighborhoods to the ocean, where it harms marine life and pollutes our natural resources. It’s where the lessons come to life. By bringing Los Angeles school children to the beach, we put them in touch with nature, while instilling good habits and stewardship that can last a lifetime. The wonder and beauty of the coast, combined with a mission to protect the natural world, is a profound experience. I see it on their faces every year and every year it moves me.

Kids Ocean Day is a way to show kids that their actions—both good and bad—have an impact. That’s a lesson worth learning at any age. Eighty percent of the pollution in the sea comes from the land as the result of runoff. We can all do something about that. Simple things like disposing of litter, picking up after your dog or joining a beach cleanup can make a huge difference.”

An aerial view of Kids Ocean Day 2014



The perfect spot for a beautiful walk, throwing a frisbee, de-stressing, digging your toes in the sand, volunteering, and much, much more. With warm weather on the way (and the beach just a Metro ride away) there are plenty of reasons to go to the beach – check out our list of things to do below!

 

1. For a relaxation day

 

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2. For the fresh air

 

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3. To foster a love of the ocean in your kids

 

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4. To soak up the sunshine

 

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5. To get a workout in

 

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6. For family time

 

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7. For some great beach games

 

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8. To take a mental break

 

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9. To do some people watching

 

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10. For a fun day with the kids

 

11. To spend quality time with friends

 

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12. To surf

 

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13. To take cute photos galore

 

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14. To play in the waves

 

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15. To listen to the waves

 

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16. To explore and reconnect with nature

 

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17. For the gorgeous sunrises and sunsets

 

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18. For a date

 

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19. To get in the mood for summer!

 

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To all our beach-lovers out there: we’ve created a new app to help you decide which beach is the safest and healthiest to go to!

We believe that no one should get sick from a day at the beach. But, it’s hard to keep track of how the rains, currents, and pollution affect your favorite beach spot. That’s why we’ve created our simple, yet comprehensive Beach Report Card with NowCast. It gives you the latest water quality ratings of beaches all along the West Coast.

So we’ll leave choosing a reason to go to the beach up to you, but we’ve got your back on picking which is the safest for you, your family, and your friends.



California Circular Economy and Plastic Pollution Reduction Act,

So, you heard California wants to eliminate single-use plastics? Here’s what you need to know and how you can help. Ready to take action? Urge our representatives to pass new policies by signing the Plastic Petition.

The California Senate and Assembly introduced two bills earlier this year that plan to drastically reduce plastic pollution. These bills are Senate Bill 54 and Assembly Bill 1080 and are referred to as the California Circular Economy and Plastic Pollution Reduction Act.

California is not alone in this endeavor to address single-use plastic at the source. Cities, nations and even the entire European Union have passed similar legislation. What do we know about these brand new bills, and what does the potential policy shift mean for California and the U.S.?

Here are some common questions and misconceptions about this important legislation.

I heard California is going to ban all plastic! Is that true?

The proposed legislation in California isn’t going to ban all plastic. Instead, the policies would set goals for the reduction of single-use disposable products and packaging, including plastics. By 2030, 75 percent of all single-use plastic packaging and products sold or distributed in California would need to be reduced, recycled or composted. After 2030, all single-use packaging and products must be effectively recyclable or compostable. As part of the shift toward a circular economy, the bills also instruct CalRecycle to develop incentives and policies to encourage in-state manufacturing using recycled material generated in California.

These targets would work similarly to California’s greenhouse gas emissions standards passed last year, which set a goal to move towards 100 percent renewable energy by 2045. The target was set and a plan will be developed to meet that target. Think of these plastics bills as a bold vision, with a specific plan to come later. Read the fine print.

What about recycling? Isn’t that important?

Yes, but, recycling as it exists today won’t solve the plastic pollution problem on its own.

Recycling is an important part of the puzzle, especially in the aftermath of China’s recently passed National Sword Policy that prohibits the United States from exporting our recyclables to China. India is quickly following suit, too. And we don’t blame them; it’s our dirty trash after all, and the United States needs a real plan to deal with it.

One of the key components of California’s bills is the standardized definition of what makes an item “recyclable”. For an item to be considered “recyclable”, it not only has to meet strict material requirements, but there also must be infrastructure in place that will ensure the proper recycling of that item, such as curbside pick-up and accessible recycling facilities.

It’s not enough for an item to be able to be recycled or composted, it has to actually happen.

Okay, so recycling is covered, but what about composting?

Just like recycling, these bills will create strict definitions and standardizations for compostable items. This clause will ensure environmental benefit by taking already defined standardizations such as “marine degradable” into account. As with recycling, the bill goes another step further and requires that items are actually being composted at proper facilities to earn the title of “compostable”.

Speaking of composting, what about compostable plastics? I heard those are okay to use!

Excellent question. It’s important to note that, although they sound sustainable, compostable plastics are not a good alternative. Compostable plastics may have benefits in the durable product world; however, they pose another set of issues for single-use products. They do not degrade in aquatic environments and require industrial composting facilities to break down, which we don’t currently have as part of the waste management infrastructure in greater L.A. The legislation being introduced in California will work to increase this infrastructure in L.A. and throughout the state so that all compostable items are being properly composted, helping to “close the loop”.

Wait, what does “close the loop” mean, and how is that related to a “Circular Economy”?

Right now, our global economies operate on what we call a “linear” system. We extract resources, produce products, and then discard the waste, known as “take-make-dispose”. Very little of those extracted resources are looped back into the economy to create new products, mostly due to cost and lack of infrastructure. A “circular economy” is the opposite system, where the raw materials used to make products are recovered to make new ones, with little to no waste. The process of moving from a linear system to a circular one is commonly referred to as “closing the loop”, and would drastically reduce our global waste and plastic pollution crisis by reducing the amount of waste we create. It’s sustainability at its simplest!

Didn’t Europe do something like this, too? Is California’s bill the same?

The European Union passed the EU Directive on Single-Use Plastics and Fishing Gear, a comprehensive plan to drastically reduce plastic pollution through a variety of different approaches. Sounds similar so far, but this directive is a bit different than what we have proposed here in the Golden State. Firstly, the main goal of this directive was to reduce plastic pollution, not necessarily reduce single-use plastics at the source. Secondly, the bill targets 10 very specific items that are most commonly found on European beaches based on beach cleanup data. Each item is then assigned one or more approaches, such as market restriction measures (an outright ban) or producer responsibility schemes (charging the maker of the product with the costs of cleaning it up). On the flip side, California is aiming to set broad plastic reduction targets, instead of focusing on specific items.

Hasn’t this already happened in some cities in California?

Sure has! We have seen the passing of comprehensive single-use plastics legislation in Berkeley, Santa Monica, and Manhattan Beach. There have also been strong plastics ordinances passed all over the state that focus on everything from single-use plastic straws to plastic foam to-go containers. A statewide act will help to strengthen already existing local legislation and give the rest of the state the incentive it needs to reduce its waste.

I’m on board! What can I do to help get this legislation passed?

We are stoked to hear you want to help! Throughout the next year, these new bills will be heard by multiple committees and by the state houses. Both bills have already moved through their first committee hearing and passed!

Now, the best thing you can do is let your state representatives know you support these bills. Sign our Plastic Petition urging the California Senate and Assembly to fast-track the approval of the California Circular Economy and Plastic Pollution Reduction Act. Call, email or write a letter to your representatives and let them know about these bills and why you support this proposed legislation. Find your representative.

And if you live in the City of Los Angeles, please contact your City Council Member and tell them you support this State legislation and want to see something similar in the City of L.A. There is some movement at the City of L.A. to enact similar legislation, but we need more voices to push it along.

Lastly, take the Plastic Pledge and spread the word! The more support this legislation gets from local communities, businesses, organizations, and people like you, the more likely it will be passed. Raise your voice and stay tuned for updates.



Plastic Pollution Reduction - Heal the Bay

Earth Day is April 22, and we’re celebrating all month! You can take part in our Earth Month extravaganza by taking the Plastic Pledge, signing the Plastic Petition in favor of comprehensive environmental policies in California that drastically reduce plastic pollution, and attending one (or all!) of our special events in greater Los Angeles. Here’s a snapshot look at one of our biggest issues facing our oceans and waterways – and what you can do this month (and year-round) to make a difference.

Take the Plastic Pledge

It’s estimated that there will be more plastic by mass than fish in the world’s oceans by 2050. This Earth Month, Heal the Bay is launching the Plastic Pledge campaign. You can get started today by refusing single-use plastic and replacing one product or service with a safer and cleaner alternative.

Here’s how it works in 3 simple steps:

1. Complete this statement:  I Pledge to ________ during Earth Month.

Here are some sample Plastic Pledges from the Heal the Bay team:

  • I Pledge to shop local instead of buying from Amazon during Earth Month.
  • I Pledge to drink from a reusable cup during Earth Month.
  • I Pledge to carry a reusable shopping bag during Earth Month.
  • I Pledge to use metal straws only during Earth Month.

2. Make it known:

Download this template, customize it, and share it on social media! Tag us @healthebay and use #healthebay!

3. Tell the full story:

Once you make the Plastic Pledge, how easy was it to keep? Making a personal shift away from single-use plastic isn’t simple. Transportation, budget, and a lack of access to equitable choices can get in the way of our willingness to opt for the better alternative. So, there is no shame in failing – in fact, it’s totally OK to fail. That is part of the process, right?! If you fail, tell the full story in your social media post. Did your sandwich shop refuse to fill your reusable cup (call ‘em out!)? If you are able to succeed in your Plastic Pledge, acknowledge why you were successful by recognizing the resources and privileges you have access to that helped you succeed. Does your gym provide accessible water refill stations for your bottle (give them a shout out!)?


The Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors and Heal the Bay collaborate during National Coastal Cleanup Day at Dockweiler State Beach. The event included cleaning up the beach, family-friendly activities, and a chance to enter the Can the Trash! Clean Beach Poster Contest. All Rights Reserved. No Commercial Use. Credit: Los Angeles County
Photo Credit: Mayra Vasquez, Los Angeles County

Sign the Plastic Petition

We are asking Californians to sign the Plastic Petition in support of State Bill 54 and Assembly Bill 1080, known formally as the California Circular Economy and Plastic Pollution Reduction Acts. The two statewide bills were recently introduced to drastically reduce plastic pollution. Read our FAQs here to learn more about the legislation and ways to get involved in addition to signing the petition.

Sign the Plastic Petition


The Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors and Heal the Bay collaborate during National Coastal Cleanup Day at Dockweiler State Beach. The event included cleaning up the beach, family-friendly activities, and a chance to enter the Can the Trash! Clean Beach Poster Contest. All Rights Reserved. No Commercial Use. Credit: Los Angeles County
Photo Credit: Mayra Vasquez, Los Angeles County

Attend a Special Event

Take part in community science, volunteer to clean up our communities, and celebrate with us at a special event during Earth Month. Whether it’s celebrating Earth Day with 100’s of local animal and wildlife species at Heal the Bay’s Aquarium under the Santa Monica Pier, or sipping on Heal the Bay IPA at our Earth Day Pop Up with Golden Road, we’ve got you covered with fun events and opportunities to give back all month.

View Earth Month Events


Become a Sustainer

Make a lasting gift in support of science-based education, advocacy, and community outreach in honor of Earth Month. Your generous monthly support of $9 starting this Earth Month sustains the health and growth of Heal the Bay, and ensures that L.A.’s water remains healthy, safe, and clean.

Make a $9 Gift for Earth Month

 



Heal the Bay community

From community science to clean water, volunteers are needed to protect our natural environment.

We’re announcing our Earth Month 2019 calendar with hands-on events and volunteer opportunities, happening in Los Angeles County throughout the month of April. Our special Earth Month event series celebrates, protects, and improves our neighborhoods, coastal waters, rivers, creeks, and beaches in Los Angeles County. We expect thousands of participants throughout the month. Individuals, families, schools, businesses, and community organizations are all invited to attend the following events. No special training or experience is required. Pre-registration is strongly encouraged at healthebay.org/earthmonth!

In addition to the Earth Month event series, Heal the Bay is asking Californians to reduce plastic pollution by taking the Plastic Pledge and signing the Plastic Petition in support of State Bill 54 and Assembly Bill 1080, known formally as the California Circular Economy and Plastic Pollution Reduction Acts.

Volunteer Orientation at Heal the Bay’s Aquarium under the Santa Monica Pier
Monday, April 8 @ 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Heal the Bay will host a special Volunteer Orientation during Earth Month to discuss engagement opportunities and policy initiatives. This orientation is ideal for those curious about local volunteer programs, but are unsure about which best fits their needs.

Free Cone Day at Ben & Jerry’s Venice Beach
Tuesday, April 9 @ Noon – 8pm
Heal the Bay is celebrating Free Cone Day with Ben & Jerry’s Venice Beach. FREE cones of ice cream will be given out while supplies last. Meet some of the Heal the Bay team while you visit the Ben & Jerry’s Venice Beach location – and feel free to pass on the love with a small donation to Heal the Bay. Ben & Jerry’s Venice Beach will also start eliminating single-use plastics in their business by switching to wooden spoons and paper straws.

Beach Cleanup north of the Santa Monica Pier
Saturday, April 20, 10am – Noon
Last April, 1,000 volunteers picked up 183 pounds of trash and debris that would have otherwise entered our ocean. We hope to better those totals this year at our big public cleanup north of the Santa Monica Pier. Cleanup participants earn same-day free admission to Heal the Bay’s Aquarium under the Santa Monica Pier. *This event is now SOLD OUT! What does this mean? We’ve run out of supplies, so you need to bring your own gloves and buckets to participate in the cleanup.)

Heal the Bay x Golden Road Art Pop Up Art Gallery at the Rose Room in Venice (21+ event)
Saturday, April 20, Noon – 10pm
Taste Heal the Bay IPA and the brand new Hazy Heal the Bay draught at our 2nd Annual Earth Day Art Gallery Pop Up with Golden Road Brewing. Golden Road Brewing, maker of the Heal the Bay IPA, is hosting the second annual Heal the Bay Pop Up on Saturday, April 20 at The Rose Room in Venice. Golden Road Brewing started brewing Heal the Bay IPA in March 2014, with a percentage of every barrel sold supporting Heal the Bay’s work. Stop by to taste the Heal the Bay IPA beer and the new Hazy draught and see exhibiting local artists.

Earth Day Celebration at Heal the Bay’s Aquarium
Saturday, April 20, 11am – 5pm
Heal the Bay’s award-swimming Aquarium under the Santa Monica Pier has programmed a day filled with fun activities for all ages. Families can experience the Santa Monica Bay and see all the local animals without getting their feet wet. Short film screenings, Earth Day-themed story time, live animal presentations, face painting, and an eco-themed crafts station will round out the celebration in the Aquarium. In addition, visitors who walk to the west end of the Santa Monica Pier will find a wildlife station stocked with binoculars and bird identification guides.

We are also launching a special virtual exhibit on Earth Day 2019 — a 360-degree exploration of marine protected areas off Catalina Island in California. You’ll be able to wear some special goggles and take a virtual dive under the Pacific Ocean. If you’re lucky you might even come face-to-face with a giant sea bass, a rare and endangered denizen of the deep.

TrashBlitz L.A. in San Pedro
Starts on Saturday, April 20, 10am – Noon
The inaugural TrashBlitz L.A. kicks off on April 20 in the Los Angeles River and surrounding watershed communities. Together, volunteers will remove trash and identify the top brands on packaging labels that are polluting the L.A. River and nearby areas. The results of this TrashBlitz will be used to support local and statewide policies and strategies to reduce waste. Heal the Bay is co-hosting the event with 5 Gyres, Friends of the LA River, Surfrider-Long Beach/Los Angeles, Algalita, Space Center, Greenpeace, Multicultural Learning Center, The Bay Foundation, Adventures in Waste, Sierra Club, Loyola Marymount University, Tree People, Team Marine, Los Angeles Waterkeeper, Padres Pioneros, Pacoima Beautiful, Los Angeles Yacht Club, Climate Reality Project, Azul, LA Maritime Institute, Adventures in Waste, Plastic Pollution Coalition, El Nido.

City Nature Challenge all over Los Angeles County
Friday, April 26 – Monday, April 29
The City Nature Challenge is a global effort for people to find and document wildlife in cities. Over 130 cities around the world are competing in the City Nature Challenge, including Los Angeles! For the fourth year in a row, Heal the Bay is rallying everyone in Los Angeles County to get outside, snap photos of any plant, animal, fungi, slime mold, or any other evidence of life (scat, fur, tracks, shells, carcasses!), and share observations using the iNaturalist app. The City Nature Challenge is organized by the Natural History Museum and the California Academy of Sciences. Free iNaturalist training will be provided at Heal the Bay’s Aquarium on April 13, 2pm-4pm.

View Earth Month Calendar


Become a Sustaining Member

Make a lasting gift in support of science-based education, advocacy, and community outreach in honor of Earth Month. Your generous monthly support of $9 starting this Earth Month sustains the health and growth of Heal the Bay, and ensures that L.A.’s water remains healthy, safe, and clean.

Make a $9 Gift for Earth Month

Looking for more ways to get involved? Stay connected with us by signing up for our newsletter and following us on social media at Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.