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MPA Watch Reflections: Jasmine Islas spent her Spring 2022 MPA Watch Internship with Heal the Bay exploring the rabbit hole of factors impacting skewed representation at Los Angeles beaches. The dead end she arrived at points to important action items for the science community.

LIVING IN CALIFORNIA, I have been spoiled with the beauty and nature that it has. I was lucky that my family wanted to make sure that I relished the different experiences Southern California had to offer. Some of my earliest and fondest memories come from spending my day at the beach. The distance from where we lived to the beach that we frequented was about an hour, so we’d dedicate the entire day to staying there, ending the night with a bonfire. As I grew older, we went to the beach less and less because I was made aware of how far away it was and how much was spent to have a beach day. I felt guilty about how oblivious I was about how much my working-class family was spending so that my sister and I could have fun in the sun.

My visits to the beach led to a passion for marine science, which prompted me to pursue a degree in Biology. Coming from a working-class Hispanic household, I was spoiled and sheltered from what working in marine science would look like. I just assumed that when I would start networking and meeting people in the field I would see more people that looked like me, people with a brown complexion. What I have now come to realize is that the marine science community is dominated by my white counterparts, which caught me off guard. I was perplexed and wondered why that was.

This led me to question my choices in pursuing this field of study. I felt like I wouldn’t fit in or flourish as a scientist. I went down a rabbit hole of questions and research to try and see what the cause of this disconnect was. I ask myself what the root of this issue is.

To determine the reason for the lack of diversity in marine science, I thought it would be helpful to figure out the demographic of people coming to beaches in LA County. I believe that those who have easy access to beaches are more likely to care about coastal issues enough to pursue careers in them. At first glance, this seemed like it would be an easy question to answer with the help of a little research.

To my surprise, there is very little research conducted that focuses on beach access specific to LA County. The exception is a UCLA study called “Access for All; A New Generation’s Challenges on the California Coast” by Jon Christensen and Philip King. In the study, they surveyed 1,146 people that came to SoCal beaches over the summer of 2016. The beaches they focused on were located in Ventura County, Los Angeles County, and Orange County. While the study wasn’t centralized around LA county beaches, their findings were intriguing.

The scientists in this study collected demographic data including the average annual income of beachgoers and how frequently people visited the beach. The beaches with more affordable accommodations had a greater diversity of visitors in comparison to other neighboring beaches in Southern California. Those with a median household incomes greater than $60,000 are likely to come to the beach more frequently than households with an income of less than $40,000 a year.

In 2011, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development determined that an annual household income of $47,850 for 1 person living in Los Angeles County is considered low income. While these low income figures were published in 2011, it’s worth mentioning because that would mean that the people who come to the beach more often are outside that margin. This disproportionately impacts both Latino and African American communities in Los Angeles County.

Going to the beach isn’t affordable for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of color) communities. The Access for All study found that they face barriers of cost, lack of parking, and lack of public transportation. This is in addition to the intangible barriers that they face such as fear of judgment and discrimination when coming to the beach.

So, what now?

After seeing the absolute lack of published research into beach access, beach equity, and the barriers therein, I want everyone to know about this serious knowledge gap that needs to be filled to make change. Research into these topics IS science and the following questions CAN be sufficiently answered through rigorous, trustworthy, and peer-reviewed scientific investigation:

  1. What science-based methods remove barriers to beach inclusivity and access?
  2. What societal changes are needed to facilitate BIPOC individual interactions with our coastal ecosystems?
  3. How can marine and ocean work be more accessible to BIPOC communities?

Without tangible evidence from a strong investment in rigorous scientific studies into beach equity, it makes it difficult for better policies to be put in place. It makes it harder for change to occur.

Our oceans face very challenging and complicated global threats that will need diverse minds to mitigate, and diverse support to fund and manage. Our oceans depend on us, and I for one, am eager to see more change makers that look like me, who feel a very real belonging in this role. After all, Dr. Jon Christensen and Dr. Philip King astutely observed during that study, that despite our demographic differences, everyone surveyed essentially had the same basic set of desires.

ACTION LINK(S)

APPLY FOR INTERNSHIPS

READ “ACCESS FOR ALL”


By Jasmine Islas. As a Spring 2022 MPA Watch Intern, Jasmine supported Heal the Bay’s Science, Outreach, and Policy teams in the research and observation of marine protected areas (MPAs) through coastal conservation advocacy and fieldwork.



💥 Action Alert: We need your calls of support to pass these 5 bills before the end of the California Legislative Season.

UPDATE 09/06/2022: ALL 5 of these bills were passed! Thanks for your support in helping California protect communities and waterways. Now it’s up to Governor Newsom to sign them into law!

IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR: the end of the California Legislative season! Our state Senators and Assemblymembers have some important decisions to make over the next two weeks and we are just a few plays away from passing some innovative new laws that will help California communities battle climate change, pollution, and drought all while protecting our precious water and ocean resources. We have already had some major wins from the year, like Senate Bill 54 (Allen) passing back in June to fight plastic pollution, and losses, like Heal the Bay sponsored Assembly Bill 2758 (O’Donnell), which would have required public meetings on the DDT pollution off our coast but didn’t make it out of Senate Appropriations. However, there are still plenty of bills on the docket that need our urgent attention.

Heal the Bay has been supporting the following five bills over the past 2-year bill cycle and we have until August 31 to ensure that they are passed by the Senate & Assembly and, if they pass, until September 30 for the Governor to sign them into law. A key factor in their decision-making is the opinions of their constituents. That’s right, YOU! Let’s take a look at this year’s top contenders for environmental legislative wins and how you can help get them across the finish line:

1. AB 1832: Seabed Mining Ban (L. Rivas)

The ocean seafloor is a rich and thriving ecosystem, but around the world, that ecosystem is being threatened by seabed mining. A practice that resembles clearcutting a forest, mining the seafloor for minerals destroys habitat and wildlife leaving behind a barren seascape that grows so slowly, it may never recover. Mining also creates enormous toxic sediment plumes and noise, light, and thermal pollution that disrupt marine habitats. Following in Oregon and Washington’s footsteps, AB 1832 would ban seabed mining in California, effectively protecting the entire West Coast of the United States from this dangerous practice.

2. AB 2638: Water Bottle Refill Stations in Schools (Bloom)

Reusable water bottles are an excellent alternative to disposable plastic bottles, but they aren’t a viable solution if there is nowhere to refill them. AB 2638 would require any new construction or modernization project by a school district to include water bottle filling stations. By increasing access to safe drinking water at refill stations in schools, we can contribute to reuse and refill systems across the state, allowing our students to use reusable bottles instead of harmful disposable ones.

3. SB 1036: Ocean Conservation Corps (Newman)

For decades, the California Conservation Corps has served young adults across the state by hiring and training young adults for conservation-based service work on environmental projects. SB 1036 would expand this program and create an Ocean Conservation Corps. This bill would increase workforce development opportunities to thousands of young adults while contributing to ocean conservation projects like those currently happening at the Heal the Bay Aquarium.

4. SB 1157: Drought Resilience through Water Efficiency (Hertzberg)

California is experiencing long-term aridification, which means a hotter and drier climate, and is currently several years into the most severe drought in 1,200 years. We must ensure that California’s urban areas are not wasting water as we adapt to our changing climate. SB 1157 would update water use efficiency standards to reflect our growing need to conserve water based on best available indoor water use trends. Water efficiency is one of the cheapest, fastest, and most efficient ways we can meet long-term water needs and increase resilience in the face of the climate crisis. Saving water also saves energy, so it can help us meet our climate goals while also resulting in cheaper utility bills. That’s a win-win!

5. AB 1857: Anti-Incineration (C. Garcia)

Right now, Californians are sending their waste to incineration facilities to be burned instead of landfilled or recycled. These facilities are disproportionately located in frontline communities already overburdened by multiple pollution sources. Cities that send their waste to these toxic facilities are currently able to claim “diversion credits”, a tactic aimed at reducing waste sent to landfill and classifying incineration inappropriately in the same categories as recycling and source reduction. AB 1857 would redefine incineration as true disposal, and remove these diversion credits while also funding investments in zero-waste communities most impacted by incineration. This is a critical bill for achieving environmental justice in California and moving us away from toxic false solutions to our waste crisis.

Your representative wants to hear from you to help them vote on these bills, and your voice makes a huge difference. So, we need your help.

Here’s how YOU can help us pass these bills.

Call your Representative: Head to this website to find your representatives and their phone numbers. It takes 5 minutes or less to call your reps. Give the numbers a call and read off the script below, and tell your representative to vote YES on these five environmental bills.

Call Script:

Hello, my name is [insert your name here] and I am a constituent of [insert the representative’s name here, e.g. Senator Stern]. I care deeply about the health and wellness of California’s natural ecosystems and am calling to ask the [Senator/Assemblymember] to vote yes on these five environmental bills: AB 1832, AB 1857, AB 2638, SB 1036, and SB 1157.

These bills will help California protect our environment and better prepare for climate change, while protecting our most vulnerable communities. As your constituent, this legislation is important to me and I urge [insert representative name] to vote yes on all of them.

Thank you for your time.

ACTION LINK(S)

CONTACT YOUR REPRESENTATIVE


Written by Emily Parker. As a Coastal and Marine Scientist for Heal the Bay, Emily works to keep our oceans and marine ecosystems healthy and clean by advocating for strong legislation and enforcement both locally and statewide. She focuses on plastic pollution, marine protected areas, sustainable fisheries, and climate change related issues.



It’s been a year since the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant sewage spill. Where are we now?

ONE YEAR AGO TODAY, a catastrophic flood at the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant (Hyperion) sent 13 million gallons of sewage into the Santa Monica Bay endangering the health and safety of Los Angeles County beachgoers and Hyperion workers. For several weeks after the spill, surrounding communities were blanketed in noxious fumes, and the Plant continued to discharge millions of gallons of undertreated wastewater into the ocean as repairs were made. Public notifications were alarmingly slow and reckless with L.A. County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) taking nearly 24 hours to close beaches and issue sewage spill advisories. This major breakdown in infrastructure and public notification is something we cannot afford to have happen again.

Here, we provide a short recap of the response to the spill as well as the most recent updates. For more information about the spill, check our original blog post.

The Response to the Spill

In the weeks after the spill, Heal the Bay supported motions put forth by the L.A. County Board of Supervisors and the L.A. City Council to investigate the cause of the spill as well as the public notification protocols used by government agencies. These motions resulted in the creation of two reports – one created by L.A. Sanitation (hereafter 30-day Report), and one created by an ad hoc committee (hereafter Ad Hoc Report) of experts that included Heal the Bay’s CEO at the time, Shelley Luce, as well as Heal the Bay’s current CEO, Tracy Quinn, who was with the Natural Resource Defense Council. Around this time, L.A. Sanitation launched a website providing information and data about the recovery status of Hyperion in a bid for transparency. 

30-day Report 

The 30-day Report was released several weeks after the spill, and offered much needed clarity on the events leading up to the spill and an assessment of the damage to Hyperion. This report also provided a minute-by-minute account of the day of the spill. While this report was valuable, it did not identify the cause of the spill as there was not enough time for a thorough investigation.

Ad Hoc Report 

The Ad Hoc Report was released on February 11, 2022 and was more comprehensive than the 30-day Report. The Ad Hoc Report found that a series of missteps led to the sewage spill rather than a single sudden influx of debris that inundated Hyperion’s machinery, which was the original theory. The report recommended improvements and next steps for improving Hyperion’s operations including upgrades to the trash removal equipment; improved alarm functionality; and more staffing and training. 

Enforcement 

This event caused Hyperion to violate both water and air pollution regulations, which means they could be penalized by two government agencies: L.A. Regional Water Quality Control Board (LARWQCB) and the South Coast Air Quality Management (SCAQMD) district. Both agencies state that investigations are ongoing, but we do have some information:

  • The SCAQMD has identified 39 separate air quality violations, but since their investigation is still in progress, there is no information about penalties at this point. The SCAQMD states that air pollutant levels no longer exceed state thresholds.
  • The LARWQCB has not released information about violations publicly, but we do know that there were sewage discharge and water quality monitoring violations. According to the LARWQCB, Hyperion may be fined between up to a maximum of $10 per gallon of sewage spilled depending on how severe the LARWQCB deems the spill. Given that 13 million gallons were discharged into the ocean, potential penalties could be $130 million dollars – with additional monetary penalties for each day they were in violation (up to $10k per day). Unfortunately, the LARWQCB has a poor track record when it comes to enforcement. In 2015, when Hyperion discharged 30 million gallons of sewage into the Santa Monica Bay, they were fined a little over $2 million or 7 cents a gallon. That penalty is well below the $10 per gallon maximum the LARWQCB could enact.  

Latest Updates 

On June 29, 2022, L.A. Sanitation (LASAN) provided the public with updates on the status of the Plant’s operations:

Completed  

  • LASAN worked with LACDPH and other agencies to improve public notification protocols.  
  • Additional staff have been hired at Hyperion. 
  • Alarms are audible and more visible in the Headworks facility; emergency protocols have been updated; and staff have received additional training. 
  • Certain buildings were upgraded to make them less vulnerable to flooding.
  • More effective air filters were installed to address fumes.  

In Progress 

  • Pipes carrying wastewater to the Plant will be inspected and cleared of debris. 
  • The flood control mitigation feature in the Headworks facility will be automatic and will not rely on an employee to activate the feature in case of an emergency.
  • All equipment in the Headworks facility will have the ability to be operated remotely in case conditions in the Headworks facility are too dangerous for workers.
  • Electrical equipment will be updated and protected so it can withstand a flood.
  • New covers will be installed on effluent storage tanks, which will help prevent noxious fumes from seeping into the surrounding neighborhoods. Sensors will also be installed around the facility’s perimeter to measure fume concentrations.  

What Comes Next 

We are glad to see that Hyperion has made so many upgrades to its infrastructure within one year of sustaining catastrophic damage. At face value, the updates to Hyperion’s operations, both completed and in progress, will prevent a similar disaster from happening in the future at the Plant. However, this will not be the end of major sewage spills in Los Angeles County. Until major infrastructure updates are implemented across the County, we can expect to see failures in our sewage system like the December 2021 spill in Carson. We urge decision makers to fund infrastructure updates to keep pollution out of our communities and ecosystems. 

LASAN will also need to work on rebuilding public trust as Hyperion transitions to full wastewater recycling by 2035. This transition means that Hyperion will no longer discharge treated water to the ocean, but will instead recycle 100% of its water to provide for a reliable and local source of water in the face of ongoing drought and climate change impacts. Heal the Bay is a strong supporter of this effort to reduce our reliance on imported water as well as reduce impacts to the ocean – we will be tracking the issue closely to ensure that public health is prioritized along with sustainability.

L.A. Sanitation and LACDPH have stated that they are working together on updated protocols for public notifications in case of a sewage spill, but we have seen little documentation or evidence of this. We urge both agencies to provide us with more information on how they will communicate with each other and the public in case of a sewage spill.  

Once LARWQCB and SCAQMD complete their investigations, they will levy a monetary penalty on Hyperion/L.A. Sanitation. Some of these funds could go towards Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEPs) – which are projects aimed at improving the environment. For example, approximately $1 million of the penalties resulting from the 2015 Hyperion spill went to environmental education programs including Heal the Bay’s and LASAN’s Don’t Flush That campaign. Another $1 million went towards cleanup and abatement costs of the spill. We urge LARWQCB and SCAQMD to enact fines that will adequately remediate the damage caused by this spill and also act as a deterrent for future environmental violations. Check out L.A. Waterkeeper’s blog for more information. 

Heal the Bay will continue to monitor this issue and provide updates. We’d like to thank our local communities for diligently staying informed on this issue. Right after the spill happened, we received countless inquiries from members of the public, and in response we hosted a Live discussion on Instagram to answer your important questions. If you continue to have questions about the spill, please contact us.  


Written by Luke Ginger. As a Heal the Bay Water Quality Scientist, Luke fights for the environment’s rights by advocating for water quality regulation and enforcement. He’s also looking out for the humans who go to the beaches, rivers, and streams by managing the Beach Report Card, River Report Card, and NowCast programs. 



Watch Tracy Quinn, our CEO on Spectrum News 1 discussing SB 54.

HEAL THE BAY IS ENCOURAGED to share that California has taken a major step forward in addressing the plastic pollution and waste crisis with the passage of Senate Bill 54 (SB 54) in the California State Legislature, followed by Governor Newsom signing it into law on June 30, 2022.

Reducing single-use plastics through comprehensive statewide policy is a priority for Heal the Bay. During Heal the Bay beach cleanups, 80% of the more than 4 million pieces of trash that our volunteers pick up is made from single-use plastics. In our ocean and rivers, plastic waste poses a significant threat to animals, leaching harmful chemicals into their bodies or even blocking their digestive tract, leading to starvation and malnourishment. The plastic pollution can even transfer up the food chain ultimately passing the toxins on to us.

SB 54, authored by Senator Ben Allen, establishes a producer responsibility scheme to hold plastic industries accountable for the waste they produce. We look forward to working with Senator Allen on the implementation of SB 54, and with our environmental justice partners to ensure low-income communities and communities of color don’t bear additional burdens. Pollution from the full lifecycle of plastics, which are derived from fossil fuels, already harms communities of color disproportionately. This pollution can lead to health impacts such as asthma, respiratory illness, headaches, fatigue, nosebleeds, and even cancer.

“Heal the Bay envisions a solution that moves us entirely away from single-use materials, especially plastics, and focuses on reuse and refill instead. Even though recycling is an important part of this process, we cannot recycle our way out — nor can we use dangerous chemical recycling methods that dispose of plastics in our air. We will continue to push hard, alongside other environmental and community-based organizations and advocates, to ensure the producer responsibility program established by SB 54 prioritizes reuse and refill,” said Tracy Quinn, Heal the Bay CEO and President.

The passing of this legislation ultimately means the California Recycling and Plastics Pollution Reduction Act Initiative, which was supposed to be on the November 2022 ballot, will be pulled. While we were thrilled to give California voters the opportunity to make this decision, our California legislature has incorporated many of the requirements and solutions laid out in the plastic ballot measure. The momentum of the plastic ballot measure brought industry to the table to make real commitments, and we are going to hold them to it.

What’s included in SB 54:

  • Sets a 25% source reduction goal for single-use packaging production by 2032. And by then, 65% of single-use packaging still being produced will need to be truly recyclable or compostable
  • Establishes a producer responsibility scheme through the formation of a Producer Responsibility Organization (PRO) to help California reduce plastic pollution, and creates strong state government enforcement and oversight that will remove power from the PRO should they fall out of compliance
  • Requires $5 billion of environmental mitigation funding from plastic producers to go toward environmental restoration and cleanup over 10-years

What needs to be improved upon in the legislation:

  • Does not outright ban polystyrene, rather it sets recycling rates of 25% by 2025 with the material being banned if this rate cannot be met
  • Allows for post-consumer recycled content (recycled plastic that is used in a new product) to count toward source reduction goal

Heal the Bay thanks Senator Allen and the bill’s co-authors Senators Becker, Gonzalez, Hertzberg, Kamlager, Skinner, Stern, and Wiener for championing SB 54. A huge thank you to Assemblymember Luz Rivas who advocated for important amendments. With the passage of SB 54, we look forward to experiencing less plastic pollution in our communities and environments and seeing a decrease in public health risks in the years to come.

Stay tuned for a deep dive from us on Senate Bill 54: The Plastic Pollution Prevention and Packaging Producer Responsibility Act.

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Resumen ejecutivo
Heal the Bay se enorgullece en publicar el cuarto informe anual del boletín River Report Card. Este informe proporciona un resumen de las calificaciones de la calidad del agua en áreas recreacionales del condado de Los Ángeles (L.A.) durante el 2021. Los ríos, arroyos y lagos del condado de L.A. reciben multitudes de visitantes cada año y son vitales para satisfacer las necesidades recreacionales, áreas verdes y prácticas culturales de la comunidad. Desafortunadamente, muchos sitios de recreación en el condado de Los Angeles tienen problemas de contaminación por bacterias indicadoras fecales (FIB), lo que indica la presencia de patógenos que pueden causar infecciones, irritación de la piel, enfermedades respiratorias y gastrointestinales. Nuestro objetivo es resaltar las preocupaciones sobre la calidad del agua, abogar por mejorar este problema y brindar a los miembros de la comunidad información necesaria para mantenerse seguros y saludables cuando disfrutan de sus área recreacionales locales.

  • De los 35 sitios calificados durante el verano de 2021, el 59 % obtuvo luz Verde en su calificaión (lo que indica que no hay riesgos para la salud debido a la calidad del agua); El 17% obtuvo luz Amarilla (riesgo moderado para la salud) y el 24% luz Roja (alto riesgo para la salud).
  • Heal the Bay amplió el informe del boletín River Report Card para incluir seis nuevos sitios de monitoreo en la parte baja del río de L.A. desde Maywood hasta Long Beach. Si bien estos sitios no están oficialmente designados para la recreación, las personas acuden regularmente a esta parte del río. Los datos brindan información para los usuarios y nos dan una perspectiva para futuros esfuerzos de revitalización del río.
  • Siete sitios de monitoreo no excedieron los lilmites permitidos de bacterias patógenas, obteniendo así calificaciones ecológicas del 100 %. La mayoría de estos sitios están ubicados en el sector del Angeles National Forest.
  • Todos los seis sitios de monitoreo de la parte baja del río de L.A. experimentaron una muy baja calidad de agua, lo que los hace acreedores a los peores sitios de la lista. Las concentraciones de bacterias a menudo fueron diez veces mayores a los estándares de calidad de agua.
  • Después de los sitios de la parte baja del L.A. River, Tujunga Wash en Hansen Dam encabezó la lista de los peores sitios recreacionales con un 94 % de calificaciones que obtuvieron luz Roja, porcentaje más alto visto en este sitio desde que se inició el informe del River Report Card.
  • Por cuarto año consecutivo, a la altura de Rattlesnake Park en el río de L.A. esta otro sitio en lista de los peores sitios recreacionales. Este sitio popular recibe un flujo constante de contaminación bacteriana cerca del drenaje pluvial a la altura de la calle Fletcher Ave para quienes pescan, hacen kayak o caminan por sus aguas.
  • Las Virgenes Creek a la altura de la calle Crags Road experimentó un gran aumento en el porcentaje de calificaciones con luz Roja con respecto al año anterior. Este sitio en el Parque Estatal Malibu Creek ocupa la posición nueve en la lista de los peores sitios recreacionales.
  • Las áreas con desarrollo urbano tienden a recibir las peores calificaciones que las áreas naturales, y la mayoría de los peores sitios en la lista se cuentran en los paisajes urbanos. Los sitios en la cuenca del río San Gabriel y la cuenca superior del río de L.A. se encuentran en áreas menos desarrolladas y se ven menos afectados por la escorrentía urbana.

Heal the Bay estuvo conmovido por el gobernador Gavin Newsom quien firmó el Proyecto de Ley de la Asamblea (AB) 1066 en 2021. Este proyecto iniciará un proceso para proteger la salud pública y la calidad del agua en sitios recreacionales como ríos, lagos y arroyos de California. El proyecto de ley, escrito por el asambleísta Bloom y patrocinado por Heal the Bay, asignará al Consejo de Monitoreo de Calidad del Agua de California (California Water Quality Monitoring Council) para hacer recomendaciones a la Junta Estatal de Agua (State Water Board) de un programa uniforme de monitoreo de sitios recreacionales de agua dulce en todo el estado para diciembre de 2023. El programa del Consejo incluirá definiciones propuestas para sitios recreacionales y “sitios prioritarios recreacionales de contacto con el agua” en California. El Proyecto de Ley AB 1066 abordará las disparidades en el monitoreo de la calidad del agua entre sitios recreacionales de agua dulce y playas costeras.

Heal the Bay se compromete a mejorar la calidad del agua en las cuencas hidrográficas del condado de Los Ángeles mediante la creación de áreas verdes. Las áreas verdes, mejoran la calidad del agua local, aumentan la reutilización y el suministro de agua, reducen el carbono y mitigan el efecto aislado de calor urbano. Además de proporcionar áreas de recreación y hábitat para los animales vida Silvestre, pueden también funcionar como soluciones esenciales de múltiples beneficios para las aguas pluviales. Como ejemplo podemos mencionar la creación de Inell Woods Park: un nuevo espacio verde de múltiples beneficios y diseñado por la comunidad que se construirá este año en el sur de Los Ángeles. Heal the Bay construirá el parque de aguas pluviales en colaboración con el concejal de la ciudad de Los Angeles Curren Price Jr. y miembros de la comunidad para capturar, tratar y reutilizar la escorrentía urbana y proporcionar espacios verdes y recreativos a la comunidad. Los proyectos de beneficios múltiples como este son de uso eficiente y efectivo de nuestros contribuyentes que sirven tanto a las necesidades comunitarias como ambientales.



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

Photos by Nicola Buck

What does “Heal the Bay” mean to you?

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

What about Heal the Bay excites you the most?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When did you know that water was your happy place?

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

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

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

 



AS THE YEAR CONTINUES on through May, the weather begins to warm, melting away the worries of the winter and bringing us into the joys of the spring! The level of sunshine spikes, encouraging us to go out and play, and what better way to ring in the rising heat than by going to the beach? Los Angeles has many beautiful beaches to visit, so it’s important you pick the one that’s right for you! Read below to see which one aligns most harmoniously with your zodiac sign: 

Aries

Aries, your best beach is the Leo Carrillo Beach on the west side of Malibu. This beautiful beach is connected to a gorgeous state park where there are trails, sea caves, and reefs all available to enjoy. You’ll never get bored!


Taurus

Taurus, you love a lowkey beach where you can just relax and unwind. Your most aligned beach is Long Beach! Not only is this beach’s vibe laid-back and easygoing, it’s surrounded by tons of amazing restaurants. We all know Taurus loves good food.


Gemini

Gemini, the best beach for you is Santa Monica Beach. The Santa Monica Pier is what makes this beach your best bet to visit. Complete with rides and a Ferris wheel, this beach has no shortage of fun activities, which pairs perfectly with Gemini’s need to stay stimulated!


Cancer

Cancer, you love to be in places that are comfortable and sweet. Hermosa Beach is the beach for you. It’s close to LA, so you don’t have to travel too far away from your treasured home to get here. This beautiful shore will have you feeling happy and healed!


Leo

Leo, you have a knack for gathering attention with your looks and aura, so why not show them off the way you deserve? Bring your beautiful self to Venice Beach, where you can enjoy the gorgeous waves and also connect with gorgeous people!


Virgo

Virgo, a trip to the beach can’t have too much fuss or too many people, that’s why your best beach in Los Angeles is the Will Rogers State Beach! With ample parking and space, this beach isn’t as busy as the bigger beaches, and that’s why it fits right in with your vibe.


Libra

Libra, you need a beach that’s beautiful and allows you to be social. Your most aligned beach is Redondo Beach. With a buzzing pier, highly Instagrammable oceanfront restaurants, and even nightlife, you’ll get all the connection your little Libra heart needs at Redondo Beach!


Scorpio

Scorpio, you appreciate a little privacy when you go out, so you prefer places that are more intimate and serene. You’ll find just what you’re looking for at Puerco State Beach! This beach is quiet and low-profile. Make it your next beach day destination.


Sagittarius

Sagittarius, you need a beach that piques your interest, with multiple things to do and sights to see. That’s why your best beach is Escondido Beach, which is also part of a state park. You can lay out on the sand after hiking, climbing, or seeing the Escondido Falls waterfall!


Capricorn

Capricorn, you have an appreciation for the finer things in life, so you deserve a beach that has a bit of luxury. Manhattan Beach is the place for you. It’s beautiful, but not too bustling, with ample luxury shopping and dining. Give it a visit!


Aquarius

Aquarius, you need a beach that’s just as interesting as you are, but still gives you plenty of room to do more than just lay out. Look no further than Torrance Beach! You can surf, swim, bike, walk, or even fly kites at this beach. The versatility will make you feel right at home.


Pisces

Pisces, your big, beautiful beach is none other than Zuma Beach! There is nothing Pisces values more than ease and flow, and Zuma Beach offers both of those in abundance. With plenty of parking, space, nature, and water, Zuma Beach is definitely made for Pisces.


It’s time to have fun, so get out and go play! And remember to do a little cleanup as you catch your rays and admire the waves. All zodiac signs can do their part to protect our planet!

The Best Los Angeles Beach for Your Zodiac Sign

Amber Jay is an astrologer with over 10 years of astrological research under her belt. She utilizes astrology as a practical tool that is enlightening and freeing, focusing on pulling out the inherent wisdom that lies within all of us. You can find her for regular spiritual and astrological guidance at @AmberJayLightsTheWay on Instagram.

Images include altered photographs from Wikimedia Commons. Support public image libraries.



Earth Month is here and Heal the Bay is excited to celebrate all April long with in-person volunteer activities and hands-on training events, plus live virtual discussions and educational opportunities. Let’s learn and grow, go outside to do some good, and celebrate our amazing blue planet together because every day is Earth Day.

Individuals, households, schools, businesses, and community organizations are all invited to attend Heal the Bay’s Earth Month events. No special training or experience is required for any of our activities. Heal the Bay’s goal is to create that spark of inspiration so we can Spring Into Action for our coastal waters, rivers, creeks, and beaches in Los Angeles County. 

Spring into the Climate Challenge – Virtual

ALL MONTH LONG Action

Take a deep dive into the climate impacts on our local coastal and marine ecosystems in our Spring Into Climate Action blog. We’ll discuss the coastal impacts of the climate crisis, the main sources of the pollution that is accelerating climate change, and what you can do about it. We are not powerless in this climate crisis. Small changes at home do add up, and individual action can also take the form of supporting the systemic changes we need. Together, our actions can make huge waves!

Act Now


Scroll down for our full calendar and event details on how to get involved.

Heal the Bay Earth Month 2022 Calendar of Special Events

Anti-Plastic Advocacy Happy Hour – Virtual

Thursday, April 7, 4:30 PM – 5:00 PM PST

Heal the Bay’s Plastics Initiative team is hosting an advocacy event to provide information about current state bills and local policies that address the enormous plastic pollution issue. Attendees can participate in reducing plastic pollution in LA County and California by completing specific actions! Registration in advance is required.

RSVP For Happy Hour


Volunteer Orientation Meetup – Virtual

Monday, April 11, 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM PST 

Get an introduction to Heal the Bay, our current issues, and how you can take part in our exciting volunteer programs. Founded on the principle that one person can make a difference, Heal the Bay has empowered thousands of volunteers to improve their environment, and now you can make a difference too. Our Orientation is ideal for those who want to learn more about how to take part in our beach, community science, and Aquarium programs. Registration in advance is required.

Register for Orientation


BioBlitz the Bay – In-person

Saturday, April 16, 8:30 AM – 10:30 AM PST

Heal the Bay’s MPA Watch team is adventuring out to a Marine Protected Area for an early morning tidepool tour and bioblitz. Experts will instruct guests on how to safely observe and document wildlife while discovering more about local marine ecosystems. This event is an introduction to one of Heal the Bay’s most popular community science programs where volunteers take long walks on the beach to collect data and protect precious marine habitats. Registration in advance is required.

 Register for the Bioblitz


Earth Month Nothin’ But Sand Beach Cleanup – In-person

Saturday, April 16, 10 AM – Noon PST

Our big Earth Month cleanup helps to ensure safe, clean, and healthy local beaches. This Nothin’ But Sand beach cleanup is a meaningful opportunity for volunteers to directly improve the condition of our beaches while enjoying the outdoors. Cleanup supplies are provided and speakers will share ocean pollution facts and safety talks for people of all ages. 

This is our first Earth Month cleanup since 2019 – at that time, 1,072 volunteers picked up 271 pounds of trash and debris that would have otherwise entered our ocean. This year we are restricting capacity due to health and safety concerns from the pandemic. Please note: April’s cleanup location will be provided in a CONFIRMATION EMAIL after you complete the registration at Eventbrite.

If the event says it is SOLD OUT, you can still come! Please bring your own gloves and buckets to participate in the cleanup. For those of you who can’t register because it is sold out, we will announce the location on the Eventbrite page a few days before the cleanup, so check back then to find out where we will be.

Special perks for volunteers: Stay energized at our Earth Month Nothin’ But Sand cleanup in April with FREE coffee provided by Don Francisco’s coffee truck. Just by participating in the cleanup, 3 lucky volunteers will win free coffee for a year from Don Francisco.

Sign Up for Nothin’ But Sand

A BIG thank you to our April Nothin’ But Sand Sponsors 

Don Francisos 

Amalfi Estates 

Interactive Brokers

ARES Management

EarthDay.org


FREE Beach Wheelchair Rentals & Beach Exploration with Heal the Bay Aquarium – In-person

Saturday, April 16, 9:30 AM – 11:00 AM PST 

Need a Beach Wheelchair to enjoy some fun in the sun? Everyone should be able to enjoy a day at the beach, so come to Heal the Bay Aquarium to access our manual, beach wheelchairs, available for FREE public rentals.

Once you’re on the shore, take part in the Earth Month Nothin’ But Sand Cleanup or join Heal the Bay Aquarium staff for a guided beach exploration to learn more about the California coast and the thriving ecosystems we strive to protect.

Pick Up Location Details

Heal the Bay’s Beach Wheelchair rental program helps provide accessibility to one of nature’s most inspiring and critically important resources, and was made possible thanks to funding from The Coastal Conservancy. Learn more about our Beach Wheelchair Rental Program: https://healthebay.org/beach-wheelchairs-santa-monica-pier/


Heal the Bay Aquarium Earth Month Celebration – In-person 

Saturday, April 16, Noon – 4 PM PST 

The award-winning Heal the Bay Aquarium located at the Santa Monica Pier has programmed an afternoon filled with fun Earth Month activities. Featuring exciting exhibits and demonstrations, it’s a great way for the entire family to experience the Santa Monica Bay and observe the local animals that call it home.

Our Aquarium’s Earth Day schedule includes:

  • “Who Pollutes?” Dorothy Green Room Special Presentation –  12:30 PM and 2:30 PM
  • Saturday Sea Star Feedings –  1:00 PM and 3:00 PM
  • Earth Day Story Time – 2:00 PM

Crafts, pollution displays, and short films will round out our afternoon of activities. 

Visit Heal the Bay Aquarium


Heal the Bay Stream Team Live on Instagram – Virtual

Wednesday, April 20, 3:30 PM – 4 PM PST

Immerse yourself in the science of water quality without getting your feet wet. Dive into a live discussion on @healthebay Instagram with Heal the Bay’s Stream Team and learn about how to start your impactful journey into the world of environmental careers.

Follow HTB on Instagram


Heal the Bay Aquarium Live on Instagram – Virtual

Friday, April 22, at 1 PM PST

Sunshine shining through underwater kelp forest in Channel Islands California

On Earth Day, Heal the Bay Aquarium will host an Instagram Live featuring our Under the Pier Exhibit. Virtual visitors can learn all about local animal species that live in the Santa Monica Bay, including the critically endangered giant sea bass (Stereolepis gigas), and view live feeding demonstrations. Swim by @healthebayaquarium on Friday, April 22 at 1:00 PM PST, and “shell-ebrate” Earth Day with us.

Follow AQ on Instagram


Earth Day Beach Cleanup with Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi

Saturday, April 23, at 9 AM – 10:30 AM PST

Join Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi at Miramar Park for a Cleanup of Torrance Beach. Community members will have the chance to discuss environmental policy with the Assemblymember as well as meet with our local partners. Please check the weather in advance and dress appropriately. This event is supported by local partners including Heal the Bay, Grades of Green and the Sierra Club Palos Verdes-South Bay.

Get More Information


Community Educational Resource Fair at MacArthur Park Lakeside

Saturday, April 23, at 9 AM – 10:30 AM PST

LA Sanitation and partners are hosting an educational feria, or fair, full of fun activities for the whole family to enjoy while learning about the MacArthur Park’s upcoming improvements. Join in on Saturday, April 23rd for the latest updates on the MacArthur Lake Stormwater Capture Project and learn how this awesome initiative will benefit both the community and the environment. You’ll also have an opportunity to share your input regarding the in-progress project’s above-ground features. No registration is required for this public event on the park’s West side.

Learn More about the Project


Place, Power & Justice: Land Rematriation Now Panel – Virtual

Wednesday, April 27, 6:30pm – 7:30 pm PST

Jointly hosted and co-moderated by Sacred Places Institute for Indigenous Peoples and Heal the Bay in honor of Earth Month, the panel includes experts and activists in the Land/Water Back and Rematriation Movement. The panel will be held via Zoom and streamed to Facebook Live.  And, follow us on Facebook for the latest updates. Registration for the Zoom is required in advance.

Attend the Panel 

Follow Us on Facebook 


Gear Up for Earth Day with Heal the Bay 

All Month Long

Nothing says Earth Day like swag from Heal the Bay. Use promo code EARTHLOVE for 10% off everything in the Heal the Bay online store from April 1 – April 30, 2022.

Shop the Bay 


Make waves for a sustainable future in Greater Los Angeles, by making your Earth Month donation to Heal the Bay.

  • Inspire Local Youth: Your $25 gift can provide 1 student with a marine science education experience.
  • Tackle Toxic Plastics: Your $50 gift can train 2 volunteers to fight plastic pollution with strong advocacy.
  • Restore Our Rivers: Your $100 gift can underwrite 1 week of water quality monitoring in local freshwater spots
  • Protect Clean Water: Your $500 gift can fund campaigns to hold polluters accountable for pollutants in the Bay

DONATE 



At Heal the Bay we love our volunteers to the moon and back! After a two-year pandemic hiatus, we could not wait to celebrate those individuals that give so much to Heal the Bay with an out-of-this-world party at the Heal the Bay Aquarium.

The Heal the Bay 32nd Annual Volunteer Appreciation Party

Our volunteers are the rocket fuel that allows Heal the Bay to shoot for the stars when it comes to educating the public, local outreach, aquarium care, making an environmental impact, and everything in between. Amid a global pandemic, their dedication, passion, and love for our environment are the heart that kept and keep us going. We are only able to celebrate so many successes because of the time, dedication, and support our volunteers so graciously donate.

Our 2021 Volunteer Accomplishments include:

· Over 1793 hours of Aquarium volunteers hours contributed in 2021 as they interpreted at touch tanks, supported field trips, and assisted in caring for our animals.

· Our MPA Watch volunteers conducted dozens of surveys in 2021 to monitor use in the Palos Verdes and Malibu MPA sites.

· Heal the Bay continued our legacy of community commitment by enriching the lives of thousands of LA County residents through our Speakers Bureau program.

· Thousands of volunteers helped picked up trash from the greater L.A’s shorelines and neighborhoods last year. On Coastal Cleanup Day, we had 2,735 volunteers remove more than 5,051 lbs of trash from our waterways and neighborhoods.

Thank you again Heal the Bay Volunteers!

Our star-studded party sponsors

We’d also like to take a moment to acknowledge our party Sponsors who supplied the raffle prizes and amazing refreshments that kept the party going.

Our stellar snacks, wraps, and sandwiches were provided by our lunch caterer Good Heart Catering.
The out-of-this-world donuts were donated by DKs Donuts, while Starbucks and Pacific Park donated some space-tacular raffle prizes.

Taking A Moment to Honor our Superstars

And of course, where would we be without our stellar 2021 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 2021 Super Healer Award:

Justin Green -2021 Super Healer

Justin is a Santa Monica local who grew up coming to the aquarium for field trips. He’s always loved the Ocean and volunteering has only strengthened that bond. Justin even aspires to be a future aquarist! He has been volunteering at the aquarium for two years with both the Public Programs team and Aquarist Operations. His dedication and fearless drive to dive in headfirst wherever he is needed make so many programs possible and we are very honored he is part of our Heal the Bay Aquarium family.

 

 

 

 


 

Ian Brown -2021 Super Healer

Ian has grown up visiting the Aquarium (even hosting one of his childhood birthday parties here), and has been volunteering at the Aquarium for the past two years starting with our Public Programs, and later joining our Aquarist Operations. Ian’s dedication to education is truly inspiring and he is always researching new marine science facts to share with the public. The Aquarium team is always learning something new every time Ian volunteers. We are so thankful to Ian for all of his dedicated service, and for inspiring our visitors to get as excited and passionate as he is about the marine environment, and protecting what we all love.

 

 


 

 

Crystal Sandoval -2021 Super Healer

Crystal has been volunteering/interning within the Education Department for many years now. We’ve seen her learn and grow both within her capacities within our department, and also personally. She is constantly growing and is more than willing to go above and beyond for us. We cannot wait to see what else she will accomplish!

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

John Wells – 2021 Super Healer

Our MPA Watch program, which collects data on the human use of our local marine protected areas, would not be where it is today with out John Wells. Over the past two years, John has dedicated hundreds of hours to conducting MPA Watch surveys and in 2020, he was responsible for over HALF of all our surveys. John single-handedly kept our program charging forward, providing us with feedback whenever we asked and even befriending a local Fish and Game warden. We are deeply grateful for his rock star accomplishments!

John Wells has lived in four states, two of which are located near the ocean: Arizona, California, New York, and Colorado. When everyone else was moving in the opposite direction, John moved back to Los Angeles from Colorado Springs upon retirement in 2018. He earned degrees in Biochemistry from Cal State LA and UCLA, and ever the environmentalist, he worked as a chemical analyst measuring EPA Priority Pollutants in the 1980s. More recently he explored careers in grounds and building maintenance and instruction in school bus driving. Our 2021 MPA program was extremely successful because of his tireless dedication.

 

 


 

 

Oralia Michel -2021 Board Member Super Healer

Oralia Michel has been on our Board for 10 years. She takes her role very seriously, attending nearly every meeting and providing helpful ideas and feedback while always pushing us to do better. Oralia was on our Marketing Committee for many years where she applied her expertise in corporate partnerships and branding, putting in many hours to help Heal the Bay craft messaging and win over the hearts and minds of Angelinos. As Secretary of the Board since early 2021, she has been a voice for equity and inclusion on the Board and staff: she never hesitates to speak up and support transformative work to address inequities in our environment and our work for clean water. Oralia also served on our Search Committee a 6-month process to which she contributed enormous time and thoughtful input. Oralia’s creativity, constant support, and true friendship with our organization make her invaluable and a true Super Healer.

 

 


 

 

John Reyes -The Jean Howell Award


The Jean Howell Award recognizes the outstanding achievement in volunteer service of someone who has won a Super Healer Award in the past and this year the vote for our winner was unanimous. John Reyes is a LA native who has been involved with Heal the Bay since 2016, initially involved with HTB’s Nothin’ But Sand beach program and California Coastal Commission’s Adopt-A-Beach partnership with his family and friends. In addition, John has committed to being a Storm Response Team member, a California Coastal Cleanup Day captain, and a major component of the Suits on the Sand program. His dedication has included hundreds of hours of beach program involvement and has permitted him to average double-digit beach cleanups year after year! John’s passion for marine debris removal is only rivaled by his enthusiasm for native habitat restoration, especially within sensitive island ecosystems. He has been recognized for his outstanding contribution to restoring native habitats within California Channel Islands and is proud member #126 of the California Channel Islands’ exclusive “All 8 Club.” John’s outstanding contributions to Heal the Bay’s work earned him the Super Healer award in 2018, and he played a major role in the success of Heal the Bay’s in-person programming throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

 


 

 

Dave Weeshoff-Bob Hertz Award

The Bob Hertz award is Heal the Bay’s lifetime award recognizing volunteers who have given us a lifetime of extraordinary volunteer service and there is no one who deserves the recognition more than Dave. This Award is for volunteers who show up day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year. Dave has done so much for Heal the Bay, it’s almost impossible to capture it all, but his work on the 2021 advocacy for the Regional MS4 (Stormwater) Permit stands out among his many contributions. This single permit covers 99 permittees across the Los Angeles Region, and addresses the primary source of pollution to our surface water: stormwater. It was a massive undertaking. Dave not only provided written comments on the draft permit back in 2020 urging the Regional Board to make changes to the draft and adopt a strong permit, but he also did extra work to get others to sign  his letter, making an even greater impact. He also attended multiple MS4 Workshop events and provided oral comments during at least three of these events. On top of all of that, Dave even joined me for two strategy meetings to parse through the trash prohibition language of the permit and find ways to improve it. We did not end up getting exactly what we wanted in this new permit, but we did get commitments for more accountability that we are finally starting to see. I am so pleased to nominate Dave for his outstanding advocacy work to help reduce stormwater pollution in Los Angeles.



UPDATE 3/1/2022

Another ocean water desalination plant has been proposed for construction in Huntington Beach. This project has also been opposed by the environmental community and by the public for years. Poseidon will be applying for a coastal development permit to build their ocean water desalination plant with the CA Coastal Commission. This meeting was originally scheduled for Thursday, March 17, 2022. However, the meeting has been postponed, and no new date has been announced yet. Keep an eye out – we’ll let you know when it gets rescheduled.

UPDATE 2/10/2022

Two critical decisions were made in 2021 to protect LA’s coastal waters from the negative impacts of large-scale ocean water pumping. All too often, we see exemptions, extensions, and approvals for projects that threaten our coastal waters, but the tides may be turning!

Previous extension approvals allowed the Redondo Beach Once Through Cooling Facility to avoid fees associated with years of water quality violations; a trend that ended with this Regional Board Vote. And, LA County’s West Basin Board of Directors voted to terminate a massive ocean desalination project proposed for El Segundo in a shocking step forward for protecting coastal waters.

Are these victories signs of systemic change? And what can Californians do to keep this trend of transformation going while combating large-scale industrial interests that are dangerous to our environment and public health?

Let’s jump into what we mean by ‘ocean water pumping’ and how these two coastal project decisions uphold the Clean Water Act, which is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year.

Protecting the Santa Monica Bay from Harmful Industrial Water Pumping

Industrial water use includes the large-scale pumping (or “intake”) of ocean water and it has severe negative impacts on the health of our coastal waters. The intake of ocean water threatens sea life with impingement (being sucked up against an intake pipe) and entrainment (being sucked up into an intake pipe), both of which can cause serious injury or death. The Clean Water Act of 1972, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, requires the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate this pumping to minimize those negative impacts.

At the end of 2021, two critical decisions were made right here in Los Angeles, that support these Clean Water Act regulations by limiting industrial ocean water intake and holding those who continue to use it accountable.

Rejection of Extension Request from the Redondo Beach AES Power Plant and Once-Through Cooling Facility


Seabirds and Pinnipeds are just a few species that can be affected by the Once-Through Cooling process used in locations like Redondo Beach (King Harbor / Dana Murry )

Once-Through Cooling (OTC) is a process used by power generating facilities to cool down generators using water. Most of these facilities, especially in California, are located along the coast, positioned to use ocean water. But this kind of large-scale ocean water intake is what threatens sea life with impingement and entrainment. After the water is used, it is usually released back into the ocean, but oftentimes at a higher temperature and with pollutants from the equipment, causing possible water quality violations and concerns for coastal wildlife.

OTC was first recognized as a threat to California’s fisheries, estuaries, bays, and coastal waters in 2005, leading to the approval of a Statewide OTC Policy in 2010. Heal the Bay was one of many stakeholders that worked together to craft the requirements of the OTC Policy. One major compromise was the long time schedule, giving all OTC facilities 10+ years to either shut down or transition away from OTC operations. Now that we are finally approaching those deadlines, we are seeing many of these OTC facilities asking for extensions beyond the original 10+ year grace period.

Over the last two years, the Redondo Beach OTC Facility has requested two separate extensions for operation. Despite opposition from environmental groups and Redondo Beach Mayor Brand, the State Board approved both, allowing the Redondo Beach OTC Facility to continue operations through December 31, 2023. The Redondo Beach Facility then requested an extension (referred to as a Time Schedule Order) from the Regional Water Quality Control Board to essentially waive any fees for water quality violations of the OTC wastewater they release during this time.

On December 9, 2021, the Regional Water Board voted 3-1 to deny this request after hearing clear opposition from NGOs like Heal the Bay, as well as from representatives from the City of Redondo Beach. This was the first time in years that the Regional Board has denied any Time Schedule Order request. The Redondo Beach Facility is still allowed to operate, but they are no longer exempt from fines associated with their contaminated OTC wastewater discharges. If the vote had gone the other way, it would have provided a clear and easy path for additional operational extensions. This critical decision by the Regional Water Board will help to protect water quality by putting pressure on the Redondo Beach Facility to shut down their OTC operations by the new December 31, 2023 deadline.

Termination of the West Basin Ocean Water Desalination Project

Desalination, or the process of sucking in seawater and removing the salt to convert it to freshwater, might initially seem like a logical way to get more freshwater for Southern California. But ocean water desalination has many negative impacts on the environment, and the truth is that we do not need it. Although Southern California does face consistent drought conditions, we can source enough water locally to support all of our water needs without ocean water desalination by focusing on smart water practices like water conservation, recycling efforts, and stormwater capture. One of the myriad problems with desalination is the ocean water intake process, which poses the same impingement and entrainment threat as OTC operations.

The West Basin Municipal Water District had proposed an ocean water desalination plant in El Segundo, intending to reuse decommissioned OTC piping to intake ocean water. This project has been hotly contested for decades, with strong opposition from the environmental community (including Heal the Bay) as well as from the public, because it is the most expensive and energy-intensive way to obtain fresh water and simply does not make sense for Southern California.

At a meeting of the West Basin Board of Directors on December 23, 2021, the Board voted 3-2 to terminate the ocean water desalination project, after hearing from 25 members of the public speaking in opposition to the project. Many factors contributed to this decision including a report from West Basin proving that ocean water desalination is not needed to meet water supply demands for LA. But a final vote from Board Member Houston, quoting the fact that there is no longer public support for the project, broke the tie.

Upholding the Clean Water Act to protect our water, ecosystems, and communities

West Basin’s decision to terminate its ocean water desalination project stopped new industrial intake from affecting our coastal waters and stopped an unnecessary, expensive, and energy-intensive system from being built. The Regional Water Board’s decision to deny the Redondo Beach Facility Time Schedule Order provides extra incentive for the Facility to stop intake operations and to shut down the inefficient, fossil fuel burning Redondo Beach Facility altogether. Both decisions protect coastal waters, ecosystems, and communities in Santa Monica Bay and uphold the Clean Water Act by minimizing the negative impacts of industrial intakes.

Save the Date to Advocate Against Ocean Water Desalination

Public interest and intervention played a big part in both outcomes, just as this huge turnout did for the decision on a desalination plant proposal for Huntington Beach at Coastal Commission meeting in 2013.

Both decisions were swayed by public demand for safe and clean water, but we cannot stop here. To shift the tides so that public and environmental protection becomes the standard, we need more decisions like these. You can help to advocate against ocean water desalination and demand safe and clean water for all.

Another ocean water desalination plant has been proposed for construction in Huntington Beach. This project has also been opposed by the environmental community and by the public for years. Poseidon will be applying for a coastal development permit to build their ocean water desalination plant with the CA Coastal Commission on Thursday, March 17, 2022. Check out this Fact Sheet from the CA Coastal Commission for more information or engage with our partners at Orange County Coastkeeper to advocate against ocean water desalination.

UPDATED NOTE: As of February 28, 2022 the March 17, 2022 meeting has been postponed and no new date has been announced.