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Heal the Bay Blog

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Heal the Bay thrives because of our amazing volunteers. We are only able to celebrate those achievements because of the time, dedication, and support that our volunteers so graciously donate. 

On March 21, 2024, Heal the Bay celebrated the incredible volunteers and supporters at our annual Super Healer Awards and Volunteer Party.

Our dedicated volunteers span a wide age range, from 12 to 87 years old, and hail from various corners of the greater Los Angeles area. From Malibu to Long Beach, South LA to the North East San Fernando Valley, volunteers share a common goal at Heal the Bay: to make coastal waters and watersheds safe, healthy, and clean for everyone. Whether they are participating in beach clean-ups or funding critical work, their collective contributions have made a tangible difference in our ongoing efforts to protect our oceans. Thank you to past, present, and future volunteers for your invaluable support and dedication!

2023 Was A Winning Year for Heal the Bay:

Volunteers who participated in our monthly Nothin’ But Sand Beach Cleanups and annual Coastal Cleanup Day programming contributed over 22,278 hours to protecting and conserving our local waterways and coastal waters.

  • On Coastal Cleanup Day, we had 7,337 volunteers remove more than 16,211 lbs of trash and 430 lbs. of recyclables from our waterways and neighborhoods.

  • Aquarium volunteers contributed 5,751 hours as they interpreted at touch tanks, engaged with visiting students, and assisted in caring for our animals.

  • Our MPA Watch volunteers conducted 572 surveys in 2023 to monitor use in the Palos Verdes and Malibu MPA sites.

Our Super Healer Awardees

Corporate Super Healer

The Many

The Many is a local values-based advertising agency headquartered in the Pacific Palisades of Los Angeles, CA. They deliver bespoke client solutions ranging from integrated brand experiences and world record-setting activations to social movements, influencer campaigns and earned media stunts. They are an active supporter of Heal the Bay and this year they have created the campaign design for our biggest fundraising event of the year, our annual Bring Back the Beach Gala. A big thank you to The Many for their amazing support!

 

Aquarist Super Healer

Bailey Cox

Bailey is a fantastic volunteer. Her ability to work through tasks with incredible speed and efficiency sets her apart. She has a vast knowledge of marine biology, which shows through all of her work. Bailey combines speed with expertise, effortlessly managing multiple responsibilities while ensuring the highest standard of care for our aquatic residents. Her dedication and proficiency make Bailey a valuable asset to our volunteer community, contributing significantly to our mission at Heal the Bay and the well-being of our animals. Thanks Bailey!

 

Laia Mayne

Laia is one of our most hard-working and meticulous volunteers. She is always eager to tackle whatever task is given to her. Her meticulous care in ensuring the tanks are impeccably clean reflects her dedication and desire to learn. Laia sees her time with us as a stepping stone towards her academic ambitions and brings outstanding professionalism and enthusiasm to our volunteer force. Thanks Laia!

 

 

Maia Flores

Maia joined our Aquarium family early on in 2023 and she has shown great enthusiasm and drive for Aquaristing. She is always on top of the tasks she has and is open to trying new tasks. She goes above and beyond in supporting our team in a variety of ways, to help aquarists finish big projects for the day like even getting in and helping scrub Under The Pier. Maia is trustworthy, reliable and dedicated to supporting with any Aquarium tasks for a given day. Thanks Maia!

 

Jake Bogart

Jake has been an excellent volunteer who shows up consistently and for longer than he is required to do because he enjoys spending time at the Aquarium. He goes above and beyond, staying extra hours to get as much aquaristing experience but also helping us complete tasks at hand. He always comes in with a positive attitude ready to work hard and has insightful questions about Aquaristing. We are grateful to volunteers like Jake who help us keep our Aquarium in tip-top shape. Thanks Jake!

 

 

Public Programs Super Healers

Samantha “Sam” Spero

Sam is an Aquarium Super Star. She volunteers with BOTH aquarists and public programs, which gives her a whole new perspective to share with aquarium guests! We also appreciate Sam’s work with Club Heal the Bay. Sam is reliable, creative, and cheerful. It’s a pleasure to work alongside Sam and are in awe of her passion for marine science and marine wildlife. Thank you so much Sam, for your dedication, reliability, and hard work!

 

 

Carter Yean

Carter is a spirited and confident volunteer. We appreciate Carter’s volunteer work with Public Programs and his experience advocating for environmental justice. He’s shown amazing leadership, dedication, and eagerness to try new things. Thank you so much for all that you do Carter, and thank you for being a super healer!

 

 

 

Jackson Yean

Jackson has taken on many endeavors as a Public Programs volunteer. From interpreting with guests at the Aquarium to taking part in educational outreach efforts on the Santa Monica Pier, Jackson is always ready and eager to support in any capacity. Jackson contributes not only his time but also brings along awesome animal facts to share with the team and guests. Thanks for all that you do Jackson, we appreciate your time and effort!

 

 

Gabriel Snyder

Gabriel has been a dedicated and enthusiastic volunteer since day one! Gabriel takes part in various Heal the Bay volunteer programs such as the Aquarium, Club Heal the Bay, and Adopt-a-Beach. He is passionate about protecting our environment and even wrote a book, Samson the Harbor Seal, to encourage readers to do their, part in reducing plastic pollution. We’re so lucky to have Gabriel be a part of our Heal the Bay family! Thank you for all that you do Gabriel!

 

 

Education Super Healer

Sue Liu

Sue has been volunteering with the Education Department for a while now and we absolutely adore her! She has been a positive energy for our team as well as a mentor of sorts. She is great with the students and we cannot thank her enough for her work here, and the kids love her too. Thank you Sue!

 

 

 

 

Beach Programs Super Healers

Art Salter

Art has been a dedicated Coastal Cleanup Day captain since 2018. He heroic heads up the Santa Monica Pier site at tower 1550 every year, Heal the Bay’s busiest CCD cleanup site! He communicates early and often about his CCD duties and helps keep the Beach Programs team on track for a successful Coastal Cleanup Day.

 

 

 

Samuel Jones

 

Sam is always ready to put in whatever work is needed to ensure we have a successful cleanup. He is prompt and very communicative.

 

 

 

 

Jerica Covell

Jerica joined Heal the Bay as a Beach Captain and never looked back. In one year, she has completed the Speakers Bureau training and volunteered as a summer intern for CCD 2023. Jerica’s dedication is invaluable to Heal the Bay. I cannot wait to see what more this incredible person is capable of!

 

 

 

Makayla Cox

Makayla started with the AAB program in November of 2022, quickly got involved as a Beach Captain and now runs her own beach cleanups every month in Venice though her own non profit, Clean Up the Beach. Did I mention she is a sophomore in High School? She started a secondary project, Be Nice to VeNice to help rid the plastic pollution problem along the boardwalk at its source! Makayla has spent countless hours cleaning the beach, leading CCD sites, educating the public, attending community meetings, and working with elected officials to make Venice and the Los Angeles Beaches a better place for all!

 

Community Science Super Healer Awards

MPA Watch: Olivia Rose Marie Muñoz

Growing up in North Hollywood Olivia used to daydream about taking a small boat down the LA River to get to the beach. She’s interested in how watersheds work and their impacts on coastal ecosystems, with an emphasis on water quality. She has been a Heal the Bay volunteer for multiple programs for many years. In 2022, she graduated with a B.S. in Oceanography from Cal Maritime, and is applying to graduate schools for next fall to continue her marine studies focusing on water quality and conservation. In her spare time, Olivia enjoys going on adventures, traveling, combing the beach, or just reading a book. She’s currently halfway through reading all of Stephen King’s books.

eDNA: Kate Swanson

Kate has been involved with Heal the Bay’s eDNA sampling events for just about a year now. Kate grew up in the valley and is a current senior in high school. She first became involved with Heal the Bay through beach captaining Nothin’ But Sand cleanups and heard about eDNA during volunteer orientation, signing up the instant they got notice they were back on. The events have brought so much excitement to Kate’s Saturdays and is looking forward to doing more. One of Kate’s favorite memories was at Latigo Point when Crystal and her found a sea hare!

 

Outreach Super Healer Award

Outreach: John Marshal High School, Club Heal the Bay

JMHS’s Club Heal the Bay has exemplified our efforts to strengthen our youth programming. They have participated in our eDNA events, adopted a beach (and park!), and provided public comment to bring green efforts to LAUSD campuses. They are our most dedicated club, and we look forward to continuing to collaborate with them. Thanks Club Heal the Bay, John Marshal High School for all that you do!

 

 

Are you ready to begin your volunteer journey with Heal the Bay? Discover all the ways you can work for a safe, clean coastline and watershed!

Take Part



Heal the Bay Reusable is Beautiful. Earth Month 2024

Celebrate Earth Month and all things reusable with Heal the Bay!

Join our “Reusable is Beautiful” Earth Month activities to help you ditch single-use plastic and keep our oceans healthy.

Every year, billions of pounds of single-use plastic flood our oceans, threatening the health of our planet. This month and every month, Heal the Bay is committed to raising awareness about choosing reusable options over single-use plastic and keeping our waterways clean, safe, and beautiful for everyone.

Fun, inspiring activations are happening all month for everyone – individuals, families, schools, and more! Grab your reusable water bottle, sunscreen, and friends for climate action fun near you!


Heal the Bay Earth Month 2024 Calendar of Special Events

👇👇👇SCROLL DOWN TO SEE THE FULL LIST OF EVENTS and get involved this Earth Month with #ReusableIsBeautiful events and activities from Heal the Bay and our partners! 👇👇👇


Get Safety Talk Certified for Earth Month -FREE

Monday, March 25, 2024: VIRTUAL or IN PERSON

Become a Heal the Bay Safety Talk Speaker!

Our fun, impactful Nothin’ But Sand cleanups rely on fantastic volunteers like you! As a Safety Talk Speaker, you’ll educate beachgoers about Heal the Bay’s mission, impact, and safety practices. This is your chance to:

  • Educate thousands of volunteers about Heal the Bay’s work. (e.g., 20,000+ lbs of trash removed in 2023!)
  • Lead confidently by learning best practices for beach cleanups and authentic land acknowledgments.
  • Make a real difference for our coastlines and wildlife.
  • Gain public speaking skills to connect everyone from elementary school kids to the CEO’s of some of the region’s most prominent local brands and the science and policy that fuels Heal the Bay’s impact.

Two-Step Training:

  1. Virtual Safety Talk Certification: March 25, 6:00 PM
  2. In-Person Beach Captain Training: April 20, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM (Santa Monica Beach, Tower 1550)

Ready to dive in? Sign up today!

 Get Safety Talk Certified


Touch Tanks on Top of The Pier – FREE

Friday, April 5 12 PM -2 PM 

Join our Aquarium experts and LACC for an extra special touch tank on the Santa Monica Pier next to the Heal the Bay Welcome Center! Get close to some incredible aquarium animals and learn all about the fascinating creatures that call our oceans home.

FREE EVENT

 Plan Your Visit to the Santa Monica Pier


Plastic Pollution Advocacy Training (VIRTUAL) -FREE

Tuesday, April 16, 2024, 6 PM – 7 PM

Calling All Environmental Warriors!

Join Heal the Bay and 5 Gyres for a FREE virtual advocacy training to combat plastic pollution in California. Learn the power of grassroots activism and how to lead impactful campaigns targeting local and state plastic reduction efforts at our VIRTUAL training.

Master the tools to make a difference:

  • Understand key plastic pollution policies.
  • Craft persuasive messages for decision-makers.
  • Make impactful calls to representatives.
  • Submit compelling written comments on legislation.

Become a voice for change:

Gain essential advocacy skills and join the movement for a plastic-free future. Let’s make our voices heard and pave the way for a healthier planet!

Help Heal the Bay 5 Gyres depose the disposables!

Join our plastic policy workshop with Heal the Bay’s Coastal and Marine Scientist, Emily Parker and 5 Gyres’ Policy & Programs Director, Alison Waliszewski. Gain insights on the plastic bag ban, LA’s 2023 plastic laws, Heal Bay’s anti-plastic bills, and why 2024 might be a game-changer for plastic reduction in LA!

 Register to get the Zoom Link


April Nothin’ But Sand Beach Cleanup -FREE

Saturday, April 20, 10 AM – 12 PM @ Santa Monica Pier

Earth Month Beach Cleanup Leveled Up!

Join Heal the Bay’s Nothin’ But Sand at Santa Monica Beach on April 20, 2024 (10 am-12 pm). Fun awaits! Enjoy spin-the-wheel games, trash relay races, and a marine science exploration station, and win #ResusableisBeautiful raffle prizes! All attendees gain FREE ACCESS TO HEAL THE BAY AQUARIUM for the day! Help clean & celebrate a healthier planet with 1000+ other volunteers at LA’s biggest Earth Month cleanup of 2024!

 Register for Nothin’ But Sand


Celebrate Earth Day at Heal the Bay Aquarium 

Saturday, April 20, 11 AM – 4 PM

Dive into Earth Month at Heal the Bay Aquarium! Fun, educational exhibits & live demonstrations await ocean enthusiasts of all ages. Explore the wonders of Santa Monica Bay & meet the fantastic local animals that call it home.

Saturday, April 20, 11 AM – 4 PM

Come to Heal the Bay Aquarium under the Santa Monica Pier for a non-stop day of Earth Month fun!

  • Take an Earth Month pledge
  • Enjoy crafts, chalk art, and face painting
  • Learn about our state flower with California Poppy Kits
  • Participate in an Earth Month Scavenger Hunt
  • Collect limited Edition Earth Month Pins
  • Take 20% off reusable items in the gift shop

Join the Earth Month Beach Cleanup to get free entry to the Heal the Bay Aquarium Earth Month Celebration!

 Plan Your Visit


2024 LA City Nature Challenge BioBlitz -FREE

Saturday, April 27, 2024

Heal the Bay’s Safe Clean Water Program returns with an Earth Month BioBlitz! Heal the Bay staff will host two events with the 2024 LA City Nature Challenge, sponsored by the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and the California Academy of Sciences. Join us on Saturday, April 27th, at Bixby Marshland or Fern Dell in Griffith Park for an afternoon of ecological exploration!

 RSVP to JOIN


Wake & Dance with DAYBREAKER @ Santa Monica Pier

Saturday, April 28, 2024, 6 AM to 9 AM

Join the DAYBREAKER Peace Tour to the Santa Monica Pier! Rise and shine to help protect what you love. Some proceeds will support Heal the Bay programs that keep our coastal waters and watershed clean and healthy for all.

 Get Your Tickets


Rising Tides Discussion Panel @ Hermosa Beach Community Center -FREE

Sunday, April 28, 2024, 3 PM

Our coastline is shrinking. But what can Los Angeles do about it?

Attend the discussion panel of the year at Hermosa Beach Community Center, “Rising Tides: Exploring LA’s Readiness for Sea Level Rise,to find out.

Join three leading experts on climate change, environmental policy, and community resilience as they sit down to unpack the challenges facing LA’s coast and explore solutions for a more sustainable future:

Discover how fossil fuels impact the Pacific shore and delve into equitable approaches to protecting our communities. RSVP now to reserve your FREE seat!

 REGISTER TO ATTEND


Stussy x Heal the Bay Collaboration Launch 

Friday, May 3, 2024, 9 AM

Stüssy x Heal the Bay returns with a limited-edition capsule collection launch!  100% of the proceeds from this collaboration will be donated to Heal the Bay to support our marine and coastal watershed protection work!

This exclusive collection of Stüssy x Heal the Bay retail will be available at Stussy.com.

Get your shopping cart ready and mark your calendar for the 2024 collection drop on May 3, 2024. Last year’s collection sold out in 15 minutes, raising over $75,000 to protect our coastal waters and watershed.

 

 Stüssy.com


All Earth-Month-Long at Heal the Bay 

Did you miss out on Earth Day fun? Enjoy these Heal the Bay activations all month long!

Heal the Bay Reusable is Beautiful. Earth Month 2024


 FREE Beach Wheelchair Rentals @ Heal the Bay Aquarium 

April 2024, 9:30 AM – 11 AM

Beach Wheelchair at Santa Monica PierNeed 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, which are available for FREE public rentals.

Pick Up Location Details

Heal the Bay’s Beach Wheelchair rental program helps provide accessibility to one of nature’s most inspiring and critically essential 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.


Earth Month: Battle of the Babies @ Heal the Bay Aquarium

Join Our Self-guided Beach Cleanup Competition – All Month Long

Are you feeling competitive this Earth Month? Are you ready to defeat the trash on Santa Monica Beach? Then join the Battle of the Babies all month long at Heal the Bay Aquarium!

Lead your team in a self-guided cleanup of Santa Monica Beach, choose which animal you would like to support, and at the end of the month, we’ll tally the total pounds collected by each fandom to see which baby will emerge triumphant!

Stop by Heal the Bay Aquarium to grab a FREE bucket and support your favorite fishy friend: the adorable swell shark pup or the darling California skate baby. This Earth Month, let’s see who emerges victorious in the battle against beach pollution!

Questions? Contact Heal the Bay Aquarium


“Hold the plastic, please!” #Selfie Challenge

Enter for a chance to win Heal the Bay Swag in this social media challenge

Calling all eco-warriors and selfie champions! Help your favorite restaurant ditch plastic for a chance to win awesome Heal the Bay gear .

Here’s the deal:

1) Ask your fave restaurant to “Hold the plastic, please!”

2)Snap a selfie with your HTPP card♻️

3)Post it to social media using #ReuableisBeautiful and tag @healthebay

Win epic Heal the Bay swag for showing your support!

Need a reminder card? Grab one at our #ResuableisBeautiful station, Heal the Bay Aquarium on the Santa Monica Pier, or download a digital one to flash at your next meal.

PSA to Restaurants! LA’s new plastic laws mean less waste and more savings for you! Confused about utensils, takeout containers, or the bag ban? We’ve got all the info on our website. 

Let’s make #EarthMonth plastic-free and selfie-worthy!

Download a Hold the plastic, please! Card


Protect What You Love with a Heal the Bay Member”Ship”

Join our crew! Climb aboard the SS Heal the Bay Membership!

Our Member“Ship” is full of passionate and dedicated Heal the Bay supporters working to ensure that coastal waters and watersheds in Southern California are safe, healthy, and clean for generations to come. Thanks to the generous annual support of our Member“Ship” Crew, we can further our efforts through science, education, community action, and advocacy. Become a member and join our Crew!

Member“Ship” OPTIONS & BENEFITS

$55: Membership for one adult*
$95: Membership for two adults* 

$95: Family Membership for two adults + up to 2 children*

Member” Ship” Includes:

  • Free admission to Heal the Bay Aquarium for one year
  • 25% discount on guest admission tickets
  • 10% discount on retail purchases at the Heal the Bay Aquarium Gift Shop
  • 5% discount on Aquarium Science Camp
  • Heal the Bay’s digital Blue Newsletter
  • AQ Movie Night
  • Special Member-Only Tide Pool Excursions

Become a Member TODAY!


Gear Up for Earth Day with Heal the Bay 

Level up your drip while leveling up the ocean!

Nothing says #ReuseableIsBeautiful this Earth Day like swag from Heal the Bay! Shop comfy appeal, unique gifts, and reusable goods, all for a great cause!

Shop Heal the Bay


Heal the Bay Earth Month 2024 Tabling Calendar 

Check out our list of Earth Month events hosted by some of our favorite social, environmental, and partner organizations across Los Angeles. Stop by Heal the Bay’s Outreach table while you’re enjoying Earth Month fun around Los Angeles County this April.

Gardena Spring Equinox Earth Day Event, Johnson Park, 1200 W 170th St. Gardena, CA, March 17, 9 AM – 12 PM

Pepperdine Earth Day Celebration, Pepperdine University, 24255 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, April 9, CA, 11 AM – 2 PM

Generation Earth/Tree People 2nd Annual Environmental Youth Summit, 900 Exposition Blvd., Los Angeles, CA, April 11, 9 AM – 10:15 AM and 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM

LA County Sanitation Districts, Earth Day Celebration, 1955 Workman Mill Rd, Whittier, CA, April 13, 1o AM – 2 PM

City of Azusa Outdoor Recreation and Eco Fair, Memorial Park, North Recreation Center Parking Lot, 340 N Orange Ave, Azusa, CA, April 13 10 AM – 1 PM

Tarzana Neighborhood Council 11th Annual Earth Day Festival, Tarzana Park, 5655 Vanalden Ave, Tarzana, CA 91356, April 13, 10 Am – 2 PM

STEAM Expo, 2368 Pearl St, Santa Monica, CA, April 13

Resilient Palisades Earth Day 2024, Palisades Village Green, 15280 Sunset Blvd, Pacific Palisades, CA, April 14, 9 AM – 1 PM

SONY Pictures Entertainment Earth Month, April 18

Wild for the Planet, LA Zoo, 5333 Zoo Drive, Los Angeles, CA, April 20 – April 21, 10 AM – 4 PM

South Bay Parkland Conservancy Earth Day Event, Wilderness Park, Redondo Beach, April 21, 10 AM – 1 PM

CSUDH 2024 Earth Day Festival, April 23, 9 AM – 3 PM

CSU Dominguez Hills 17th Annual Earth Day Festival, 1000 E Victoria St, Carson, CA, 10 AM – 2:30 PM

Loyola High School Earth Week Fair, 1901 Venice Blvd, Los Angeles, CA, April 25

Paradise Canyon Earth Week Fair, Paradise Canyon Elementary, 471 Knight Way, La Cañada Flintridge, CA, April 26, 6 PM – 8 PM

2024 Arts and Literacy Festival, Virginia Avenue Park Campus, Santa Monica, April 27, 10 AM – 2 PM

Beverly Hills 21st Annual Earth Day, 9300 Civic Center Dr, Beverly Hills, CA, April 28, 9 AM – 1 PM


 Celebrate the Earth beyond April

APPLY TODAY – 2024 Coastal Clean-Up Day Poster ARTIST

Calling all ocean-loving artists!

Let your artwork advocate for our ocean this Coastal Cleanup Day!

Win $1,000 and see your artwork all over Los Angeles County on the official Heal the Bay Coastal Cleanup Day poster!

Submit a portfolio of your work and a concept for a poster that captures the essence of our theme: “Reusable is Beautiful.”

**Think vibrant colors, powerful messages, and inspiring imagery to showcase the beauty of reusables and the importance of protecting our oceans. **

Show us your vision!

Submissions are accepted until May 31st, 2024. See full details and application here!

Enter to win the opportunity to become our 2024 COASTAL CLEANUP DAY Poster Artist!

Apply Here


Bring Back the Beach Gala

Celebrate #ReusableIsBeautiful

dress

You are cordially invited to our Bring Back the Beach Gala on May 16, 2024.

As a fundraising benefit for Heal the Bay, this exclusive West Coast event welcomes hundreds of business, political, entertainment, and environmental leaders. Reserve your tickets to our biggest event of the year! 

Our 2024 GALA is SINGLE-USE PLASTIC-FREE because at Heal the Bay, we believe  #ReusableIsBeautiful! Help keep single-use plastic out of our watershed when you “BRING BACK THE BEACH” this May.

GET TICKETS


Coastal Cleanup Day Site Captain Training

Become a Site Captain or Co-Captain and host a Heal the Bay cleanup site in LA County for Coastal Cleanup Day 2024!

 

LA’s biggest volunteer event returns!

Join Heal the Bay’s Coastal Cleanup Day on Sept 21st, 2024.

In 2023, over 7,000 Heal the Bay volunteers removed over 16,000 lbs. of trash and 400 lbs. of recycling from 97 miles of beach, river, underwater, and trail cleanup sites!  Help us make an even more significant impact in 2024.

Want to lead a cleanup site? Sign up for Site Captain training on Thursday, 5/30/2024, 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM. More Site Captain training dates to come.

+The deadline to sign up to be a CCD Site Captain is 7/31/2024.

SIGN UP


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

DONATE 



The only thing our Water Quality Scientists love more than “Safe Clean Water”, is love! Here’s Heal the Bay’s list of the cuddliest spots for couples, friends, first dates, and everything in between, along the local California shoreline.

Forget crowded restaurants and overpriced (environmentally unfriendly) roses: Unveil the perfect Valentine’s Day with sparkling waters and sandy toes! ️

This year, ditch tradition and escape with your someone special to a breathtaking beach paradise right here in Southern California. Picture yourselves strolling along the shore at sunset, the sky ablaze with color. Sounds pretty dreamy, right?

But wait, there’s more! We’re not just talking about beaches. We’ve curated a list of secluded, romantic havens (including beaches, lakes, and rivers) with A+ water quality ratings and positive environmental impacts that will warm the heart and beckon for exploration. No murky waves or questionable cleanliness here – just lovely local waterside wonders perfect for making unforgettable memories.

Whether you crave classic California sunsets or romantic river staycations, our list has the perfect destination for your love story, adventure with a friend, or self-love solo escape into the outdoors. So, pack your beach bag, grab your sweetheart, and get ready to dive into a Valentine’s Day unlike any other!

Ready to discover your ideal romantic beach escape? Your next friendly freshwater getaway? The perfect LA lakeside love nest? Scroll down and let the adventure begin!

Note: Many of these beaches contain hikes, PV trails, bike paths and pathways that may have recently closed due to land movement and recent storm events. Please check the Los Angelese County Park and Recreation website before visiting any trails and heed any closure signs.  

Here are the top spots we love for love (and their great Beach Report Card water quality grades too!):

Point Dume State Beach and Natural Preserve, Malibu

Source: Heal the Bay MPA Watch Team (https://healthebay.org/mpa/)

What we love about it:Prepare to be mesmerized by two miles of scenic bluff trails at Point Dume State Beach and Nature Preserve. Whether you’re seeking a romantic stroll hand-in-hand or an invigorating hike, these trails offer breathtaking ocean views encircling a Marine Protected Area where wildlife thrives. Parking is a breeze at Point Dume. A conveniently located lot sits right next to the preserve, and additional free parking options are available along Westward Beach Rd. and Grasswood Ave. This accessibility makes Point Dume ideal for beach lovers, hikers, and anyone seeking a nature escape. 

What to do here: Embark on diverse hiking trails, each offering unique perspectives. Look out for curious sea lions sunning themselves on the bluffs below, playful dolphins flitting through the waves, and, during their December-April migration, magnificent gray whales breaching in the distance. Witness the thrill of surfers riding the waves on the north side or (when safe to do so) delve deeper into the underwater estuary with snorkeling or scuba diving. Point Dume even caters to adrenaline enthusiasts with its popular rock-climbing spots. Prepare for an abundance of onshore and offshore recreational activities!

Water Quality/Water quality improvement elements:  Rest assured, the water quality at Point Dume is pristine. According to our Beach Report Card, it boasts an A+ rating, signifying excellent water quality and guaranteeing a safe environment for swimming, sunbathing, and exploring.


Ginger Rogers Beach, Malibu

Source: https://smmirror.com/2023/05/lifeguard-towers-at-will-rogers-beach-to-be-painted-with-pride-colors/

What we love about it:Love knows no bounds, and neither should your Valentine’s Day celebration! Escape the ordinary and head to Ginger Rogers Beach, a cherished haven for Los Angeles’s vibrant LGBTQ+ community since the 1960s. Embrace the ocean breeze on this special stretch of Will Rogers Beach, just 15 miles from West Hollywood. Accessibility is a breeze: convenient parking, a dedicated bike path, and the Santa Monica Blue Bus 9 stopping nearby ensure stress-free arrival. So, ditch the traditional and celebrate your love in a vibrant, welcoming atmosphere where every couple shines just as brightly as the California sun.

What to do here: Proudly stroll hand-in-hand along the shore with laughter echoing amidst volleyball games, and maybe even join one of the spontaneous beachside dance parties this spot is known for as the sun sets. Celebrating “big love” with your whole crew? Don’t forget to take some group selfies at the #Pride Flag Lifeguard Station. Whether you’re seeking sun-kissed relaxation or playful competition, Ginger Rogers Beach offers something for every love story.

Water Quality/Water quality improvement elements:This beach boasted an A+ rating on January 21st, 2024, but check the Beach Report Card app for real-time updates as recent storms may impact water quality. (beachreportcard.org)

Torrey Pines, San Diego

Source: Dan_H, flickr

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

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

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


La Jolla, San Diego

Source: Wikipedia Commons

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

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

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


Victoria Beach, Orange County

Source: Daniel Peckham, Flickr

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

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

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


Crystal Cove State Park, Orange County

Source: Wikipedia Commons

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

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

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


Palos Verdes Peninsula, Los Angeles

Source: Mark Esguerra, The Marke’s World

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

What to do here: For those seeking marine biology-inspired adventures, plan your visit during low tide to explore the tidepools at Abalone Cove. For a scenic hike and a secluded rocky beach, don’t miss Palos Verdes Bluff Cove. 

Water Quality: Seeking a beach escape with guaranteed sparkling waters? Look no further than Abalone Cove Shoreline Park, a jewel nestled within the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Not only is Abalone Cove recognized as an Honor Roll beach, signifying top-notch amenities and impeccable upkeep, but the entire Palos Verdes Peninsula boasts an A+ rating on our Beach Report Card, assuring pristine water quality for swimming, sunbathing, and creating unforgettable memories.


El Matador State Beach, Malibu

Source: Elliot McGucken, 500px

What we love about it: El Matador Beach is characterized by dramatic cliffs, hidden coves, and even secret sea caves, evoking the atmosphere of a Hollywood romance scene. Whether you’re igniting a new flame or spending time with a longtime partner, El Matador is sure to kindle your passion. Keep in mind that accessing the beach requires descending stairs. 

What to do here: Explore the dramatic landscape, take Instagram-worthy photos, find little hideaway spots for you and your date to share secret kisses, and wrap up your evening with a gorgeous sunset view. Please note that parking can cause a little heartache as spaces are limited. 

Water Quality: Beyond the captivating rock formations and breathtaking scenery, El Matador Beach boasts another hidden gem: impeccably clean, A+-rated water quality. As recognized by our Beach Report Card, this Honor Roll beach guarantees safe, clean, sparkling waves perfect for a day at the beach.


Arroyo Burro, Santa Barbara

Source: Damian Gadal, flickr

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

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

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


Freshwater Sites

Madrona Marsh, Torrance

Source Safe Clean Water Team (https://healthebay.org/safecleanwater/)

What we love about it: More than just a mall neighbor, Madrona Marsh is a vibrant ecosystem thriving in the heart of Torrance. This beautiful seasonal wetland boasts unique vernal pools teeming with diverse life, from fascinating birds and insects to curious animals and aquatic wonders. Escape the hustle and bustle by venturing onto the multiple trails that weave through the pools and wetlands, immersing yourself in nature’s tranquility.  

What to do here: It’s a wonderful place to take a walk with a loved one and enjoy nature. Slow down, soak in the vibrant hues of California poppies and sunflowers and become captivated by the symphony of birdsong. Let the serenity of the marsh wash over you as you reconnect with nature and each other.

Water Quality/Water quality improvement elements: Beyond its beauty, Madrona Marsh plays a vital role in environmental sustainability. The marsh uses nature-based solutions to treat stormwater from the surrounding neighborhood! Water is pumped into a modular wetland system where it is cleaned using a pre-filtration chamber, biofiltration with vetiver (a non-invasive perennial grass) that removes pollutants, and then the filtered water is pumped to wetlands at the marsh. 


L.A. River at Benedict St. in Frogtown, Los Angeles

2023 Heal the Bay Stream Team

What we love about it:  No need to kiss this frog to turn it into the “prince” of Valentine’s Day destinations. Frogtown, nestled between the bustling I-5 and the vibrant LA River, is a vibrant neighborhood. Chic outdoor cafes beckon with the aroma of freshly brewed coffee, perfect for cozy hand-holding moments. Imagine the gentle murmur of conversation blending with the soft city breeze, setting the stage for an unforgettable date. (Heal the Bay would like to acknowledge that gentrification has taken place here and would like to pay respect to the original neighborhood landmarks and communities).

What to do here:  Embark on a hand-in-hand adventure along the picturesque LA River Greenway Trail. Cycle leisurely side-by-side, weaving through sun-dappled paths and enjoying the refreshing green spaces. If a slower pace beckons, find a quiet spot by the river’s edge, to sip a coffee from a nearby cafe and watch the water flow serenely next to your loved one. we advise against entering the water right now and outside of the open recreation season (May-Sept), but the scenic backdrop guarantees a picture-perfect memory. 

Water Quality/Water quality improvement elements:During the 2023 summer Stream season, the L.A. River at Benedict St. achieved an impressive A+ rating on the River Report Card, confirming its excellent water quality permitted recreational activities during designated open seasons.


 Rock Pool, Malibu Creek State Park 

Source: 2023 Heal the Bay Stream Team (https://healthebay.org/2023-water-quality-successes-river-report-card-upgrade-and-summer-stream-team/)

 

What we love about it:  Nestled roughly 1.5 miles from the parking lot, the journey itself to Rock Pool is a shared adventure. Prepare to be mesmerized by the picturesque surroundings – towering trees and lush greenery frame the crystal-clear waters. Trust us, the entrance fee is completely worth it. 

What to do here: The swimming hole at this location is of considerable depth, perfect for a refreshing dip after a lengthy hike. After an exhilarating dip, spread out a cozy picnic under the shade of the trees or simply relax and dip your feet in the water.

Water Quality/Water quality improvement elements: This natural haven earned an A+ on the 2023 Summer River Report Card, signifying excellent water quality, guaranteeing a refreshing and safe escape for your love story. 


Parks

Machado Lake in Ken Malloy Regional Park, Harbor City 

Source: Safe Clean Water Team (https://healthebay.org/safecleanwater/)

What we love about it: This natural lake isn’t just a body of water; it’s a vibrant ecological hub and a haven for recreation within the sprawling Ken Malloy Harbor Regional Park. This impressive park, one of the largest in Los Angeles, boasts a remarkable diversity of habitats, including Machado Lake itself, a seasonal freshwater marsh, a thriving riparian woodland, and even a nonnative grassland.

What to do here:  Imagine your children giggling on the play structures, laughter filling the air during a family picnic at the designated tables, or the thrill of spotting diverse wildlife species. Fishing enthusiasts can try their luck with catch-and-release fishing, adding to the diverse activities available. You might even hear whispers of Reggie, the resident alligator who once called the lake home (trust us, Google him – you won’t be disappointed!). 

Water Quality/Water quality improvement elements:  Thanks to renovations originally funded by Prop O and other initiatives, the lake’s water treatment systems were revitalized to effectively remove pollutants like trash, bacteria, and even oil and grease. Now, thanks to the Safe, Clean Water Program, regular upkeep ensures the continued health of this vital ecosystem.


Ladera Park, Los Angeles

Source: https://parks.lacounty.gov/ladera-park/

What we love about it:More than just a park, Ladera is a testament to sustainable practices and community connection where you can make a love connection. Thanks to funding from the Safe, Clean Water Program, this park has implemented smart solutions (like infiltration wells) to capture and permeate stormwater and non-stormwater runoff, ensuring a healthier environment for everyone. Here rainwater nourishes native plants instead of flowing into polluted waterways.  Stroll hand-in-hand with your favorite environmentalist through paths marked with educational signage or enjoy lunch in this living classroom for visitors of all ages. The perfect outdoor date for those committed to each other, and sustainability.

What to do here: This park has it all – areas for parties and barbeques, playgrounds, sports areas, walking paths, and lots of large sycamore trees. Wildlife abounds and there are frequently western bluebirds, hawks, and more.  

Water Quality/Water quality improvement elements:  The impact goes beyond the park’s boundaries. By capturing and treating over half a million gallons of stormwater annually, Ladera Park significantly reduces harmful pollutants like bacteria and metals from entering nearby waterways. This contributes to a cleaner Centinela Creek, Ballona Creek, and ultimately, the ocean, benefiting countless species and the entire community.


Looking for beaches outside of SoCal? See our previous blog and check out recent water quality with Heal the Bay’s Beach Report Card.

Heal the Bay’s Beach Report Card is the only comprehensive analysis of coastline water quality in California. We grade more than 700 beaches weekly from Oregon to the Mexico border, assigning an A to F grade based on the health risks of swimming or surfing at that location.

Special thanks to the romantics on our Science, Outreach, and Water Quality Team:

Dr. Katherine Pease, Science, and Policy Director; Dr. Alison Xunyi Wu, Water Quality Data Specialist; Dr. Tania Pineda-Enriquez, Water Quality Data and Policy Associate Specialist; Nancy Shrodes, Senior Watershed Specialist, South Santa Monica Bay; Jillian Marshall, Communications Manager; and Leslie Griffin, former chief water quality scientist Heal the Bay. 



Join community scientists in California to observe and document the King Tides on February 9, 2024. This extreme high tide event provides a glimpse of what we face with climate-driven sea level rise. Your images will contribute to a better understanding of how to adapt to and combat the climate crisis. Get a glimpse of last winter’s King Tide.


UPDATED FEBRUARY 1, 2024

Capture the King Tide this February!

King Tides are a wave phenomenon that can only be witnessed a few times a year when the high tide is at its highest and the low tide is at its lowest. These extreme tides only come to shore when the moon is closest to the Earth and when the Earth is closest to the Sun. King Tides can teach California so much about the changing coastline, if their impact can be captured.

This February, Heal the Bay is calling on all local beach lovers to hit the sand and help us document these extreme tides.  Taking pictures and recording this natural phenomenon can help climate scientists predict the future of California’s coastline in preparation of impending sea level rise, which is the first step toward adapting for and combating the climate crisis. Last year your observations were vital to prepare Los Angeles for a future affected by climate change and we need your help once again.

The second King Tides event of this season will occur on February 9,2024 at : 8:16 AM. Once again, we are calling on all those who love the California coast to help capture the King Tide.

 

Let’s Capture the King Tide Together

Don’t want to face the big wave alone? Come capture the King Tide with other climate community members during the February phenomenon.

FREE King Tides EVENT @ Heal the Bay Aquarium with Climate Action Santa Monica 

Date: February 9, 2024

Time: 7:30 am -9:30 am

Address: Heal the Bay Aquarium 1600 Ocean Front Walk Santa Monica, CA 90401 – Base of Santa Monica Beach Pier (by the bike path)

Head to Heal the Bay Aquarium for a King Tide community science event lead by Climate Action Santa Monica. Hit the beach and help document the King Tide by capturing pictures of this ocean phenomenon alongside community and climate scientists as part of the California King Tides Project. This phenomenon will be FUN FOR THE WHOLE FAMLIY! Join in the community discussion and discover the relationship between sea level rise and climate change alongside students and other climate community members.

RSVP to save your spot! 

Not in Los Angeles?

Check out this list of 2024 King Tide Events with the California King Tides Project to observe and help capture the impact of these waves wherever you are on the CA coast.

Our Guide to Capturing the King Tide Guide

How to capture the King Tide on your own!

Instructions from the CA Coastal Commission:
1) Find your local high tide time for one of the King Tides dates.
2) Visit the shoreline on the coast, bay, or delta.
3) Be aware of your surroundings to ensure you are safe and are not disturbing any animals.
4) Make sure your phone’s location services are turned on for your camera and then take your photo. The best photos show the water level next to familiar landmarks such as cliffs, rocks, roads, buildings, bridge supports, sea walls, staircases, and piers.
5) Add your photo to the King Tides map either by uploading it via the website or by using the Survey123 app.

PUBLISHED DECEMBER 13, 2022

Sea Level Rise

Before we get into the details of this year’s King Tides event, let’s begin with the larger context of sea level rise. Humans are polluting Earth’s atmosphere with greenhouse gases (GHGs) like CO2, primarily through the burning of fossil fuels, driving average global temperatures up at an unprecedented rate.

Oceans have helped to buffer this steady pollution stream by absorbing 90% of our excess heat and 25% of our CO2 emissions. This, among myriad impacts, has increased sea temperatures, causing ocean water to expand. The combination of ocean water expansion and new water input from the melting of landlocked glaciers results in rapid sea level rise.

Take a look at images from the NOAA Sea Level Rise Viewer. Light blue shows areas expected to flood consistently as sea levels rise. Bright green shows low-lying areas vulnerable to flooding from groundwater upwelling as seawater intrusion increases. 

According to the 2021 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report, sea level will rise 2 feet by 2100 even if efforts are made to lower GHG emissions, and possibly as much as 7 feet by 2100 if we continue with “business as usual” (i.e., burning fossil fuels at the current unsustainable rate). Rapid sea level rise threatens beach loss, coastal and intertidal habitat loss, seawater intrusion into our groundwater supply (which could contaminate our drinking water supply and cause inland flooding from groundwater upwelling), as well as impacts from flooding or cliff erosion on coastal infrastructures like roads, homes, businesses, power plants and sewage treatment plants—not to mention nearby toxic sites.

King Tides: A Glimpse of Future Sea Levels

Ocean tides on Earth are caused by the gravitational pull of the moon (and the sun, to a lesser extent) on our oceans. When the moon is closest to Earth along its elliptical orbit, and when the moon, earth, and sun are aligned, gravitational pull compounds, causing extreme high and low tides called Perigean-Spring Tides or King Tides. These extreme tides provide a glimpse of future sea level rise.

Image courtesy of NOAA National Ocean Service.

In fact, King Tides in Southern California this December and January are expected to be 2-3 feet higher than normal high tides (and lower than normal low tides), providing a clear snapshot of what the regular daily high tides will likely be by 2100.

 

What is being done

Many coastal cities in California have developed Local Coastal Programs in coordination with the CA Coastal Commission to address sea level rise. The Coastal Commission is also developing new sea level rise guidance for critical infrastructure, recently released for public review. Unfortunately, if we continue with “business as usual,” the rate of sea level rise will occur much more quickly than we can adapt to it, which is why we need bold global action now to combat the climate crisis and limit sea level rise as much as possible.

What you can do

Motivated people like you can become community scientists by submitting King Tides photographs the weekend of December 23 and 24, 2022 to contribute to the digital storytelling of sea level rise. These photos are used to better understand the climate crisis, to educate people about the impacts, to catalog at-risk communities and infrastructure, and plan for mitigation and adaptation. Join the Coastal Commission in their CA King Tides Project!

Get involved in #KingTides events

Instructions from the CA Coastal Commission:
1) Find your local high tide time for one of the King Tides dates.
2) Visit the shoreline on the coast, bay, or delta.
3) Be aware of your surroundings to ensure you are safe and are not disturbing any animals.
4) Make sure your phone’s location services are turned on for your camera and then take your photo. The best photos show the water level next to familiar landmarks such as cliffs, rocks, roads, buildings, bridge supports, sea walls, staircases, and piers.
5) Add your photo to the King Tides map either by uploading it via the website or by using the Survey123 app.

 

In the Los Angeles area? Here are some areas we expect will have noticeable King Tides:

In Palos Verdes, we recommend: Pelican Cove, Terrenea Beach, White Point Beach, and Point Fermin. In Malibu, we suggest: Paradise Cove, Westward Beach, Broad Beach, El Pescador State Beach, and Leo Carrillo State Beach.

ACTION LINK(S)

FIND LOCAL KING TIDE TIMES

SEE PREVIOUS KING TIDE PHOTOS

SUPPORT OUR WORK


Written by Annelisa Moe. As a Coastal and Marine Scientist for Heal the Bay, Annelisa 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.



“Large waves at the Manhattan Beach Pier draw onlookers on Saturday. The pier was closed to the public due to the high surf.” (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)


Waves of Waves in a Future of Climate Change

From the Desk of Meredith McCarthy, Director of Campaigns & Outreach and a Heal the Bay leader for over 20 years.

With almost macabre curiosity my boys and I head to Manhattan Beach last week to get a peek at the recent monster swell and watch the “gnarly” waves roll into Santa Monica Bay. I try to see the 10-foot sets through their eyes. The waves pound the beleaguered shoreline, a rolling thunder, an epic echo of Mother Nature’s raw power. The crunching swell is a formidable challenge for surfers struggling to paddle out. But as countless YouTube Nazare videos have shown, big waves are a challenge that can be tamed by humans.

LA Times image: A person standing on a sand berm watches as high surf breaks near Manhattan Beach on Thursday. The National Weather Service has issued high surf warnings for much of the West Coast and parts of Hawaii, describing the waves and rip currents expected to hit certain coastlines as potentially dangerous and life-threatening. (Richard Vogel / Associated Press)

 

I want to cling to the surfer’s narrative that these waves are gifts, a rare occurrence to be treasured. But the recent swell demonstrates that these waves are as much to be feared as cherished.

They are a preview of the future ahead of us and a reminder that a disaster can happen over decades, not just seconds. And they beg the question: can we ever really tame these waves?

Book Cover California Against the Sea houses and ocean waves

Rosanna Xia’s new book “California Against the Sea” opened my eyes as to why escalating impacts of climate change are intricately linked to the heightened severity of winter storms in the North Pacific, setting the stage for profound and harmful impacts to our beloved coast. (Purchase the book locally at Diesel Bookstore)

During my 20 years at Heal the Bay, protecting what you love has been our mantra. That mission will be harder to meet in the years to come. This recent swell is just one small harbinger of the many challenges ahead. 

The connection lies in the intricate dance between climate change and the dynamics of these storms. Warmer oceans provide the necessary energy for storms to intensify, amplifying wind speeds and precipitation rates. This, in turn, translates into more powerful and potentially devastating winter storms. 

The implications for coastal areas, such as Santa Monica Bay, extend beyond the immediate visual spectacle of towering waves. We all were held in awe and fear as we clicked on videos of eight people being toppled over by a rogue wave in Ventura and winding up in the hospital. 

The increased storm intensity poses a dual threat: First, the potential for more severe storm surges that can inundate coastal communities, and second, the exacerbation of sea level rise. As ice continues to melt and ocean temperatures climb, sea levels rise accordingly. The cumulative effect is a compounding threat to coastal communities and the regional economies they support.   

Satellite image shows a massive storm in the Pacific Ocean on December 28, 2023 generating damaging surf along California. Photo Credit: CIRA/ RAAM B/ Fox Weather.

The huge surf becomes a symbol not just of the immediate dangers but of a broader trend — one that demands strategic foresight and effective management.  Addressing the impacts of climate change requires a holistic approach that encompasses significant efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adaptation strategies to safeguard vulnerable coastal areas.  

It can seem hopeless sometimes, but I look at my kids staring at the towering waves crashing on the sand. I wonder if they can hear the ticking of a time bomb amid the roar of the sea. I know we must act, take one small step and then bigger ones, facing this challenge head on. 

Like our volunteers, the way to keep our legs under us is to rise each day in services of positive action.  Our Heal the Bay volunteers are the village we rely upon to realize our mission – check out one of the opportunities below:

Become a Heal the Bay Volunteer – Orientation (Jan 11, 6p-8p): Take the first step toward helping Heal the Bay work for safe, healthy, clean coastal waters and watersheds. Come to our in-person Volunteer Orientation at Heal the Bay Aquarium.

Participate in the next King Tide’s Project on January 11 & 12, 2024, & February 9, 2024: The California King Tides Project helps us visualize future sea level by observing the highest tides of today. You can help by taking and sharing photos of the shoreline during King Tides to create a record of changes to our coast and estuaries. Observe and document King Tides on your own or join a scheduled group event.

Los Angeles King Tide Watch 2024 will be held at Manhattan Beach Pier Jan. 12, 8:30-9:30am at Roundhouse Aquarium. Join nature enthusiasts and scientists to document the King Tide of 2024 at the base of the Manhattan Beach Pier. More information and RSVP

Join our January Beach Cleanup (Jan 20, 10 Am – 12 PM): Heal the Bay hosts cleanups every 3rd Saturday of the month (rain or shine)!  This January’s storms are sure to make a mess of our beaches so kick-off your New Year’s Resolution by attending the next “Nothin’ But Sand Beach Cleanupon January 20, 2024, at Tower 2, Zuma Beach, 10 am – 12 pm.  Register today to reserve your bucket.

 



Reflecting on a Year of Progress

Heal the Bay achieved significant accomplishments in 2023 in safeguarding our waters, preserving biodiversity, and raising awareness about the importance of environmental conservation.   Through our collective efforts and with your unwavering support, we worked tirelessly to create cleaner, healthier, and more sustainable coastal waters and watersheds for Los Angeles and beyond from summit to sea. As we reflect on the achievements of this past year, we are thrilled to carry this momentum into the coming year, always aiming to make a lasting difference. Celebrate them with us!  

2023 Highlights   

Our expertise was sought after, and our work was celebrated.  

In 2023, Heal the Bay was honored for decades of commitment to the environment. 

  • The City of Los Angeles officially declared October 20, 2023 “Heal the Bay Day in LA” in recognition of nearly four decades of accomplishments including the 20th anniversary of our Angler Outreach Program as well as our Aquarium.    
  • The 3rd Annual Heal the Bay One Water symposium was convened at Will Rogers State Beach, establishing Heal the Bay as a thought leader among civil engineers, water conservation experts, and local, county, and state legislators.  
  • Heal the Bay was officially appointed to the LA 28 Environmental Sustainability Committee for the 2028 Summer Olympics. 

 

The future of our planet starts with better environmental policy. 

Heal the Bay played a pivotal role in successfully advancing policies and legislation for the benefit of water quality, affordability, and coastal ecosystems to ensure a more sustainable Los Angeles region and climate-resilient California.    

  • Heal the Bay, co-sponsored Assembly Bill 1572 (Friedman) alongside the NRDC and the Los Angeles Metropolitan Water District. This new law bans the use of drinking water to irrigate non-functional (purely ornamental) turf on governmental and commercial landscapes; and is expected to save the equivalent amount of water that 780,000 households use in a year.  
  • Heal the Bay advocated for water quality protection at the Boeing Santa Susana Field Laboratory site in Simi Valley. The Los Angeles Regional Water Board voted in October to keep regulations on surface water that flows from this previous industrial site, keeping stringent water quality limits, adding more monitoring, and addressing the potential for surface water pollution to impact groundwater, a huge win in the ongoing battle for water quality protection. 
  • Our policy team worked to legally strengthen and streamline fishing regulations to make fishery enforcement more equitable through Assembly Bill 1611 (Lowenthal). This new Heal the Bay sponsored law was supported by conservationists and fishery regulatory agencies alike as a win-win for both nature and the fishing community.   
  • Heal the Bay co-authored a new (and well-received) Vision 2045 Report and shared it with LA County decision-makers who are tasked with overseeing the ambitious Safe, Clean, Water Program (SCWP). This collaborative “vision” laid out a roadmap of bolder goals, and recommendations to more quickly and definitively reach 2045 SCWP targets.   

 

It Takes a Very Large Village.    

This year Heal the Bay published its first Volunteer Impact Report highlighting the accomplishments of our 22,017 volunteers from the 2022 season, which paved the way for the many volunteer successes of 2023. 

  • In 2023, Heal the Bay volunteers collected more than 22,000 pounds of trash and contributing 71,048 hours to protecting our precious watershed and coastal waters!  
  • In September, Heal the Bay mobilized 7,337 volunteers on Coastal Cleanup Day, removing 16,211 pounds of trash (including 429 pounds of recyclables) from greater Los Angeles coastlines and waterways. 

 

Sticking a Fork in Plastic at the Source  

Recognizing the urgent need to combat plastic pollution, Heal the Bay continues impactful campaigns encouraging individuals and businesses to adopt sustainable practices.  For several years, staff has been working with LA City and County to help create legislation aiming to break the harmful plastic cycle.   By advocating for reducing single-use plastics and promoting responsible waste management, we took significant steps toward a plastic-free future.    

  • Our “No Bag November” campaign reaffirmed Heal the Bay’s commitment to a plastic-free Los Angeles.  Through partnerships and community activations, No Bag November urged Angelenos to say “no” to single-use plastic bags and encouraged everyone to grab their reusable bags instead.  
  • In 2023, the implementation of THREE new laws made big waves for the environment as a means to reduce plastic in our oceans.    
  • As a leader in the Reusable LA Coalition, we co-launched the “Hold the Plastic, please, campaign to educate businesses and the public about LA City and County plastic bans that Heal the Bay and partners advocated to pass. 

 

Environmental Health IS Public Health 

In 2023, Heal the Bay continued its relentless commitment to ocean water and freshwater quality from summit to sea.   

  • Since its launch in 2003, Heal the Bay’s Angler Outreach Program (in partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency) has educated more than 190,000 anglers about which fish are contaminated, and which are safer to eat.  
  • Our annual Beach Report Card released this year remains the gold standard, providing access to the latest water quality information based on levels of fecal-indicator bacterial pollution in the ocean at over 700 beaches. For more than 30 years, our annual report has assigned “A-to-F” letter grades and ranked the “Best and Bummer” lists across beaches from Washington State to Tijuana, Mexico.  
  • The 5th annual River Report Card was also released, ranking freshwater quality and providing grades for 35 freshwater recreation areas in Los Angeles County tested during the summer of 2022.  This summer we debuted our upgraded River Report Card with an intuitive letter grading system and celebrated the achievements of our 2023 Summer Stream Team. These two programs are at the forefront of our efforts to keep LA’s waters safe and enjoyable for all.  

 

Conservation and Marine Protection Are Key to Our Mission

Heal the Bay reaffirmed its commitment to biodiversity through both volunteer activations and the tireless efforts of our husbandry, operations, and education Aquarium teams. 

  • Heal the Bay Aquarium plays a pivotal role in species conservation through research, breeding programs, and public awareness campaigns. In 2023, sixteen fish, three swell sharks, and dozens of moon jellies were born at the Aquarium; and our animal care team released five species of protected and rehabilitated marine life including a keystone species, the California Sheephead fish, and a critically endangered Giant Spotted Bass into the Santa Monica Bay. By releasing these animals back into the wild, Heal the Bay continues its mission to protect and support the biodiversity of wild fish populations. 
  • As part of our collective commitment to successful conservation efforts, Heal the Bay Aquarium officially joined the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Wildlife Trafficking Alliance.  As an official member of US Fish & Wildlife Department’s Wildlife Confiscation Network pilot program, the aquarium is certified to care for the well-being of wildlife confiscated from illegal trade.   
     
  • Heal the Bay’s Science and Policy Team successfully advocated for state funding to research DDT in 2022-23 and is now working as part of a coalition to lead public meetings and educate Californias on the impacts of DDT on public health and biodiversity. 
  • As a watchdog for Marine Protected Areas, Heal the Bay’s MPA Team is actively contributing and analyzing critical data on California’s first decade-long review that began in 2023. One of the biggest conclusions of the review highlighted the fact that protecting these precious estuaries for the past decade has worked, allowing for flourishing biodiversity, larger populations, and bigger individual animals in these safeguarded areas. 

Environmental Justice is a pillar of environmental health.    

This year Heal the Bay stood up to big oil and continued to advocate for communities that experience the worst systemic and often immediate impacts of environmental injustice and climate change.  

  • For decades Heal the Bay has advocated alongside organizations like Stand Together Against Neighborhood Drilling to oppose oil drilling in Los Angeles neighborhoods, a practice long seen as an environmental injustice and a public health crisis. In October of 2023, the LA County Regional Planning Commission voted in support of phasing out oil drilling in the Inglewood Oil Field, one of the largest neighborhood oil fields in the country 
  • In 2023 Heal the Bay publicly endorsed the Campaign for a Safe and Healthy California and will work alongside public health groups, community and faith organizations, and environmental justice leaders from across California to “KEEP THE LAW” (SB 1137) on the November 2024 ballot. This law prohibits new oil wells within 3,200 feet of homes, schools, day care centers, parks, healthcare facilities, and businesses. 

 

Environmental Education, Outreach and Sharing our Passion to Protect What We Love  

Education remained a cornerstone of our mission.  In 2023, Heal the Bay expanded our outreach program, teaching schools and communities to understand the importance of environmental conservation and the role each individual can play.  

  • Through innovative approaches and interactive science-based programs, educational efforts continued to inspire and inform diverse audiences.  The Heal the Bay Aquarium field trip program sponsored 10,285 students from 22 school districts in LA County— 79% were Title 1 schools.   
  • This year, “Coastal Cleanup Education Day” at the Aquarium hosted more than 250 3rd-5th grade students from across Los Angeles County for a day of beach exploration, scientific excursions, pollution education, and hands on learning while having some fun in the sun.  

 

Cheers to 2023 

 As we look back on 2023, Heal the Bay celebrates a year of accomplishments, resilience, and collaboration. These achievements underscore the collective efforts of our dedicated team, volunteers, and supporters who made a positive impact on the health of our oceans and coastal ecosystems.   

Here’s to a future filled with even greater strides toward a sustainable and thriving planet!    

Looking to the Future with 2024 in our sights 

In 2024, Heal the Bay will enter a bold five-year strategic plan with a focus on protecting and restoring the Los Angeles environment and water. The plan aims to improve water quality, increase access to clean water, and advocate for policies that benefit the environment. We have outlined specific goals and initiatives, such as reducing plastic pollution, restoring wetlands, and engaging communities in environmental education and action.   

Thank you for all our supporters both past and present.


SUPPORT HEAL THE BAY

Want to support our work for years to come? There is still time to make your big impact for Heal the Bay with Year End Giving. Give a gift for good to protect our precious watershed and help keep our coastal waters safe and clean all year round. Whether it be Corporate and Foundation GivingPartnershipsStock DonationsDonor Advised FundsEstate PlansDonations and Sponsorship Opportunities, you can make a lasting impact with your year-end contribution today. Contact Us.


Heal the Bay closely monitors the progress of bills that impact California’s ecosystems and communities each legislative calendar year, and this season has been a rollercoaster ride ranging from game-changing victories in water conservation to ongoing waste and toxin battles. Let’s take a deep dive into the outcomes of key legislation and what it means for healthy, safe, clean water.

 Major Wins led by Heal the Bay for Water & Biodiversity

When Heal the Bay sponsors a bill, we take on the responsibility of introducing, advocating for, and shepherding a proposed new law through the legislative process. This year, Heal the Bay co-sponsored two bills that were signed into law.

  • Assembly Bill 1572 (Friedman): Irrigation of Non-functional Turf, co-sponsored by Heal the Bay, NRDC, and Metropolitan Water District

a.k.a the “lawn-be-gone” solution for a more water equitable and climate resilient California.

Heal the Bay sponsored AB 1572 which is all about using water more efficiently. The bill bans the use of drinking water to irrigate “non-functional turf” on government and commercial properties. See a patch of grass and wondering if it’s non-functional turf?  If the only time a person walks on the grass is to mow it, it’s probably non-functional turf. This bill doesn’t impact landscapes around people’s homes, but it does mean no more watering fancy lawns with precious drinking water at public agencies, restaurants, and corporate campuses. When it goes into effect, AB 1572 is expected to save the same amount of water 780,000 households use in a year! Even major water suppliers supported it. This bill is a huge win toward a more sustainable and water-efficient California.  While the bill excludes single-family residential lawns, everyone is encouraged to do their part.  To learn about how you can transform your landscape, check out LA Department of Water and Power and Metropolitan Water District’s turf replacement programs.

  • Assembly Bill 1611 (Lowenthal): Fishing Violations, co-sponsored by Heal the Bay and Resources Legacy Fund

a.k.a the “win-win” for fish and anglers.

AB 1611 simplifies and clarifies fishing regulations in California by allowing Fish and Game wardens to cite certain administrative commercial fishing violations as either a misdemeanor or an infraction. This change ensures that wild fishery enforcement is more equitable.

This smart approach ensures that the punishment fits the crime by striking a balance between fairness and strong governance. This bill had strong backing from fishery regulatory agencies and its passing means California is taking essential steps to safeguard its fisheries and continue its tradition of leading in environmental protection. It’s a win-win for both nature and the community.

Want to help Heal the Bay monitor our precious Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)? Become an MPA Watch Volunteer and learn how to identify and report violations – the first step to becoming an MPA Watch volunteer is to attend our next Volunteer Orientation on January 11, 2024, at 6 PM (Heal the Bay Aquarium).

Want to learn more about the bills Heal the Bay helped sponsor? 🔴 WATCH our 2023 Legislative Wins Break-Down on Instagram. 

Other Exciting Legislative Wins

  • Senate Bill 244 (Eggman): Right to Repair

a.k.a “Don’t waste it, fix it”.

Dubbed the “Right to Repair Act”, the passage of SB 244 will have a powerful impact on reducing electronic waste by giving consumers more accessibility to the parts and pieces needed to fix electronics and appliances. Beginning July 1, 2024, manufacturers will have to provide you, their customer, with documentation, parts, and tools for repairs, even if the warranty has expired. This law is all about making repairs more accessible, reducing waste, and promoting a fair marketplace for fixes.  Heal the Bay supported this bill through our Clean Seas Lobbying Coalition.

Tough Losses: Vetoed Bills

Not every bill makes it through the process, Governor Newsom vetoed several bills that Heal the Bay would have preferred to see signed into law:

  • Assembly Bill 1628 (McKinnor): Microfiber Filtration

a.k.a “Microfiber filters could make massive impacts on the environment”.

AB 1628 was focused on microfiber pollution, a major contributor to microplastic pollution around the globe. It would have required every new washing machine sold in the State, whether for homes or industrial use, to come with a special microfiber filter. This filter is like a lint trap that catches tiny microfibers as small as 100 micrometers, preventing them from getting into our environment. The bill was vetoed by Governor Newsom who expressed concerns about increased costs to consumers and instead suggested the exploration of alternative, incentive-based approaches. Heal the Bay does not agree with his false narrative, and, in fact, bill analysis still favors a legislative approach showing that increased costs would have actually been minimal for both consumers and manufacturers.

  • Assembly Bill 1423 (Schiavo): PFAS in Artificial Turf

a.k.a A “turf” loss for the environment.

AB 1423 would have prevented California public entities, schools, and certain colleges from buying or installing artificial turf or synthetic surfaces containing harmful PFAS chemicals (perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances), commonly called “forever chemicals,” which are highly toxic compounds persistent in the environment and linked to a myriad of public health concerns. The bill would have also encouraged manufacturers to choose safer alternatives when replacing PFAS in these surfaces.  Unfortunately, Governor Newsom vetoed this bill citing a lack of regulatory oversight to enforce the ban.  Heal the Bay continues to seek opportunities to educate the public about the dangers of PFAS and encourage alternatives wherever possible.

It’s Not Over Yet: Bills to Revisit

While some bills came out on top and others met their downfall this year, a few were set on a two-year track that may potentially be reintroduced in 2024 (also known as part two of the two-year legislative session). Below are some standout bills that Heal the Bay is excited to work on when they arise again:

  • Assembly Bill 1290 (Rivas): Plastic Additives

AB 1290 sought to adopt new plastic regulations by putting restrictions on certain plastic products and additives. The bill aimed to ban making, selling, offering for sale, or distributing especially toxic items like colored plastic bottles and plastic packaging with toxic substances in California. These restricted substances include colorants that make plastic hard to recycle, additives that make plastic break down into tiny pieces, and harmful PFAS chemicals. This bill was extended to a 2-year bill and Heal the Bay continues to support its passage.

  • Senate Bill 552 (Newman): Reuse for Dine-In 

SB 552 was a tough loss for Heal the Bay and our partners along with bill sponsors at the Clean Seas Coalition. This bill would have prohibited food facilities from providing a dine-in customer with any single-use foodware accessory or single-use food packaging. LA County recently passed a similar law thanks to Heal the Bay and Reusable LA, and we know just how effective this law would be at reducing harmful single-use plastic waste from the source. Unfortunately, thanks to logistical challenges, this bill never really took off this year, but Heal the Bay is really excited to push even harder for this legislation next year.

For a great summary of outcomes on climate and other environmental bills, check out the recap from LA Times reporter, Sammy Roth.

While this year was peppered with heartbreaks and an unusually high number of bill vetoes, Heal the Bay is still celebrating our wins and looking forward to next year.  From equitable fishing regulation to water conservation and waste reduction, our state is at the forefront of safeguarding our precious ecosystems. As we move forward, Heal the Bay will continue to fight for healthy, safe, clean water for all. Keep following along to stay in the know and learn how you can help us support the next round of California environmental bills!


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When marine animals are seized in illegal animal trafficking cases, those animals must be cared for by certified Aquariums and Zoos until a verdict can be rendered. That’s where Heal the Bay steps in.

From the desk of Laura Rink, Associate Aquarium Director of Operations, Heal the Bay Aquarium.

Heal the Bay Aquarium is officially a proud member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Wildlife Trafficking Alliance, a network pilot program that provides a coordinated response for the care and well-being of wildlife confiscated from illegal trade.   

In late October 2023, Heal the Bay joined the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums for a press conference at the Los Angeles Zoo to announce the launch of the Wildlife Confiscations Network in Southern California (see image above).  

“In September 2023 Wildlife traffickers pleaded guilty in federal court in California to illegally importing endangered sea cucumbers – which are prized in China for food and medicine and as a reputed aphrodisiac – from Mexico.” – (Sean Hiller/AP) The Guardian

Online marketplaces and social media have made it significantly easier for consumers to illegally acquire wild animals. Every year, millions of trafficked animals fuel this global demand. Wildlife trafficking decimates species in the wild, fuels criminal networks, destabilizes governments, encourages corruption, and threatens human and animal health through the transmission of diseases. 

Joining this network is an amazing opportunity for Heal the Bay Aquarium to continue its work with partner aquariums and environmental organizations to conserve, protect, and care for the local habitats and species specific to the Santa Monica Bay.  This new Wildlife Conservation Network Certification identifies Heal the Bay Aquarium as a facility qualified to provide the housing and welfare for marine species that are confiscated by the US Fish and Wildlife Service from illegal wildlife trade.  

We hope that through our collaborative efforts, we will not only be able to save the lives of many species but also contribute to effectively combating illegal wildlife trafficking. 

Please note:  The Aquarium does not accept public animal drop-offs.  If you encounter a potential wildlife crime, please report it to the Service’s wildlife trafficking tips line at 1-844-FWS-TIPS (397-8477) or online at: https://www.fws.gov/wildlife-crime-tips. If your tip leads to an arrest, or other substantial action, you may be eligible to receive a financial reward. 

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From the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service NEWS DESK

Date: EMBARGOED UNTIL 11:00 AM PT ON FRIDAY, OCTOBER 27, 2023  

Contact: publicaffairs@fws.gov  

 New Network Gives Hope to Animals Trafficked Through Illegal Wildlife Trade 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums announce a pilot network in southern California to provide care and welfare for animals confiscated from illegal trade. 

 The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums today announced the launch of the Wildlife Confiscations Network in southern California. The network is a pilot program of AZA’s Wildlife Trafficking Alliance that provides a coordinated response for the care and well-being of wildlife confiscated from illegal trade.  

Online marketplaces and social media have made it significantly easier for consumers to illegally acquire wild animals. Every year, millions of trafficked animals fuel this global demand. Wildlife trafficking decimates species in the wild, fuels criminal networks, destabilizes governments, encourages corruption, and threatens human and animal health through the transmission of diseases. 

“Wildlife trafficking is a serious crime that impacts imperiled species throughout the world,” said Martha Williams, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service director. “When live wild animals and plants are seized at U.S. ports of entry, it is critical to provide the highest standard of care as quickly as possible. It is also essential to grant safe and appropriate housing for species that cannot be returned to their country of origin. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proud to work with a broad spectrum of law enforcement and conservation partners to ensure the health, wellbeing and proper care of all seized wildlife and plants in our custody. This newly established pilot program network will help conserve animals and plants for future generations.” 

Successful wildlife law enforcement often involves the seizure, confiscation, and holding of a diverse array of wild animals, notably at U.S. ports of entry or exit. In 2022, Service special agents and the Service’s law enforcement partners investigated over 10,000 wildlife trafficking cases and collected over $11,000,000 in criminal penalties. That same year, wildlife inspectors across the country worked alongside other federal agencies to process over 160,000 legal and declared shipments of wildlife products – and seize illegal shipments at U.S. ports of entry.  

Through a cooperative agreement between the Service and AZA, the network will be a point of contact for wildlife law enforcement officers in southern California to lessen the logistical burden of searching for appropriate placement of trafficked animals. With a dedicated wildlife confiscations coordinator, wildlife law enforcement can now make a single phone call to relay the specific housing needs of the species involved. The coordinator will then refer to a list of fully vetted and permitted professional animal care facilities in the region to determine which can meet the case needs. Currently a pilot program, the network plans to replicate the framework developed in southern California throughout the U.S. 

“Many AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums already work closely with law enforcement agencies to provide critical support for the victims of the illegal wildlife trade,” said Dan Ashe, AZA president and chief executive officer. “We are pleased to formalize this work by establishing the Southern California Wildlife Confiscations Network pilot program to ensure the ongoing conservation of threatened species and the wellbeing of individual animals. We will take what we learn in this process and begin to build out the network nationwide.” 

“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proud of the work AZA has done to establish the Wildlife Confiscations Network,” said Ed Grace, assistant director of the Service’s Office of Law Enforcement. “Using the network to coordinate placement and care of seized live animals will enhance wildlife law enforcement’s ability to effectively combat illegal wildlife trafficking. This program exemplifies how working together can help serve the American public.”  

If you encounter a potential wildlife crime, please report it to the Service’s wildlife trafficking tips line at 1-844-FWS-TIPS (397-8477) or online at: https://www.fws.gov/wildlife-crime-tips. If your tip leads to an arrest, or other substantial action, you may be eligible to receive a financial reward. 

____________________________________________________ 

About the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service:  

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information, visit www.fws.gov, or connect with us through any of these social media channels: Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), Instagram, YouTube and Flickr 

 

About AZA: 

Founded in 1924, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, animal welfare, education, science, and recreation. AZA is the accrediting body for the top zoos and aquariums in the United States and 12 other countries. Look for the AZA accreditation logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things. The AZA is a leader in saving species and your link to helping animals all over the world. To learn more, visit https://www.aza.org/.   

About AZA’s Wildlife Trafficking Alliance (WTA): 

The Wildlife Trafficking Alliance is a coalition of over 90 nonprofit organizations, companies, and AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums, working together to combat illegal wildlife trade around the world. To learn more, visit aza.org/wildlife-trafficking-alliance. 


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Heal the Bay, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and Los Angeles Waterkeeper have worked together to develop a “Vision 2045” report with bolder goals and recommendations for the County’s Safe, Clean Water Program.

 

Ladera Park is one of many successful greening projects funded by the Safe, Clean Water Program, but Los Angeles needs more stormwater projects to prepare our region for its future water needs. (Photo by Heal the Bay) 

In 2018, Los Angeles County residents passed a landmark funding measure (Measure W), which imposed a parcel tax on impervious surfaces to fund stormwater projects to increase local water supply, improve water quality, and provide community benefits through the Safe, Clean Water Program (SCWP). With an annual budget of approximately $280 million, the SCWP has the potential to transform how Los Angeles County manages stormwater, prioritizing climate resilience and community health and well-being.

The SCWP is currently undergoing its first official assessment through the County’s Biennial Review process, offering an opportunity to assess progress, reflect on the achievement of goals, set targets, and make recommendations.   Numerous water quality deadlines have passed in an environment that is becoming hotter and less hospitable and frontline communities are bearing the brunt of those impacts. Therefore, despite numerous successes in its first four years, it has become evident that to meet future ambitions, a clear and realistic roadmap is required.   It is now clear that the SCWP must be even bolder in its goals, targets, and timelines to accelerate the equitable transformation of LA County to greener, more local water self-sufficient and climate-prepared communities. 

That is why Heal the Bay, along with our partners at Natural Resources Defense Council and LA Waterkeeper, representing three of the LA region’s leading water advocacy organizations, shared a new report with LA County decision-makers tasked with overseeing the ambitious SCWP.

Vision 2045: Thriving in a Hotter and Drier LA County through Local Stormwater Capture and Pollutant Reduction includes bolder goals, targets, and recommendations for the SCWP on water supply, water quality, equity, science, finance, and policy.  The report is intended to catalyze County efforts to ensure the Safe, Clean Water Program reaches its goals more quickly and definitively. The timing of the release of this document corresponds with the December 7th meeting of the Regional Oversight Committee on the Biennial Review as well as this week’s LA County Board of Supervisors approval of the LA County Water Plan that builds on their goal of 80% local water supplies by 2045.

Make The Most of Every Drop of Rain 

With climate change accelerating, one of the most cost-effective ways to ensure Angelenos will continue to have the water they need to thrive in the decades to come is to make the most of every drop of rain that falls. The groups that drafted this vision document note there is a real urgency to ensure the Safe, Clean Water Program is implemented in a way that is both effective and equitable. Among other goals, it calls for a target of an additional 300,000 acre-feet of stormwater to be captured and put to use every year by 2045. The document also calls on the county to aggressively reduce water pollution by complying with state deadlines, and ensure that at least 10% of projects in disadvantaged communities that are funded through the program are led by community-based organizations, to ensure robust community involvement.

Nature-Based Solutions 

The vision document also proposes a target of replacing 12,000 acres of impermeable surfaces with new green space by 2045: a nature-based solution that provides recreation, open space, public health benefits, and more. It calls for all schools located within the boundaries of state-defined disadvantaged communities to become green schools by 2030, with all LA County schools meeting that target no later than 2045. Vision 2045 also sets a target of developing an outreach plan to actively engage local tribes in program implementation by the end of next year.

Yes, 2045 is more than twenty years in the future and unforeseeable changes are ahead economically, environmentally, and politically (for better or worse).  Most policymakers and groups working on the program will have moved on and so the way to stay on target is to set realistic (but bold) milestones goals, targets, and timelines to stay on track and achieve safe, clean, water for all.

See our top-level goals, and additional recommendations in the full report.

Read the full Vision 2045 Report

READ THE VISION 2045 PRESS RELEASE

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Wrapping up our 2023 Heal the Bay Volunteer Season with a look back at our 2022 achievements.


Heal the Bay thrives because of the work and dedication of our amazing volunteers. 2022 was an especially incredible year for our volunteer program as initiatives that were suspended by COVID protocols in 2020 were reenergized by our staff, donors and of course our volunteers!

As we end our 2023 Volunteer Season we take time to reflect on the wins of the year before. Heal the Bay is proud to share all our volunteer accomplishments and achievements in our 2022 Volunteer Impact Report, created by our Volunteer Programs Manager Annie Lopez.

DOWNLOAD THE HEAL THE BAY 2022 Volunteer Impact Report and check out our 2022 volunteer highlights below.

Are you ready to make your impact as a volunteer? Want to help care for animals at the Aquarium? Interested in educating the public on the sand at Beach Cleanups? Ready to help protect precious ecosystems found in Marine Protected Areas? Join us for our LAST Volunteer Orientation of 2023 to learn about all the ways you can help protect what you love!

REGISTER FOR VOLUNTEER ORIENTATION, NOVEMBER 9, 2023.