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Heal the Bay Blog

Category: California

ūüí• 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‚ÄôDonnell), which would have required public meetings on the DDT pollution off our coast but didn‚Äôt 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 ‚Äúdiversion credits‚ÄĚ, 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.



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.

‚ÄúHeal 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 ‚ÄĒ 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,‚ÄĚ 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.

SUPPORT OUR WORK



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‚Äôs 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.



Like a national or state park on land, Marine Protected Areas, or MPAs, conserve and protect wildlife and habitats in the ocean. Here in California, we have a unique and science-based network of 124 MPAs all up and down the coastline. This network exemplifies a new kind of MPA science, designed to not only conserve the habitat inside the boundaries of the protected areas, but to enhance the areas in between as well.

 The MPA Decadal Review

California’s MPA network has been around since 2012 and, per the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) passed in 1999, this network must be reviewed every 10 years. This year marks the very first Decadal Management Review of California’s MPAs. What does that mean for our network?

We sat down with Tova Handelman, the Senior Marine Protected Areas Program Manager at California’s Ocean Protection Council (and former Heal the Bay staffer) to give us the inside scoop on what’s in store for California’s treasured MPAs.

To get started, California‚Äôs MPAs are really special ‚Äď what makes our network of 124 MPAs different from other MPAs in the United States and around the world?

Most MPAs around the world are designed as individual protected areas: a specific spot on the map that is set aside and conserved. Our MPAs are different; they span the entire California coastline and are ecologically designed as a network. They are meant to interact with each other, connected by the California Current, wildlife migration, and dispersal patterns.

Since California’s MPAs are a statewide network, we can actually manage them as a state. All 124 MPAs are managed to the same degree, unlike MPAs that are managed differently region by region. This allows for more equitable distribution of resources, no matter how remote an MPA may be.

Point Dume MPA
Point Dume is one of 124 stunning Marine Protected Areas in the state that offer safe refuge for ocean inhabitants as well as breath taking views from the land that make up the California Coastline.

The state of California manages our entire MPA system, how exactly does that work?

We use ‚Äúadaptive management‚ÄĚ for our network of MPAs in California, which gives us an opportunity to change how we manage these areas as the ecosystems change over years or decades. What might be working in MPA management now, might not work in the future. It was quite brilliant to include adaptive management in the MLPA and we are already seeing now, with the climate changing so rapidly, how necessary it was.


A variety of information is taken into account when monitoring an MPA. Heal the Bay partnered with scientists like PhD candidate Dr. Zack Gold to study eDNA in protected waters over the past couple years.

A key part of adaptive management is checking in on our MPAs to see how they are working and then adapt management accordingly. Here in California we do that through the Decadal Management Reviews, and the very first one is happening this year. Tell us about this review.

The Decadal Management Review, which was written into the MLPA, is an opportunity for us to use science and monitoring to see what has been going on in MPAs over the past 10 years. Based on the evidence presented, we can determine if there are any ways we can strengthen MPA management to make it more effective.

What does this scientific evidence look like?

The state of California has been funding long term MPA monitoring for a long time, and it all started with baseline data. Researchers went to all different types of ecosystems like sandy beaches, rocky reefs, kelp forests, and estuaries and gathered information to get an idea of what was going on inside and outside MPA boundaries 10 years ago, before the MPAs were put into place. Since then, those same sites have continued to be monitored over time to look at changes and see if anything interesting has happened since the baseline data was collected. In addition to the long-term data sets, we also will be interested in community science, like MPA Watch, to give a broader picture of the human dimension of MPAs [how humans interact with, use, impact, and value these areas]. The review will also include Traditional Ecological Knowledge from Indigenous communities who have been stewards of these lands and waters since time immemorial.


MPA volunteers like Sophia von der Ohe (seen in the picture above) are crucial to the success of the Decadal Review. Over 36161 surveys have been submitted by MPA watch volunteers to date.

How exactly will the review work, and who is involved?

The major players are the California Fish and Game Commission (FGC), the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), and the California Ocean Protection Council (OPC). The review will start with the gathering and synthesizing of scientific evidence by CDFW ‚Äď this is happening right now and will continue through the year [and Heal the Bay is helping to contribute evidence and data for this critical step]. As the managing agency of the MPA network, CDFW will present this evidence to the FGC through a report, a presentation at a Commission meeting, and a symposium. This is set to happen in early 2023. As the regulatory body, the FGC will then review the evidence and make the decision if any changes are needed in MPA Management. If they choose to make any changes, they would have to go through a full regulatory process.

What can we expect from this first review? Will the science show major changes? Will there be any big management adjustments like MPAs added/removed or shifting boundaries?

The science might show some changes [like this Channle Islands MPA study showed increased abundance and biodiversity] but we don’t know yet because we are still analyzing that data. These are cold water climates and here, things take a long time to change. So, even though we are reviewing the science every 10 years, and we will see some interesting things, this review isn’t going to definitively show an extremely different landscape from 10 years prior.

We don’t expect any major management adjustments during this first 10-year review, such as border changes, adding new MPAs, or removing current MPAs. If you have heard that this management review is going to determine whether or not we are going to keep our MPA network or not, that is not this case: this review isn’t like a pass-fail test.

What you CAN expect from this review is a very interesting narrative and look back on the past 10 years of MPA management. We will see the amount of effort that was needed to manage our MPAs and interesting ecological data and stories. We will see data on the human dimension, such as community science, socioeconomics, how communities have interacted with their MPAs, and a review of the resources that were put into the network. This review will help to show the international global significance of this network and how other managers are looking to us as an example.

How can folks get involved in the review process?

The state is working to involve all ocean users and MPA stakeholders in the review process. If you are interested in getting involved in the review, you can:

1. Submit comments to CDFW for the review on their webpage

2. Stay informed by signing up for CDFW’s mailing list or learning more on their FAQ page

3. Attend FGC meetings and give a public comment

4. Get involved in the science! Join Heal the Bay’s MPA Watch program or The California Collaborative Fisheries Research Program to help collect important data used for the review

5. Go visit your MPA! We have four gorgeous MPAs here in LA County where you can swim, hang on the beach, surf, whale watch, snorkel, or tidepool!

So, folks, there you have it! All the information you need on California’s 2022 MPA Decadal Management Review. To close, some words of advice from an MPA: Be adaptive, base your decisions in science, protect yourself, get by with a little kelp from your friends, and do your own decadal review!



Join community scientists in California to observe and document the King Tides on January 2-3, 2021. 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. UPDATE: Get a glimpse of the King Tide this winter.

The King Tide is back for 2022

Thank you to all who rushed to the beaches of Southern California on December 4-5, 2021 to help us document the King Tide. Your observations were vital to prepare Los Angeles for a future affected by climate change and we need your help once more. This tidal phenomenon is predicted to return on  January 2-3, 2022 and we are calling all of those who love the California coast, once again, to help capture the King Tide.

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 ‚Äúbusiness as usual‚ÄĚ (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‚ÄĒnot 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 ‚Äúbusiness as usual,‚ÄĚ 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 January 2-3 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 the January 2-3 #KingTides event

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.



On December 3, 2021 our local water agency leaders gathered together to discuss the major water challenges impacting Greater Los Angeles and how to solve them at Heal the Bay’s first-ever ONE Water Day event.

ONE Water Day at Will Rogers State Beach

The sun was shining, the DJ was playing the hits, and our Heal the Bay team was setting up for a cleanup (while dancing in the sand) as we welcomed over 200 attendees to a first-of-its-kind networking opportunity at Will Rogers State Beach. ONE Water Day  brought together many prominent heads of local government agencies and engineering companies to meet and discuss the future of water in Los Angeles. There were more than 26 different organizations represented at this networking event, sparking countless partnerships, and raising over $120,000 for Heal the Bay.

The Cleanup

ONE Water Day attendees participated in a scavenger hunt to clean the beach and experience what trash and debris ends up at our beaches from all over our local watersheds.

After guests had time to mix and mingle, the day started off with a land acknowledgement to recognize the Tongva and Chumash tribal ancestral lands where the event was being held. Then attendees were invited to participate in a Heal the Bay scavenger hunt for trash. This hands-on and team-oriented beach cleanup was an opportunity for individuals from different organizations to collaborate and observe first-hand the realities of pollution.

In just 30 minutes, 19 teams collected 200 buckets of trash along two miles of the Pacific Palisades coastline. Amongst an eclectic array of waste, more than 600 cigarette butts were collected, with Team 12 taking home first place prizes for the most items captured.

After the cleanup, a panini lunch was served by the fantastic team of Critic’s Choice Catering, giving attendees a chance to recharge and enjoy the many event exhibitors and perfect beach weather on a winter day.

The Panel

ONE Water Day Panel, guest speakers from left to right; Martin Adams, Robert Ferrante, Adel Hagekhalil, Dr. Shelley Luce (host), Mark Pestrella, Barbara Romero, Dave Pedersen.

Next on the agenda was a panel conversation hosted by Dr. Shelley Luce, Heal the Bay CEO and President. The panel guest speakers included six influential leaders speaking on the topic of Los Angeles water. All were eager to discuss systemic water quality issues, the impacts of climate change, and the cooperative solutions they envision for Los Angeles.

Speakers included: Adel Hagekhalil, General Manager, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California; Barbara Romero, Director and General Manager, LA Sanitation and Environment; Robert Ferrante, Chief Engineer and General Manager, Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts; Dave Pedersen, General Manager, Las Virgenes Municipal Water District; Martin Adams, General Manager and Chief Engineer, LA Department of Water and Power; Mark Pestrella, Director of LA County Public Works.

Energy was high and the feeling was hopeful as the ONE Water Day panel shared their visions for the future. Guest speakers from left to right; Adel Hagekhalil, Dr. Shelley Luce (host), Mark Pestrella, Barbara Romero.

Takeaways from the ONE Water Panel from Dr. Shelly Luce

ONE Water Day was a unique event. The panel was a rare honor and opportunity to question each of the guest speakers on their plans for building a sustainable water supply for Los Angeles in this time of extreme drought and climate change.

 We learned so much from our panel speakers at the event. The Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation and the Department of Water and Power are collaborating to recycle treated wastewater for drinking water. The LA County Sanitation Districts and the Las Virgenes Metropolitan Water District are doing the same in their respective areas, in collaboration with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. And, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works is collaborating with cities throughout the region to capture and treat urban runoff, aka stormwater, so it can be infiltrated into groundwater or reused for irrigation.

 This massive shift to conserving and recycling our water has taken place incrementally over decades. It requires a level of collaboration among agencies that has never occurred before.

 Adel Hagekhalil, the General Manager of the Metropolitan Water District, stated it perfectly:

We take water for granted, and we forget that water is essential to firefighting, to drinking, to our health and our safety; hospitals don’t run without water. Fire cannot be fought without water. Businesses cannot run without water Schools cannot be schools without water. Homelessness cannot be addressed without water. So, water is life,‚ÄĚ Hagekhalil said. ‚ÄúSometimes we‚Äôre willing to pay $200 for our cell phone, but are we willing to pay that money for the future of our water?‚ÄĚ

 To demonstrate this commitment, Hagekhalil asked everyone at the event to stand and pledge to work every day toward the ONE Water goals. All did so, willingly and enthusiastically. It was a great moment for all of us who care deeply about our sustainable water future to affirm our commitment.

Thank You

A huge thank you to the amazing ONE Water Day Sponsors, our proud partners of Heal the Bay, and organizations that are leading the way in their commitment to environmental sustainability:

AECOM, WSP, Metropolitan Water District, LA Sanitation and Environment

 

Thank you to all the guests in attendance. Your initiative and dedication are vital toward building a bright and equitable future for water in Los Angeles.

See Event Pictures

 

 

Los Angeles has major water challenges to solve, and Heal the Bay sees events like this as an opportunity to upload the value of collaboration and accountability, to continue conversations that lead to solutions, and to create opportunities for partnerships like never before. This Heal the Bay event is the first of its kind for our organization, but is certainly not the last.

 

Want to support our ongoing efforts for for One Water?      Donate Here



2021 was a turning point for environmental legislation in California.

Following a legislative season of major challenges for the environment during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, our assemblymembers and senators were able to push through some exciting new laws and regulations this year to tackle plastic pollution, water quality, and climate change. Despite some successes, there is much more work to be done. Our team of scientists and advocates breaks it down for you below so you can stay in the know.

A Big Win for Water Quality: AB 1066 (Bloom)

This year, Heal the Bay sponsored Assembly Bill 1066 which passed with flying colors through the legislature. We firmly believe that inland water recreation areas, where people swim, boat, and wade in the water, should have the same health protections as coastal areas. AB 1066 takes the first steps toward addressing water quality monitoring disparities between ocean and freshwater sites by requiring that the California Water Quality Monitoring Council develop recommendations for a uniform statewide freshwater monitoring program. Learn more about this bill and what it means for freshwater quality monitoring.

The California Circular Economy Package: Wins for Fighting Plastic Pollution

This year, a suite of bills dubbed the California Circular Economy Package was introduced by a variety of California decision-makers. While not all of the bills made it through the harrowing process to become law, these five did, and they mark some major wins for tackling plastic pollution and toxins in California.

‚úÖ SB 343 (Allen) expands on California‚Äôs truthful labeling law and limits the use of the ‚Äúchasing arrows‚ÄĚ symbol to products and packaging that are actually recycled in California, reducing consumer confusion and recycling contamination.
✅ AB 881 (L. Gonzalez) reclassifies mixed plastic exports as disposal instead of recycling while still allowing for truly recyclable plastics to be counted towards our state’s recycling goals.
‚úÖ AB 1276 (Carrillo) requires foodware accessories to only be given to customers upon their explicit request, reducing the waste of ‚Äúzero-use‚ÄĚ plastics like utensils and condiment packets.
‚úÖ AB 1201 (Ting) also requires truthful labeling for compostable products, only allowing the word ‚Äúcompostable‚ÄĚ to be used on products and packaging that are truly compostable in California, increasing effective composting and reducing toxic chemicals in packaging materials.
✅ AB 962 (Kamlager) paves the way for refill systems in California by allowing reusable glass bottles to be returned, refilled, and reused as part of California’s Beverage Container Recycling Program.

Climate Wins (and losses)

The climate crisis is here. In 2021, numerous extreme weather events across the world brought increased urgency to the issue along with the realization that these ‚Äúextreme‚ÄĚ events will become increasingly more common and will affect each and every one of us. Let‚Äôs take a look at the big wins of 2021.

‚úÖ SB 1 (Atkins) formally recognizes sea level rise as an urgent need to be addressed by the California Coastal Commission, establishes cross-agency coordination to tackle sea level rise, and establishes a $100 million grant program for local governments to prepare for rising seas.
‚úÖ Climate Resilience Package included in this year‚Äôs state budget invests $15 billion ‚Äď the largest investment to date ‚Äď in addressing an array of climate change concerns, including wildfires & forest resilience, rising heat, and sea level rise.

California is leading the charge for addressing climate change in many ways, but still has a long way to go. Let’s take a look at the places where California fell short on addressing the climate crisis.

‚ĚĆ SB 467 (Limon and Weiner) would have banned oil and gas production across California and required a 2,500-foot buffer between drilling sites and sensitive receptors such as homes and schools. We were devastated to see this bill die in the Senate this year but are working closely with environmental justice groups across the state to tackle this issue with creative solutions.
‚ĚĆ AB 1395 (Muratsuchi and C. Garcia), also referred to as the California Climate Crisis Act would have set ambitious climate goals for the state, including strict emissions standards and accelerated efforts to reduce the burning of fossil fuels.

Other Environmental Wins of 2021 

Plastics and Climate Change aren’t the only challenges our communities and environment face. The legislature had a few other successes this year in tackling pollution.

✅ AJR2 (O’Donnell) calls on Congress and the United States Environmental Protection Agency to take action on the recently uncovered dumping of DDT and other waste into the deep ocean between the coast of Los Angeles and Catalina Island. This resolution is a great first step and Heal the Bay looks forward to continued work in 2022 on securing state funding for work on DDT and pushing for a community oversight committee on the issue to ensure transparency and accountability.

‚úÖ SB 433 (Allen) expands the authority of the California Coastal Commission to enforce the 1976 Coastal Act through fines. Previously, the Coastal Commission could only levy fines for violations related to public access but now, with SB 433, the Commission can impose fines for violations related to impacts to wetlands, beaches, and coastal wildlife and waters. Coming on the heels of the devastating oil spill in Orange County, we are thrilled to see increased accountability for those who cause damage to our precious coastal resources.

‚úÖ AB 818 (Bloom) requires clear and conspicuous labeling on disposable wipes that states ‚ÄúDO NOT FLUSH‚ÄĚ. All too often, disposable wipes that are not intended to be flushed end up down toilets and in municipal wastewater treatment facilities where they can wreak havoc and cause blockage and spills. Especially after the disastrous sewage spill at the Hyperion Wastewater Treatment Center in Los Angeles earlier this year, legislation like this is important to both reduce consumer confusion and protect our local water bodies and wastewater treatment workers from harm.

Looking Forward: 2022

As we plan for the year ahead, we are hoping for a much stronger and more progressive year in passing regulations to tackle the climate crisis and water pollution issues, and we already know some items on the table. Heal the Bay will be strongly supporting these measures:

  • SB 54 (Allen) is a bill you have heard us mention before ‚Äď a massive plastic pollution reduction bill that would comprehensively tackle plastics through reduction measures and recycling reform. Next year will be the 4th year this bill is attempting to make its way through and we are committed to supporting it.
  • The California Plastic Waste Reduction Regulations Initiative is an initiative eligible for the November 8, 2022 ballot that would enact a massive plastic pollution reduction program, including a ‚Äúpollution reduction fee‚ÄĚ holding producers financially accountable for the pollution they create. Keep an eye out for it on your ballot next year!

With the COVID-19 pandemic still creating a massive public health crisis in California and globally this year, environmental legislation once again struggled to make significant progress. Heal the Bay is prepared and ready to help make up for lost time next year by pushing as hard as we can to pass regulations and laws that reduce production and pollution of plastics, end oil and gas drilling both onshore and on land, and protect our communities, waters, and watersheds from the climate crisis. Stay tuned for how YOU can help us get there.



(Image by Last Chance Alliance)

The recent oil spill near Orange County is a painful reminder of the dangers associated with fossil fuels.

Oil spills, air pollution, and single-use plastic waste are all preventable impacts from the fossil fuel industry. There is simply no safe way to drill. The only solution is a just transition away from an extractive fossil fuel economy.

Heal the Bay is calling on our elected officials and appointed agencies to end oil drilling in state and federal waters, and to decommission existing offshore drilling operations immediately. But it is not enough to ban all offshore drilling, when Big Oil will just ramp up their operations in our neighborhoods and public lands. We must end this harmful practice everywhere.

Let’s turn this preventable disaster into an opportunity to protect communities, our environment, and our local economy.

We echo the statewide demands of the Last Chance Alliance to STOP, DROP, and ROLL. Call Gov. Newsom to support these three actions and sign the online petition.

Numerous elected officials have stepped up to call for an end to offshore drilling ‚Äď this needs to include an end for existing leases and an immediate decommissioning of offshore oil platforms and operations. We are heartened especially by Senator Min‚Äôs vow to introduce this type of legislation for California, by his and Senator Newman‚Äôs call for federal representatives to do the same. We will keep you updated on state and federal legislation and how to keep pushing it forward.

TAKE ACTION NOW



UPDATE: The AB1066 bill has passed and is heading to the Governor’s desk to sign! Thank you for making your voice heard on behalf of clean freshwater in California.

Heal the Bay and Assembly Member Richard Bloom Introduce Legislation to Protect Public Health at Freshwater Swimming and Recreation Sites in California

We are so excited that Assembly Bill 1066 is progressing through the State legislature. It is the necessary first step towards protecting all Californians from pollution at their favorite freshwater recreation spots, and it has the potential to inspire more health protections and water quality improvements as we have seen at our ocean beaches.

Take Action and Call Your Reps:

Help us ensure AB1066 passes by calling your California representatives and letting them know you support safe, freshwater swimming sites for ALL!

Don’t know who your reps are or how to contact them? Find your reps here. Click the provided link to go to their websites and contact info.

Find My Reps

Sample call script:
“Hi, my name is ___ and I live in ___ . As your constituent, I am urging you to please support clean water, safe freshwater recreation, and public health by voting YES on AB1066. Thanks for your time.”


Learn More About Assembly Bill 1066

Assembly Bill 1066 has been amended since its initial introduction. The scope of the bill has been reduced, but it still remains a critical and significant step forward in protecting the public health of inland communities and visitors to freshwater recreation areas. The reduced scope cuts down on the cost and approaches the issue in phases, tackling phase one in its current version and extending the initial timeline.  

By December 2023, AB1066 would task the California Water Quality Monitoring Council with: 

  • Producing a report detailing existing data¬†
  • Defining and identifying priority freshwater recreation sites across the state,¬†based on criteria such as frequency of use and equity-based¬†metrics¬†
  • Making recommendations for an appropriate monitoring program for these sites to the State Water Board¬†¬†

If AB1066 passes, future steps, which Heal the Bay is committed to working on, would include: 

  • Developing and mandating a monitoring and public notification program for priority freshwater recreation areas across California (similar to AB411 for ocean beaches)¬†
  • Identifying appropriate funding sources to support this new program, such as a state budget allocation or federal funding¬†¬†

Twenty-four years ago, the California Legislature took an important step forward in protecting public health at ocean beaches. AB411, authored by Assembly Members Howard Wayne (San Diego) and Debra Bowen (South Bay), established statewide water quality standards, required standard monitoring protocols, and set uniform mandatory public notification procedures in place during poor water quality events. Prior to AB411, ocean-goers did not have access to water quality information leaving them vulnerable to serious illnesses such as stomach flu, respiratory illness and debilitating ear, nose, and throat infections, which are contracted from fecal contamination in the water.  

AB411 requires weekly water quality monitoring from April 1 to October 31 as well as public notification of water quality conditions for beaches where annual visitation is 50,000 or greater or that are near storm drains. Heal the Bay was the primary sponsor for this bill, and our Beach Report Card, started in 1991, helped grow support for it. AB411 is still the guiding piece of legislation for recreational water quality monitoring in California. Unfortunately, freshwater swimming and recreation areas are not regulated or monitored consistently in the same way that ocean beaches are. California has fecal pollution standards for freshwater, but monitoring for that pollution is lacking. Many swimming holes across the State are not tested for water quality, and for those that are, the monitoring and public notification protocols are not consistent statewide.  

Rivers, lakes, and streams are popular areas where people swim, fish, kayak, wade, raft, and more. And for many people who do not live near the coast or for whom the coast is not easily accessible, these are the areas where they go to cool off and enjoy time with friends and family, and have a good time. People who visit freshwater swimming holes should be provided with the same protections that ocean beachgoers are given. People deserve to know if they might be exposed to fecal pollution so that they can adequately protect themselves. We are thrilled to announce that Assembly Member Richard Bloom, in partnership with Heal the Bay, has introduced legislation to address this public health disparity, AB1066.  

AB1066 is the latest effort from Heal the Bay on addressing this issue. In 2014, Heal the Bay began monitoring freshwater recreation sites and providing that information to the public. We also began aggregating freshwater monitoring data from throughout LA County starting in 2017. This grew into our River Report Card (RRC), a free and publicly accessible website with updated water quality information throughout the greater LA region. Similar to the Beach Report Card, we have been using the RRC to advocate for increased monitoring and better water quality notifications across LA County. However, we want to take this to the next step and ensure people across the whole state have access to consistent water quality information that can help keep them safe.  

AB1066 would:  

  • Establish¬†a¬†definition for a¬†freshwater recreation site based on frequency of use¬†and¬†identify¬†sites state-wide to be monitored;¬†
  • Require weekly¬†monitoring¬†from Memorial Day to Labor Day for freshwater recreation sites by the owner/operator¬†using a standardized protocol and metrics;¬†¬†
  • Require public notification online and through signage for hazardous water quality conditions.¬†

¬†“I am pleased to author AB1066 to address a key public health challenge that many Californians face in outdoor recreation‚Äď ensuring there are science and health based bacterial standards, ongoing water quality monitoring, and public notification for freshwater bathing where needed.

California is a magnificent state and one that affords all our communities with opportunities to recreate outdoors. Our lakes, rivers and streams should be enjoyed by residents throughout the state, but we need to ensure that their public health is protected while doing so.”¬†

-Assembly Member Richard Bloom 

The protections in AB1066 are long overdue and were afforded to ocean beaches nearly 25 years ago. Sign up for our newsletter to stay informed on our work and ways to get involved.



Funcionarios electos de Los Angeles est√°n tomando acci√≥n legislativa para reducir la basura que se genera con la comida para llevar tras un gran incremento en el consumo del pl√°stico¬†de un solo uso.¬†¬ŅPero qu√© significa “Deja el desperdicio”?¬†¬ŅY c√≥mo ayuda a luchar contra la contaminaci√≥n por pl√°stico? Vamos a verlo.

Deja el desperdicio es el √ļltimo¬†empuj√≥n legislativo de Heal the Bay junto a la coalici√≥n¬†Reusable LA. #DejaElDesperdicio requerir√≠a que los extras de la comida para llevar y a domicilio¬†‚ÄĒ como los utensilios de un solo uso, popotes, condimentos, servilletas y dem√°s¬†‚ÄĒ fuesen facilitados¬†a petici√≥n¬†del usuario. Si los necesita, los puede tener. Y si no, no hace falta desperdiciar.

A√Īada su nombre a la petici√≥n

El¬†consumo de pl√°stico de un solo uso se ha disparado debido al COVID-19, incluyendo¬†aqu√≠ en Los Angeles, donde nuestros queridos restaurantes locales se han visto forzados a depender principalmente de los pedidos para llevar y a domicilio.¬†El consumo de pl√°sticos de un solo uso se ha incrementado entre un 250% y un 300% desde que comenz√≥ la pandemia, con un aumento de un 30% de basura atribuido en parte a utensilios de usar y tirar.¬†En toda la naci√≥n, billones de accesorios para la comida se tiran cada a√Īo, muchos sin haberse utilizado siquiera. (Muchos de nosotros incluso los guardamos en el¬†temido caj√≥n de los extras,¬†esperando utilizarlos alg√ļn¬†d√≠a).

La amplia mayor√≠a¬†de estos objetos de un solo uso no se pueden reciclar. Suman a la crisis de basura pl√°stica, ensucian nuestros vecindarios, r√≠os, el oc√©ano, y atascan los vertederos. El uso de combustibles f√≥siles¬†para producir objetos de pl√°stico que ni siquiera se usan es lo √ļltimo que necesitamos durante una crisis clim√°tica. Estos efectos tambi√©n¬†presentan problemas de justicia medioambiental, con las comunidades en primera l√≠nea¬†sufriendo desproporcionadamente por el cambio clim√°tico, la extracci√≥n de crudo, y la incineraci√≥n asociada a pl√°sticos de un solo uso.

Heal the Bay y Reusable LA est√°n abogando por legislar #DejaElDesperdicio en la ciudad y el condado de Los Angeles. En Enero de 2021, los miembros del consejo de la ciudad de Los Angeles¬†Paul Koretz y Paul Krekorian introdujeron una moci√≥n¬†para un borrador de ley para #DejaElDesperdicio. Requerir√≠a¬†que¬†en los casos de comida para llevar, servicio a domicilio o servicios de entrega a domicilios de terceros,¬†todos los accesorios estuvieran disponibles √ļnicamente bajo petici√≥n. La Junta de Supervisores del Condado de Los Angeles¬†sigui√≥¬†el ejemplo y en Febrero de 2021¬†pas√≥ una moci√≥n¬†similar de forma un√°nime tras ser introducida por¬†Sheila Kuehl,¬†miembro de la junta.

Esta legislaci√≥n reconoce que los miembros de la comunidad pueden necesitar pajitas/ popotes/pajillas, utensilios y / u otros accesorios para alimentos de un solo uso. Es crucial que los restaurantes y las aplicaciones de entrega de terceros promuevan y brinden opciones para todos. Este modelo “a pedido” est√° estructurado intencionalmente para cumplir con todos los requisitos y adaptaciones de la ADA para garantizar un acceso equitativo para disfrutar f√°cilmente de comidas en el lugar, comida para llevar o entregas en los restaurantes de Los √Āngeles. Seg√ļn esta ordenanza, las empresas pueden proporcionar accesorios para alimentos a los clientes que los soliciten.

Restaurantes y aplicaciones de entrega a domicilio deber√≠an por defecto, no entregar accesorios de un solo uso para los pedidos, a menos que el cliente los solicite. Cambiar a este modelo de accesorios “bajo pedido” elimina basura innecesaria y ahorra dinero a los establecimientos. Los Angeles ha hecho esto antes con los¬†popotes bajo pedido. En un momento en el que los negocios peque√Īos y los restaurantes est√°n¬†luchando por mantenerse a flote, esta es una soluci√≥n¬†simple para recortar costes excesivos y contaminaci√≥n por pl√°stico. Apoyamos estas ordenanzas porque son una soluci√≥n donde todos ganan, las comunidades de LA, los negocios y el medioambiente.

Contamos con su apoyo para pasar esta ordenanza, así que pase a la acción mediante los enlaces de aquí abajo y manténgase a la escucha para más novedades de #DejaElDesperdicio.

Pase a la acción!

Firme la petición

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