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Heal the Bay Blog

Category: California

2020 was a long and difficult year. At times it felt like we were going backwards. In this 2-part series, our Science and Policy team highlights some forward-moving progress and setbacks on the environmental policy front in California. We review our wins in Part 1 below, and in Part 2 we reflect on policies woes from the past year. 

2020 was tough. Systemic racism and environmental injustices continue to disproportionately impact BIPOC communities. More prevalent media coverage has elevated this painful reality, and as a nation, as organizations, and as individuals, many of us have challenged ourselves to do better. Despite this awakening, injustices remain, the climate crisis is escalating, and we’re struggling to maintain our day-to-day lives in the face of a new global public health pandemic with the spread of COVID-19. 

Even as these crises rage on, the wheels of government keep turning to address ongoing environmental issues, and Heal the Bay’s Science and Policy team has done its best to keep up. Let’s take a few minutes to highlight three environmental policy wins from 2020.  

Statewide Toxicity Provisions

After nearly two decades, the State Water Board adopted Toxicity Provisions in December, establishing an approach using Whole Effluent Toxicity (the collective adverse effect on aquatic life from all pollutants contained in wastewater) as a numeric limit with a clear pass/fail result. Toxicity testing provides an important back-stop to detect harmful conditions caused by chemicals and chemical mixtures that aren’t otherwise tested like new pesticides, household chemicals, pharmaceuticals, etc. 

Heal the Bay has been waiting for this since 2003. We even released a report in 2009 on the impacts of not including numeric toxicity limits in permits. In 2014, our Los Angeles Regional Board took a prudent step forward by adopting the use of numeric toxicity limits in local permits, creating momentum for the State Board to follow suit. We’re excited to finally see the adoption of these Provisions, though we did make a few concessions over the years. For example, these Provisions apply only to non-stormwater permits; however, thanks to our advocacy work alongside our partners at the California Coastkeeper Alliance, the State Board committed to starting on stormwater toxicity requirements next. 

Biological Objectives

The San Diego Regional Water Board became the first region in CA to adopt Biological Objectives for streams using numeric water quality standards for the biological community of a stream (based on the benthic macroinvertebrate community) in December. The Clean Water Act’s objective is to “restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nation’s waters,” but until now, implementation has focused solely on chemical integrity. Biological Objectives tell a meaningful and comprehensive story about the stream’s water quality, habitat, and biota. Unfortunately, these objectives do not apply to concrete lined streams; however, while not perfect, this is a big step forward. 

Heal the Bay advocated for the San Diego Biological Objectives alongside our partners at San Diego Coastkeeper and LA Waterkeeper. With this momentum from the San Diego region, we also advocated for the LA Regional Water Board to adopt their own Biological Objectives. We were thrilled to see a data project related to Biological Objectives make the Los Angeles Regional Board’s priority list this year! We will continue to work with our NGO partners and the Regional Board staff to move this effort along.

Safe, Clean Water Program Implementation

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved over $95 million in new investments under Measure W (the Safe, Clean Water Program) in October. The nine Watershed Area Steering Committees (WASCs), which each include five community representatives, have been working diligently all year to determine where and how funds should be spent. This first round of funding was approved for each WASC to hire Watershed Coordinators, and for the Program to fund 41 infrastructure projects, 15 technical assistance projects, and 4 scientific studies.

Heal the Bay, as a core team member of the OurWaterLA Coalition, has been involved in this program since its inception. We have engaged with the public and met with County staff to help ensure that the goals of the Program are met, while our President and CEO, Shelley Luce oversaw progress as Co-Chair of the Regional Oversight Committee. Heal the Bay has been selected as the Watershed Coordinator for the South Santa Monica Bay. We will lead public engagement efforts in this area for the Safe, Clean Water Program, and coordinate across the county with all 12 Watershed Coordinators. We also applied to be Watershed Coordinators for the Central Santa Monica Bay watershed area – the final decision for that position will be determined within the next few weeks.

Mikaela Loach reminds us all that “we have a lot of power to make changes to these [problematic] systems.” And so we urge you to advocate with all your might for good policies and the systemic changes we need. As hard as we fight, there will be setbacks. Read Part 2 to learn about three environmental policy woes in 2020.



UPDATE: Originally published on October 6, 2020. Last update on December 21, 2020 with the election results.

Download Graphics and Share Voter Guide 2020 Results

 

Yes on Prop 16: Affirmative Action / State of California

Notes: Failed

A success in Los Angeles County, but didn’t gain enough support from California voters to pass. The fight to allow people the option of considering equitable access to opportunity in the workforce of government agencies, contractors, and universities continues.

_____

Yes on Prop 17: Restored voting rights for felons / State of California

Notes: Passed

Finally possible for people who are on parole for felony convictions to vote. Voters also passed the potential for people who are on parole for felony convictions to run for office in California. People who have served their time deserve to participate in democracy.

_____

Yes on Prop 18: 17 year old people vote in primary / State of California

Notes: Failed

First introduced 16 years ago, would have allowed 17 year old people to vote in primary and special elections, if they turn 18 by the subsequent general election. This modest effort to expand voting rights and increase youth civic engagement failed. There are already 18 states and Washington D.C. where this is legal.

_____

Yes on Measure J Reimagine LA County / Los Angeles County 

Notes: Passed

Investments in programs that respond directly to local needs is how we move toward healthier communities. Heal the Bay advocates for prioritizing equitable access to green jobs and a clean environment across Greater Los Angeles.

_____

Yes on Measure RR / $7B Bond for LAUSD / City of Los Angeles

Notes: Passed

All children in Los Angeles County deserve clean water, improved school safety standards, asbestos-free facilities, and classrooms equipped with technology for the 21st century. This funding for the Los Angeles Unified School District was deeply needed to protect students, families, teachers, and faculty.

[END OF UPDATE]

 


 

If you want to make waves, you have to get in the water. With voting season upon us, make use of these handy resources to create your ocean of change. 

  • Dive into Heal the Bay’s Voting Guide (below)
  • Vote early!

Did you know California is one of a few states that allows “Conditional Voter Registration?“ This means you can register to vote conditionally all the way through Election Day on November 3. Contact the Los Angeles County Election Office for more information if you still need to register to vote. Early Voting takes place October 5 – November 2. If you are voting by mail-in ballot, the USPS recommends that you do so no later than October 27

Heal the Bay’s missionto make our coastal California waters and watersheds safe, healthy, and cleanis affected by issues of environmental justice.

We can only keep our rivers and oceans clean and accessible when we support and invest in all of our communities. That is why we are recommending yes votes on ballot initiatives that enact reforms that support communities most impacted by environmental injustices. Environmental justice is inextricably linked to social justice, and improving equity improves the health and environment across our communities. 

Heal the Bay Voter Guide: 

The Heal the Bay team created this brief voter guide for the November 3, 2020 election in Los Angeles County.

Yes on Prop 16: Affirmative Action / State of California
Yes on Props 17 & 18: Increasing Access to Voting / State of California
Yes on Measure J Reimagine LA County / Los Angeles County
Yes on Measure RR / $7B Bond for LAUSD / City of Los Angeles

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Proposition 16: A vote to allow the consideration of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin to address diversity in public employment, contracting, and education.

The issue:  This proposition repeals Prop 209, a ban on affirmative action in the California Constitution. This will allow for the consideration of diversity as a factor in public employment, public contracting, and public education decisions.

The stakes: Proposition 16 would diversify the composition of the workforce and the hiring pool available to government agencies, contractors, and university collaborators that work with Heal the Bay. As members of the environmental NGO community, we recognize the lack of diversity in leadership and staff within environmental organizations. Diverse perspectives provide a wider array of creative solutions to the environmental problems we face. With our commitment to advance environmental justice, Heal the Bay has taken strides to increase internal diversity, including updating our hiring policies. This proposition would help other agencies and universities to do the same in an effort to increase diversity at all levels. 

Our recommendation: Cast your ballot to advance equity. Vote YES on Prop 16.

_____

Propositions 17 and 18: Votes to increase access to voting. 

The issue:  Proposition 17 would amend the Constitution of California to allow people who are on parole for felony convictions to vote. Proposition 18 would allow 17-year-olds to vote in primary and special elections, if they will turn 18 by the subsequent general election.

The stakes: The issues confronting our state, including climate change, the resulting intensity of wildfires, and the human right to clean water, affect everyone, and everyone should have a say in them. The felons who’ve served their time and are on parole, as well as our youth in California, have to live with our decisions and should be able to participate in making them. 

Our recommendation: Cast your ballot to increase voting access. Vote YES on Props 17 and 18.

_____

Measure J (Los Angeles County): A vote to dismantle systemic racism by investing in health, housing, and jobs.

The issue: Los Angeles County spends vastly more money – 42% of all revenues – on law enforcement and the legal system, at the expense of other community needs including the environment. Measure J will permanently allocate at least 10% of the county’s unrestricted general funds to community counseling, mental health services, youth development programs, small businesses, job creation, career training, and affordable housing. These much-needed investments move us toward healthier communities and can support green jobs and a cleaner environment for low-income communities and communities of color in Los Angeles. 

The stakes: Heal the Bay wrote a comment letter in June 2020 supporting the People’s Budget to increase investments in community health in Los Angeles. Measure J includes programs and values similar to those we advocated in Measure W two years ago: good jobs, career training opportunities, and equity.

Our recommendation: Cast your ballot for the health, housing, and jobs of the communities who need it most. Vote YES on Measure J.

_____

Measure RR (Los Angeles): A vote to upgrade LAUSD schools and increase school safety.

The issue: Heal the Bay believes deeply in the value of education. We must invest in our children and our future. LAUSD infrastructure requires upgrades to aging buildings that aren’t safe for students. This Measure would authorize $7,000,000,000 in bonds at legal rates to address real infrastructure issues at LAUSD schools. It would include independent audits and citizens’ oversight, with none of the money going to administrative salaries. 

The stakes: Heal the Bay works with LAUSD schools regularly, and we have seen first hand through our Speakers Bureau program the inequities and lack of resources between different school districts. We believe that all children in LA County deserve clean water, improved safety standards, asbestos-free facilities, and classrooms equipped with technology for the 21st century.

Our recommendation: Cast your ballot for long-needed upgrades and safety measures in LAUSD schools. Vote YES on RR.

 

View En Español

 

 

 

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Recent school closures mean many students are not getting the daily science education they need. We need to practice physical distancing at this time, and we also need to put our brainpower and creative energy to good use, so students can learn about our environment remotely.

Heal the Bay created the online science education webinar series, “Knowledge Drops” in 2020 and it covers dozens of topics ranging from single-use plastics during COVID-19 to interesting marine animals found in SoCal to the most pressing local climate issues we are tackling today. Our team of scientists, experts, and advocates explore the water world and offer fun lessons about the marine environment. Each video session is about 1-hour long and includes a prerecorded live presentation, Q&A, polls, and videos. Our archive of webinars and resources are generally geared for 3rd – 8th grade students and up, but all ages are welcome!

See all recorded Knowledge Drops.

See Gotitas Del Saber Archivo en Español.

 

Knowledge Drops:

 

2020 Knowledge Drops Live Schedule (Link to Resources and Recordings Below… Keep Scrollin’)

3/18 – THE SEWAGE SYSTEM 🚰
3/20 – KNOW THE FLOW 💦
3/23 – MARVELOUS MOLLUSKS 🐚
3/25 – STORM DRAINS ☔️
3/27  – MARINE PROTECTED AREAS 🛡
3/30 – SHARKS AND RAYS 🦈
4/1 – BEACH REPORT CARD 💯
4/3 – PLASTICS 🥤
4/6 – SEA JELLIES 💧
4/8 – ECHINODERMS ⭐️
4/10 – CLEAN WATER ACT 📜
4/13 – COASTAL SHORE BIRDS 🦆
4/15 – COMMUNITY SCIENCE 🔬
4/17 – CONTAMINATED SEAFOOD ⛔️
4/20 – KELP 🌿
4/22 – HISTORY OF EARTH DAY 🌎
4/22 – LA HISTORIA DEL DIA DE LA TIERRA 🌍
4/24 – CLIMATE CHANGE ⚠️
4/27 – TIDE POOLS 🐌
4/29 – SEA TURTLES 🐢
5/1 – STREAMS OF THE SANTA MONICA MOUNTAINS ⛰
5/6 – CONOCE EL FLUJO 💦
5/8 – VIRUSES AND WATER QUALITY: IS IT SAFE TO SWIM?
5/11 – MICROSAFARI 🔎
5/13 – DESAGUES PLUVIALES 🌧
5/15 – ALGAL BLOOMS 🌊
5/18 – PENGUINS, OUR OCEAN FRINDS 🐧
5/20 – PLASTICOS 🥤
5/22 – NATURE-BASED SOLUTIONS 🌳
5/27 – PESCADO CONTIMINADOS 🎣
5/29 – NATIONAL ESTUARY PROGRAM 🏞
6/3 – BLOOMS ALGAL 🌊
6/4 – NICK GABALDON DAY 🏄🏾‍♂️
6/8 – HISTORY OF WORLD OCEANS DAY  🌏
6/10 – VIRUS Y CALIDAD DEL AGUA
6/12 – AQUATIC TOXICITY: SOURCES AND SOLUTIONS ❗️
6/15 –  HOW DO I EAT? 🍴
6/17 –  SITIO SUPERFUND 🆘
6/19 –  SEA LEVEL RISE AND CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION 🔝
6/22 –  SEAHORSES AND OTHER FINTASTIC FATHERS 🏅
6/24 – ACUARIO Y LIMPIEZA COSTERA 🐙
6/26 – RIVER REPORT CARD 📊
6/29 – GO WITH THE GLOW: MARINE BIOLUMINESCENCE & BIOFLUORESCENCE 💡
7/1 – ÁREAS MARINAS PROTEGIDAS (MPAs)🛡
7/6 – CRUSTACEANS 🦐
7/8 – MICROSAFARI 🔎
7/10 – THE SCIENCE OF SURFING: MAKING WAVES 💨
7/15 – TOXICIDAD ACUÁTICA
7/17 – THE SCIENCE OF SURFING: BREAKING WAVES 🏄🏽‍♀️
7/22 – SEAHORSES AND GARIBALDI / LOS CABALLITOS DE MAR Y GARIBALDI 🐴
7/24 – THE FUTURE OF CALIFORNIA’S MPAs 🔮
7/29 – SHARKS AND RAYS / TIBURONES Y MANTARRAYAS 🦈
7/31 – NOWCAST AND COMPUTER CODING 🖥
8/28 – UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHY 📸
9/9 – COASTAL CLEANUP MONTH: STREAMS OF THE SANTA MONICA MOUNTAINS / MES DE LA LIMPIEZA COSTERA: ARROYOS DE LAS MONTAÑAS DE SANTA MÓNICA 🌄
9/10 – COASTAL CLEANUP MONTH: STREAMS OF THE SANTA MONICA MOUNTAINS 🌄
9/16 –
COASTAL CLEANUP MONTH: RIVER WATER QUALITY AND RECREATION /
MES DE LA LIMPIEZA COSTERA: HEAL THE BAY’S CALIFICACIONES DEL RÍO 🚣🏾‍♀️
9/17 –
COASTAL CLEANUP MONTH: RIVER WATER QUALITY AND RECREATION 🚣🏾‍♀️
9/24 –
COASTAL CLEANUP MONTH: HOW TO PROTECT OUR COASTAL RESOURCES AND PEOPLE 👨‍👧‍👦
11/19 – BALLONA WETLANDS: HISTORY, NEED FOR RESTORATION, & FUTURE PLANS 🌾
12/3 – WAIT, WHAT’S HAPPENING TO THE LA RIVER? 🧐

 

If you are a teacher with a topic suggestion, please contact us with your idea.


Resources and Videos Archive:

All previously recorded Knowledge Drops webinar videos are posted here as an ongoing marine science education repository for you to access. (To view the webinar recordings please visit the ‘gotowebinar’ links below and enter in your contact information. We will only use your email address to update you about upcoming “Knowledge Drops”, volunteer events, and action alerts – you can opt out at any time.)

Knowledge Drops: The Sewage System

Recorded Webinar:
https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/4060559519187745537

More Information:

Knowledge Drops: Know the Flow

Recorded Webinar:
https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/3731720880131676929

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Knowledge Drops: Marvelous Mollusks

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/1113287814740681997

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Knowledge Drops: Storm Drains

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/3714805993360585228

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Knowledge Drops: Marine Protected Areas

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/6774566533598479118

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Knowledge Drops: Sharks and Rays

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/2799933154324367873

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Knowledge Drops: Beach Report Card

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/2647981746921586183

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Knowledge Drops: Plastics

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/2108763652518416390

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Knowledge Drops: Sea Jellies

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/7805031030394553612

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Knowledge Drops: Echinoderms

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/1666934800615825409

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Knowledge Drops: Clean Water Act

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/49080406197676296

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Knowledge Drops: Coastal Shore Birds

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/8011810684827116557

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Knowledge Drops: Community Science

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/5143253017727002625

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Knowledge Drops: Contaminated Seafood 

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/3010226848162550540

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Knowledge Drops: Kelp

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/7135795686275352323

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Knowledge Drops: History of Earth Day

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/9196918193512903691

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Knowledge Drops: La historia del Día de la Tierra

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/4446715700219695361

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Knowledge Drops: Climate Change

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/4260433141749869576

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Knowledge Drops: Tide Pools

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/7691541639666544642

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Knowledge Drops: Sea Turtles

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/4124039823946440967

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Knowledge Drops: Streams of the Santa Monica Mountains

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/836241671707943942

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Knowledge Drops: Conoce el Flujo

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/2622740259256834566

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Knowledge Drops: Viruses and Water Quality

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/3755868355584721676

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Knowledge Drops: MicroSafari

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/3060639456826881296

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Knowledge Drops: Desagues Pluviales

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/6033268098610078222

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Knowledge Drops: Algal Blooms

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/9101984161056214031

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Knowledge Drops: Penguins, Our Ocean Friends

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/5651654000998667271

Knowledge Drops: Plasticos

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/3195564926916837132

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Knowledge Drops: Nature-Based Solutions

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/5626478483345947656

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Knowledge Drops: Pescados Contaminados

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/848989410095476225

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Knowledge Drops: Blooms Algal

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/7583230949052736528

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Knowledge Drops: Nick Gabaldon Day

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/5352684695196396558

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Knowledge Drops: History of World Oceans Day

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/5875102252017903117

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Knowledge Drops: Virus y Calidad del Agua

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/9161552403089257478

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Knowledge Drops: Aquatic Toxicity: Sources and Solutions

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/4000079784492577294

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Knowledge Drops: How Do I Eat?

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/5523565295028591874

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Knowledge Drops: Sitio Superfund

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/3636684594553388047

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Knowledge Drops: Sea Level Rise and Climate Change Adaptation

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/5604186985223808015

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Knowledge Drops: Seahorses and Other Fantastic Fathers

Recorded Webinar:
https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/5378112001456551435

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Knowledge Drops: Aquario y Limpieza Costera

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/5657488010514034189

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Knowledge Drops: River Report Card

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/5829170154165669133

 

Knowledge Drops: Marine Bioluminescence & Biofluorescence

Recorded Webinar:
https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/4556212766197647874 

 More Information:

Knowledge Drops: Áreas Marinas Protegidas (MPAS)

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/6766161868839098128

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Knowledge Drops: Crustaceans

Recorded Webinar:
https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/1116456609554810369

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Knowledge Drops: MicroSafari (en Español)

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/6461401435030243855

Knowledge Drops: The Science of Surfing: Making Waves

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/3483683154009164559

Knowledge Drops: Toxicidad Acuática

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/5609503124519119873

Knowledge Drops: The Science of Surfing: Breaking Waves

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/8071947375896586247

Knowledge Drops: Seahorses and Garibaldi / Los Caballitos De Mar Y Garibaldi

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/3450783567349679107

Knowledge Drops: The Future of California’s MPAs

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/3986487622678927873

More Information:

Knowledge Drops: Sharks and Rays / Tiburones y Mantarrayas

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/1511927852828490255

Knowledge Drops: NowCast and Computer Coding

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/3265895189780110337

Knowledge Drops: Underwater Photography

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/2030045220290813452

More Information:

Knowledge Drops: Coastal Cleanup Month: Streams of the Santa Monica Mountains / Mes de la Limpieza Costera: Arroyos de las Montañas de Santa Mónica

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/8526730675111592195

More Information:

Knowledge Drops: Coastal Cleanup Month: Streams of the Santa Monica Mountains

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/2305934678223571970

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Knowledge Drops: Coastal Cleanup Month: River Water Quality and Recreation / Mes de la Limpieza Costera: Heal the Bay’s Calificaciones del Río

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/8003309264375293707

More Information:

Knowledge Drops: Coastal Cleanup Month: River Water Quality and Recreation

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/4673747262445181187

More Information:

Knowledge Drops: Coastal Cleanup Month: How to Protect Our Coastal Resources and People

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/1065643780960024080

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Knowledge Drops: Ballona Wetlands: History, Need for Restoration, & Future Plans

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/8069581229644865283

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Knowledge Drops: Wait, What’s Happening to the LA River?

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/2950761965889808642

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Activity Guides

 

Last updated: December 3, 2020



Luke Ginger, Water Quality Scientist at Heal the Bay, recaps a tough summer for water quality monitoring at LA County’s freshwater recreation areas, and outlines the urgent need for equitable, climate-resilient communities in the face of a health pandemic, extreme heat, unprecedented wildfires, and beyond.

Heal the Bay concludes another summer of freshwater sampling and monitoring with the River Report Card. Over the course of the summer of 2020, we provided inland water-goers with water quality grades for 27 freshwater recreation sites across Los Angeles County, California. This included 5 sites in Malibu Creek State Park and the LA River, where Heal the Bay staff collected water quality samples. We updated grades on a weekly basis and posted them online to be viewed by the public. 

Summer 2020 was filled with many challenges that impacted our program. Due to COVID-19, Heal the Bay was unable to hire local college students to monitor water quality at recreation sites and storm drains like in previous years. Instead, Heal the Bay’s permanent staff carried out water sampling. This was a major blow to our program because one of our main goals has always been to provide knowledge, skills, and career training to emerging professionals. Additionally, without a full crew, we sampled fewer recreation sites and storm drains, leaving the public with less information on how to stay safe.

We also had to take extra precautions while sampling – wearing masks at all times, driving in separate vehicles, and sporting extra protective gear (face shields and extra-long gloves) to reduce exposure to potentially contaminated water. These were necessary precautions because the research on the risk of contracting COVID-19 from recreational waters is still ongoing. 


Photo by Alice Dison

There were also major changes in accessibility and use this summer at the sites Heal the Bay monitored. Malibu Creek State Park was open all summer, but the swimming holes (Rock Pool and Las Virgenes Creek) remained closed due to concerns over the ability to maintain proper physical distancing. However, this closure was not clearly enforced as we saw many swimmers throughout the summer. The official LA River recreation zones were open from Memorial Day until the end of September, but kayaking was not allowed due to safety concerns around COVID-19.   

Monitoring efforts by LA Sanitation, Council for Watershed Health, and San Gabriel Regional Watershed Monitoring Program were impacted this summer as well. There were weeks where certain recreation sites in the Upper LA River Watershed and San Gabriel River Watershed were not monitored due to park closures or overcrowding concerns. According to LA Sanitation officials, Hermit Falls was not monitored this summer because it is a particularly crowded area that posed a health risk to the water quality monitors. Worker safety is incredibly important, as is the health of all Angelenos and visitors. Unfortunately, these tough decisions resulted in critical water quality information not being available at a very popular location all summer. LA Sanitation instead sampled the Vogel Flats picnic area, which is a new addition to the River Report Card. Toward the end of the summer, monitoring in the San Gabriel River Watershed and some of the Upper LA River Watershed was cut short due to the Bobcat Fire and the subsequent closure of Angeles National Forest. 

This summer, the pandemic, a record setting wildfire season, and extreme heat culminated into one even larger public health crisis. The pandemic forced people to stay local and opt for close-by areas to take a swim. Because of this, as well as the reduced risk of contracting COVID-19 outdoors, people flocked in unusually high numbers to ocean beaches and freshwater recreation sites to stay active and cool. Unfortunately, if outdoor crowds become too big and dense, there is an increased risk of COVID-19 spread. The fact that so many people sought respite outside made clear the importance of open space for physical and mental health. But, the benefits of open space are not equally experienced by all. Black and Latinx communities have been systemically denied access to parks and nature, and there is a lot of work to do to provide justice for these communities. LA City and County must work hard to meet their target of 65% of Angelenos living within half a mile of a park or open space by 2025 (and 75% by 2035). 


Photo by Alice Dison

The summer’s extreme heat waves coincided with the largest wildfires in California’s history, which created harmful air quality across the entire west coast. Many people endured hazardous outdoor air quality in order to cool off at rivers, streams, and beaches. Tragically, exposure to wildfire-induced poor air quality exacerbates the harmful health effects of COVID-19. So for low-income households without air conditioning, it was impossible to escape harm; people were either subject to extreme heat at home or subject to harmful air quality outside. We must acknowledge that in the United States, the communities facing the brunt of climate change impacts like extreme heat and wildfire are disproportionately Indigenous, Black, Latinx, and Asian people.

Summer 2020 was a tough time for many, and it underscores the need for immediate and equitable action to address the climate crisis and environmental justice.

Looking forward, Heal the Bay will continue to advocate for water quality improvements across LA County, so everyone is protected from waterborne illness. And, we will continue to push for nature-based policies that stem the impacts of climate change and make our communities climate resilient.


Summer 2020 Results

Here are the water quality results from the sites Heal the Bay monitored during summer 2020.

Malibu Creek State Park

Rock Pool – did slightly better than last year

  • 64% Green
  • 35% Yellow
  • 0% Red

Las Virgenes Creek – worse than last year

  • 0% Green
  • 93% Yellow
  • 7% Red

Los Angeles River

Sepulveda Basin at Burbank Ave. – slightly better than last year

  • 31% Green
  • 69% Yellow
  • 0% Red

Rattlesnake Park – worse than last year

  • 15% Green
  • 33% Yellow
  • 51% Red

Steelhead Park – same as last year

  • 64% Green
  • 33% Yellow
  • 3% Red

Learn More:



El reciente cierre de las escuelas significa que gran parte de los estudiantes no reciban la educación diaria necesaria. En estos momentos en los que todos debemos practicar el distanciamiento físico es necesario hacer buen uso de toda nuestra energía y capacidad cerebral e innovar para darle a nuestros estudiantes más oportunidades para seguir aprendiendo de manera remota.

Heal the Bay está respondiendo a esta situación con una nueva serie interactiva de educación científica llamada “Gotas de conocimiento” o Knowledge Drops por su nombre en inglés, donde nuestro grupo de científicos, expertos y defensores exploran el mundo acuático y ofrecen divertidas lecciones acerca del entorno marino. Cada lección tiene una duración aproximada de una hora e incluye una presentación en vivo, una sección de preguntas y respuestas, encuestas y videos. Nuestra nueva serie web está pensada para estudiantes del 3° al 8° grado pero ¡personas de todas las edades son bien recibidas y están invitadas a participar!


Recent school closures mean many students are not getting the daily education they need. While we all should be practicing physical distancing at this time, we also need to put our brainpower and creative energy to good use and innovate to give students more opportunities to keep learning remotely.

Gotitas del Saber is Heal the Bay’s new interactive science education series, where our team of scientists, experts, and advocates explores the water world and offers fun lessons about the marine environment. Each session is about 1-hour long and includes a live presentation, Q&A, polls, and videos. Activities are generally geared for 3rd – 8th grade students, but all ages are welcome and encouraged to attend!

Click to visit our English language “Knowledge Drop” series.

See all recorded Knowledge Drops.


Gotitas del Saber:

 

PAST EVENTS (LINK TO VIDEOS BELOW)

4/22 – LA HISTORIA DEL DIA DE LA TIERRA 🌍
5/6 – CONOCE EL FLUJO 💦
5/13 – DESAGUES PLUVIALES 🌧
5/20 – PLASTICOS 🥤
5/27 – PESCADO CONTIMINADOS 🎣
6/10 – VIRUS Y CALIDAD DEL AGUA
6/17 –  SITIO SUPERFUND 🆘
6/24 – ACUARIO Y LIMPIEZA COSTERA 🐙
7/1 – ÁREAS MARINAS PROTEGIDAS (MPAs)🛡
7/15 – TOXICIDAD ACUÁTICA
7/22 – LOS CABALLITOS DE MAR Y GARIBALDI 🐴
7/29 – SHARKS AND RAYS / TIBURONES Y MANTARRAYAS 🦈
9/9 – MES DE LA LIMPIEZA COSTERA: ARROYOS DE LAS MONTAÑAS DE SANTA MÓNICA 🌄
9/16 – MES DE LA LIMPIEZA COSTERA: HEAL THE BAY’S CALIFICACIONES DEL RÍO🚣🏾‍♀️
9/24 – MES DE LA LIMPIEZA COSTERA: MUELLES DE PESCA VISITADOS POR EL EQUIPO DE ANGLER OUTREACH PROGRAM DE HEAL THE BAY 🐟
10/28 – PESCADO ESCALOFRIANTE DE LA BAHÍA DE SANTA MÓNICA 👻
11/10 – DE DONDE SON LOS PESCADORES? 🗺
12/15 – CONTAMINACIÓN POR DDT EN LA COSTA DE LOS ANGELES ⚠️

If you are a teacher with a topic suggestion, please contact us with your idea.


Resources and Videos/Recursos:

All previously-recorded Gotitas Del Saber webinar videos are posted here as an ongoing marine science education repository for you to access. (To view the webinar recordings please visit the ‘gotowebinar’ links below and enter in your contact information. We will only use your email address to update you about upcoming “Gotitas Del Saber” and you can opt out at any time.)

Todas las grabaciones anteriores de “Gotas de conocimiento” (Knowledge Drops) son publicadas aquí de manera continua para tu consulta a modo de archivo para la educación de las ciencias marinas. (Para ver las grabaciones en la página web por favor visita los enlaces “gotowebinar” ubicados más abajo e ingresa tu información. Usaremos tu dirección de correo electrónico para mantenerte informado de las nuevas “Gotas de conocimiento” (Knowledge Drops) y podrás salir cuando lo desees.)

 

Gotitas del SaberLa historia del Día de la Tierra

Webinar grabado: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/4446715700219695361

Más información:

 

Gotitas del SaberConoce el Flujo

Webinar grabado: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/2622740259256834566

Más información:

 

Gotitas del SaberDesagues Pluviales

Webinar grabado: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/6033268098610078222

Más información:

 

Gotitas del SaberPlasticos

Webinar grabado: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/3195564926916837132

Más información:

 

Gotitas del SaberPescados Contaminados

Webinar grabado: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/848989410095476225

Más información:

 

Gotitas del SaberVirus y Calidad del Agua

Webinar grabado: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/9161552403089257478

Más información:

 

Gotitas del SaberAquatic Toxicity: Sources and Solutions

Webinar grabado: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/4000079784492577294

Más información:

 

Gotitas del SaberSitio Superfund

Webinar grabado: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/3636684594553388047

Más información:

 

Gotitas del SaberAquario y Limpieza Costera

Webinar grabado: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/5657488010514034189

Más información:

 

Gotitas del SaberÁreas Marinas Protegidas (MPAS)

Webinar grabado: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/6766161868839098128

Más información:

 

Gotitas del SaberCrustaceans

Webinar grabado:
https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/1116456609554810369

Más información:

 

Gotitas del SaberMicroSafari

Webinar grabado: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/6461401435030243855

 

Gotitas del SaberToxicidad Acuática

Webinar grabado: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/5609503124519119873

 

Gotitas del SaberLos Caballitos De Mar Y Garibaldi

Webinar grabado: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/3450783567349679107

 

Gotitas del SaberTiburones y Mantarrayas 

Webinar grabado: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/1511927852828490255

 

Gotitas del SaberMes de la Limpieza Costera: Arroyos de las Montañas de Santa Mónica

Webinar grabado: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/8526730675111592195

Más información:

Gotitas del SaberMes de la Limpieza Costera: Heal the Bay’s Calificaciones del Río

Webinar grabado: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/8003309264375293707

Más información:

Gotitas del Saber: Mes de la Limpieza Costera: Muelles de pesca visitados por el equipo de Angler Outreach Program de Heal the Bay

Webinar grabado: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/7620905717459421708

Más información:

 

Gotitas del Saber: Pescado escalofriante de la bahía de Santa Mónica

Webinar grabado: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/6799468277701159171

 

Gotitas del Saber: De Donde son los Pescadores?

Webinar grabado: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/1136506206896807938

 

Gotitas del Saber: Contaminación por DDT en la costa de Los Angeles

Webinar grabado: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/8309988348119216130

 


Activity Guides



Si quieres hacer olas, tienes que meterte en el agua. Con la temporada de votaciones sobre nosotros, utilice estos prácticos recursos para crear su océano de cambio.

La votación anticipada se lleva a cabo del 5 de octubre al 2 de noviembre. Si vota por correo, el USPS recomienda que lo haga a más tardar el 27 de octubre.

La misión de Heal the Bay, hacer que nuestras aguas y cuencas hidrográficas de la costa de California sean seguras, saludables y limpias, se ve afectada por cuestiones de injusticia ambiental.

Solo podemos mantener limpios y accesibles nuestros ríos y océanos cuando apoyamos e invertamos en todas nuestras comunidades. Es por eso que estamos recomendando votos a favor en iniciativas que promulguen reformas que apoyen a las comunidades más afectadas por las injusticias ambientales. La justicia ambiental está indisolublemente ligada a la justicia social, y mejorar la equidad mejora la salud y el medio ambiente en nuestras comunidades.

Guía de votantes de Heal the Bay:

El equipo de Heal the Bay creó esta breve guía para votantes para las elecciones del 3 de noviembre de 2020 en el condado de Los Ángeles.

SÍ a la Proposición 16: Acción afirmativa / Estado de California
SÍ a las Props 17 y 18: Aumento del acceso a la votación / Estado de California
SÍ a la Medida J: Reformar el condado de Los Ángeles / Condado de Los Ángeles
SÍ a la Medida RR: Bono de $ 7B para LAUSD / Ciudad de Los Ángeles


Proposición 16: Un voto para permitir la consideración de raza, sexo, color, etnia u origen nacional para abordar la diversidad en el empleo público, la contratación y la educación. 

Propuestas 17 y 18: Votos para incrementar el acceso al voto.

Medida J (Condado de Los Ángeles): Un voto para desmantelar el racismo sistémico mediante la inversión en salud, vivienda y empleos.

Medida RR (Los Ángeles): Un voto para mejorar las escuelas del LAUSD y aumentar la seguridad escolar

 

View in English
PAGADO POR HEAL THE BAY



As the sun sets on Coastal Cleanup Month, we are looking back with gratitude and appreciation for everyone who participated in a cleanup, helped us spread the word, raised funds, and joined a virtual event over the course of the month. At a time when it’s easy to feel isolated from one another, it is inspiring to see how we came together across the County, from summit to sea, to protect what we love.

A New Take on 2020

Heal the Bay has been the LA County coordinator for Coastal Cleanup Day for more than 30 years, and 2020 proved to be a completely different cleanup effort than years past. In an effort to prioritize the health and safety of the community, the re-imagined concept was expanded to become an entire month of individualized cleanups close to home and virtual programming to educate about the impacts of trash and pollution and how we can work together towards solutions. Our Heal the Bay Aquarium education team engaged 437 LAUSD students with virtual programming about protecting our watersheds. This was also the first year that we asked for volunteer fundraisers to support our clean water mission. Fundraising teams and individuals raised close to $2,000, and we are grateful for their support.

Each week of Coastal Cleanup Month focused on a different region, starting at the top of our mountains, working through our neighborhoods & waterways, and culminating at our wetlands & beaches. The weekly programming featured a series of panels, webinars, and Instagram Lives with partner organizations that explored the various community and environmental issues facing Los Angeles County. 

None of this would have been possible without our Coastal Cleanup Month sponsors, and we would like to thank Water for LA, Blue Shield, K-Swiss, Ford, and West Basin Municipal Water District for their support.

2020 Impact

This year, we set a goal of collecting 31,000 pieces of trash throughout the month of September. Thanks to our dedicated Regional Ambassadors and 2,334 registered cleanup volunteers, we surpassed this goal with a total of 40,101 pieces of trash collected!

The top 10 items found across Los Angeles County in the month of September were:

Download our full Coastal Cleanup Month Wrap-Up Book for 2020

The Effects of PPE and the Pandemic on Our Environment

Coastal Cleanup Month was the first initiative of this scale to track the impact of the improper disposal of single-use personal protective equipment (PPE) in LA County. In the first year of tracking this item, PPE was one of the top 10 items found by our volunteers, surpassing common items like glass bottles. 

Through our data, we can clearly see the effects of the pandemic on our waste stream. Another observation is that people are relying more than ever on takeout, delivery, and outdoor dining at beaches, parks, and other public spaces. Disposable foodware accessories like utensils, straws, and takeout containers were some of the most common items found during cleanups.

The Plastic Problem

Looking at the data collected throughout Coastal Cleanup Month, it’s obvious that single-use plastic is the top offender. From utensils and straws to takeout containers and grocery bags, our lives are filled with plastic – and so is our environment. Unfortunately, the effects of COVID-19 have worsened these single-use habits and curbed a lot of progress that we’ve seen in Los Angeles over the last several years. 

Plastic grocery bags were a common item found during cleanups until California became the first state in the nation to impose a statewide bag ban in 2014. Before the pandemic hit, we were making great strides in reducing our single-use plastic waste. We could bring our reusable bags to the grocery store and refill our reusable coffee cups at Starbucks, and our environment and community were all the better for it. Now, plastic producers are using the pandemic to push disposable plastics as a safer option, a position that has no scientific merit. They were able to undo the work of the state bag ban, and grocery stores statewide have not only reintroduced single-use plastic bags, but many have banned reusable bags from entering stores. This year, we saw plastic grocery bags, cups, and lids in the top 10 items found by our volunteers during Coastal Cleanup Month.  

We also found that other than cigarette butts and PPE, the top 10 items are all food and drink-related. With the increasing reliance on takeout and delivery, plastic cutlery and other accessories are becoming a bigger and bigger issue. Restaurants often throw these items in takeout bags regardless of whether the customer needs them or not. To put this in perspective, 40 billion plastic utensils are thrown away each year in the United States. Plastic foodware items, like straws, utensils, and condiment packets cannot be recycled, so they are destined to end up in a landfill, incinerator, or polluting our oceans and communities.

How Can You Help?

Plastic pollution may seem like something that is out of your control. However, there are easy ways you can help make waves of change, from using reusable products when you can to supporting environmental legislation. Here are 3 easy ways to make a change:

  • Go reusable!

From grocery bags and utensils to water bottles and coffee cups, there are reusable replacements for almost all single-use plastics. Check out our Heal the Bay Shop for some ideas! If you’re ordering takeout or delivery, make sure to tell the restaurant “no plastic, please!” and use your own utensils instead. Check out Reusable LA and Habits of Waste for easy ways to help combat this issue, like sending an email to third party delivery companies asking them to make plastic cutlery and accessories optional rather than the default. If you’re unsure where to start, conduct a home waste audit to evaluate your daily habits and see where you can replace single-use items with reusables.

  • Pack it out. 

As a result of limited staff and the increased need to sanitize the bathrooms as a result of COVID-19, Los Angeles County Beaches & Harbors only has the capacity to empty the public trash cans once a day. Combined with the surge of beachgoers picnicking on the sand, this has led to an overwhelming problem of overflowing trash cans and increased beach litter. Similar issues have been observed throughout the County, so if you are enjoying our public spaces, make sure that all trash gets disposed of properly, and pack it out if trash cans are full.

  • Use your voice. 

Every single person has power! You influence the people close to you by voicing your opinion, you influence companies with the purchases you choose to make, and you can influence policy and legislation with your vote. The California bag ban is a good example of local change leading the charge and turning into statewide change, so don’t underestimate the power of advocating at your local City Council or with the County Board of Supervisors. At its core, plastic pollution is not a consumer problem; it’s a producer problem, and you can use your voice to support plastic policies that make plastic producers responsible for the waste they create.

Get Involved with Heal the Bay

We are excited with the results of Coastal Cleanup Month, but protecting our watersheds and coastline is an everyday effort. There are ways you can continue to stay involved and support our clean water mission year-round with different programs like Adopt-a-Beach, Club Heal the Bay, and MPA Watch. If you’re ready for more action to protect our oceans, join our virtual Volunteer Orientation on October 12. And don’t forget to save the date in September 2021 for next year’s Coastal Cleanup efforts!

 



The consumption of single-use plastic has surged exponentially during the pandemic. Safety concerns make it more challenging to use a reusable cup at our local coffee shop and many stores have policies that complicate bringing your own bag. With everything else in the world feeling a bit defeating, this is the perfect time to double down on what we can control.

One easy and simple way to make your lifestyle more sustainable is by conducting a quick waste audit. Waste audits are the perfect way to evaluate what we use in our day-to-day lives, see where we can replace single-use items with reusables, and get into the habit of buying fewer things made from non-degradable or non-recyclable materials.

So what exactly is a waste audit, and how do we get started? 

A waste audit is an analysis of the trash we produce in our own homes to take note of what is actually being disposed of. This gives us a better understanding of what we’re adding to the waste stream and allows us to get a snapshot of what we use, throw away, and recycle. Waste audits can also help us identify areas we want to improve in terms of consumption and use, and possibly inspire cost saving or upcycling ideas. 

Home waste adults are helpful tools that can bring more environmental awareness and change into our lives. 

Here’s our 5 step guide to a DIY waste audit: 

Audit Prep 

  1. Set a time:  Ask yourself, “how long do I want to do a trash audit?” Remember you can do a trash audit in one day or over the course of a few days. We recommend a 4-5 day window and choosing a date(s) you won’t have any special events to avoid skewing your audit data. Once you pick your start and end dates, set a reminder on your phone or mark your calendar to start your audit. 
  2. Grab a bin: Designate one trash bin in your home to collect waste items you use for your analysis. Make sure to separate out and rinse any containers that have any organic waste materials. Organic waste, like food scraps, won’t be counted in your audit.
  3. Collect trash: let your trash pile up until your designated time to evaluate. 

Evaluation 

  1. Grab supplies: You’ll need your now very full trash bin, something to take notes with, a tarp, and 15-30 mins of time. 
  2. Sort your trash: lay out your tarp and place all your trash on the tarp into categories. Examples include: “paper products,”  “recyclables,” “wrappers,” “miscellaneous,” etc. Tally your waste to document your results. If you want to take your waste analysis a step further use this form to help you categorize your home waste and use this guide or video to help you categorize products and attribute it to the brands that produced it.

When looking through your trash, try to answer these questions to understand the type of waste you’re producing:

  • Can you note how many of the items you’ve thrown away that can be recycled? Not all plastics are recyclable, even if it has a chasing arrows icon. Less than 10% of plastics are actually recyclable, and most will never be recycled. Watch this video to learn what each of the numbers between the chasing arrows icon on plastic containers actually mean.
  • What is your most commonly thrown out item? Is there anything that surprises you about what you collected? (Maybe you have an excess of packaging material, or a certain type of product. Perhaps a particular brand seems to use excessive packaging.) 
  • What items are necessary and what could be replaced with a reusable or more environmentally-friendly product? 
  • Besides recycling, what options do you have for disposal? (Can anything in your bin be composted, like cardboard?)  
  • How did you do? What did you discover? Are there any areas of improvements? What are some other alternatives?

Awareness is the first step. Action is power. Once we know more about our own personal consumption habits, we can make the change that best suits our needs and the environment.

If you want to take it a step further after your audit and challenge yourself, try refusing the top five sources of single-use plastic that we find most commonly on our beaches, parks, and streets.

 



For the first time ever, Coastal Cleanup Day has transformed into Coastal Cleanup Month, a month-long event to celebrate our watersheds and coastline with decentralized cleanups, educational programming, and virtual events.

Every single one of us makes an impact no matter where we are in Los Angeles County. The mission of Coastal Cleanup Month, beyond cleaning up our streets, creeks, trails, and coast, is to show how closely we are all connected by our watershed. What happens in the mountains makes its way through our creeks and rivers, and the litter we see on our streets eventually ends up on our beaches via the storm drain system. 

Heal the Bay has coordinated the Coastal Cleanup effort in Los Angeles for more than 30 years, and we are so thankful to our Site Captains for making the program as successful and impactful as it is. This year, our Captains were tasked with a new challenge: to help us encourage countywide cleanups while also making sure our community stays safe and healthy during these turbulent times. With their support, the role of Site Captains transformed into Regional Ambassadors.

Many of our Regional Ambassadors work for partner organizations that focus on environmental stewardship, conservation, and education throughout LA County, from summit to sea. Today, we are spotlighting some of our amazing Regional Ambassadors from each region!

 

Mountains

Dave Weeshoff, San Fernando Valley Audubon Society

Dave has been a site captain for 6 years. Not only is he this year’s Mountains Ambassador, he is also an avid bird watcher and works on conservation efforts for the San Fernando Valley Audubon Society. He even starred in our 2020 Coastal Cleanup Month video!

“In Los Angeles County alone, we can see well over 270 species of birds each year. Bird watchers enjoy sharing their observations, and so I learn each week where unusual sightings occur, including our seashores, lagoons, harbors, parks, marshes and of course our magnificent San Gabriel Mountains. The additional biodiversity of this high elevation watershed and its forests is easily accessed by way of the Angeles Crest Highway, which begins not far from my home, and is inviting to many resident and migratory birds throughout the year.”

Dave’s favorite cleanup site and happy place, the San Gabriel Mountains, has unfortunately been affected by the Bobcat Fire. While this put a hold on his cleanup efforts throughout Coastal Cleanup Month, he has been enjoying the local parks and cleaning his neighborhood when he can.

Kelsey Reckling, Pasadena Audubon Society

Kelsey and Pasadena Audubon Society are using Coastal Cleanup Month to highlight the Arroyo, the natural watershed that starts in the San Gabriel Mountains and comes all the way down into our neighborhoods. It is home to many species of wildlife, but also a spot where trash often accumulates. Pasadena Audubon Society is encouraging members and anyone else in the area to help clean our mountain areas, the Arroyo, and our neighborhoods.

“I love driving up to the San Gabriels here in Los Angeles because it is so close to us, but it feels like you’re entering a new world. You get to see different plant species and different bird species at higher elevations and also get to have a new perspective,” said Kelsey. “On a clear day, you can look out and see downtown Los Angeles and all the way to the ocean, highlighting our different natural communities.”

 

Neighborhoods & Waterways

Keyla Treitman, Oak Park Unified School District

Keyla has been a resident of Oak Park for 27 years and chaired the Oak Park Unified School District’s Environmental Education and Awareness Committee for 11 years. 

“I feel we all have an obligation to leave a place cleaner than when we got there, a motto the Girl Scouts taught me long ago. Sustainability is a key concept that is important for children to learn so they can do their part to help. By educating them, it can become a natural extension of their daily lives.”

Keyla shared about Coastal Cleanup Month with the school district to encourage families to go out and clean their happy place. They are also working with the County of Ventura and volunteers to refresh the curb signs that read, “Don’t dump. Drains to creek.” at all of the storm drain inlets within Oak Park.

Mika Perron, Audubon Center at Debs Park

Mika is spearheading the Coastal Cleanup Month efforts for the Audubon Center at Debs Park. To help protect bird habitat around the LA River, Mika and her team are participating in cleanups along the LA River in the Elysian Valley and Atwater Village area. They are also cleaning up and maintaining the various habitat enhancement sites along the river, in order to continue building sustainable habitat for birds and other wildlife. 

“Our neighborhoods and waterways provide valuable habitat for local and migrating birds, while also providing a gateway for people to learn more about our urban ecosystem. Even if it’s just observing a few crows outside your window, or catching a glimpse of the rushing LA River when it rains, our neighborhoods and waterways provide a place where people can interact with nature in their everyday lives. Local waterways like the LA River are especially important to us because they connect many different neighborhoods and communities – they are not only an important resource for connecting people to nature, but also for connecting people to each other.”

 

Wetlands & Beaches

Patrick Tyrrell, Friends of Ballona Wetlands

Patrick grew up in Playa del Rey with the Ballona Wetlands as his backyard, inspiring a life-long passion for wetlands and wildlife. He turned that passion into a career by joining the team at Friends of Ballona Wetlands, and is our Wetlands Ambassador for Coastal Cleanup Month.

“Wetlands provide habitat to an amazing array of plants and animals – they are the world’s biological hotspots. They provide food and shelter that are critical to the survival of many species. Every time I travel, I always look up the local wetlands in the area I am visiting, as I know that I will get to see some amazing birds and wildlife.

Patrick and the Friends of Ballona Wetlands staff are spending the month of September picking up trash along the Ballona Creek levees and Del Rey Lagoon. They are also cleaning up near the Least Tern colony on Venice Beach to ensure that they are not disturbed by the beach groomers that would normally rake the beach every morning.

Brittney Olaes, Roundhouse Aquarium

Brittney joined us as a Beaches Ambassador from the Roundhouse Aquarium in Manhattan Beach, where she gets to share her passion for the ocean and marine life with her local community. 

“When imagining the beautiful vast ocean, it’s hard to narrow down its importance. The ocean is home to countless marine life and habitats. It provides comfort and relaxation to those who visit, jobs and security for those who depend on it, and food and supplies for those who survive off it. Even for those who do not directly interact with the ocean, the ocean is making an impact in our lives. From climate regulation to oxygen production, the ocean affects all life around the world.”

The Roundhouse Aquarium is celebrating Coastal Cleanup Month by virtually educating the community about where trash comes from and where it ends up, and encouraging environmental and community stewardship. They are also running a #TrashChallenge to challenge everyone to pick up trash every day in September.

Carl Carranza, Cabrillo Marine Aquarium

Carl’s lifelong passion for the ocean and marine life led him to become an Educator with 

Cabrillo Marine Aquarium. He has been involved with Coastal Cleanup Day for 15 years, and this year, he is one of our Beach Ambassadors.

“Ever since I was a child, I was in love with the ocean, especially tidepools.  They have always been a source of joy and wonder for me, and ultimately led me to my degree in marine biology.  The ocean is a place I can always reconnect to nature and frees my imagination,” said Carl.

 

A big thank you to all of our Regional Ambassadors for helping make Coastal Cleanup Month a success! If you’re interested in getting involved and helping protect our watershed and coastline from wherever you live, visit healthebay.org/coastalcleanupmonth.

 


More Ways to Get Involved this Coastal Cleanup Month:




Bills Fail to Pass the California Legislature in 2020

It is with a heavy heart that we share that SB 54 and AB 1080, two plastic pollution reduction bills known as The California Circular Economy and Plastic Pollution Reduction Act, did not pass. These bills would have taken on Big Plastic by reducing single-use plastics across California by 75% by 2032. And because of their transformative potential, the plastic industry pushed back with a $3.4 million lobbying campaign, spending not only money, but an enormous amount of time lobbying representatives.

The public is demanding a coordinated solution to reduce plastic pollution. People are recognizing the harm plastic has on public health, local economies, and the environment. Labor groups, small businesses, and communities are in support, as evidenced by the bill’s formal support list of 325 organizations, companies, and municipalities, as well as Heal the Bay’s support petition, which garnered more than 433,000 individual signatures. 

Despite this overwhelming support, the bills died in the California State Assembly on the last day of the 2020 legislative season. AB 1080 had narrowly passed the Senate, but when it was time for the Assembly to decide, the bills were just 4 votes shy of the necessary 41 needed to pass. We were up against a massive opposition campaign with Big Plastic spending millions to defeat this, and in the end, the bills fell short only by 4 votes. We are thankful to all 23 Senators and 37 Assemblymembers who voted AYE in support of these bills.

A tremendous amount of work went into these bills to strengthen them, rally the support we needed, and get them to the finish line. Never before has the California legislature been so close to passing such a landmark plastic pollution reduction bill. While this is disappointing, it is not a defeat. We know that the fight is not over. We still had major wins this year as we continued to elevate the critical conversation around the full lifecycle impacts of plastic pollution, and gained a bigger and broader coalition of support and more committed legislators working to reduce waste and plastic pollution in California than ever before. 

In her riveting closing argument Monday night, Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez reminded us that the issue of plastic pollution is no longer one we can ignore, saying “It’s not a white, coastal problem…I have a Brown community that is dirty […] with your plastics. It’s dirty because there’s nowhere to put them.”  It is thanks to authors Assemblymember Gonzalez and Senator Allen, other co-authors, legislative supporters, and support from the community that these bills got as far as they did.

Looking forward, we will be bringing the plastic pollution fight to the people. Earlier this year, Heal the Bay and other organizations gathered 870,000 signatures, enough to qualify a plastic pollution reduction measure for the 2022 ballot. In 2022, California voters will vote on the California Recycling and Plastic Pollution Reduction Act.  This measure would reduce plastic pollution through source reduction, funding mechanisms, a polystyrene ban, and other tools. This initiative gives California voters the unique opportunity to finally hold the plastic industry accountable for the waste they produce.

In the meantime, Heal the Bay will be refocusing here in Los Angeles County and Los Angeles City, and continue working to push local plastic pollution reduction policy forward. Stay tuned for ways to get involved, and check out Reusable LA for more information.

Thank you to all who called, emailed, posted, and supported over the past year and a half. We could not have pushed SB 54 and AB 1080 this far without all of you, and we are ready to keep fighting. Are you?

#CAMustLead #breakfreefromplastic 


Top photo by @_adventureiscallingme