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.
Numerous elected officials have stepped up to call for an end to offshore drilling – 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’s vow to introduce this type of legislation for California, by his and Senator Newman’s 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.
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 callingyour 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.
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.
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 illnessessuch 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 ourBeach 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.
Establish a definition for afreshwater recreation site based on frequency of use and identifysites state-wide to be monitored;
Require weeklymonitoring 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– 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 están tomando acción legislativa para reducir la basura que se genera con la comida para llevar tras un gran incremento en el consumo del plástico de un solo uso. ¿Pero qué significa “Deja el desperdicio”? ¿Y cómo ayuda a luchar contra la contaminación por plástico? Vamos a verlo.
Deja el desperdicio es el último empujón legislativo de Heal the Bay junto a la coalición Reusable LA. #DejaElDesperdicio requeriría que los extras de la comida para llevar y a domicilio — como los utensilios de un solo uso, popotes, condimentos, servilletas y demás — fuesen facilitados a petición del usuario. Si los necesita, los puede tener. Y si no, no hace falta desperdiciar.
El consumo de plástico de un solo uso se ha disparado debido al COVID-19, incluyendo aquí 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 plásticos de un solo uso se ha incrementado entre un 250% y un 300% desde que comenzó la pandemia, con un aumento de un 30% de basura atribuido en parte a utensilios de usar y tirar. En toda la nación, billones de accesorios para la comida se tiran cada año, muchos sin haberse utilizado siquiera. (Muchos de nosotros incluso los guardamos en el temido cajón de los extras, esperando utilizarlos algún día).
La amplia mayoría de estos objetos de un solo uso no se pueden reciclar. Suman a la crisis de basura plástica, ensucian nuestros vecindarios, ríos, el océano, y atascan los vertederos. El uso de combustibles fósiles para producir objetos de plástico que ni siquiera se usan es lo último que necesitamos durante una crisis climática. Estos efectos también presentan problemas de justicia medioambiental, con las comunidades en primera línea sufriendo desproporcionadamente por el cambio climático, la extracción de crudo, y la incineración asociada a plásticos de un solo uso.
Heal the Bay y Reusable LA están 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 moción para un borrador de ley para #DejaElDesperdicio. Requeriría que en los casos de comida para llevar, servicio a domicilio o servicios de entrega a domicilios de terceros, todos los accesorios estuvieran disponibles únicamente bajo petición. La Junta de Supervisores del Condado de Los Angeles siguió el ejemplo y en Febrero de 2021 pasó una moción similar de forma unánime tras ser introducida por Sheila Kuehl, miembro de la junta.
Esta legislación 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” está estructurado intencionalmente para cumplir con todos los requisitos y adaptaciones de la ADA para garantizar un acceso equitativo para disfrutar fácilmente de comidas en el lugar, comida para llevar o entregas en los restaurantes de Los Ángeles. Según esta ordenanza, las empresas pueden proporcionar accesorios para alimentos a los clientes que los soliciten.
Restaurantes y aplicaciones de entrega a domicilio deberían 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 pequeños y los restaurantes están luchando por mantenerse a flote, esta es una solución simple para recortar costes excesivos y contaminación por plástico. Apoyamos estas ordenanzas porque son una solución 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.
In 2021, we’re tackling the biggest threats to coastal waters and watersheds in Greater LA. The following three goals represent our key areas of focus this year:
Take Urgent Climate Action
What we’re doing:Taking urgent climate action by empowering people, demanding systemic change, and advocating for multi-benefit solutions that build toward an equitable, sustainable, and climate-resilient future for all.
How we’re doing it:The climate crisis must be slowed, or communities will be further impacted and much will be lost. Nationally, we need to quickly recover environmental policy rollbacks to regain ocean, river, and wetland protections, and protect water resources by upholding the Clean Water Act. Locally, we support nature-based solutions to protect communities from sea level rise, erosion, and storm surges; champion the cleanup of stormwater through multi-benefit green spaces; and demand an equitable transition to renewable energy.Heal the Bay Aquarium works directly with our community, engaging students and the public through climate action and education initiatives.
Protect Public Health with Strong Science and Outreach
What we’re doing: Protecting people and ecosystem health through science-based education, outreach, and advocacy on contaminated water, fish, and sediment at our beaches, rivers, and offshore.
How we’re doing it:Clean water and safe, accessible green space are fundamental for public health. Heal the Bay pushes government leaders to protect people at freshwater recreation areas in LA with new public health legislation. Our Beach Report Card withNowCastand River Report Card are expanding in reach and scientific rigor. We hold corporate polluters and public agencies accountable for DDT dumping off our coast and raise awareness about dangerous water contamination across LA.Heal the Bay Aquarium empowers students and families with human health narratives in watershed education curriculum and operations.
Ban Single-Use Plastics for Good
What we’re doing:Eliminating harmful plastic pollution from our ocean and watersheds in order to defend the vibrancy of our communities.
How we’re doing it:The toxic legacy of plastic production and waste impacts our everyday life. Heal the Bay supports a ban on disposable products that harm neighborhoods and wildlife habitats. We advocate for legislation to reduce and ban disposable plastics in the City of Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, and California. Our immediate goal is to pass Skip the Stuff Ordinances locally in LA in 2021. Longer term, we are laying the groundwork for statewide legislation and a 2022 ballot initiative: Plastics Free California.Heal the Bay Aquarium is inspiring advocacy by launching new exhibits on plastic pollution and educating about the connection to fossil fuels.
Elected officials in Los Angeles are taking legislative action to reduce takeout trash after a steep increase in single-use plastic consumption. But what does it mean to “Skip the Stuff”? And how does it help fight plastic pollution? Let’s dive in.
Skip the Stuff is the latest legislative push through Heal the Bay’s plastics work with the Reusable LA coalition. #SkipTheStuff would require takeout and delivery “extras” — like single-use utensils, straws, condiments, napkins, and more — to be provided only upon request. If you need them, you can get them. If you don’t, no need to waste.
The use of single-use plastic has skyrocketed due to COVID-19, including here in Los Angeles, where our beloved local restaurants are forced to rely primarily on takeout and delivery. Consumption of single-use plastics has increased by 250% – 300% since the pandemic began, with a 30% increase in waste attributed in part to disposable foodware. Nationwide, billions of food accessories are thrown away each year, many of which aren’t even used once. (Many of us even keep them in that dreaded drawer of takeout “extras”, hoping that they’ll be used one day.)
The vast majority of these single-use items cannot be recycled. They add to the plastic pollution crisis, litter our neighborhoods, rivers, and ocean, and clog already overfilled landfills. Using fossil fuels to produce plastic items that aren’t even used is the last thing we need during a climate crisis. These impacts also present significant environmental justice issues, with frontline and fenceline communities bearing a disproportionate burden of the impacts from climate change, fossil fuel extraction, and incineration associated with single-use waste. Heal the Bay and Reusable LA are advocating for #SkipTheStuff legislation in both Los Angeles City and Los Angeles County. In January 2021, Los Angeles City Councilmembers Paul Koretz and Paul Krekorian introduced a motion to draft city-wide legislation to #SkipTheStuff. It would require all foodware accessories to be available only upon request for takeout, delivery, and third-party delivery apps. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors followed suit in February 2021 and unanimously passed a similar motion after it was introduced by Boardmember Sheila Kuehl.
This legislation recognizes that community members may need single-use straws, utensils, and/or other foodware accessories. It is crucial that restaurants and third-party delivery apps readily promote and provide accommodations for all. This “on request” model is intentionally structured to meet all ADA requirements and accommodations to ensure equitable access to easily enjoy dine-in, takeout, or delivery from LA eateries. Under this ordinance, businesses may provide foodware accessories to customers who request them. Restaurants and food delivery apps should default to no single-use accessories for orders, unless the customer requests them. Switching to foodware accessories “upon request” reduces unnecessary waste and saves restaurants money. Los Angeles has done this before with straws on request. At a time when local restaurants and small businesses are struggling to stay open, this is a simple solution to cut down on both excess costs and plastic pollution. We support these ordinances as a win-win for our LA communities, businesses, and environment. We’re counting on your support to get this ordinance passed, so take action below and stay tuned for updates on how you can #SkipTheStuff.
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.
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, andbiological 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.
Yes on Prop 16: Affirmative Action / State of California
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
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
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
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
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.
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 mission—to make our coastal California waters and watersheds safe, healthy, and clean—is 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
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.
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!
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.)
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 previousyears. 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, Hispanic, 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
Las Virgenes Creek – worse than last year
Los Angeles River
Sepulveda Basin at Burbank Ave. – slightly better than last year
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!
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 Saber: La historia del Día de la Tierra