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Thick, black oil covering the water along the shoreline of Huntington Beach after a spill off the coast of Orange County, California

Estamos desconsolados e indignados. Este fin de semana se vertieron al océano 126.000 galones de petróleo crudo de una tubería cerca de Huntington Beach, en Orange County. El derrame de crudo ha tenido lugar en las aguas ancestrales no cedidas de los pueblos Acjachemen y Tongva.

LO QUE SABEMOS

Comenzó con informes de miembros de la comunidad que olían gas el viernes por la tarde y siguió el sábado con una mancha visible de petróleo en la superficie del océano. El anuncio oficial del derrame se produjo más tarde, el sábado por la noche: 126,000 galones de petróleo crudo brotaron de una tubería submarina hacia el agua circundante. El oleoducto (propiedad de Amplify Energy) transporta crudo desde la plataforma petrolífera Elly, ubicada en aguas federales frente a la costa de Orange County, hasta la costa en Long Beach. Según el LA Times, los criminólogos de la Guardia Costera de los EEUU están investigando detenidamente los eventos previos que llevaron al derrame y la posible negligencia en una respuesta tardía.

Los derrames de petróleo son terriblemente tóxicos para la salud pública y la vida marina. Las playas están cerradas y las aves y peces muertos y heridos ya están apareciendo en la orilla. Los mamíferos marinos, el plancton, los huevos de peces y las larvas también se ven afectados, ya que este crudo tóxico se mezcla con el agua del océano y se esparce por la superficie del agua, y hacia aguas más profundas también. A la 1:45 pm del 5 de octubre, solamente se habían recuperado 4,700 galones de los 126,000 galones derramados. Lamentablemente, este aceite también ha llegado a los sensibles y tan especiales humedales costeros de Talbert Marsh, un entorno natural crítico no solo para el hábitat de la vida silvestre, sino también para la calidad del agua ya que filtran naturalmente los contaminantes del agua que fluye a través de ellos; sin embargo, este humedal no puede filtrar la contaminación por hidrocarburos a tal escala.

Estos grandes derrames de crudo siguen ocurriendo porque las compañías petroleras priorizan las ganancias sobre la salud pública y el medio ambiente. Esto se evidencia por el hecho de que la industria petrolera ha buscado continuamente eludir las regulaciones y flexibilizar las restricciones a la extracción de petróleo. El peligro que plantea el patrón de comportamiento imprudente de la industria petrolera aumenta cuando se considera que gran parte de la infraestructura petrolera en California tiene décadas de antigüedad y se está deteriorando. Esta es la segunda fuga importante en una tubería en 6 años. La última fue en 2015, el vertido de petróleo de Refugio, un total de 142,000 galones de crudo que dañaron nuestra costa en Santa Bárbara.

Los derrames de petróleo son parte de un problema de contaminación mucho mayor. El impacto de los combustibles fósiles se deja sentir en todas sus etapas, desde la extracción hasta el desecho.

Los grandes vertidos de petróleo son desastrosos, aunque intermitentes. Pero la contaminación atmosférica de los lugares de extracción de combustibles fósiles y de las refinerías de petróleo situadas en tierra firme tiene un impacto perjudicial cada día para los barrios colindantes. Las comunidades de bajos ingresos y las comunidades de color están expuestas a riesgos desproporcionados para la salud y la seguridad debido a un historial de alta cantidad de perforaciones cerca de los lugares donde los vecinos viven, trabajan y llevan a cabo su vida cotidiana.

Entonces, ¿qué nos aporta toda esta perforación tan arriesgada? Al final lo que sacamos son productos como la gasolina, que contribuye a la crisis climática cuando se quema, o los plásticos que se usan una vez (o no se usan en absoluto) y luego se tiran “a la basura”, volviendo finalmente aquí, contaminando nuestros barrios y el océano.

LO QUE NO SABEMOS

Todavía no está claro qué es lo que causó el vertido de petróleo, ni cuándo empezó exactamente o cuándo se detuvo. La investigación en curso del personal de los equipos de buceo nos dará más información sobre lo que causó la ruptura que llevó miles de barriles de petróleo al Océano Pacífico.

El petróleo crudo es una mezcla de sustancias químicas tóxicas, como el benceno y otros carcinógenos, y se puede presentar en diferentes formas, con diferentes impactos en el ecosistema. Desgraciadamente, aún no sabemos qué tipo de petróleo se vertió, y las leyes de propiedad comercial permiten a las empresas petroleras mantener en secreto sus mezclas de petróleo y productos químicos. Tampoco sabemos cómo se supervisará el progreso de la limpieza y si se incluirán o no pruebas de calidad del agua en ese proceso. Basándonos en derrames anteriores, lo que esperamos es que las playas permanezcan cerradas durante varias semanas, y que los daños medioambientales duren años. 

QUÉ NO HACER

En este momento, lo mejor que puede hacer es mantenerse alejado de la zona del vertido de petróleo por propia seguridad. 

Aléjese de las playas manchadas de petróleo y cerradas, no entre al agua y mantenga las embarcaciones lejos de la mancha de petróleo existente. A día 4 de octubre, el puerto de Newport y el de Dana Point están cerrados, y en Huntington Beach se ha decretado el cierre de la playa. 

Deje suficiente espacio para que los trabajadores de rescate y los equipos de limpieza de la Guardia Costera de los Estados Unidos y la Oficina de Prevención y Respuesta al Derrame del Departamento de Pesca y Vida Silvestre de California (CDFW-OSPR) puedan acceder y trabajar en el lugar del vertido. Si ve algún animal salvaje herido o empetrolado, NO intente intervenir por su cuenta. En su lugar, informe del animal a la Red de Atención a la Vida Silvestre Petrolizada en el 1-877-823-6926. 

No pesque en la zona contaminada. CDFW ha emitido un veto de emergencia de la pesca. Cualquier captura de peces en esta zona está prohibida hasta nuevo aviso y CDFW está patrullando la zona concienzudamente. Si usted es un pescador, compruebe esta descripción detallada y el mapa para asegurarse de que se mantiene fuera de la veda de pesca por su propia salud y seguridad. Los mariscos y el pescado se pueden contaminar con el aceite y otros productos químicos del agua. Comer pescado y marisco de la zona contaminada puede hacer que enferme, y también es peligroso salir a pescar debido a la posible exposición a los gases nocivos del vertido.

QUÉ HACER 

El equipo de Ciencia y Leyes de Heal the Bay está trabajando en llamar a la acción pública con demandas específicas sobre normativas que compartiremos pronto en nuestro blog y en nuestros canales de Twitter, Instagram y Facebook. Mientras tanto, hay muchas cosas que puede hacer mientras se mantiene a una distancia segura del vertido de petróleo. 

Puede ponerse en contacto con la Red de Atención a la Fauna Silvestre Petrolizada de la UC Davis en el teléfono 1-877-823-6926 para informar sobre la fauna silvestre impregnada de petróleo. Ahora mismo, sólo el personal capacitado puede ayudar en los esfuerzos de limpieza. Sin embargo, si desea inscribirse para recibir formación para futuras emergencias, puede rellenar este formulario de voluntario para incidentes del OSPR o llamar a la línea de atención al voluntario al 1-800-228-4544 para obtener más información.

¡Manténgase informado! Preste atención a las noticias y los informes, siga la Respuesta al Derrame del Sur de California para obtener información y actualizaciones, y manténgase al tanto con Los Angeles Times, que está informando al día y en profundidad sobre esta emergencia.

Le animamos a que apoye y siga a estas organizaciones; están haciendo un gran trabajo para rescatar y proteger a la fauna del crudo, y defender el agua limpia y los humedales en buen estado a nivel local en Orange County:

Le sugerimos que siga y apoye a estas organizaciones; están luchando incansablemente porque se eliminen las perforaciones de pozos de petróleo en nuestro océano, en nuestros barrios y en cualquier otro lugar:

Esta lista NO es exhaustiva; hay muchas organizaciones y personas que realizan esta ardua labor. Si su grupo está trabajando en el vertido o luchando contra las grandes petroleras y le gustaría ser añadido a la lista anterior, contáctenos

LA CONCLUSIÓN

Si seguimos dependiendo de los combustibles fósiles, los vertidos de petróleo y la contaminación atmosférica son inevitables y sus impactos seguirán siendo devastadores. La única solución es cerrar esta sucia industria y protegernos a nosotros mismos y al medio ambiente mediante una transición justa que nos aleje de la economía extractiva de los combustibles fósiles. 

Permanezca atento, pronto publicaremos un seguimiento con las formas en que puede hacer oír su voz.

 

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As the tide turns on Coastal Cleanup Month, our big waves of gratitude and appreciation roll in for all who took part. We embarked on Coastal Cleanup Month with the mission of Healing Our Watersheds together. Even though it was another year of uncertainty due to the pandemic, our Coastal Cleanup Month participants still made an impact while keeping one another safe.   

Thank you for volunteering in a cleanup, joining us at a virtual event, supporting our fundraising efforts, and sharing your exciting cleanup stories with photos and videos. Collectively, our contributions cleaned up our beaches, wetlands, waterways, neighborhoods, and mountain trails. 

Combining the Best of Both Waves: In-Person & Virtual in 2021 

The COVID-19 pandemic reminds us that even when our world seems to be shut down, the trash never stops. Pollution continues to wreak havoc locally and globally in our watersheds and communities. 

Last year, Heal the Bay expanded Coastal Cleanup Day to encompass the entire month. Our communities attended interactive virtual events and we encouraged self-guided cleanups throughout the month in order to do our part while protecting the health and safety of all.

Coastal Cleanup Month 2021 continued to highlight how cleanups can and should be done anywhere, anytime – not just along the coast. Our virtual events on Instagram Live and Zoom were led by scientists and experts who discussed environmental issues in Los Angeles County and focused on inclusive solutions. 

This year — with careful planning and consideration — we were thrilled to bring back in-person cleanups on Coastal Cleanup Day in a limited capacity. In addition to self-guided cleanups throughout the month, we also wanted to safely come together outside to take action.


Emely Garcia, Coastal Cleanup Day Coordinator for Los Angeles County, praises the community effort to bring back safe, in-person cleanups for the big day, “The preparation and planning from our staff, site captains, and volunteers made this such a rewarding Coastal Cleanup Day. While this Coastal Cleanup looks much different than past years, it was wonderful being back in person, even at reduced capacity, protecting what we love.” 

Coastal Cleanup Day would not have been possible without the leadership of our volunteer site captains across LA County:

Alex Preso, Anne Walker, Art Liem, Art Salter, Ashley Zarella, Barbara Gentile – Crary, Britany Goldsmith, Brittaney Olaes, Carl Carranza, Catherine Vargas, David Weeshoff, Don Nipper, Emily Parker, Fallon Rabin, Grace Young, Homin Houta, Jay Fodor, Joan Hernandez, Joel Glen, John La Rock, Karen Barnett, Lendi Slover, Leslie Cortez, Lois Brunet, Luke Ginger, Matthew Billinghurst, Maritza Toles, Nainoa Cravalho, Nick Shattuck, Patricia Jimenez, Patrick Tyrell, Roger Waiters, Say Craig, Supriyaa Singh, Tarry Kang, Terumi Toyoshima, and William Bowling. 

A special THANK YOU to our site captains for leading the in-person effort on Coastal Cleanup Day!

Coastal Cleanup Month Results 

This year, 4,708 volunteers across LA County collected over 30,000 pieces of trash during September for Coastal Cleanup Month.  

Coastal Cleanup Day 

On Saturday Sept 18, we had 2,735 volunteers join us at 35 beaches, river, and inland sites across Los Angeles County, California to participate in Coastal Cleanup Day 2021.

In a span of three hours, our volunteers removed 5,051 pounds of trash and 156 pounds of recyclables. They covered 50+ miles of area on land and underwater, tracking their trash and memories as they went. 

Weird Finds 

An Invisalign at the beach? A golf bag underwater? A traffic cone in the creek? It would not be Coastal Cleanup Day without a list of weird trash finds. 

Here are a few of our favorites from Coastal Cleanup Day 2021: 

  • Barbie Doll head found in a tide pool (Surfrider Beach) 
  • Baby jumper car (Long Beach) 
  • Social Security Card (Santa Monica Beach – North) 
  • Student LAUSD Bus Pass from 2012 (Toes Beach) 
  • Fake $50 Bill and Pearl earring (Mother’s Beach) 
  • Bike wheel and pineapple (Ballona Wetlands) 

Self-Guided Cleanups

973 self-guided cleanups took place all month long and were an essential part of Coastal Cleanup Month. Heal the Bay volunteers took initiative to clean up every aspect of our watershed over the four-week span, especially at their outdoor happy places. With sweat on their brow, smiles on their faces, and buckets full of trash, we want to highlight the amazing work of our 1,973 cleanup volunteers.

We had participants across our watershed; mountains – 42, neighborhoods – 183, waterways – 29, and beaches – 1,717.

Our Overall Impact 

LA County’s Top 10 Trash Items 

The results are in! Take a look at the top 10 trash items removed by volunteers in Los Angeles County during September 2021.

Why Do We Track Trash Data? 

Data collected by volunteers during Coastal Cleanup Month is necessary in tracking local and global pollution trends. Our cleanup trash totals provide a snapshot of the current waste stream circulating here in Los Angeles and around the globe. This provides important baseline knowledge to inform and influence public policy and business practices for a healthier ocean, cleaner waterways, and safer communities.  

As our top 10 trash items list displays, pollution from single-use plastic is the most prominent litter source in Los Angeles County.  

PPE: Year Two of the Pandemic and its Impact on Our Environment 

2020 was the first time we tracked the improper disposal of single-use personal protective equipment for LA County. Last year, it ranked #10 in the Top 10 Finds for Coastal Cleanup Month. This year, it ranks #9. Our data displays the negative impact the pandemic and sanitary measures have had on our waste stream, adding to another global problem: single-use plastic. 

Problematic Plastic: The Takeover of Microplastics

For both self-guided cleanups and in-person cleanup trash totals, the most frequent find was small plastic pieces. Our volunteers collected 6,547 plastic pieces. These problematic plastic pieces eventually break down into microplastics. Microplastics, which measure less than 5 mm, populate every aspect of our watershed  found in our water, the food we eat, and swirling around in our atmosphere. This is a worldwide crisis, not just for the environment but for humans as well.  

As shown in our data above, single-use plastic from the food and drink industry are huge pollution sources, and eventual microplastic contributors as they breakdown in our environment. While cleanups aid in reducing the volume of plastic pieces that wind up in our watershed, we need to address the problem at the source. That’s why we’re fighting for effective plastic policies that limit the production of single-use plastic and make it easier for recyclable plastic to be disposed of properly.  

Take Action: From Bills to Law, We Need Your Help  

The California legislature introduced the Circular Economy Package in 2021 to fight plastic pollution. Here are three bills in the package that tackle plastic pollution, and could use your help to get signed into law: 

Senate Bill 343: The Truth in Environmental Advertising Act 

Have you ever turned over a plastic cup to see if it can be recycled, and noticed there is a number that’s encircled with the “chasing arrows” symbol. This leads you to believe it is recyclable, right?! Well, most of the time, it is not actually recyclable. SB 343 makes using the Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle symbol illegal if the item cannot actually be recycled. It only permits the use of the ♻️  symbol to be used on items that can be recycled in California. What a novel idea, huh! SB 343 helps to clarify what items should go in the recycling bin, reducing confusion among consumers while improving diversion rates. This means less waste is sent to landfill and more is actually recycled. 

Assembly Bill 1276: Disposable Foodware Accessories 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us relied much more heavily on restaurant takeout and food delivery to feed ourselves and our loved ones while supporting local restaurants. The downside? Receiving disposable foodware accessories like cutlery, condiment packets, and straws that we don’t need and frequently end up in the trash without ever being used. These items, often made of single-use plastic, are clogging waste facilities and polluting our environment. AB 1276 would require foodware accessories only be provided upon explicit request of the customer, so you wouldn’t get them unless you ask. 

Assembly Bill 962: California Beverage Container Recycling and Litter Reduction Act 

What’s the best way to fight plastic pollution? Tackling the problem at the source. This bill focuses on replacing harmful disposable plastic items with sustainable reusable and refillable products. AB 962 promotes returnable and refillable beverage bottles in California by allowing glass bottles to be washed and refilled by beverage companies instead of crushed and recycled into new bottles – a much less energy-intensive process that encourages reuse and refill.

Take action! Urge Governor Gavin Newsom to sign the Circular Economy Package Into Law and many others here: https://camustlead.org/ 

Reduce Your Plastic Pollution EVERY DAY

In addition to urging the California Governor to sign strong anti-pollution policies into law, you can make changes every day to reduce the amount of plastic waste that enters our watershed. 

Expanding upon the eco-friendly concept of reduce, reuse, and recycle, we encourage you to go two steps further before recycling an item: refuse and repurpose. Incorporating the 5 R’s of sustainability into your daily decision-making as a consumer will limit the expulsion of single-use plastic waste and its effects on our environment. 

Before throwing an item in the trash, we encourage you to walk through these five steps: 

  1. Refuse 
  2. Reduce 
  3. Reuse 
  4. Repurpose 
  5. Recycle

Disposing plastic waste properly is important, but we must acknowledge that the prevalence of plastic in our world is not a burden that falls solely on the consumer – producers, we’re looking at you too! By using your voice to influence public policies and business practices for a plastic-free future, you are holding companies and corporations accountable for the waste they create. 

Coastal Cleanup Month shows us that when communities work together, we make a big splash. This shared work must continue, and we must protect what we love every day. 

Stay involved and support our clean water mission year-round with Adopt-a-Beach, Club Heal the Bay, Suits on the Sand, and MPA Watch.  Sign up for our Blue Newsletter and Action Alerts to stay in the loop on our current science, advocacy, community action, and education programs and campaigns. 

And don’t forget to save the date on Saturday, September 17, 2022, for next year’s Coastal Cleanup! 

Big Wave of Thanks 

As we reflect on our goals and impact from Coastal Cleanup Month 2021, we want to thank our amazing partners who helped make our in-person and virtual programming possible:  

Portland Potato Vodka 

Ocean Conservancy 

California Coastal Commission 

Water for LA 

City of Santa Monica 

TIME TO ACT Entertainment 

Also, special thanks to Kelsey Davenport, our poster designer, and Steve Nguyen, our animated video creator for their amazing artistic contributions.



UPDATE 10/5: Good news – Gov. Newsom signed SB 343, AB 1276, and AB 962 into law! Thanks for making your voice heard.

Action Alert! Support Heal the Bay’s top 3 California plastic-reduction bills. Call your reps and help get these environmental bills to the finish line. Learn about the bills, contact your representatives, and use our sample script below.

Call My Reps

A few major plastic bills are up for a vote, and we need your help to urge your representatives to vote YES! This year, the California legislature introduced a suite of bills to fight plastic pollution called the Circular Economy Package. While not all of the bills have made it through the long and harrowing process, three are nearing the finish line and are priorities for Heal the Bay. These bills are heading to the floor for a vote, which means we only have a couple weeks left to get them passed! The bills each tackle plastic pollution in a unique way, so let’s break them down.

Senate Bill 343: The Truth in Environmental Advertising Act

Have you ever turned over a plastic cup or container to read the number on the bottom and noticed it’s encircled with a recycling “chasing arrows” symbol, only to then learn that item in fact could not be recycled? Us too, and it’s frustrating. This bill would make that illegal, and only permit the chasing arrows symbol to be used on items that are actually recyclable in California and never as part of a plastic resin identification code (those numbers that tell you what type of plastic the item is made from). SB 343 would help to clarify what items should go in the blue bin, reducing confusion among consumers, contamination, and waste volume while improving diversion rates, meaning less waste is sent to landfill and more is actually recycled.

Assembly Bill 1276: Disposable Foodware Accessories

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have all begun relying much more heavily on takeout and delivery to feed ourselves and our loved ones while supporting local restaurants. The downside? Receiving disposable foodware accessories like cutlery, condiment packets, and straws that we don’t need and frequently end up in the trash without ever being used. These items, often made of single-use plastics, are clogging waste facilities and polluting our environment. AB 1276 would require that these food ware accessories only be provided upon explicit request of the customer, so you wouldn’t get them unless you ask.

Assembly Bill 962: California Beverage Container Recycling and Litter Reduction Act

What’s the best way to fight plastic pollution? Tackling the problem from the source. This bill focuses on replacing harmful pollution-causing disposable plastic items with sustainable reusable and refillable alternatives. AB 962 helps pave the way for returnable and refillable beverage bottles in California by allowing glass bottles to be washed and refilled by beverage companies instead of crushed and recycled into new bottles – a much less energy intensive process that encourages reuse and refill. The measure reduces waste and encourages the use of glass bottles over disposable plastic ones. 


All of these bills will be up for a vote soon. Call your representatives and urge them to VOTE YES on SB 343, AB 1276, and AB 962.

Use this handy tool to find and call your reps.

Call My Reps

Use this sample script when you call:

“Hi, my name is __________ and I am a resident of __________ and a constituent of representative__________. As an active member of my community with concerns about plastic pollution, I urge you to vote YES on SB 343, AB 1276, and AB 962. As part of the Circular Economy Package, these bills will reduce plastic pollution in my community and protect my public health. Thank you for your time.”

 


Stay in the loop on the progress of these bills by signing up for our newsletter and following us on Instagram.



Esta es una historia en desarrollo y les mantendremos actualizados a medida que vayamos teniendo más información. 

¿Cuándo sucedió el vertido?

El vertido de aguas residuales comenzó el 11 de Julio de 2021 a las 7 pm y paró sobre las 5 am del 12 de Julio de 2021. La Oficina de Saneamiento de la ciudad de LA nos dijo que el vertido había parado sobre las 5 am y que todas las aguas residuales ya están siendo tratadas normalmente.

¿Cómo fue de grande?

Al parecer 17 millones de galones de aguas residuales sin tratar se vertieron a través del desagüe de 1 milla, que se encuentra situado directamente enfrente de la planta de tratamiento de aguas Hyperion en El Segundo.

¿Qué playas han sido afectadas?

Ahora mismo Dockweiler State Beach y El Segundo Beach están cerradas al público. La Ciudad de Los Angeles y el Departamento de Salud Pública del Condado de Los Angeles están haciendo pruebas en las playas y el agua de la bahía de Santa Monica. Se puede encontrar más información en la página web del Departamento de Salud Pública del Condado de Los Angeles.

¿Qué puede hacer el público para protegerse?

Recomendamos al público que se mantenga fuera del agua en la Bahía de Santa Monica hasta nuevo aviso. Además, consulte el boletín de calificaciones de las playas para conocer las últimas alertas sobre la calidad del agua del océano en California, y el boletín de calificaciones de río para obtener información sobre la calidad del agua dulce en las pozas del condado de Los Ángeles.

¿Qué problemas causa esto a las personas y a la fauna marina?

Las bacterias y los virus de las aguas residuales no tratadas son extremadamente peligrosas para la gente y traen consigo una variedad de enfermedades. Restos como tampones o basura plástica, cuando quedan sueltos en la bahía, pueden albergar bacterias y pueden enredar a la fauna, aunque parece ser que en este caso ese tipo de restos quedaron filtrados antes de llegar a la bahía.

¿Por qué ha sucedido esto?

Tenemos conocimiento de que la toma de entrada a la planta Hyperion de El Segundo estaba obstruida de forma severa, lo que causó una inundación en las instalaciones. Las aguas residuales salieron de la instalación sin tratar a través de la tubería de 1 milla y el desagüe.

¿Cuál es el origen y cómo podemos hacer que se hagan responsables del vertido? 

Lo que ha pasado es responsabilidad de la Ciudad de Los Angeles y su Oficina de Saneamiento. La ciudad normalmente hace un buen trabajo conteniendo y tratando cientos de millones de galones de aguas residuales cada día – pero cuando se produce un vertido la Ciudad debe actuar deprisa para avisar al público, y debe descubrir y arreglar la causa para prevenir más vertidos.

¿Cómo se pueden prevenir los vertidos de aguas residuales? 

Las mejores medidas preventivas son un buen mantenimiento del sistema y un uso debido de los inodoros por parte del público (no tirando en ellos basura como plásticos).

¿Cada cuanto tiempo suceden estos vertidos de aguas residuales? 

El último vertido de importancia de aguas residuales en el condado de Los Angeles sucedió en 2015. Sin embargo, los vertidos pequeños no son algo especial. Entre 2020 y 2021, 75 vertidos mandaron un total de 346,888 galones a ríos, lagos y arroyos del condado de Los Angeles. Un vertido de 222,542 galones en febrero de 2021 mantuvo todas las playas de Long Beach cerradas; esta es un área monitoreada por el boletín de calificaciones de las playas de Heal the Bay. Un total de 39,621 galones de aguas residuales se vertieron en el río de Los Angeles, y 140 galones en el arroyo de Las Virgenes; ambas vías de agua dulce monitoreadas por el boletín de calificaciones de río de Heal the Bay.

Para más información sobre vertidos de aguas residuales, visite la página web del Departamento de Salud Pública del Condado de Los Angeles.

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Photo credit: Ashlee Malyar, Marine Mammal Volunteer

Heal the Bay MPA Watch intern, Alex Preso, saw a distressed seal pup while conducting beach surveys, and helped it get the care it needed by alerting the California Wildlife Center. Alex shares what happened, plus the “Do’s” and Don’t’s” of helping a marine mammal in distress.


At first I thought it was a piece of driftwood on the beach… it was actually a distressed seal pup.

On Wednesday, March 18, I was taking surveys for Heal the Bay’s MPA Watch Program on El Pescador Beach in Malibu. As I was making my way along the beach, I noticed what looked like a washed-up log in the distance. As I moved closer, I realized that it was actually a small seal. The seal was lying on its back, barely moving, and was thin with wrinkled skin. It looked noticeably uncomfortable and I immediately suspected that something was wrong.

Sometimes a seal pup like this one simply struggles to survive on its own after separating from its mother, but there are also a variety of human impacts that can cause a marine mammal to be in distress. 

1) First, plastic debris in the ocean or on beaches poses a significant threat to marine mammals. When ingested, these animals cannot digest the plastic, so it stays in their bodies. This plastic can leach harmful chemicals into their bodies or even block their digestive tract, leading to starvation and malnourishment. Heal the Bay is working to combat this through our plastic pollution and beach cleanup programs. These programs aim not only to help remove plastic from our oceans, but also to keep this harmful marine debris from entering our oceans in the first place.

2) Second, overfishing of important food sources for marine mammals limits available nourishment and puts these animals at risk. Heal the Bay’s sustainable fisheries work aims to maintain healthy fisheries so that these animals have abundant food sources.

3) Third, loss of habitat can endanger marine mammals. Heal the Bay’s MPA program helps to monitor protected areas that are critically important to protecting these habitats, so that these animals have safe places to live, reproduce, and find food.

4) Fourth and finally, poor water quality can cause marine mammals to become sick. Polluted water can cause a variety of health issues for marine mammals, including bacterial, viral, and parasitic infections. Heal the Bay’s water quality work aims to prevent harmful bacteria, toxins, and other pollutants from ending up in the ocean and endangering marine life.

Heal the Bay is doing what we can to prevent these threats to marine mammals, but while these issues persist, it is important that we all keep an eye out for stranded marine mammals on our local beaches.

But even if you see a seal on the beach, how can you tell if it is in danger or simply catching some rays?

Many people don’t know how to tell if an animal like this is actually in trouble, let alone what actions to take if it is distressed. When I encountered this young seal, I saw many other people walking along the beach, barely taking notice of the animal.

Here is are some clear signs that a marine mammal is in distress and in need of help:

  • visible entanglement in trash or fishing gear
  • visible malnourishment or open wounds
  • a young pup without an adult nearby
  • erratic behavior 

Fortunately, you don’t need to be an expert to help a seal in need. If you suspect that a marine mammal may be in distress, always call the appropriate rescue hotline. It is better to have the rescue crew come to the beach to find a healthy animal than to leave an animal in distress without help. The numbers to call vary by location and are listed below.

Here are a few things to avoid if you find a distressed marine mammal:

  • DO NOT touch or approach the animal
  • DO NOT attempt to return the animal to the water 
  • DO NOT pour water on the animal
  • DO NOT attempt to move the animal

If you wouldn’t want someone to do it to you while you’re sunbathing on the beach, chances are the animal wouldn’t like it either. Marine mammals intentionally seek out dry land when they are in distress so that they can rest and soak up the sun.

What you should do if you find a distressed marine mammal:

  • DO stay approximately 50 feet away
  • DO call the appropriate rescue hotline
  • DO take a picture of the animal
  • DO try to pinpoint the animal’s location
  • DO wait near the animal until the rescue crew arrives

The number for the rescue hotline varies by location, but any of them can connect you to the correct region if you do not have the right number. 

  • For animals found in San Pedro up to Pacific Palisades (including all beaches between them) – call Marine Animal Rescue # 1-800-399–4253 [WHALE]
  • For animals found in Malibu – call the California Wildlife Center # 310-458–9453 [WILD]
  • For animals found in Long Beach – call Long Beach Animal Control # 562-570–7387

When you call the hotline, they will ask you to send a photo of the animal as well as its location. Try to be as precise as possible so that they can save time and arrive at the animal directly.

In this instance, I called the Malibu number. Then I waited with the seal for about 30 minutes until the rescue crew arrived at the beach. While waiting, I was careful to keep my distance from the seal and ensured that other passersby did so as well. When the crew arrived, they expertly loaded the seal into a crate and took him back to their facility for rehabilitation.

Loading seal into crate Seal in crate 2
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Later, I learned that this animal was a 12 week old elephant seal pup that was badly malnourished. He had shrunk back down to his birth weight of about 75 pounds when he should have been closer to 300 pounds. They named him “Yellow” because they used a yellow marker to make an identifying mark on him while in their care.

The California Wildlife Center (CWC) is permitted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to provide rehabilitative care to seals and sea lions. They will rehabilitate Yellow and help him gain the necessary body weight and skills to better fend for himself before returning him to the wild. All of the animals they rescue stay in their facility temporarily, as their mission is to rehabilitate and return marine mammals to the wild where they belong. 

For Yellow, the outlook is bright and he is expected to be released back into the wild in May. This instance just goes to show that a chance encounter on the beach can be the difference between life and death for a marine mammal. It was for Yellow.


Photo credit: Ashlee Malyar, Marine Mammal Volunteer


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Heal the Bay is proud to join Latino Outdoors and partners in the celebration of Latino Conservation Week, July 18- 26 2020.

Latino Conservation Week (LCW) is an annual initiative presented by the Hispanic Access Foundation to highlight the Latinx experience in outdoor stewardship and environmentalism. Since its launch in 2014, LCW has had tremendous growth across the country in the outdoor engagement and conservation advocacy by Latinx communities.

This week, community groups, environmental nonprofits, and agencies will host virtual and in-person events (where safe to do so) to support Latinx and Latino community getting into the outdoors and participating in activities to protect our natural resources. These events are for all ages and typically include hiking, camping, cleanups, and workshops that inspire participants to take part in protecting our land, water, and air and participate in larger conversations around current environmental issues.

How to Participate

This year, participation will take place safely and a lot of it will be online. Every day of the week invites a different call to action and we encourage you to join the conversation by following @LCW_National @HispanicAccess and @LatinoOutdoors on Twitter and @latinoconservationweek @hispanicaccess and @latinooutdoors on IG.

At Heal the Bay, we recognize that social and environmental issues are intrinsically linked. Historical injustices have led to inequitable access to the outdoors for communities of color. Heal the Bay is committed to fighting for environmental justice through our Science, Policy, and Outreach programs.

Currently, Heal the Bay is working to connect Latinx youth to their watersheds and ocean is through Gotitas Del Saber, our new bilingual/Spanish marine conservation educational series. The program includes regularly scheduled Spanish-language virtual webinar for students of all ages about science and the ocean. Join us live or explore past events.

Join us for Gotitas Del Saber

Why It’s Important

Beyond exploring the outdoors, Latino Conservation Week, at its core, is about outdoor connection, education, and cultural expression —and for many US-born Latin American-identifying youth and young adults, it’s a pathway and connection into outdoor advocacy and/or pursuing a degree in STEM through community support and mentorship.

For many Latin Americans, participating in conservation is an act of long-standing connection to nature. It’s a part of cultural preservation that involves nature-based solutions and practices that are deeply rooted in the Latin American cultural expression and identity. Protecting the health of our watershed, fighting for clean air, and protecting robust wildlife habitat is connected to century-old practices and traditions that continue through the enjoyment and protection of our open spaces.

Recent studies show that Hispanics/Latinxs express higher levels of environmental concern and have a higher willingness to engage in climate activism than white Americans, yet Latinos remain largely underrepresented in the environmental sector despite the support of environmental policies and efforts. Nevertheless, Latinx participation in the environmental field and movement is critical to the growth of outdoor equity, solving the climate crisis through science and community solutions, mobilizing communities for environmental justice, and inspiring the next generation of environmental stewards.

 

 



Heal the Bay Water Quality Scientist, Annelisa Moe, shares how we can save a precious water resource, hold polluters accountable, and stay updated on all things stormwater.

Each year, Los Angeles County wastes 100 billion gallons of stormwater as it flows through our streets, into our rivers, and out to the ocean.  But it gets worse. The pollution that is swept up by this stormwater contaminates our waterways, floods our neighborhoods, and even exacerbates the negative effects of climate change: worsening ocean acidification and triggering new growth of harmful algal blooms.

As we look to the future, we can turn this hazard into a resource by capturing, cleaning, and reusing local stormwater. Properly rebuilding our stormwater infrastructure will protect the environment from stormwater pollution while also providing an affordable water supply, equitably stimulating our economy, and creating healthier communities that are more resilient to the effects of climate change.

In order to ensure that we responsibly recycle stormwater across Los Angeles County, we need a carrot-and-stick approach. The carrot: an incentive for those who discharge polluted water to take action against their pollution. The stick: accountability for dischargers who continue to contaminate our environment with polluted stormwater.

THE CARROT: Measure W

Los Angeles County voters already gave dischargers their carrot when they passed the Safe, Clean Water Program (Measure W) back in 2018. The measure provides a dedicated and reliable source of funding to build the kinds of projects that capture, clean, and reuse stormwater.

THE STICK: The MS4 Permit

The discharge of polluted stormwater is regulated by the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board through the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Permit. Cities and counties are permittees under an MS4 Permit and are each responsible for their polluted stormwater runoff.

The LA County MS4 Permit has been around since 1990, and yet stormwater is still a major source of pollution in LA’s waterways. The last update to the permit occurred in 2012 and, to our dismay, the Los Angeles Regional Board voted to approve a 2012 MS4 Permit that was nearly impossible to enforce. Because of this lack of accountability, permittees are woefully behind schedule to meet federal Clean Water Act requirements.

The MS4 Permit is up for renewal again this year, which provides an opportunity to advocate for a strong permit that has simple and straightforward requirements, measurable goals with transparent reporting, and enforceable deadlines. This type of simple, measurable, and enforceable permit is more accessible to all stakeholders, including members of the public. It ensures everyone knows what needs to be done and informs people how quickly progress is being made towards achieving water quality goals. A strong MS4 Permit holds permittees accountable to their requirement to reduce stormwater pollution.MS4

LET’S TAKE LA BY STORM

2020 is our year to fight for justice and for the protection of public health. A strong MS4 Permit can help to ensure that our tax dollars are immediately put to good use to equitably invest in our communities and in our water future.

We need more community representation as this new MS4 Permit is finalized so that the terms of the permit are not decided solely by its permittees, but rather by all stakeholders, including YOU, who deserve a healthy environment with access to safe and clean water. The draft permit is expected to be released in mid-August 2020, followed by public workshops and a 60-day public comment period. This is our chance to advocate for a strong permit that holds permittees accountable so we can finally reduce stormwater pollution.

Join Heal the Bay to Take LA By Storm and demand a strong MS4 Permit!

Sign Up For Updates

You will receive:

  • MS4 Permit information
  • Public workshop notifications
  • Public comment opportunities
  • Instructions and guidance for submitting public comment
  • And more!

 



Heal the Bay’s annual River Report Card Rates 28 Freshwater Recreation Sites in Los Angeles River, San Gabriel River, and Malibu Creek Watersheds

2020 so far has been the year of making the best of it. When it comes to freshwater resources in L.A. County, we don’t have many, but we do love our rivers and swimming holes. And many of us will be looking to explore more local freshwater recreation options this summer, whether it’s because we had to cancel our long-distance vacation plans or reconsider a trip to the beach due to Safer at Home measures.

But no trip to the river is worth getting sick. And unfortunately, many freshwater recreation sites in L.A. County do have levels of bacterial pollution that represent a significant health risk. Developed areas tend to be more polluted than those in the mountains and upper watersheds.

Our annual River Report Card is the most comprehensive report on freshwater bacterial water quality and health risks in L.A County. The report grades each freshwater recreation site with a Red, Yellow, or Green rating.

  • Green : Zero parameters exceeded; low risk of illness when there is water contact.
  • Yellow : One to half of the parameters exceeded; moderate risk of illness when there is water contact.
  • Red : More than half of the parameters exceeded; high risk of illness when there is water contact.

In addition to the annual report, which summarizes the data collected in 2019, we also have an interactive map at healthebay.org/riverreportcard, which is updated weekly, so you can check the latest water quality observation before choosing a place to go this summer.

A Note About Swimming in the Time of COVID-19

While we have a pandemic going on, it’s especially important to be safe any time you leave the house, including outdoor recreation. That means wearing a mask and keeping a safe physical distance from others.

Our water quality tests do not detect the presence of the COVID-19 virus in the water, but they do detect fecal indicator bacteria (FIB). The COVID-19 virus has been detected in sewage, indicating that fecal matter from infected individuals can contain the virus. We do not know how long the virus survives in sewage or in water, and we do not know if someone can contract the COVID-19 disease from coming into contact with water. Experts have stated that the transmission risk in water is likely very low because the virus mainly spreads through person-to-person contact. Since COVID-19 and FIB both enter our waterways through sewage, measuring FIB concentrations can help keep people safe from both.

Be sure to check for closures and specific restrictions at freshwater sites, trails, and open space before you head out. And, as always when you visit the river, make sure to pack out what you pack in. Be a water steward and keep plastics and trash out of the environment.

Be safe, have fun, and enjoy your local waters.

Download the annual River Report Card

See the annual River Report Card Media Release 

Check out the Weekly Updated River Report Card Interactive Map

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El Programa Educacional Pesquero de Heal the Bay (AOP, por sus siglas en inglés) es un programa educativo dirigido a los pescadores de muelles y zona costera de los Condados de Los Angeles y Condado de Orange sobre los riesgos de consumir pescado contaminado con toxinas como el dicloro-difenil-tricloroetane (DDT) y los bifenilos policlorinados(PCBs). AOP es un componente del Grupo Educacional sobre la Contaminación de Peces (FCEC), por sus siglas en inglés) creado en el 2003 y administrado por la Agencia de Protección Ambiental (EPA, por sus siglas en inglés) como parte de un programa de educación pública, en asociación con otras agencias federales, estatales, y organizaciones comunitarias locales. 

El FCEC se estableció porque hay un sitio importante de contaminación (o sitio Superfund) frente a la costa de Los Angeles en la plataforma de Palos Verdes. El DDT y PCB se descargaron hisóricamente en el océano cerca de la península de Palos Verdes y todavía permanecen en el sedimento. Estas toxinas pueden viajar a través de la cadena alimenticia hacia los peces y potencialmente tener impactos negativos en la salud humana. Ciertas especies de peces y ciertas áreas tienen más probabilidades de estar contaminadas.

El objetivo del AOP es educar a los pescadores sobre la contaminación y qué peces deben evitarse. A lo largo de nuestras visitas a diferentes muelles en el sur de California, nuestro equipo educativo ha interactuado con diversas comunidades pesqueras. La divulgación se realiza en varios idiomas; Por esta razón, el equipo de Heal the Bay cuenta con un personal bilingüe que ha cubierto, con el tiempo, todos los diferentes grupos de pescadores de muelle del sur de California en varios idiomas, incluidos: español, chino, tagalo, vietnamita, camboyano y ruso.

Desde los inicios del programa, el equipo de Heal the Bay ha educado a más de 170,000 pescadores de muelles. Como tal, hemos escuchado muchas historias y aprendido mucho sobre las personas que frecuentemente pescan en nuestros muelles locales. Apreciamos a estos pescadores que comparten con nosotros sus conocimientos y experiencias.

Premios recibidos a nivel nacional

En 2009, la Agencia de Protección Ambiental de EE. UU. otorgó dos prestigiosos premios al Grupo Educacional sobre Contaminación de Peces. Para ese entonces, viajé hasta Washington D.C. para recibir tan distinguido reconocimiento a la Excelencia Ciudadana en Participación Comunitaria. Este premio se entrega anualmente a un individuo o grupo comunitario que trabaja con un equipo de sitios Superfund por los logros sobresalientes que se hayan realizado en el campo de la protección ambiental. El FCEC fue reconocido por su trabajo por proteger a las poblaciones más vulnerables del sur de California de los riesgos de salud que implica consumir pescados contaminado con DDT y PCB. El otro premio fue otorgado a Heal the Bay y a todos los socios de FCEC en Los Ángeles por Logro en Justicia Ambiental.

Este reconocimiento es significativo para Heal the Bay porque muestra que estamos logrando nuestro objetivo de proteger la salud para todos, especialmente a las comunidades con desventajas económicas y sociales. Heal the Bay tuvo el honor de ser seleccionado y representar a FCEC de una serie de proyectos nacionales. La justicia ambiental es un componente principal de nuestro trabajo, ya que nos centramos en segmentos de la población que con demasiada frecuencia se descuidan.

 

Ganador del Premio 2009: Frankie Orrala de Heal the Bay recibió los Premios a la Excelencia Ciudadana en Participación Comunitaria y Logro en Justicia Ambiental.

Además de aceptar este premio en la capital, también viajé a Ecuador en América del Sur, junto con científicos del Instituto Nacional de Pesca y profesores, investigadores y estudiantes de la Universidad de Guayaquil. Nos reunimos y hablamos de los esfuerzos de FCEC para monitorear la contaminación y educar al público sobre su efecto en la salud humana y ambiental. El interés internacional de nuestro programa es un honor, y esperamos construir más relaciones en el futuro con comunidades que enfrentan problemas similares que tenemos en el sur de California.

Hay muchas razones para nuestro éxito continuo del programa AOP de Heal the Bay, desde los miembros de nuestro gran equipo, comunidades con las que trabajamos, hasta de los expertos que nos brindan asesoramiento. ¡Todo esto no sería posible sin nuestros seguidores y por eso te lo agradecemos!


Para obtener más información sobre nuestro programa, visite www.pvsfish.org y si deseas unirte a nuestro equipo bilingüe llámenos al 310-451-1500 o visita nuestro sitio www.healthebay.org

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An aerial view of Kids Ocean Day 2011

Thousands of kids are coming together on May 23 for the 26th annual Kids Ocean Day! Sparking a love for nature in young kids sets them up for a lifetime of appreciation and respect for our oceans, watersheds and natural environment. Plus, they love digging their toes in the sand! At this event, kids will learn about marine animals, the importance of keeping our beaches clean, and what they can do to help.

To wrap up the day’s activities, the kids gather together in formation to create a powerful environmental message on the beach. Far above their heads, helicopters fly by to capture a photo. The result is a spectacular and meaningful image that our team at Heal the Bay looks forward to every year.

Kids Ocean Day 2019 Event Details

Date: Thursday, May 23
Time: 7:00am – 2:30pm
Location: Dockweiler State Beach, Vista Del Mar, Imperial Hwy Entrance, Playa Del Rey, CA 90293 (The end of Imperial Highway between Playa del Rey & Manhattan Beach)

Visit Kids Ocean Day Website


Kids Ocean Day Founder, Michael Klubock, on the importance of youth outreach, hands-on education, and how Kids Ocean Day makes an impact:

“Kids Ocean Day teaches school kids about how litter flows from our neighborhoods to the ocean, where it harms marine life and pollutes our natural resources. It’s where the lessons come to life. By bringing Los Angeles school children to the beach, we put them in touch with nature, while instilling good habits and stewardship that can last a lifetime. The wonder and beauty of the coast, combined with a mission to protect the natural world, is a profound experience. I see it on their faces every year and every year it moves me.

Kids Ocean Day is a way to show kids that their actions—both good and bad—have an impact. That’s a lesson worth learning at any age. Eighty percent of the pollution in the sea comes from the land as the result of runoff. We can all do something about that. Simple things like disposing of litter, picking up after your dog or joining a beach cleanup can make a huge difference.”

An aerial view of Kids Ocean Day 2014