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Heal the Bay Blog

Category: Malibu / Pacific Palisades

Peter Shellenbarger, a Heal the Bay science and policy analyst, tries his hand at Hollywood with a hotly anticipated “soup opera.” As the Septics Seep is his artistic interpretation of the Malibu Civic Center Septic Saga, where Mrs. Water Quality and Mr. Civic Center navigate the sordid, stinky world of Malibu water politics.

 

As The Septics Seep

Any relationship has its ups and downs—especially one between a coastal city and its water quality.


The backstory

In 2006, Malibu Creek, Malibu Lagoon, Malibu Beach, Malibu Surfrider Beach and Carbon Beach (in the Malibu Civic Center area) were placed on the Clean Water Act’s list of impaired and threatened water bodies. Septic system discharges were identified as contributors to this impairment in 2009 and a Septic Prohibition was issued. In 2011, the City of Malibu agreed to build a centralized wastewater recycling facility to phase out septic systems in the Civic Center area. However, just this month, the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board approved an extension for the phase-out, giving commercial and residential properties 20 extra months and three years, respectively, to remove their septic systems. These extensions undermine the Septic Prohibition and will allow the City of Malibu to continue discharging septic system effluent into already critically polluted waterbodies. This month’s decision is another setback for water quality in Malibu and showcases the Regional Board’s historical inability to hold the City of Malibu accountable for their septic system discharges, which impact human health and aquatic life in and around Malibu Creek and Lagoon.


Cast (in order of appearance)

Sheriff U.S. E.P.A.: Tall, stern water quality enforcer
Mrs. Water Quality: Peppy environmental scientist
Mr. Civic Center: Distinguished landowner of Civic Center Area in Malibu
Officer L.A.W. (L.A. Regional Water Control Board): Overworked, tired water quality engineer


Season synopses

S1 Sheriff E.P.A. comes to town and nails Malibu Creek, Malibu Lagoon, Malibu Beach, Malibu Surfrider Beach and Carbon Beach for public intoxication. Loaded with bacteria and nutrients, she places these waters on the critically polluted list for further investigation and future cleanup. Mrs. Water Quality begins to investigate the cause of pollution…and catches the eye of Mr. Civic Center in the process.

S2 Mrs. Water Quality identifies septic systems as a source of bacteria and nutrient pollution at Mr. Civic Center’s residence. Officer L.A.W. assesses the situation, conducts further studies, consults with other officers and creates a Septic Prohibition at Mr. Civic Center’s residence. This will require him to phase out septic system discharges at his commercial and residential properties by November 5, 2015, and November 5, 2019, respectively.

S3 To implement the Septic Prohibition, Mr. Civic Center and Officer L.A.W. agree to build a centralized wastewater recycling facility to replace septic systems polluting Malibu’s coastal waters. Mrs. Water Quality is sufficiently impressed by Mr. Civic Center’s commitment to the environment and finally agrees to date him.

S4 Mrs. Water Quality and Mr. Civic Center are seen publicly all over the Westside, and soon move in together and begin planning their romantic wastewater recycling facility hideaway. But Mr. Civic Center reveals himself to be all talk, delaying construction of the project by 9 to 12 months. He assures Mrs. Water Quality it will be completed before November 5, 2015. Mrs. Water Quality has heard that one before.

S5 Mr. Civic Center and Officer L.A.W. arrange to extend the commercial septic phase-out deadline by 20 months—and the residential phase out deadline by 3 years. Officer L.A.W. approves the extension despite a lack of public support and passionate opposition from Mrs. Water Quality—who feels betrayed by both Mr. Civic Center and Officer L.A.W. Mrs. Water Quality moves out of Mr. Civic Center’s residence.

What will happen to this tragic duo in S6? Will they patch up their differences or has their love truly tanked? One thing is certain: In addition to being a heartbreaker, Mr. Civic Center will continue to harm human health and aquatic life with his septic obsession.

TO BE CONTINUED NEXT SEASON…

As the Septics Seep: A Malibu Soup Opera



Just in time for the last hurrah of summer, beachgoers on the West Coast can head to the shore this Labor Day secure that they’ll be swimming and playing in healthy water.  According to the 2013 End of Summer Beach Report Card®, beach water quality in California, Oregon and Washington was excellent for the fourth consecutive summer.

We collected water quality data at more than 640 monitoring locations along the West Coast between Memorial Day and Aug. 21, 2013. Then we assigned an A-to-F grade based on bacterial pollution levels. Nearly 96% of California beaches earned an A or B grade. Washington earned A or B grades at 91% of its beaches, and Oregon earned all A grades for the fourth consecutive year. 

To find out which beaches didn’t make the grade and how your county stacks up, consult our 2013 End of Summer Beach Report Card®:

Beachgoers can find out which beaches are safe, check recent water quality history and look up details on beach closures using our Beach Report Card. On the go? Download a free Beach Report Card mobile app for iPhone or Android.



The Beach Report Card Summer Shades Contest

APP UPDATE: We are currently experiencing some issues with the Beach Report Card App due to opperating system changes. In the meantime, please go directly to beachreportcard.org for all your healthy beach reporting needs!

Is the water quality at your favorite California beach shady? Find out in the Beach Report Card (BRC) Summer Shades Contest! Watch the water quality at your favorite beach and you could win an exclusive pair of Heal the Bay shades.

 

We’re giving away ten pairs of our limited edition “I Heal the Bay” sunglasses over the next ten days. Every day, starting Tuesday August 6th, we will pick a winner and announce them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. To win a pair of shades, be the first to answer the daily trivia question found on our Facebook page.

To enter, download the Beach Report Card mobile app and leave your answer as a comment in the feedback tab including the hashtag #SummerShades.

Here’s How To Leave Feedback on the Beach Report Card App:

How-To Leave Feedback on the Beach Report Card App

 

Amy Smart sporting Heal the Bay sunglasses at Bring Back the Beach



In honor of the first Swimmable California Day, a few of us at Heal the Bay felt inspired to share our favorite beaches for swimming, surfing and kayaking because today we celebrate California’s healthy waters and the legislation we’ve enacted to protect them. Now go get in the ocean!

Bay Street, Tower 20

Bay Street is my go-to surf spot. It’s close to the Heal the Bay office, so I can get a quick morning surf session in before heading to work. Several Heal the Bay staffers call this break home, making it a great place to meet up and surf with friends. The waves aren’t the best in the bay, but I always have a blast when I’m out there in the water. It’s a good place to learn how to surf by riding the white wash, and the waves can get pretty gnarly and powerful so it teaches you how to navigate strong surf. It’s where I learned how to surf, and I’ll never forget the first time I made the drop on what was a HUGE wave for me – average for anyone else – and got totally stoked. Another thing I love about Bay Street is the historical significance it holds as the home break of Nick Gabaldon, a barrier breaker in the history of surfing. When I’m out in the water I imagine Nick putting his longboard in the water and starting his 12 mile journey north, paddling to ride the epic waves at Surfrider in Malibu (see below). You can find me out there practicing most mornings, working on my own journey, hoping someday to be good enough to surf alongside Sarah and other surfing greats at Surfrider! 🙂

 —  Ana Luisa Ahern, Interactive Campaigns Manager

Catalina Island

Slicing through the emerald green saltwater with my kayak paddle, I enjoy the expansive view of Catalina’s craggy island coastline. If I look closely, I might spot a grazing bison on the hills or a soaring bald eagle searching for fish. I beach my kayak along the narrow isthmus beach and head up towards the small SCUBA shop to check if my tanks are filled from this morning’s dives. I treasure my summer weeks at Catalina Island, diving right off our sailboat to be submerged within an underwater world filled with garibaldis, bat rays, and giant kelpfish. No sounds of cars, crowds, or sirens – just the ocean breathing, people laughing, and boats cutting through the water. Catalina Island’s isthmus is my favorite swimmable beach, and my little ocean paradise.

– Dana Roeber Murray, Marine and Coastal Scientist

Malibu

Some people seem a little shocked when they ask my favorite place to surf, and hear my response, “Malibu.” Malibu, Surfrider, 1st Point are all names for the long peeling right break just north of the Malibu Pier (pictured right). And, despite its water quality problems, it is my favorite wave, which I feel a little shame admitting as a scientist at Heal the Bay. During dry weather, Surfrider can score A’s on our Beach Report Card®, but during rainy weather or when Malibu Lagoon breaches, it’s not surprising to see it score F’s. Even with the crowds, I can’t get enough of the glassy long ride, whether it’s knee surf or overhead.

It’s too bad the questionable water quality haunts the minds of most surfers at Malibu, which is why California Swimmable Day is important – it reminds us that all beaches should be safe for swimming, and that clean-up efforts at dirty beaches need to be implemented to meet this goal. Sometimes it’s hard to stay out of the surf after a rain, especially with a nice storm swell, but the risk versus reward has to be weighed.

Some of my favorite spots near Malibu include: the veggie Farm Sandwich at John’s Garden, the refreshing smoothies at The Vitamin Barn, nighttime grunion runs on the beach during the spring and summer, catching a quiet sunrise over the Bay, spotting surfing dolphins (a rare but rewarding moment).

 –– Sarah Sikich

Science and Policy Director, Coastal Resources

Santa Monica Pier

I love summer time in SoCal for so many reasons.  One of my favorite reasons is the longer days.  More sun means more of a chance to swim before or after work.  One of my favorite spots to swim is to the south of the Santa Monica Pier, right near Tower 18 (the second tower south of the Pier).  It’s close enough for all the Pier amenities, and the long beach allows the waves to just roll in.  On a Thursday night, I can watch the opening act for the Twilight Concert Series as I body surf or boogie board.  With a backdrop of the sun setting behind the Santa Monica Mountains, those summer moments are hard to beat.     

— Tara Treiber, Education Director

Torrey Pines State Beach

Torrey Pines State Beach is my favorite beach to visit when I am in San Diego.  Torrey Pines offers everything you need to have a great beach day-good waves year round, beautiful natural environment, plentiful parking, and Mexican food within walking distance!  I love to surf and Torrey Pines always has waves.  I have been surfing here since I was a kid and whenever I am in San Diego, I try to surf Torrey Pines at least once because it reminds me of my childhood and I always seem to feel better off when I leave.

 —  Peter Shellenbarger, Science and Policy Analyst, Water Quality

 

On Saturday, July 27, 2013 LA Waterkeeper will host two events to celebrate! Bring your family for a fun day in the water!

Enter the California Coastalkeeper Alliance photo contest by uploading your favorite ocean action photos on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with #SwimmableCA. CCKA will announce a grand prize winner on August 1, as well as top swimmable pet and youngster entries, and wettest photo. 



Cool clear water cascades softly above glistening rocks, as a California newt munches on some caddisfly larvae. Brilliant Humboldt lilies peek over the earthen creek bank, where a California chorus frog hopes to catch an unsuspecting eight-legged meal. Hard to believe that just a short distance downstream, we are confronted with the effects of man-made barriers and pollution as well as non-native plants and animals in Malibu Creek.

Heal the Bay’s Stream Team has collected data from the Malibu Creek Watershed for 12 years and compiled their findings into our first comprehensive report: Malibu Creek Watershed: An Ecosystem on the Brink. Heal the Bay has identified three key problems facing the watershed and offered solutions for each, but despite the degradation and deterioration, we also discovered three hidden gems in the Malibu Creek Watershed:

Hiking the Cold Creek Lower Stunt High Trail. One of the most pristine spots in the watershed and plenty of shade to escape a hot day. Keep your eyes peeled for native amphibians, such as California newts and Pacific and California chorus frogs. To access the Cold Creek trail, travel approximately 1 mile on Stunt Rd. from Mulholland Highway. Park at the lot and hike down to Cold Creek.

Visiting Malibu Creek State Park Rock Pool. A fine spot to picnic, rock climb or swim (although we encourage swimmers to take precaution, and avoid ingesting the water or swimming when you have an open wound). We are working with State Parks to notify swimmers about poor water quality in Malibu Creek State Park. (Malibu Creek State Park, 2028 Las Virgenes Rd., Calabasas, CA 91302)

Taking a scenic drive from Malibu Creek State Park to Kanan Rd. along Mulholland Highway, ending at Rustic Canyon General Store & Grill for a bite to eat (the onion rings are yummy!).

Read more about Heal the Bay’s findings on the Malibu Creek Watershed.

Join us March 19 for “State of the Malibu Creek Watershed” public workshop and discussion.



They’re exotic, and not in a good way, but why should you care about weeds? If you want to hang on to your favorite local nature spots, constant maintenance and eradication of these non-native, invasive plants, a.k.a. weeds, is an absolute necessity.

Here’s a primer, written by Tim Rosenstein, Mountains Restoration Trust Project Manager, on the problem with weeds.

Plants will often have natural defenses that keep them from being eaten by anything that hasn’t developed the tools necessary to take advantage. Plus there are simply huge physiological differences between species, which means an insect that can feed on one part of one type of plant, say soft leaves, won’t be able to eat a different sort of plant with hard, waxy leaves.

 The result of a diversity of plants then is a diversity of insects or varying specialty. Each plant supports a varying number of insects, some of which will feed on other plants, some of which will only feed on that plant. This diversity of herbivorous insects will then support a diversity of carnivorous insects, and the insects support small animals, which support other animals, etc., etc., you get the picture.

Weeds, because they evolved elsewhere, don’t support many insects. An infestation of weeds therefore decreases the amount and diversity of insects, which decreases the amount of small animals, which decreases larger animals, etc., etc., you get the same picture but this time in reverse. For a specific example the “common reed” Phragmites australis, an East Coast invasive that’s been studied extensively, supports 170 species of insects in its native Europe. Here in the U.S. it only supports five insect species.

Weeds Alter Natural Cycles

These “exotics” destroy habitat almost as completely as paving it over does. If weeds take over a landscape that area just isn’t going to support much wildlife, and it’s the interaction of wildlife and plants that make an ecosystem work (for more on this concept search the web for ‘ecosystem services’). 

But that’s not all! Weeds can also change natural fire cycles, affecting the frequency and intensity of fires. Plus weeds interrupt natural succession cycles after disturbances like fire. When there’s a fire in a stand of coastal sage scrub, what naturally happens is the first thing to pop up are fire-following annuals like grasses and wildflowers, things you don’t see much except after a fire.

These will dominate for a few years and the area will effectively be like a grassland until other non-fire-following plants and shrubs start to come up; bigger, longer-lived plants that, while sometimes present in mature coastal sage scrub, are not very common. These plants will proliferate and become more common for a while but eventually the dominant plants (sages, buckwheat, coyotebrush and the like) will reassert themselves and suppress the other species. That’s how it normally works. When weeds are present however this is how it works: After the fire weeds sprout first and dominate everything forever and ever the end.

Weeds Starve Natives

OK,  I’m being slightly dramatic. But only slightly.  Here’s another problem with weeds: They suppress the germination of native seeds. Many weeds have allelopathic properties, meaning they produce chemicals that affect the lifecycle of other plants. So not only do weeds germinate more and get established earlier than natives, starving natives of water and nutrients, they chemically suppress the germination and growth of natives as well. 

They also suppress the germination of native fungal spores. This is exceedingly important because much of our native plant life requires the help of what’s called mycorrhizal fungi in order to survive. It’s a symbiotic relationship– the fungi needs the plants and the plants need the fungi– and a hugely important biotic component in a Mediterranean climate such as ours. Weeds can suppress the germination of the fungal spores and the growth of the fungus itself, effectively killing the very soil they grow in, making it that much harder for any native to ever grow there again. So when I say: “Weeds sprout first and dominate everything forever and ever the end,” I’m just barely exaggerating.

 Sometimes people will ask me why we don’t just let “nature take its course” and let the weeds grow until a balance is reached. The thing is invasive species take over, that’s why they’re called “invasive.” There is no natural process by which an ecosystem can rid itself of weeds. Habitat is degraded when they enter the system, outright destroyed when they dominate it.

It is actually very much like cancer in a body, there is no “balance” to be had; either you fight the weeds or you let them win, there’s not much in between. I don’t want to be too dramatic but next to habitat loss from development the second greatest cause of habitat destruction is invasive species. Weeds, those innocent looking plants from the other side of the world, are pretty much an ecological nightmare.

Next up: We answer the crucial question; “How did weeds get here in the first place?”

Ready to help rid Malibu Creek of these harrowing invasives? Sign up now to volunteer on Sunday, February 10. If you can’t make it, no worries. Check Heal the Bay’s Calendar of Events for upcoming restorations.



Free Bird! You might be grateful to hear your favorite band cover this song…or not.

At Heal the Bay, we can say without irony that we are grateful to Freebirds in Agoura Hills for teaming with us to restore the Malibu Creek Watershed in January. Not only did a group of Freebirders join us, but they surprised us and brought burritos! It was an awesome day, pulling weeds, planting mulefat, eating burritos. Thank you, Freebirds!

A big thanks to the Gesso Foundation for their longtime support of our Key to the Sea program.  Due in large part to their generosity, we’ve successfully provided thousands of Los Angeles County-based students and their teachers (K-5th grade) with high-impact environmental education and memorable field trip experiences. For many of these students, participation in the program marked their first chance to explore the beach environment and witness marine life up close! 

The Gesso Foundation was created in accordance with the wishes expressed in the will of acclaimed artist Frank Moore, who died in 2002. The Foundation’s purpose is twofold: to preserve, protect, and expand awareness of Frank Moore’s art; and to support non-profit organizations devoted to the arts, social justice, environmental or AIDS-related causes.Morphing Swallow by artist-philanthropist Frank Moore

Much like Mary Poppins herself, moms rely on Mommy Poppins LA, consulting the site for non-boring, low-cost activities to do with kids. Meanwhile Heal the Bay and our Aquarium couldn’t spread the word about our kid-friendly, fun AND educational happenings without their help. As parents and as youth educators, we thank the staff at Mommy Poppins LA for being such a helpful resource.

Do you devote your free time to volunteer with Heal the Bay? Then it’s time for us to thank YOU. Please join us on February 19 at Bodega Wine Bar as we celebrate you and all that you do to help protect our Bay…and beyond.

Join us to help revive Malibu Creek by removing weeds and planting natives on February 10. 



Climate change is happening now. Here in Los Angeles- not just in the Arctic. In our backyards, our ocean, our mountains, our beaches. Of course it’s important to keep reducing carbon emissions, but at this point climate change is occurring – we don’t have a choice, we need adapt to the change. Investing time and resources into identifying and advocating for environmentally-sound adaptation solutions is imperative- climate change could be one of the biggest challenges we face.

Some of the ongoing and expected climate change impacts here in coastal Los Angeles include increased storm intensity, ocean temperature increases, changing currents, sea level rise, species range shifts, coastal erosion, and ocean acidification. To make matters worse, when a combination of impacts collide—such as high tides, sea level rise, storm surges, and inland flooding—projected inundation could severely impact our freshwater supplies, wastewater treatment plants, power plants, and other infrastructure… not to mention public health and the environment. 

According to NOAA, in 2012 the U.S. experienced our warmest year on record, which might sound nice and toasty at first, but really means that we had more extremely hot days and heat waves than in years past. This type of climate change not only has immediate impacts to public health, but can also affect nature’s timing—prey, predators, and pollination may not match up as they have in past years—which can have profound effects on our local and migrating species, upsetting the natural balance native species have established for centuries.

At Heal the Bay, we’re committed to advocating for environmentally sound climate change adaptation methods through participating in local stakeholder groups such as Adapt-LA, analyzing and commenting on proposed plans and policies, and educating the public about the coastal threats associated with climate change and how everyday people can be involved in sound solutions that protect our critical natural resources.

Some areas we’ve been involved with for a while will help with climate change adaptation – like encouraging water reuse and conservation, or supporting and advocating for low-impact development. Also, by supporting the restoration and protection of specific ecosystems- such as wetlands and eelgrass beds- we are also not just adapting to climate change, but trying to offset it. Wetlands and eelgrass beds can act as a carbon sink, natural places that absorb more carbon from the atmosphere than they release.

One of Heal the Bay’s larger efforts over the past five years, and one of the key slices of my personal work at Heal the Bay is the establishment and implementation of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), which help to maintain and create healthy ecosystems. How are MPAs and climate change related? Healthy ecosystems can better withstand the pressures of climate change much more effectively than a stressed ecosystem, and MPAs house more resilient habitats and species. By focusing on reducing overall stressors to the environment, such as pollution and overfishing, we can buy time for species to adapt to stressors that we cannot control- namely, climate change. A more resilient ecosystem can rebound and adapt after an extreme event. Also, by supporting a network of MPAs, rather than just single areas, we are planning ahead for species shifts to northern waters as ocean temperatures rise- our California MPA network provides a continuity of protected habitats.

I was encouraged to hear our President bring up climate change in his inauguration speech this month, and am ready to face the challenge and help implement solutions for our community, our environment, and for future generations- I hope you are on board too!

–Dana Roeber Murray, Marine & Coastal Scientist

 

You can get on board by joining the Forward on Climate rally in L.A. on February 17.

Or consider supporting Heal the Bay’s coastal resiliency efforts.



Do you care about clean water in your community? Love putting on a show? Want to make change (not just the money kind)?

Join our elite Speakers Bureau team to help raise educational awareness across Los Angeles in schools, workplaces and social groups.

For more than 25 years, Heal the Bay has relied upon people just like you to help spread the word about ocean pollution.

Last year we were able to reach 55,000 people! Obviously, we can’t do this on our own: We need you!  

Our winter training sessions begin on Tuesday, March 5, 1-4:30 p.m. at the Los Angeles River Center. Sessions run through the month on Tuesdays in March  (the 12th and the 19th), with a talk on Saturday, March 16, 9:30 a.m.-noon at Venice Pier. Attendance at all sessions is mandatory.

Register for Winter Speakers Bureau Training.



As representatives of Heal the Bay, we often get asked: “Is the bay healed yet?” People know we’ve been at this a long time (more than 25 years). While the answer is a qualified “yes,” we still work every day to fulfill our mission to make southern California’s coastal waters and watersheds, including Santa Monica Bay safe, healthy and clean. Our tools?  Science, education, community action and advocacy.

Each year we discuss where we’ve been, where we’re headed and how we’re going to get there. It’s a valuable process requiring that we all know what our HtB colleagues are up to: whether we’re teaching school kids at our Aquarium, coordinating our next advocacy campaign or analyzing water samples in Malibu Creek.

Here’s what we came up with for our goals of 2013:

Science

Marine Protected Areas and Fisheries

In 2013, we plan to continue to build our MPA Watch program. We will review data collected by MPA Watch volunteers and interns, and share it with management, enforcement, and other monitoring agencies to help understand and evaluate how local Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are being used. We also plan to inform and evaluate the development of fisheries management plans for key southern California fisheries, including spiny lobster. Additionally, in 2013, we will work with local and statewide partners to advance the statewide sustainable seafood policy developed by the Ocean Protection Council (with Heal the Bay’s involvement) and local efforts to promote sustainable seafood. On the education front, we are playing a leadership role in creating new MPA curriculum for teachers with the Southern California Aquarium Collaborative.  

Stream Team

Heal the Bay will continue to develop our Stream Team program. We plan to begin evaluating watershed impacts associated with agricultural development in the Santa Monica Mountains, including vineyards. Additionally, we hope to inspire residents and recreationists in the watershed to become Creek Stewards, and help scout for watershed health impacts throughout these mountains.

Malibu Creek Watershed

We will educate local partner groups and management agencies about the findings of Heal the Bay’s State of the Malibu Creek Watershed report. We will also work with watershed partners and policymakers to prioritize and implement recommendations detailed in the report aimed at improving local stream and watershed health.

Predicting Beach Water Quality

Heal the Bay will continue our partnership with Stanford University in developing a predictive beach water quality models. The models will use oceanic and atmospheric factors (i.e. tides, waves, temperature, wind direction etc.) as inputs to forecast indicator bacteria concentrations at beaches, as means of providing early “nowcast” warnings of human health risks (our current methods take 18-24 hours to process, leaving the public with day-old water quality information). We plan to develop simple models for 25 different California beaches that will rapidly “predict” when beaches are in or out of compliance with water quality standards. Additionally, these models will be helpful in identifying and prioritizing beach cleanup and abatement priorities.

Education

Youth Summits

To take student learning beyond the classroom into community action and civic engagement, Heal the Bay will organize more youth summits. Students learn how to protect what they love through adjusting their own behavior, speaking publicly to businesses and governments and educating others in their local communities.  This year we will focus on scheduling these events quarterly, formalizing their structure, and expanding their reach throughout Los Angeles County high schools.     

Teacher Opportunities

Heal the Bay will expand our teacher education and professional development opportunities in 2013.  New workshops and field experiences will be offered to help increase teacher expertise in teaching environmental principles and concepts, marine and watershed science knowledge, and best practices for melding field and laboratory activities into their own classroom curricula. 

Santa Monica Pier Aquarium

To further educate the 75,000-80,000 annual visitors to the Aquarium about water conservation, we plan to overhaul the Green Room, named after Heal the Bay’s founding president Dorothy Green, with a new exhibit in her honor. The education room will include interactive, bilingual exhibits on watershed education and the urban water cycle, as well as a space dedicated to Dorothy’s accomplishments and inspirational vision.

Classroom Enrichment

In 2013, we’ll expand our environmental education outreach to more low-income communities and to a wider range of age groups. Through our partnership with the Discovery by Nature program, we’ll be able to reach classrooms in underserved communities, where public education in the sciences — as well as field trip funding — are limited.

Advocacy

A “Yes” for Clean Beaches

In the new year, Heal the Bay will mobilize support for the Clean Waters, Clean Beaches funding measure, which will drive an extensive and multi-faceted water quality clean up and conservation program in Los Angeles County.  The proposed measure would address contaminated drinking water, polluted stormwater runoff as well as toxins and trash in the Los Angeles and San Gabriel rivers, among other challenges.

Plastic Bag Bans

In 2013, we will take a leadership role in advocating for a strong single-use bag ordinance for the City of Los Angeles that is consistent with several other policies adopted by local governments in the area. We will work with partner groups and City Council offices to conduct outreach to the community about the pending ordinance, and ensure that a final policy is adopted that eliminates single-use plastic bag usage in the City at grocery stores, pharmacies, and convenience stores, and greatly reduces paper bag distribution from these locations.

Community Action

Zero Waste Cleanups

In 2013, Heal the Bay plans to run all Nothin’ But Sand monthly beach cleanups as Zero Waste events.  Building upon the success of the 2012 Zero Waste cleanups in October and November, we shall focus this year on not generating excessive waste in the process of performing large-scale public volunteer events. The hope is that the public will witness our commitment to practicing what we advocate, by going reusable and minimizing trash.

Compton Creek

Heal the Bay, in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Goldhirsh Foundation, will complete a project to build trash capture devices in the concrete portion of Compton Creek, just upstream of the earthen-bottom, riparian section. Compton Creek is the last major tributary that feeds into the Los Angeles River before it ultimately reaches the ocean in Long Beach. The devices ‑- adjustable metal racks that will be bolted into the channel bottom — will capture trash from dry weather urban runoff and low volume producing storm events and go a long way toward improving water quality.  

A Park in South L.A.

Heal the Bay is partnering with Wisdom Academy for Young Scientists (WAYS) Charter School to complete the construction of the WAYS Reading & Fitness Park on the site of 4,000-square feet of unused City land in 2013. This park, located at the intersection of McKinley Avenue and 87th Street in South Los Angeles, will be on the leading edge of green technology, recycling street water to irrigate its own landscape.

Help us reach our goals this year, donate now and keep the field trips, advocacy campaigns and water testing afloat!

Read more about Heal the Bay and how we work to fulfill our mission.