Summit to Sea

If the Bay is the heart of greater Los Angeles, then water is the lifeblood. Join us on water’s journey from the San Gabriel and Santa Monica Mountains to the Pacific Ocean, replenishing our aquifers and watersheds and nourishing our souls along the way.

Click on a hotspot below to learn more.

Do You Know the Flow?

Most Angelenos have no idea where their drinking water comes from. Here’s a hint: More than 80% of it is imported from sources hundreds of miles from L.A. Watch this short video to learn why this is getting harder and harder to do.

A River Runs Through It

Explorer Kit Carson once described the Los Angeles Basin as “a paradise on Earth,” nourished by the Los Angeles River. That is, until engineers turned the river into a concrete storm channel in the 1930s, instantly creating the greatest source of coastal pollution in our region. A proposed $1 billion investment to return the river to a more natural state is generating unprecedented optimism, but also plenty of controversy.

A Tree Grows in Compton

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Sandwiched between the Crystal Casino and the 91 Freeway is an unlikely urban oasis. This half-mile section of Compton Creek is sadly choked with trash, but life shines through: hawks soar overhead, egrets feed on tiny fish, towering tule reeds provide shelter for all manner of critters. It still needs a ton of TLC, but we’ve spent 10 years working with local schools and county officials to give this sanctuary a place in the sun.

Take a Ride With Heal the Bay

Check out this behind-the-scenes video as Heal the Bay and Santa Monica Pier Aquarium staff embark on a voyage to collect kelp and other goodies. Our hungry fish at the aquarium aren’t going to feed themselves!

Use Every Drop Twice

Thanks to climate change and persistent drought, the well’s going dry in Southern California. Luckily, there’s a light at the end of the stormdrain. By getting smart about treating and reusing Hyperion’s wastewater, we’ll be able to prevent 200 million gallons of usable water each day from flowing senselessly to the sea.

A One-Block Revolution

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Wanna see the future? Head to South L.A. We’re busily transforming a forlorn patch of concrete at 87th Street and McKinley Avenue into a water-smart park that features native plant landscaping, exercise equipment, and stormwater-capture features. This park will not only provide sorely needed recreational space for a neighborhood, it will serve as model for how L.A. can conserve water while building healthier communities.

We Are the 5%

With 95% of L.A.’s coastal wetlands gone, it’s critical to protect what we’ve got left, like the Ballona Wetlands and Malibu Lagoon. They provide habitat for migratory birds; filter pollutants; and offer Angelenos refuge from the concrete jungle. Wetlands also help buffer against the impacts of climate change by storing carbon, reducing flooding, and defending the coast from sea level rise.

Real Pick-Up Artists

From Echo Park to under the Santa Monica Pier, our cleanup volunteers are lifesavers. Literally: The 2 million pounds of trash they’ve collected over the past 30 years would otherwise be littering our ocean, killing marine life due to ingestion, entanglement, and suffocation. Plastic pollution—including cigarette butts—remains the biggest culprit, washing directly to our shores via the stormdrain system. Watch the video to see what our divers dragged in from the deep.


Beauty Is All Around Us

Add some chill to your day and explore the beautiful beach and ocean at Abalone Cove Shoreline Park located in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. Can you spot any people around you?

The Ride of Our Lives

Where were you August 27, 2014 – the greatest day the California coast has ever seen? Surfers swarmed L.A.’s northern beaches, relishing absolutely perfect waves groomed by Hurricane Marie. Most of us will never have the skill – or cojones – to brave pounding surf like this. But we invite you to tap into your inner Laird via this amazing drone footage from Malibu.

Meet the Locals


Have you ever gotten a hug from a sea urchin? At our Santa Monica Pier Aquarium, you can make all kinds of fishy new friends. For a very reasonable admission fee of $5 (free for kids 12 and under!), you can make eyes at a moray eel, ogle at an octopus, or kiss a sea cucumber.

The Majestic Plastic Bag

Our first viral video! Take a brief journey with narrator Jeremy Irons as he humorously chronicles the migration of a plastic bag from Hollywood to the Santa Monica Pier. It’s a not-so-gentle reminder that plastic is not indigenous to the Pacific Ocean. Luckily, thanks to the passage of Prop 67, the Pacific will be home to tens of millions less plastic bags.

The Wild, Wild Wet

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There’s an underwater Yosemite right in our back yard! With some of the highest biodiversity off the California coast, Santa Monica Bay is home to towering kelp forests, plunging undersea canyons, and playful whales, dolphins, and sea lions. We helped create Marine Protected Areas in 2009, no-fishing zones that help stressed species recover and thrive.

Dive In


Your journey from summit to sea has come to an end. Or…maybe it’s a new beginning? Either way, welcome to the Bay.  Immerse yourself for a few moments.