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- Our Mission: making southern California's coastal waters and watersheds, including Santa Monica Bay, safe, healthy and clean
- How We Work: to fulfill our mission, we use science, education, community action and advocacy
- Who We Are: an environmental nonprofit organization based in Santa Monica and founded in 1985 with a diverse team of staff, Board of Directors and volunteers
Get to Know Us and What We Do
Heal the Bay was founded more than 25 years ago by a group of Los Angeles residents who couldn't stand to let the pollution from the Hyperion Sewage Wastewater Treatment Plant continue to destroy our coastal waters. Today, our community of staff and volunteers shares that same grassroots passion and conviction. We fight to protect the health of the ocean, its animals and plants, and all of the members of the public, like you, who swim, surf and play in the waves.
Heal the Bay is a nonprofit environmental organization making Southern California coastal waters and watersheds, including Santa Monica Bay, safe, healthy and clean. We use science, education, community action and advocacy to pursue our mission.
The good news is that the Bay has come a long, long way from the days when its fish suffered from tumors and fin rot, when surfers suffered from skin rashes and flu-like symptoms, and when a virtual dead zone grew at the end of the sewage outfall. The Bay's environment and our coastal waters have improved vastly since Hyperion upgraded its facilities to meet the Clean Water Act's standards for wastewater treatment in 1998.
Our fight has now shifted from the single-largest wastewater treatment facility in Southern California to a diverse and wide-ranging set of challenges to our ocean. Foremost on the list: the harmful and wasteful runoff from the miles and miles of streets, and thousands of gutters and catch basins that make up our urban storm drain system here in Los Angeles County and beyond. Our focus has expanded to tackling the growing volume of marine debris, especially plastic trash spreading further and further afield, and to protecting our local oceans against rampant depletion from overfishing and destructive uses such as industrial intakes from once-through cooling and desalination plants.
But while the issues we face now are different, the tools we use to continue to fulfill our mission remain unchanged.
Now, as when we started, objective data gathering and rigorous in-house scientific analysis informs all of our local, county and state policy and regulation initiatives. It also serves as the basis of our education, community action and advocacy programs. With all of our efforts, the goal is to implement, through working partnerships with government agencies, local businesses and members of the community, common-sense solutions with measurable outcomes that move us closer towards safe, clean and healthy coastal waters.
Blueprint for Success
- Reasons for Heal the Bay's Success - from 1991, a timeless article from Heal the Bay's founding President, Dorothy Green.
We marry our science-based approach with a dedication to environmental education. The key to ending ocean pollution depends directly on the public's awareness of its causes, sources and impacts. It requires that we all understand the concept of a watershed and how through it, we are all interconnected from our door steps to the sea. Raising awareness for children through K-12 classroom content and adults through our Speakers Bureau presentations and Santa Monica Pier Aquarium make up the majority of our annual budget. Without education, there can be no shared sense of environmental stewardship for the millions that call Southern California home.
"What I hear I forget, what I see I remember, what I do I understand."
As an organization founded by volunteers, we recognize that ensuring we involve the public in as many ways and as often as possible is critical to the success of our shared fight. Contributions great or small, anonymous or public, one-time only or repeatedly, by students or adults, by professionals or amateurs -- each individual volunteer makes a difference and together adds up to the success of Heal the Bay. We rely on the community to be our partners in the quest for a sustainable future.
The definition of advocacy: the act of arguing in favor of, or supporting something; the practice of supporting someone or something to make its voice heard. Advocacy lies at the heart of our work, and it has since those first days in 1985 when a group of concerned citizens gathered in the living room of our founding president, Dorothy Green, to act on behalf of the public and the marine life suffering from unenforced environmental protections and safety regulations. Like that founders' group, today we continue to advocate on behalf of the ocean's habitats and animals, and for the people and communities whose health suffer from pollution impacts. Our long-term success depends on those whom we elect to public office, and holding them accountable for the actions and votes they make during their terms of service. Ultimately, that success depends on your advocacy and the advocacy of all our staff, members, volunteers and supporters.