Winter is coming... and with it comes pollution. Fight for the ocean by joining our elite Storm Response Team!
This month, Heal the Bay is enlisting volunteers for our most elite brigade of trashbusters. We’re busy mobilizing the squad to respond to this season’s first major rain event – the so-called First Flush, which unleashes a nasty torrent of debris onto our shorelines (see photo of Santa Monica Beach below).
So why is First Flush such a big deal? Well, stormwater remains the No. 1 source of coastal pollution. When it rains, a slurry of water, toxins and harmful trash flows freely along our streets and into catch basins. Carried through the extensive stormdrain system, the runoff dumps a veritable mountain of trash onto shorelines without any treatment or screening.
After spending an hour on the shore with the Storm Response Team, you can take pride in making a major impact on local beaches on days when they need us the most. Thanks to your hard work, the beaches you love will be healthier and safer – both for us and the animals that call the Bay their home.
When we mobilize the Storm Response Team, Heal the Bay and volunteers will sweep two sites that historically have taken the biggest brunt during First Flush: the beaches near Ballona Creek and the beaches near the Pico-Kenter storm drain in Santa Monica. We might add other locations as needed.
We’ll send an email to Storm Response Team members the night before with exact locations and logistics. But if they desire, volunteers are free to remove debris at their local beach or other impacted neighborhood locale. In either case, we ask participants to register ahead of time.
This year, we’re also asking volunteers and supporters to take photos of the worst trash and post them to our Instagram account. This on-the-ground documentation helps our science and policy team conduct more effective advocacy against coastal pollution.
Santa Monica Beach littered with trash after the first heavy rainfall of the year