About the Bay

The Santa Monica Bay is the centerpiece of Los Angeles’ beach culture, and the geographic center of the LA region.  Stretching from Malibu to Palos Verdes, the bay is where millions of Angelenos relax and work. Because of their economic, ecological and recreational value, our waterways and the ocean are critical resources worth protecting. 

  • Santa Monica Bay beaches average 45 million visits per year
  • The Bay generates more than $1 billion in visitor spending annually.
  • Tourism accounts for more than 500,000 jobs in the greater L.A. area

The population of Los Angeles has skyrocketed in the past 100 years, and it's putting a lot of pressure on our environment. In the mid 1980s, improperly treated sewage led to dead zones in the Bay and harmful water quality. Thanks to the efforts of Heal the Bay and its supporters, the EPA mandated stricter sewage treatment processes, resulting in greatly improved water quality.

Despite the amazing gains, your Bay faces ongoing challenges, from marine debris to overfishing. Our ocean faces many challenges, and Heal the Bay works every day on a number of different issues. By addressing the many facets of ocean pollution, we make real and positive change possible.  Many of these initiatives are made possible through reasonable legislation and regulations. Visit our Action Alert page to see how you can support that legislation and help make a difference.  You can also review a list of our recent legislation.

How many of us know that the largest underwater Superfund site is in our own backyard? Throughout the 1940s-70s more than 100 tons of DDT and PCBs were dumped into our local waters, deposited in an area known as the Palos Verdes shelf. But some recen…
Palos Verdes PCBs DDT Environmental Protection Agency contamination
Sarah Sikich, Heal the Bay’s Director of Coastal Resources, heads to France to share the good news about our state’s blossoming Marine Protected Areas. If you’ve been lucky enough to go for a dive, surf, or kayak at the Channel Islands, it’s …
underwater parks marine protected areas MPAs MPA scuba dive ocean fish diving
Ruskin Hartley, Heal the Bay's newly appointed CEO, makes some sweeping comments about L.A. in his inaugural post for his On the Watershed blog. It’s Wednesday and that means I need to move my car parked in Santa Monica from the north side of the s…
Ruskin Hartley CEO Santa Monica Bay clean water ocean toxic debris
We've got some big news at Heal the Bay! After an extensive national search, we're proud to announce that beginning Sept. 16, Ruskin Hartley will be Heal the Bay's new CEO. Conservationists may recognize Ruskin's name from his prolific work protectin…
Heal the Bay new CEO 2013 Ruskin Hartley
Heal the Bay has received many questions from concerned residents in Southern California about potential health and environmental impacts along the California coast that may result from the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster in Japan. Here is ou…
Fukushima radiation nuclear power plant Japan earthquake tsunami EPA
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 q…
Heal the Bay 2013 End of Summer Beach Report Card
Last year, Heal the Bay speakers reached more than 40,000 Angelenos across Los Angeles with our message about solutions to pollution. How the heck did we do that? No cloning was involved, just hours of time donated by our Speakers Bureau volunteers, …
Heal the Bay speakers bureau christmas in july los angeles
To present an alternative to the Discovery Channel's Shark Week (and cult TV movies like Sharknado), Heal the Bay staff write about the marine animals they love so much. The general public has been fed terrifying misconceptions about these creatures,…
vending machine more hazardous than sharks
Have you ever seen small holes on the beach and been perplexed by the mystery of what made them? They are from nocturnal bugs, called isopods, which burrow along our beaches to hide from the heat of the day and predators. They play an important role …
James Shelton/Marine Photobank
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