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.

Who wouldn’t want a job that involves strolling along some of the most beautiful beaches in L.A.? It’s not a paid gig, but you get to help protect what you love – the ocean! Heal the Bay is now training volunteers to help monitor our new marine…
Point Dume, Beach, Heal the Bay, MPA, marine protected areas, MPA Watch
A proposal to more than double wastewater fees in Redondo Beach over the next three years has been approved by the City Council despite a mild protest. Kudos to the city for taking the right steps to ensure that South Bay beaches remain safe and heal…
Redondo Beach Pier, Beach Water Quality, Heal the Bay, South Bay
Today’s blogger is Kirsten James, Heal the Bay’s director of water quality.There’s a new ray of hope in Heal the Bay’s ongoing campaign to have the EPA strengthen new recreational water quality criteria. Last week in Washington, D.C, I had a …
EPA, Beach Water Quality Act, Public Health, Ocean
Your kid just downed the entire contents of his reusable water bottle and you’re far from home. Where can you safely refill it? Now there’s a free app to help you find the nearest drinking water fountain. Developed by the Center for Embedded Netw…
WeTap App allows users to find working water fountains and report broken ones
Today's blogger is Matthew King, Heal the Bay's communications director.Surfing is not kind to beginners. The waves are intimidating, the equipment expensive and the "rules" of the sport confusing. Learning how to get upright on a board is a grueling…
The Black Surfing Association espouses ocean culture
Beach water quality just took a major hit, with the Environmental Protection Agency announcing its plan to eliminate federal funds for testing water contamination. The plan would cut $10 million in grants the EPA gives each year to state and local a…
Swimming at the beach will be riskier than ever, if the EPA cuts water testing
A 12,000 gallon sewage spill on Saturday, Feb. 11 in Compton flowed into the Los Angeles River. City of Long Beach officials ordered all open coastal beaches closed.
Long Beach officials shut down open coastal beaches due to a 2/11 sewage spill
The "Ocean Lover's Choice," El Matador, won our Facebook poll, which asked supporters to share their favorite romantic beach along the West Coast. You can't get much more dramatic than this secluded rocky cove. Discover the other top 10 most romantic…
Encinal Canyon, El Matador, Malibu Best Romantic Beach
We have a major victory to report in our ongoing fight to clean up San Pedro Bay and the Greater Harbor area, which is still riddled with toxic pollution such as PCB and DDT contamination.
L.A. Harbor, TMDLs, San Pedro, Long Beach
Today’s Los Angeles Times features an Op-Ed by Mark Gold, Heal the Bay’s former president, about his disappointment with new EPA beach water quality criteria that actually weaken public health protections for millions of recreational ocean users.…
EPA, Beach Water Quality Act, Public Health, Ocean
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