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.

Compton Creek runs 8.5 miles through the neighborhoods of South Los Angeles, traversing its last 2.5 miles as one of the few remaining natural bottomed urban waterways in the area. The creek contains water (and trash) that flows from just below Expos…
Compton Creek education TreePeople Rails to Trails Eastside LA River
At Heal the Bay we are not usually in the business of makeovers. But for the past few years, we’ve been working with Wisdom Academy of Young Scientists (WAYS) to revamp a gray empty lot in South LA into a glorious, green outdoor community space. Th…
GOOD Neighborday earth month South LA community cleanup
Heading east, away from the beach and the surf, we were on a mission. The destination: Golden Road Brewing, just north of downtown. They had a special treat waiting for Heal the Bay staffers. Today was the day that the Heal the Bay IPA (India Pale A…
Golden Road Brewery Heal the Bay IPA Earth Month
Uh oh. Here we go again. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is once again recommending the complete elimination of the Beaches Grant Program, a key initiative for protecting public health at our nation’s beaches. Nearly $10 million in monitor…
Heal the Bay Surfrider Foundation EPA funding  beach report card pollution
At long last we have some good news to share regarding the sea lion pup crisis. While we have yet to identify the cause of the huge spike in sea lion strandings, the California Wildlife Center, just let us know that they’ve begun construction of an…
stranded sea lions elephant seals marine mammal center california wildlife
It’s not often that candidates running for Los Angeles City Council, City Attorney, and City Controller offices have an occasion to appear at the same event, but on April 1, candidates running in the May 21 election gathered at a unique forum to an…
Los Angeles candidates forum environmental transportation May 21 election
A single storm can sweep billions of gallons of polluted runoff directly into Santa Monica Bay.  Yes, that’s billions with a “B.”  So it’s not much of a stretch to understand why the majority of waterbodies in Los Angeles County, in…
Clean Water Clean Beaches LA County Supervisors public health Regional
Sarah Sikich, Heal the Bay's director of coastal resources and Dana Roeber Murray, Heal the Bay marine scientist, recently attended a conference in Monterey that examined how well marine protected areas are functioning off California's coast. Heal th…
Marine Protected Areas MPAs Kelp Forests
UPDATE 3/8/2013: After hours of public comment and following decades of the Navy dismissing mitigation requirements for sonar and explosion practices, the Coastal Commission unanimously voted to reject the Navy's consistency permit! Read the ful…
whales sonar testing US Navy Southern California coast San Diego
How did weeds get to Southern California? One of the principal causes of habitat destruction, weeds threaten our region’s natural places.  Constant maintenance and eradication is an absolute necessity as we battle against exotic invasive plant…
iceplant invasive weeds stream team habitat restoration malibu creek
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