HtB in the News

Los Angeles Times — January 13, 2015

Taking a long-anticipated step to reduce coastal pollution, the Malibu City Council has voted to approve construction of a wastewater treatment plant in the Civic Center area. "It was the outcome we hoped for," said Sarah Sikich, vice president of Heal the Bay, an environmental advocacy group. The project is expected to get other necessary approvals and permits in coming months from the regional water board and the California Coastal Commission.

Los Angeles Times — January 10, 2015

Debate over oil drilling on the California coast is nothing new. But what's going on in Hermosa Beach offers a twist on the usual narrative because of a complicated legal quandary.

Voters are going to the polls in March. If they tell E&B Natural Resources to get lost, the city would have to fork over $17.5 million to the oil company as part of a legal settlement.

But if voters lift the existing ban on drilling, and the black gold starts flowing, the city could reap millions of dollars annually over the next 35 years.

Los Angeles Times — January 12, 2014

Radiation detected off the U.S. West Coast from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan has declined since the 2011 tsunami disaster and never approached levels that could pose a risk to human health, seafood or wildlife, scientists say.

Experts have been trying to dispel worries stemming from a burst of online videos and blog posts in recent months that contend radiation from Fukushima is contaminating beaches and seafood and harming sea creatures across the Pacific.

The Southern California environmental group Heal the Bay has fielded such a swell of alarmist calls, emails and Facebook inquires that its staff posted an online Q&A.

"We understand why people are concerned," said Matthew King, a spokesman for the group. "Many staffers are surfers and in the water each week, and many love to eat seafood and sushi, so it's only human nature to be a bit worried. But like everything else we do, we are guided by the best available science."

KCRW-Which Way, LA? — December 17, 2013

On January 1, Los Angeles will become America's biggest city to ban plastic bags from big retailers. Small stores can still give them away until next summer. Councilman Paul Koretz pushed for the ban and now he's raising money for reusable tote bags to be given away free. We hear from his Deputy for Environmental Affairs and Sustainability, Andy Schrader, and from Sarah Sikich, Coastal Resources Policy Director for Heal the Bay.

KPCC Air Talk — December 6, 2013

The Environmental Protection Agency is trying to figure out what’s happened to tons of chemicals that were dumped into the Palos Verdes Peninsula from decades of industrial waste. Samples taken from the seafloor found that nearly 100 metric tons of the banned pesticide DDT had disappeared without having been cleaned up.

What’s the best way for California to deal with the situation in the peninsula? Would it be better to leave the area alone or should cleanup attempts be made if the chemicals are still found to be there? 

Guest: Heal the Bay's James Alamillo

KTLA — November 20, 2013

A stand-up paddleboarder’s close encounter with what appears to be at least one great white shark in Santa Monica Bay came in recent days amid an apparent increase in such sightings this year.

The video shark-spotting comes amid anecdotal evidence that there are more great white sharks in Santa Monica Bay this year, according to Sarah Sikich, science and policy director at nonprofit advocacy group Heal the Bay.

“It definitely looks like a white to me,” Sikich said of the video, emphasizing that she couldn’t be sure of the species. ”I think it’s exciting.”

Sikich noted a movement to try to document the sharks using small GoPro cameras.

Los Angeles Times — November 17, 2013

Decades after industrial waste dumping turned part of Southern California's seafloor into a toxic hot spot, scientists have dredged up a mystery.

Chemicals fouling the ocean off the Palos Verdes Peninsula seem to be going away without being cleaned up.

Samples taken from the sediment suggest more than 100 metric tons of the banned pesticide DDT and industrial compounds known as polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, have vanished from one of the country's most hazardous sites, almost a 90% drop in just five years.

Scientists are at a loss to explain the decline across the 17-square-mile site, which sits about 200 feet below the ocean surface and two miles off the Los Angeles County coast. The compounds break down very slowly. They have accumulated in the food web over decades, made some sport fish unsafe to eat and, until recently, rendered bald eagles on Santa Catalina Island unable to reproduce.

The newest delay has frustrated environmentalists, who have criticized the EPA for moving too slowly on the cleanup. The agency added the most contaminated portion of the Palos Verdes Shelf to its list of Superfund sites in 1996.

Yet even critics said the EPA has no choice but to redo its measurements.

"We need more information before we go out and celebrate nature taking care of itself," said James Alamillo, urban programs manager at the environmental group Heal the Bay. "Let's put that on hold until we fully understand what's happening."

KCRW — November 16, 2013

KCRW's Saul Gonzalez talks to Ruskin Hartley, the new CEO of Southern California's Heal the Bay about his vision for the organization and the unfinished business of cleaning up Santa Monica Bay.

NBC Los Angeles — October 21, 2013

A rare beaked whale that washed ashore in Venice this week may be an even more unique creature than originally thought, experts said Thursday.

The female creature washed ashore alive sometime Tuesday night, but did not survive until morning, according to Santa Monica-based Heal the Bay.

Covered in bites from a cookiecutter shark, the whale was originally thought to be a Stejneger’s beaked whale usually found in the subartic waters of Alaska and almost never seen alive, Heal the Bay said.

89.3 KPCC — September 21, 2013

Gov. Jerry Brown announced Saturday that he'd signed a bill to add a checkbox on California state income returns to give charitable contributions to coastal conservation efforts.

“The beauty and allure of California’s coast is unrivaled and this bill gives taxpayers a simple way to help keep it that way,” Brown said in a press release.

The announcement coincided with California Coastal Cleanup Day, an annual volunteer event to clean up creeks, beaches and highways.

“It’s important because we’re trying to keep the habitats clean, keep these spaces clean for animals and other people to use … we’re keeping trash out of the ocean,” said Edward Murphy, a secondary education manager with environmental group Heal the Bay.

Eighty percent of the litter that enters the ocean each year comes from land, according to Heal the Bay. Murphy said cities that have banned free plastic bags at grocery stores have helped reduce the litter in some areas.

My Fox LA — September 9, 2013

Stars from FOX TV shows … hit the red carpet in Santa Monica Monday evening for the 2013 Fox Fall Eco-Casino Party. It's a celebration of the launch of FOX's new fall season. The Eco part... they're also raising money and awareness for environmental organizations like Heal the Bay…

NBC-Los Angeles — September 3, 2013

Those celebrating Labor Day at a Los Angeles County beach might notice it's cleaner this year - particularly in Long Beach.

Since Memorial Day, 90 percent of LA County beaches received A and B grades, up 3 percent from last summer, according to a recent report from Heal the Bay. The non-profit grades 450 beaches along the California Coast based on levels of bacterial pollution in the water.

Long Beach's Colorado Lagoon was on Heal the Bay's "Beach Bummer" list several years ago. It now has an A-plus rating, in large part because of an $8.5 million restoration project there last summer.

"What they're doing is they've taken the bulls by the horns and they've taken ownership," said Amanda Griesbach, water quality scientist for Heal the Bay. "They've also retrofitted some of their storm drains so it captures trash and filters some of that urban runoff."

NBC Los Angeles — September 3, 2013

The Japanese government has announced a new plan to freeze the ground around the crippled Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant in an effort to limit contamination. This comes on the heels of a new study that shows the radioactive plume will reach the U.S. Sarah Sikich, Heal the Bay's Science and Policy Director, Coastal Resources, weighs in on the potential environmental and health impacts.

CBS Los Angeles — August 29, 2013

An annual study of California beaches shows the water quality along the state’s coast this past summer was one of the cleanest on record.

The “Beach Report Card” released Thursday by Heal the Bay said an estimated 93 percent of the 445 beaches that were tested for bacterial pollution received A and B grades. Thirty-two locations received fair to poor water quality grades.

NBC-Los Angeles — August 21, 2013

Manhattan Beach, one of the first cities to ban single-use plastic bags, on Tuesday banned the sale and distribution of polystyrene "styrofoam" containers, like to-go cups and boxes.

The ordinance is an attempt to protect the environment and wildlife. Animals often become seriously ill after eating pieces of styrofoam, environmentalists say.

"It breaks down into tiny little bits that look like food to marine life," said Sarah Sikich, science and policy director for Heal the Bay. "The marine life often ingests these plastic particles and that can cause sickness and sometimes death."

89.3 KPCC — August 13, 2013

Most people taking a dip in the Pacific Ocean don't think about the millions of micro-organisms swimming around with them.

Most beach pollution comes from human activity, though that activity can be miles away from the shore. Grime from city streets can wash into the ocean after a heavy rain, as can excess fertilizer from inland farms.

The result is that nasty viruses and bacteria sometimes get into coastal waters.

"There's adenovirus, norovirus, campylobacter, just to name a few of them," said Amanda Griesbach, a scientist with the non-profit environmental group Heal the Bay.

One problem with the current water testing system is that it can take a day for the results to be ready, Griesbach said. There are newer, faster testing methods, but she said they haven't been widely adopted yet.

Still, all these efforts to monitor and clean California's coasts have paid off. Over the last 10 years beach water has gotten dramatically better.  Griesbach said last year was one of the state's cleanest years on record.

Bloomberg Businessweek — June 26, 2013

Plastic shopping bags, a staple of the U.S. retail experience for a half-century, may be going the way of lead paint and other banned products.

Los Angeles, the second most-populous U.S. city, yesterday became the largest American metropolis to curb use of the ubiquitous bags out of concern that they clog waterways, kill marine life and litter public places. An alderman in Chicago has introduced a similar measure, and a councilman in New York said he plans to follow suit.

Having large cities take action is critical to ridding the U.S. of plastic bags, said Matthew King, a spokesman for Heal the Bay, a nonprofit environmental group in Santa Monica that has pushed for bans in California.

“As businesspeople, the grocers want to have uniformity,” King said by telephone. “From a supply-chain perspective, it’s a hassle to have a patchwork of local laws. It’s our hope this will have a domino effect. That’s why L.A. is such a big deal for us.”

CBS-LA — June 25, 2013

The Los Angeles City Council Tuesday gave its final approval to an ordinance that requires Los Angeles to ban single-use plastic bags.

Nearly two billion single-use plastic bags and 400 million paper bags are distributed annually in Los Angeles, according to Heal the Bay, a non-profit environmental organization.

Los Angeles Times — June 18, 2013

The City Council votes 11 to 1 for the ordinance, which would go into effect in 2014. Shoppers can bring reusable bags or pay stores 10 cents per paper bag.

Kirsten James, who handles water policy for the advocacy group Heal the Bay, said the Los Angeles ordinance would be no more expansive than those adopted in other nearby cities. Some communities, including Santa Monica, have gone even further, she said.

Univision — June 18, 2013

El concejo de la ciudad aprobó la medida que prohíbe estas bolsas.

Huffington Post — June 18, 2013

Los Angeles is on the verge of becoming the largest city in the United States to ban plastic grocery bags.

"This is the biggest city in the nation to tackle the single-use bag addiction," said Heal The Bay policy director Kirsten James. "It sends a strong signal to Sacramento that we need a statewide policy."

KABC — June 18, 2013

The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday tentatively approved a ban on single-use plastic bags. Another vote to finalize the ban has been scheduled for next week.

The council voted 11-to-1 for the law, which would prohibit stores from handing out plastic grocery bags. There would also be fines for violating the ban.

KCET — June 12, 2013

When it comes to the environment, everyone is part of the solution. To make things easier for the general public, Heal the Bay has just published an updated contact list on their website for residents to report pollution issues.

Surfer — June 7, 2013

On Saturday June 1st, dozens of inner city kids ventured splashing and laughing into the gentle waist high peaks near Santa Monica Pier to get their first taste of surfing. Many of these kids had never before even visited the beach. No longer a far-flung and exotic pastime for those kids; surfing that day became a very real and very pursuable activity.

Put on by the Black Surfer’s Collective, in partnership with Heal the Bay and L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, the first annual Nick Gabaldon Day featured free surf lessons for all comers and marine biology lectures led by volunteer naturalists. The nearby Santa Monica Pier Aquarium also screened two documentaries, White Wash and 12 Miles North, which examine Gabaldon’s impact and the history of black surf culture. A memorial paddle out for Gabaldon kicked off the days activities.

NPR Morning Edition — June 3, 2013

The Saturday morning fog was burning off above the part of Santa Monica's beach known as the Inkwell. It's the stretch of sand to which black Southern Californians were relegated by de facto segregation until the 1960s.

Men, women and children walked across the sand in wet suits, carrying surfboards. They're part of the Black Surfers Collective, which aims to get more people of color involved in surfing.

They had gathered to honor pioneer Nick Gabaldon, a legendary surfer who is remembered as the area's first documented board man of African-American and Mexican heritage.

...access to the beach remains a barrier to many communities. Meredith McCarthy, the program director for event co-sponsor Heal the Bay, said she sees how serious the issue of access is when she visits inner-city schools. It's a long bus ride from many neighborhoods, and even if you can drive, parking is expensive.

"When I say, 'How many kids have been to the beach?' and four or five of them raise their hands, I know that I have a lot of work to do," she said.

Los Angeles Times — June 1, 2013

The sun was rising and a group of surfers stood on a beach in Santa Monica, surrounding longboards and rose bouquets, celebrating a pioneer whose life was cut short in nearby waters 62 years ago.

"Brother Nick ... Brother Nick!"

Together, about 70 in all, they conjured the spirit and memory of Los Angeles' first documented black surfer. Together they hailed Nick Gabaldon's quest "to be free, despite all of the oppression" he encountered on the beach.

Saturday's event, officially dubbed Nick Gabaldon Day, was part memorial, part history lesson — and a chance to spread the joy of riding waves to inner-city kids who don't tend to think of the ocean when they think of fun.

"Nick paved the way, we're just moving the legacy forward," said Gregory Rachal, president of the Black Surfers Collective, a group of enthusiasts who held the event with the help of the environmental group Heal the Bay and others, including Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.

KCRW-Which Way LA — May 31, 2013

Surfers and ocean lovers in general are gathering in Santa Monica on Saturday, June 1st to honor the life of a surfer who died young, but inspired a generation of surfers from diverse backgrounds. While a student at Santa Monica College, perished in a surfing accident at the Malibu Pier in 1951, at the tragically young age of 24.

Meredith McCarthy is director of programs with the environmental group “Heal the Bay,” and said Gabaldón’s story ties in perfectly with her group’s efforts to promote ocean stewardship. “Using Nick as a vehicle to introduce people back to the beach, or to the beach that have never been there or don’t have much experience, it’s just a really great way for us to celebrate.”

The event will also feature free screenings at the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium of two documentaries that explore the life of Gabaldón and black surfing history. Organizers expect dozens of kids to attend, from youth organizations in Watts and Willowbrook – many of whom may be visiting the beach for the first time.

Los Angeles Magazine — May 30, 2013

Heal the Bay’s BRING BACK THE BEACH to-do was held on the sand in front of the Jonathan Beach Club in Santa Monica. I am still smiling thinking of sitting there for dinner at a table on the beach....

KCRA-Sacramento — May 27, 2013

Santa Cruz's Cowell Beach is the second-most contaminated beach in California.

That's the verdict from the latest beach report card from the Santa Monica-based environmental group, Heal the Bay.

KPCC-Air Talk — May 24, 2013

Heal the Bay has released its 2013 ratings for California beaches after extensively gathering information about bacteria in the water. The ratings reflect the likeliness of contracting an illness at various beaches on the California coast, and take into account three indicators: summer dry weather, yearly dry weather, and wet weather.

The beaches have received higher ratings this year than in previous years – Hermosa Beach, Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro, and the Wedge in Newport Beach received A+ ratings. While the A-F grades are generally good indicators about how dangerous a certain beach might be to one’s health, the standards are the same no matter how susceptible a person is to disease.


Kirsten James, Science and Policy Director, Water Quality at Heal the Bay

KABC — May 23, 2013

With the Memorial Day holiday weekend coming up, a lot of people are thinking about the beach. Heal the Bay released its annual report card on water quality Thursday.

Heal the Bay's 23rd annual Beach Report Card says that overall, local water quality is pretty good.

"We see that 93 percent of the beaches statewide are receiving 'A' and 'B' grades in the summer dry weather," said Kirsten James, Heal the Bay water quality director.

San Diego Union-Tribune — May 23, 2013

San Diego County’s beaches generally fared well on Heal the Bay’s annual “Beach Report Card,” with 99 percent of them earning good grades for bacterial water quality during the summer months. The region had the top overall set of scores in Southern California.

The 2012-13 assessment included more than 600 beaches along the West Coast, assigning letter grades of A to F for two periods of dry weather — April through October and November through March — and for wet periods year-round. The report is widely recognized as the definitive source for beach water quality along California, Oregon and Washington.

Those scores are based only on the levels of indicator bacteria such as coliform and enterococcus, which have proven to be good indicators of health risks for humans, said James Alamillo, Heal the Bay's urban programs manager. 

NBC Bay Area — May 23, 2013

Less winter runoff has allowed visitors to enjoy mostly clean water at California beaches, according to a report released Thursday.

An estimated 93 percent of the 445 beaches along the state's coast that were tested for bacterial pollution from Memorial Day through Labor Day had good to excellent water quality.

It was the fifth consecutive year that beachgoers have seen incremental improvement in beach water quality during summer months.

Three percent or 14 beaches that were monitored during the same period last year received poor marks.

The annual beach report card, issued by the Santa Monica-based environmental group Heal the Bay, studied bacteria levels found in water samples taken by local agencies from near the Oregon state line to the Mexican border. Heal the Bay attributed the improved water quality to back-to-back dry winters in Southern California and infrastructure upgrades.

Los Angeles Times — May 23, 2013

Southern California beaches had overall good water quality during the last year, and a vast majority of beaches received good to excellent ratings, according to an annual report released Thursday by Heal the Bay.

San Francisco Chronicle — May 23, 2013

Bay Area beachgoers can expect a long, healthy summer at the water's edge: Water quality at most Bay Area beaches remains clean and clear, according to a report released Thursday.

Almost all Bay Area beaches had zero or very low levels of bacteria from sewage, agricultural runoff or animal waste, according to Heal the Bay, a Santa Monica nonprofit that looked at weekly water samples from more than 600 sites along the California, Oregon and Washington coasts.

"You're pretty safe at open-ocean beaches in the Bay Area in dry weather," said Amanda Griesbach, Heal the Bay's lead scientist on the report. "Wet weather can be a different story."

NBC Los Angeles — May 8, 2013

Environmental groups are renewing objections they had last year to a proposal in the Obama administration's 2014 federal budget that would cut funding for state beach water quality testing.

Last year, the administration also proposed to eliminate funding for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's nearly $10 million Beach Grant Program, prompting an outcry. The program was saved under the continuing resolution passed in October by Congress that kept the federal government funded through spring.

The same EPA funding cuts were proposed again when the administration released its 2014 budget last month. And now identical arguments are being made against the proposed cuts.

Activists say cutting the funds could mean fewer tests for bacterial levels – and fewer people informed when ocean water is unhealthy.

“If you think about the repercussions on the coastal economy and on public health, and all the medical costs with swimming at polluted beaches, it all adds up,” said Kirsten James of Santa Monica-based advocacy group Heal the Bay. “So the $10 million from the EPA is well worth the money.”

KNX-1070 — April 15, 2013

An increasing number of retailers in Southern California no longer provide plastic bags for customers – and now one local lawmaker wants the ban to go statewide.

State Senator Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) was joined Monday by a coalition of environmental and business groups in support of Senate Bill 405, which would phase out single-use plastic bags in California grocery stores, convenience stores, liquor stores, and pharmacies.

Padilla has rallied a number of environmental and business groups to throw their support behind SB 405, including Californians Against Waste, Environment California, Heal the Bay, Clean Seas Coalition, Azul, California League of Conservation Voters, Coastkeepers, Surfrider, California Grocers Association and the California Retailers Association.

Los Angeles Times — April 11, 2013

President Obama laid out his vision Wednesday for $3.78 trillion in federal spending, unveiling a budget proposal for the next fiscal year that aims to reignite cooled deficit reduction talks while opening negotiations over the fate of hundreds of federal programs.

In a cut that could hit California, Obama proposed eliminating the $10 million provided to states to help pay for water-quality monitoring and public notification programs at beaches.

"The proposed cuts in beach water-quality and monitoring programs may come at a heavy cost," said Matthew King, a spokesman for Santa Monica-based Heal the Bay. "If agencies have to cut back or cease monitoring for bacterial pollution along shorelines, it poses a public health risk for the millions of people who visit California beaches each year."

The New York Times — April 7, 2013

In this water-starved region, storm and other runoff has become the primary source of water pollution. After the rare rains, runoff drags heavy metals, pesticides, cigarette butts, animal waste and other pollutants into streams and rivers and eventually to the Pacific Ocean, turning Los Angeles County’s beaches into the filthiest in the state.

But now, local officials are trying to deal with runoff pollution and another problem — the lack of drinking water — with an ambitious plan to make the runoff drinkable.

The Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board has issued new rules that include strong incentives for cities to work together on projects that capture and filter rainwater in the ground. Not only would those projects keep runoff pollution out of the waterways, they would also bolster groundwater supplies, which could eventually be used for drinking water.

Kirsten James, the director of water quality policy at Heal the Bay, argued that in the long run, investment in a new supply of drinking water could save money.

“Looking at the skyrocketing costs of imported water,” she said, “it will be much more economical for our region to have storm water as a drinking water source.”

Huffington Post — April 1, 2013

Miles of soft sand, swaying palm trees, and the lure of the sparkling ocean make the City of Angels a magnet for surf-and-sun devotees. Yet with over 90 beaches and 75 miles of shoreline in Los Angeles County, it can be difficult for visiting families to know where to begin.

When compiling this go-to list of great kid-friendly beaches, we gave top priority to cleanliness. Each of our picks consistently makes the A-list from Heal the Bay, an organization that measures and tracks pollution at 475 California beaches.

Ventura County Star — March 15, 2013

Heal the Bay released a report Friday calling for greater protection of the Malibu Creek Watershed that stretches from the Santa Monica Mountains to the Malibu coast.

Concrete channels, residential and commercial development and runoff have eroded banks and muddied creeks and streams winding through parts of Ventura and Los Angeles counties, the report says.

For the past 15 years, the Santa Monica-based conservation group and teams of volunteers have collected data from more than a dozen spots in the watershed. The new report calls for changes to restore hard-hit areas and protect others still largely unaffected.

“The really cool thing about the Malibu Creek Watershed is that it’s so undeveloped still,” said Katherine Pease, a watershed scientist with Heal the Bay. “We had this really great opportunity to focus on improving the environment and also figure out if there are problems because we are so close to urban areas.”

89.3 KPCC — March 15, 2013

The Malibu Creek Watershed covers more than 100 square miles of mostly undeveloped land, from Agoura Hills and Thousand Oaks across the Santa Monica Mountains, to where it drains into the Santa Monica Bay. The area is generally thought of as being mostly pristine. But a large study by the group Heal the Bay says humans have caused pollution and other problems throughout the watershed. 

Heal the Bay has released a study based on 12 years of research by its staff and citizen volunteers. It finds pollution from runoff, along with other problems, far up into the watershed.  “There are places here that are quite healthy," says study co-author Sarah Sikich of Heal the Bay. "But we found evidence of degradation most likely related to development in the watershed, habitat damage from hardened streams and other issues.”

Los Angeles Times — March 12, 2013

A majority of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors want to back away from a proposed ballot measure that would impose a controversial parcel fee on county property owners to clean up storm water pollution.

"The longer we wait, the more people get sick going to the beach, and the more marine life will be impacted," said Kirsten James, water quality director for nonprofit Heal the Bay.

CBS Los Angeles — March 12, 2013

Environmental activists and residents called on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Tuesday to support a public funding measure that would impose a parcel fee on property owners to clean up storm water pollution.

Heal the Bay, The Coalition for Our Water Future, and other groups gathered outside the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration in downtown Los Angeles in a show of support for the ballot measure, which would add about $54 a year for most single family homes and tens of thousands of dollars for large business properties in an effort to increase the water supply.

KTLA-5 — March 9, 2013

Heal the Bay is partnering with the Mountains Restoration Trust to restore areas of Malibu Creek State Park. Invasive plants have negative impacts on natural habitats, so removing them is vital for a healthy watershed.

KNBC — March 8, 2013

Heal the Bay  Aquarium's Jose Bacallao answers questions about tsunami debris that could potentially bring invasive species to California shores. 

KCET Departures — January 22, 2013

In a previous Laws That Shaped L.A. column, Heal the Bay water quality director Kirsten James nominated the 1972 Federal Water Pollution Control Amendments as having made a significant impact on life in and around Los Angeles -- as well as far beyond.

Those Amendments are known far and wide under the more familiar moniker, the Clean Water Act and its influential precursor, California's Porter Cologne Water Quality Control Act. (Read the Laws That Shaped L.A. column.)

As James said here: "This Act is extremely important in protecting our nation's [water] bodies."

Without the CWA, for example, fetid sewers in South Los Angeles and across town would waft the smell of rotten eggs. Malibu Surfrider Beach would remain a polluted scourge instead of a point break paradise. And off the coast, there would be more metal in our nearby Pacific than at Wacken Open Air festival.

"Without the Clean Water Act, we'd be close to where we were back in 1972," James said in the piece. "Hopefully, rivers wouldn't be catching on fire like they did back then - which was one of the instigators of the Clean Water Act -- but I think things would be in pretty bad shape relative to what we're seeing today."

American Public Media Marketplace — January 7, 2013

Just a few years ago, coming back from an early morning hike with some pretty photos was about as productive as you could get. Now, new mobile apps make it easy for nature lovers to contribute to science too.

James Alamillo, the Urban Programs Manager at Heal the Bay, an organization that works to protect Southern California beaches, says these “citizen science” apps make it easier to spot suspicious patterns.

“Now you have a mechanism for collecting a lot of data, from a lot of sets of eyes, and a lot of set of users that before didn’t exist or that was unknown,” he says.

Alamillo says as improvements are made to weed out inaccurate information, more academics are getting on board. Having an army of volunteers can help them save time and money. 

CBS News — November 13, 2012

While opponents say the harm is exaggerated, many shoppers in California want an expansion of the plastic bag ban already in place in more than 110 cities.

Los Angeles Times — November 9, 2012

Despite more than two decades of regulation, runoff remains the leading cause of water pollution in Southern California, prompting beach closures and bans on eating fish caught in Santa Monica Bay.

The runoff — whether from heavy winter rains or sprinkler water spilling down the gutter — is tainted by a host of contaminants from thousands of different places: bacteria from pet waste, copper from auto brake pads, toxics from industrial areas, pesticides and fertilizer from lawns.

The regulations, which the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board adopted after a daylong hearing, place limits on 33 pollutants ranging from coliform bacteria to hydrocarbons and lead.

Environmental groups countered that the regulations contain provisions that weaken enforcement

 "We're extremely disappointed with this decision," said Kirsten James, water quality director for Heal the Bay. "At the end of the day [the cities] don't have that stick waiting for them. That's very disconcerting."

89.3 KPCC — November 7, 2012

Regional water regulators will consider new rules tomorrow to limit pollution in stormwater runoff in most of L.A. County and part of Ventura County.

Officials from some cities in L.A. County have told the L.A. Regional Water Quality Control Board that tougher rules on stormwater runoff will bust their budgets.

Environmentalists have a different view. "We’re hearing these complaints that the regulations go too far," says Kirsten James of Heal the Bay.  "But we contend that they don’t go far enough." 

James disputes the cities’ cost estimates, and says in any event, since stormwater is the number one source of coastal pollution, the issue is too important to ignore.

Smithsonian Magazine — November 1, 2012

Local politics take a dramatic turn in southern California over a plan to clean up an iconic American playground.

The Christian Science Monitor — October 18, 2012

Environmental regulation in the United States dates to the 19th century. But the Clean Water Act was new in that it greatly expanded federal powers to curb pollution, a job previously left to the states. By allowing private citizens to bring lawsuits over pollution, the Clean Water Act also opened up new opportunities for citizen action.

For example, Heal the Bay, an environmental group in Los Angeles, got started when a group of citizens invoked the Clean Water Act in a fight to clean up Santa Monica Bay. “We’ve been working the Clean Water Act ever since,” says Kirsten James, the organization’s water quality director.

Los Angeles Times — October 11, 2012

As California’s spiny lobster season gets underway, authorities have cited more than 20 anglers for illegal activities, including exceeding the catch limit, taking undersized crustaceans and stealing from other’s traps, officials said Thursday.

In the latest incident, officials with the state Department of Fish and Game are investigating reports that two fishermen poached lobsters from a state marine conservation area at Abalone Cove Shoreline Park in Rancho Palos Verdes.

Sarah Sikich of Heal the Bay said her organization’s report on the first six months of the new coastal restrictions found “overwhelming” compliance. The Santa Monica-based coastal protection group sends out about 60 trained volunteers each month to monitor activities in the marine preserves.

“The good news is that it’s going well,” Sikich said.

ABC-7 — September 27, 2012

Upcoming Santa Monica Main Street Pub Crawl, sponsored by UMeTime, will benefit Heal the Bay.

NBC-LA — September 27, 2012

During the steamy summer of 2012, Californians who headed to the beach were able to enjoy largely excellent water quality, according to an annual study released by Santa Monica-based Heal the Bay.

The advocacy group's End of Summer Beach Report Card graded 96 percent of the state's beaches with a "A" or "B," marking a 4 percent uptick from last year.

89.3 KPCC — September 26, 2012

An environmental group says summer 2012 was one of the best for California beach water quality. 

Heal the Bay says 2012 is the sixth year in a row state beaches from Humboldt to San Diego county had excellent water quality.

Los Angeles Times — September 21, 2012

An environmentally conscius angler ruminates on what to do with the marlin--an endangered fish-- he caught on a fishing trip to Mexico.

I asked Dana Roeber Murray, a Heal the Bay scientist, if she ever ordered swordfish. After a long silence, she said "no."

"But it's good that you're not wasting it," she added quickly, probably not wanting me to feel any guiltier. "That would be the worst thing to do."

Los Angeles Times — September 15, 2012

Volunteers picking up debris in Santa Monica will get a chance to learn about the Inkwell, a beach where African Americans gathered for decades in the Jim Crow era.

On Saturday, environmentalists, historians and black surfers, swimmers and divers hope to raise collective awareness by combining a coastal cleanup with education about the role of African Americans in Santa Monica's history.

Meredith McCarthy, Heal the Bay's programs director, said she quickly embraced the idea of adding a historic component to the nonprofit organization's 23rd annual cleanup after learning about the Inkwell from [historian Alison Rose] Jefferson. They enlisted the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People and African American churches. Hundreds of people volunteered in advance to clean the former Inkwell site, one of 60 in the region that will be tidied up as part of the coastal cleanup.

89.3 KPCC — September 14, 2012

Heal the Bay organizes most of the massive volunteer effort in LA County. Kayakers will pick up trash they find boatside in Marina del Rey. The cleanup even includes underwater spots: dive-certified volunteers will meet near piers with mesh bags to pick up junk that coastal visitors have left behind. 

KCBS — September 12, 2012

Hundreds of young school children got an up close and personal tour of the ocean Wednesday as part of Heal the Bay’s annual environmental education program. 

La Opinion — August 29, 2012

Aunque nadie pensaría que una simple bolsa de plástico pudiera causar daños al ambiente, si miles de ellas se lanzan al mar o simplemente se dejan por todos lados, puede impactar en forma negativa la fauna marina o silvestre.

"Este es un problema que impacta tanto en lo económico como en lo ambiental", dijo Kirsten James, directora de calidad del agua para Heal the Bay. "Anualmente llevamos a cabo mas de 500 limpiezas de playas y los gobiernos municipales tienen que gastar dinero para limpiar toda la contaminación que ocasionan".

Los Angeles Times — August 27, 2012

The charity Green Vets LA aims to help veterans earn a living and overcome physical and emotional battlefield scars by making reusable cloth shopping bags.

The program is the brainchild of Jim Cragg, president and chief executive of Special Operations Technologies Inc., a defense contractor that specializes in military survival gear. Among clean water advocates, Cragg is regarded as a leader in grass-roots campaigns to ban single-use plastic bags from Los Angeles to Sacramento.

"Our motivation is to clean local waterways and his is to create jobs for homeless vets and sell a product, which lends a patriotic aura to the cause," said Sarah Sikich, coastal resources director for the environmental advocacy group Heal the Bay. "In meetings before city councils and the state Legislature, I've seen ears perk up when Jim gets up and talks about how plastic pollution is not an exclusively environmental issue."

Los Angeles Times — August 24, 2012

The new Sundance Cinemas will also showcase documentaries reflecting Redford's interest in social and environmental causes. On Wednesday, Sundance Sunset will screen a documentary from Jamie Redford, the actor's son, called "Watershed: Exploring a New Water Ethic for the New West," in a benefit to support the nonprofit group Heal the Bay.

Variety — August 20, 2012

Movie-themed fundraiser for Heal the Bay set for Aug. 29.

West Hollywood's new Sundance Sunset Cinemas is readying for its formal debut on Aug. 31, but a few days before members of the Redford clan will throw a housewarming party by hosting a movie-themed fundraiser for Heal the Bay.

The Argonaut — August 9, 2012

Stepping into the shoes of a well-known leader at any organization is usually difficult. Following two respected leaders can be doubly hard.

That is the situation that Karin Hall found herself in a little more than six months ago when she took over the reins at Santa Monica-based Heal the Bay. 

Said Hall: “…leadership of this organization is a huge responsibility. I understand that we have not only an incredible legacy but also that we have so much work to do. Clearly, I’m not a scientist, but we have built this organization with amazing, credible scientific force and great educational force. And together, we will be able to accomplish our mission and our goals, but done in a different way.

More so than ever, the environment needs to have an advocate."

NPR-Participation Nation — August 9, 2012

Clean is a relative term, says Eveline Bravo, programs manager for Heal the Bay, a nonprofit pro-environment organization hellbent on restoring Santa Monica Bay.

"There's so much Styrofoam and plastic and it's hard to feel like you're not just making small dents."

Yet every third Saturday, Bravo — along with hundreds of other volunteers — shows up at designated beaches with buckets in hand.

The monthly Nothin' But Sand event brings everyone together to pick-up trash, record findings for the Marine Debris Database and learn how to keep trash out of the ocean in the first place.

Ventura County Star — July 27, 2012

Beaches in Ventura County are among the cleanest in the state, based on the environmental organization Heal the Bay's Annual Beach Report Card. Still, some local beaches do exceed water quality criteria for bacteria from time to time.

The county recently embarked on a groundbreaking study at two of those beaches to determine how to best protect the health of swimmers and children playing in the surf.

The Orange Register — July 18, 2012

The city of Dana Point will seek outside funding and solutions to try to improve water quality at Doheny State Beach after the City Council unanimously agreed Tuesday night that the pollution and bacteria in the water need correcting.

Environmental group Heal the Bay released its 2011-12 Beach Report Card and gave Doheny an "F" for bacteria in the water in wet weather and in dry winter conditions. It fared better in the summer but still got a failing grade at the outlet of San Juan Creek.

Orange County Register — July 16, 2012

If the City Council approves Tuesday, staff would request funding from state, local and private sources to come up with a way to improve the state beach’s water quality, which environmental group Heal the Bay annually ranks among California’s worst.

KNX-1070 AM — July 13, 2012

One of Santa Monica’s greatest tourist attractions was also one of its greatest health problems.

Fixing the water quality in Santa Monica Bay took a grassroots effort, which has now taken hold up and down the California Coast.

The Wall Street Journal — June 27, 2012

As the summer swimming season gets into full swing, environmental groups and public-health agencies are warning of mounting disease risks at beaches and lakes due to storm-water runoff, sewage pollution and other forms of contamination.

One bright spot: Heal the Bay’s own annual Beach Report Card, which graded beaches from A to F, gives 93% of the state’s 441 beaches an A or B grade largely due to improvements in L.A. County.

CBS Los Angeles — June 22, 2012

Debris from last year’s deadly tsunami in Japan is washing ashore on the West Coast — and some of it may even contain human remains.

Officials are warning the public to not touch the debris.

Items as small as clothing and as large as a dock and a fishing boat have been reported washing up along the West Coast.

Heal the Bay started surveying Malibu and Palos Verdes and said they have not found any items from the disaster.

BBC News — June 15, 2012

Spencer Kelly reports from Santa Monica where it is hoped that QR codes can build a sense of community around the beach.

89.3 KPCC — June 12, 2012

It was announced last week that environmental advocate group Heal the Bay was awarded the Tourism Stewardship of the Year Award during the 30th Annual California Travel Summit.

The award was created by the California Travel Association “to recognize the group that has done the most to protect, preserve, restore, improve, expand or otherwise enhance California's natural, cultural or historical treasures,” according to a press release from the Santa Monica Convention & Visitors Bureau.

“Tourism is such a vital part of Santa Monica’s economy,” explained Kim Baker, the vice president of marketing at the Convention & Visitors Bureau. “In 2011, more than $35 million was generated by our local hotels alone. The city had 6.5 million visitors from outside of Santa Monica County.

“We’ve found through surveys and focus groups that the beach is the most popular aspect of Santa Monica to visitors,” Baker continued. “Given how hard Heal the Bay works on improving water quality and keeping the beaches clean, this recognition is well deserved.”

Santa Monica Mirror — June 11, 2012

Santa Monica is known for being a tourist destination and minding the environment. Last Tuesday, both tourism and the environment melded together in Sacramento as Heal the Bay was honored with the Stewardship of the Year award at the 2012 California Travel Association Summit.

Heal the Bay was among seven honored at the travel association’s annual summit for its support of California’s $100 billion tourism industry. Also honored was acclaimed filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola.

Accepting the award in Sacramento on behalf of Heal the Bay was its Coastal Resources Director Sarah Sikich, who said the honor was symbolic of the non-profit’s efforts in raising awareness of the importance of protecting the state’s coastline.

“Protecting the California coastline isn’t just good for the environment,” Sikich said. “It’s good for the statewide economy. The millions of visitors who come to our beaches each year expect clean water and sand. We all have a duty to protect what we love.”

Los Angeles Times — June 8, 2012

In the 1930s and 1940s, paddleboarding was a popular sport at the Santa Monica Pier.

On Saturday, surfers and ocean enthusiasts will gather to commemorate those early paddleboard days at the third annual Santa Monica Pier Paddleboard & Ocean Festival.

The day-long event attracted several thousand visitors last year, according to organizers, who say the festival will help raise funds for the Santa Monica-based Heal the Bay.

Los Angeles Times — June 8, 2012

The search for debris from the Japanese tsunami — already making landfall in Canada, Alaska and the Pacific Northwest — has begun in earnest in Southern California.

Staffers for the environmental group Heal the Bay began systematic surveys Friday of the Los Angeles County coastline, searching for objects that may have been dragged to sea by tsunami waves that devastated Japan more than a year ago.


NBC Los Angeles — June 7, 2012

Environmentalists already wanted to conduct an unbiased study of what washes up on Los Angeles County shores. Now, with Tsunami debris on the way, the study is taking on new meaning.

Santa Monica's "Heal the Bay" environmental group is joining forces with federal oceanographers to conduct a two year study to find out just how much trash accumulates on our beaches, and how much of it might have come due to the Tsunami.

“The wind is also driving them," noted Heal the Bay's Sarah Sikich. "We’re using this as a case study of how currents travel along the west coast.”

The study will focus on two beaches: Carbon Beach in Malibu and Malaga Cove in Palos Verdes. They were chosen because they have few visitors to alter what washes up.

The Orange County Register — June 3, 2012

A San Clemente and Orange County team plans to present strategies this summer that officials hope will solve Poche Beach's chronic pollution once and for all.

Poche Beach, on the border of San Clemente and Dana Point, made its fourth consecutive appearance recently on environmental group Heal the Bay's annual list of "Beach Bummers" – the 10 most polluted California beaches. Poche received an "F" for water quality on the group's 2012 Beach Report Card.

Los Angeles Times — May 24, 2012

Los Angeles became the largest city in the nation to approve a ban on plastic bags at supermarket checkout lines, handing a hard-fought victory to environmentalists and promising to change the way Angelenos do their grocery shopping.

San Diego Union Tribune — May 24, 2012

San Diego County has some of the state’s cleanest stretches of sand — but it also suffers from the worst coastal sewage pollution problem in California, according to the latest Beach Report Card issued Thursday.

Heal the Bay’s 22nd annual assessment shows San Diego’s shoreline continued to shine by some measures, with nearly two dozen beaches highlighted for excellent year-round water quality and no entries on the “beach bummers” list for worst dry-weather pollution.

KGO-TV — May 24, 2012


Stay out of the bay in San Mateo County -- that's the message from an environmental group that keeps an eye on local water contamination.

The group, Heal the Bay, presented its 22nd annual Beach Report Card. Most of it is good news.

NBC-LA — May 23, 2012


The group's coastal resources director, Sarah Sikich, said the ban is an important environmental step.

The bags are only designed for single use, but they get out into the environment and event make their way to streams, creeks and the ocean, and they never truly degrade," Sikich said, adding that cleanup costs are borne by taxpayers.

KPCC-89.3 — May 22, 2012

Of the 75 communities across the country that have prohibited plastic bags, two-thirds of them are in California. And since an effort to ban plastic bags at larger stores failed in Sacramento a couple of years ago, environmentalists have trained their sights on the state’s largest city. Los Angeles is now their big whale, and this week, its city council could push a ban on single-use bags forward.

“L.A. is the largest city in the U.S. so it will be a huge success if L.A. moves forward with a bag ban,” says Sarah Sikich, Heal the Bay Coastal Resources Director. “ I hope it sends a message to the rest of the state of California since so many local smaller cities have adopted some sort of bag ban.”

People — May 18, 2012

Julia Roberts shares in the excitement with husband Danny Moder Thursday during Heal the Bay's Bring Back the Beach benefit dinner, where the couple was honored for their eco-accomplishments in Santa Monica, Calif.

Southern California Public Radio, KPCC 89.3 — April 30, 2012

People who swim, surf and fish in L.A.'s coastal waters have their first chance this week to learn how regulators plan to keep them clean with updated rules for managing stormwater.

The meeting will be held Thursday, May 3 at 10:30 a.m. in the California Science Center in Exposition Park.

"Pollution limits have been put in place over the last decade to make sure that our water body actually gets cleaned up," emphasizes Kirsten James, a member of the clean water advocacy group Heal the Bay. 

"So it could be anything from making sure that our beaches are safe for swimming to making sure that fish in our waters are safe for consumption."

San Diego Union Tribune — April 25, 2012

The “paper or plastic” question — a hallmark of the modern grocery shopping experience — has been all but outlawed in the small coastal town of Solana Beach. The City Council decision Wednesday night makes Solana Beach the first in the county to remove single-use plastic bags from grocery stores, retailers and restaurants.

Solana Beach’s decision  also puts in place rules that require stores to charge customers at least 10 cents for each paper bag they use, a move city officials hope will push consumers away from one-time use bags and make it routine for them to bring reusable bags to stores throughout the city, as it seemingly has in cities that have also banned the bags, such as Santa Monica.

Many beach advocates are hopeful that Wednesday’s decision will spark a regional trend and ultimately help force a statewide bag ban.

At Heal the Bay, Water Quality Director Kirsten James said dozens of bag laws across California are building toward the need for a law to unify the patchwork of approaches. She said about 1 in 6 Californians is covered by some sort of bag-reduction act.

A statewide ban failed a few years ago, but James said the momentum created in places such as Solana Beach show demand is building.

KTLA-5 — April 22, 2012

Kirsten James on KTLA Grocery Bags Go EcoWater Quality Director Kirsten James discusses one of the biggest threats to our environment: The single-use plastic bag. We u se billions of them every year, and only one to two percent of those bags end up being recycled. Watch it now.

NBC-LA's "News Conference" — April 22, 2012

In remembrance of Earth Day, we talk to Heal the Bay's Dana Roeber Murray, a marine and coastal scientist. Murray says Earth Day has turned into Earth Month in California. She gives us the status of the our bay, their victories, and their working challenges.

Los Angeles Confidential — April 10, 2012

Amy Smart not only has a lot on her plate, she needs an enormous, biodegradable serving platter to accommodate all the things she has going.  When the 36-year-old, Topanga Canyon-bred actress is not shooting the Showtime series Shameless… she directs her indefatigable self toward more altruistic pursuits, such as saving the giant marble we're all living on.

She's a longtime volunteer and board member of Santa Monica's Heal the Bay. In fact, Smart will be honored for her environmental leadership over 18 years of volunteering with the organization at its annual Bring Back the Beach awards gala at the Jonathan Club on May 17.

Los Angeles Times — March 17, 2012

The Santa Catalina Island resort town's water has long been tainted with sewage, its beach one of the most chronically polluted in the nation. Now, the L.A. Regional Water Quality Control Board is putting Avalon under its supervision.

"This is a big deal," said Kirsten James, water quality director for Heal the Bay, the environmental group that last year named Avalon Harbor the second most-polluted beach in California — the eighth consecutive year it has placed in the bottom five.

LA Weekly — March 8, 2012

Near the eve of the one-year anniversary of the disaster, the environmental group Heal the Bay has the 411 about possible debris hitting our shores. 

Chronicle of Philanthropy — March 4, 2012

Tips on creating some of the most common types of nonprofit videos

Use video to tell people what they can do to make a change. “Give people some hope,” says Matthew King, Communications Director, Heal the Bay.

Santa Cruz Sentinel — February 29, 2012

Santa Cruz County may curtail ocean water monitoring if the federal Environmental Protection Agency eliminates a program to test water quality at the nation's beaches.

Local beaches have come under scrutiny, with one environmental group recently naming Santa Cruz' Cowell Beach the worst in the state for water quality, and ranking Capitola Beach among the poorest.

That group, Santa Monica-based Heal the Bay, is sounding the alarm about the proposed cut.

NBC-LA — February 17, 2012

Heal the Bay pays tribute to the mondo mammals in Santa Monica. 

It has been a banner winter for gray whales off our shores. It's been a banner winter for all sorts of whales, in fact, including those crowd-pleasing orcas.

Now, before the season starts to wrap up, and before those gorgeous, majestic grays swim away from our SoCal shores, Heal the Bay is pausing to pay tribute at a family-nice, two-day, ocean-close bash. 

KPCC-FM Pacific Swell — February 14, 2012

The best things in life are free…go spend time with the person you love. 

If Encinal Canyon in Malibu is crowded, you can blame Heal the Bay. Their Valentines’ day beach guide for ocean lovers chooses “top spots for healthy romance” along the west coast.

Los Angeles Times — February 9, 2012

A romantic beach is one of those can’t-miss Valentine’s Day standbys — the more pristine the better. And no one knows pristine like Heal the Bay, which has released this guide to the West Coast’s most romantic sand. All have received an “A” for water quality.

Ventura County Star — February 9, 2012

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday gave final approval to a rule that bans large ships from dumping sewage less than three miles off the California coast.

"We still have a long way to go," said Kirsten James, director of water quality for the Heal the Bay environmental group. "There are a lot of different sources of pollution in our coastal waters, but this is definitely a step in the right direction."

The Acorn — February 2, 2012

Many shoppers in Calabasas appear to welcome the city’s prohibition on carryout plastic bags, which went into effect last July.

Calabasas officials made a prudent decision, said Kirsten James, water quality director with Heal the Bay, a nonprofit environmental organization.

“It is making a difference, and we need to continue on this path,” James said, adding that fewer bags have been found in local waterways since the ban went into effect.

Santa Monica Daily Press — January 31, 2012
Heal the Bay's Santa Monica Pier Aquarium is teaming up with Cirque du Soleil to give kids from disadvantaged neighborhoods a chance to learn about the ocean and how to protect it.
Cirque du Soleil is sponsoring field trips to the Pier Aquarium for five schools in February. Cirque's funding will also allow the aquarium to feature free general admission every Sunday throughout the month.
KFWB-AM — January 31, 2012

Heal the Bay has come up with 10 resolutions – like reducing litter – for ocean lovers on how to improve the health of waterways.

The resolutions are just one more action in the organization’s history to promote clean coastal waters and watersheds since 1985.

KFWB’s Maggie McKay talked with Meredith McCarthy, director of programs at Heal the Bay, for some tips to keep our rivers, creeks and beaches clean.

The Daily Breeze — January 24, 2012

Heal the Bay announced Tuesday that Executive Director Karin Hall will take over day-to-day leadership of the organization, while Stephanie Medina Rodriguez will serve a two-year term as board chairwoman.

The Daily Breeze — January 20, 2012

The nonprofit group Heal the Bay, which early last year began collecting data about MPA usage in Malibu, plans to train volunteers for the first time today on coastal trails and bluffs near Point Vicente - where fishing is prohibited in a 15-square-mile section of ocean.

"We'd like to track human-use trends inside and outside MPAs," said Heal the Bay marine scientist Dana Murray. "This social data will complement the biological data collected by other groups."

So far, Murray said she's seen a positive response to MPA Watch.

"The public's been really enthusiastic. We've been getting people from all over Los Angeles County and Ventura County," she said. "I think it's because, the ocean belongs to no one and yet it belongs to all of us. I think ... people want to be involved and they want to help protect it."

Patt Morrison-Southern California Public Radio — January 19, 2012

One of California’s most prominent environmental advocacy groups, Heal the Bay, is saying goodbye to its president, Mark Gold, after his 23 years of service. Mark joined Patt Morrison to discuss his work advocating for coastal protection laws.

Ventura County Star — January 13, 2012

Creators of EarthScents, a line of nontoxic cleaning products, are committed to recyclable packaging and a no-animal-testing philosophy. EarthScents also donates five percent of profits to Heal the Bay. The company, which manufactures its products in Malibu, recently cut its first check to Heal the Bay for $500.

Los Angeles Times — January 11, 2012

Long the public face of Heal the Bay, Mark Gold will become associate director of the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability.

Gold has spent his entire adult life building the group into what it is today and said its hard work has helped make a huge difference in quality of life for Southern Californians and aquatic creatures alike.

"Think about where Santa Monica Bay is today versus where we were when I first started," he said. "We don't have a dead zone in the bay, we don't have fish with tumors ... the beaches are so much cleaner. We don't have these sewage spills that were commonplace in the 1980s. We have marine protected areas."

Santa Monica Daily Press — January 9, 2012

This week, Santa Monica-based environmental group Heal the Bay suggested 10 resolutions for Southern Californians to give the ocean a clean start to the new year.

Malibu Surfside News — January 5, 2012

Celebration for Underwater Parks Planned for Jan. 21.

Malibuites and beachgoers are invited to join Heal the Bay volunteers at a beach cleanup at Westward Beach at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 21, followed by a guided nature walk in Point Dume State Marine Reserve at 1 p.m.

Other activities will include an education booth. Free maps of the new MPAs and canvas tote bags will be distributed. Same-day free admission to Heal the Bay's Santa Monica Pier Aquarium is also being offered.

Malibu Times — January 4, 2012

The state Department of Fish and Game on Jan. 1 began enforcement of a new marine protected area stretching from Paradise Cove to El Matador State Beach.

"As this day approaches I've been reflecting about the effort that went into the Malibu MPA becoming a reality,” Heal the Bay President Mark Gold said last week. “In the mid-1990s someone I consider an iconic part of Old Malibu, Mary Frampton, had the foresight to put the wheels in motion by advocating for this legislation.”

Contra Costa Times — December 31, 2011

Starting today, fishing will be halted or limited in some 15 percent of Southern California's most bountiful ocean waters under a new landmark environmental protection initiative.

From Point Conception in Santa Barbara County south to the Mexico border, more than 350 square miles of open sea will become state marine protected areas.

It's hugely important," said Sarah Sikich, coastal resources director with the environmental advocacy group Heal the Bay. "We're very excited that the MPAs that have been worked on so deeply over the past several years in Southern California are finally taking effect."

KPCC-FM — December 22, 2011

Heal the Bay has announced a new fundraising effort to raise money for continued marine biology education in local public schools, seeking to bolster programs likely targeted for budget cuts.

The environmental group hopes to raise $30,000 by the end of the school year.

Cuts may include field trips to the ocean and coastal aquariums, which Heal the Bay is afraid may keep students from performing up to par in science education. The group says experimental, interactive and hands-on learning have been proven to increase performance.

LAist — December 8, 2011

As part of the continued effort to ban single-use bags in Los Angeles, Heal the Bay has dubbed Thursday, December 15 "Day Without A Bag." The event is appropriately timed, as L.A. City Council is expected to move forward with a sweeping ban on single-use carryout bags next week.

Los Angeles Times — November 19, 2011

State parks representatives cite risks to habitat and health in opposing an off-leash zone.

"Santa Monica taxpayers have spent millions of dollars cleaning up local beaches (over $2.5 million on the successful Santa Monica Pier cleanup alone)," Heal the Bay President Mark Gold, a dog owner, wrote on his blog.

"Adding a new source of fecal bacteria to our local beaches doesn't make any sense in these financially challenging times," he wrote.

Southern California Public Radio — November 7, 2011

Jose Bacallo, Heal the Bay senior aquarist for the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium, says the bay is his backyard, "When I'm out here, or I'm in the water, doing stand up paddleboarding with my daughters, fishing, tidepooling, I've always viewed this as our resource."

"I've never looked at it as my right," he said. "I've always looked at it as, this is a resource for our greater community."

That's the way he wants visitors to the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium to experience it, too. All of its animals, plants, even the water comes from the bay. They're neighbors.

KCET — October 14, 2011

In what is the strictest bag ban to be explored to date, the Los Angeles Board of Public Works met Wednesday morning and unanimously voted to support a ban of plastic and paper bags in the city of Los Angeles."The time is now," said Kirsten James, Water Quality Director at Heal the Bay. "The city of L.A. really has a chance to be a true leader, the biggest city to take action on this in the nation. It is one of the most progressive policies we have seen before us."

Voice of America — October 8, 2011

People in California can no longer eat the Chinese delicacy of shark fin soup.  The Governor of California officially made it illegal to sell or possess shark fin. ... conservationists, like Sarah Sikich of Heal the Bay, say the demand for shark fin is devastating the shark population.

Los Angeles Times — October 6, 2011

An environmental group is urging people to stay out of the ocean for 72 hours after the first significant rainstorm of the season because of pollution from urban runoff.

The potential contaminants, including chemicals and debris that have been accumulating for months on sidewalks, roadways and riverbeds, have now been washed into storm drains by the rain, said the group Heal the Bay.

KABC-Los Angeles — October 6, 2011

One day after our big rainstorm, people are being told to stay out of the water. The environmental group "Heal the Bay" says runoff from Wednesday's storm could be dangerous to your health.

Los Angeles Times — September 27, 2011

The waters off Long Beach -- long among the most contaminated in the state -- have improved dramatically in the last year, according to a new report that gives the city's beaches their highest water-quality ratings in a decade.

All the beaches in the city earned grades of A or B in the environmental group Heal the Bay’s End of Summer Beach Report Card.

Los Angeles Times — September 18, 2011

More than 10,000 volunteers at 65 locations collect 44,038 tons of trash as part of the 22nd annual California Coastal Cleanup Day.

Santa Monica Daily Press — September 13, 2011

Students from Los Angeles-area schools play 'Fatal Food', a game intended to teach them the perils of ocean pollution, during environmental nonprofit Heal the Bay's Eco-Derby Tuesday at Santa Monica Beach.

Los Angeles Times — September 9, 2011

Tarps are pulled off to reveal a four-story-high series of colorful square panels affixed to the shell of what will be a new home. The intent is to highlight ocean pollution. The city says it must go.

Daily Breeze — August 10, 2011

In an op-ed, Mark Gold, Heal the Bay's president, and Sue Chen, director of Shark Savers, join forces to urge the public to contact their State Senators in support of  AB376, the shark fin ban bill up for a vote by the Senate Appropriations Committee on Monday, Aug.15. Gold and Chen write: "Californians are the No. 1 consumers of shark fin soup outside of Asia, and our state is a significant entry point for fins trafficked to Asia."

Los Angeles Times (blog) — June 30, 2011

This time out the beneficiary is Heal the Bay, an organization dedicated to keeping the waters off Southern California safe and clean. The vehicle is a sale titled Buy the Bay …

Adweek — June 16, 2011

A new campaign for environmental nonprofit Heal the Bay is trying to encourage tourists and locals to do just that, using their smartphones to read QR codes on the ad-wrapped cans. Once you do, you'll find a mobile website with the latest weather …

KCET — April 1, 2011

"The ocean seems like a long way away," began Heal the Bay's Mark Gold, who answered a question many had: why is an organization known for its beach projects here in South LA?

Huffington Post — March 15, 2011

Jonathan Gold, the Pulitzer Prize-winning restaurant critic for the LA Weekly, puts on an event annually for his brother Mark's environmental movement, Heal the Bay …

Los Angeles Times — February 1, 2011

The Dodgers Community Caravan is teaming up with Heal the Bay for a special beach cleanup event on Tuesday, Feb. 15, from 10am to noon at Santa Monica Beach. The cleanup will provide fans with an up-close-and-personal opportunity to clean up …

Los Angeles Times — January 27, 2011

The action was urged by Heal the Bay and other environmental groups that say widespread use of the cheap bags has created a global …

San Fernando Valley Sun - Alex Garcia — January 26, 2011

The first one was at Canterbury Elementary during a cleanup day last year organized by Heal the Bay …

Santa Monica Daily Press - Nick Taborek — January 4, 2011

There's no estimate of how much water the projects will prevent from flowing to the ocean, but Mark Gold, president of the non-profit Heal the Bay …

Los Angeles Daily News — December 23, 2010

As Los Angeles gets pounded with rain storms this week, residents have struggled with …

Los Angeles Times — December 13, 2010

Heal the Bay says an average Californian uses 500-600 plastic bags each year. Only 5% of single-use plastic bags are …

89.3 KPCC (blog) - Siel Ju — December 2, 2010

Organized annually by local non-profit Heal the Bay, A Day Without a Bag is now in its fourth year …

89.3 KPCC (blog) - Siel Ju — October 15, 2010

A green-themed flash mob teamed up with environmental nonprofit Heal the Bay to entertain …

Los Angeles Times (blog) — September 7, 2010

If you've read Heal the Bay's annual beach report card, you know that while some strands have shown improvement, there are still some filthy waterfronts and …

ESPN (blog) - Jake Howard — September 7, 2010

Beamed out this morning, LA's Heal the Bay, is looking for volunteers for the 21st annual Coastal Cleanup Day, which is coming up on Sept. …

Los Angeles Times (blog) — September 2, 2010

I'd been in contact with Heal the Bay's Mark Gold before, during and after the vote on the proposed plastic-bag ban, which on Tuesday night sank to the …

Los Angeles Times — September 1, 2010

"We're in shock," said Mark Gold, president of the nonprofit Heal the Bay, which had helped lead a large coalition of activists, retailers and unions …

LA Weekly (blog) - Steve La — August 30, 2010

"Water quality absolutely has gotten better during the summer months," said Mark Gold, president of Heal the Bay, a nonprofit group that issues an annual …

The Guardian — August 17, 2010

A spoof wildlife documentary narrated by Jeremy Irons on the life of a plastic bag en route to the 'Pacific garbage patch'. It was produced by campaign …

Huffington Post (blog) — August 16, 2010

Californians are quite familiar with the Urban Tumbleweed, the ubiquitous blowing plastic bag that litters our parks, roadways, and rivers before it makes …