Los Angeles Waterkeeper (LAW) was founded in 1993 as the Santa Monica BayKeeper. Founding Director Terry Tamminen and his team first started the organization while patrolling the Santa Monica Bay – on a single houseboat, no less – identifying sources of pollution and taking action to prevent it. As the Santa Monica BayKeeper, the team primarily operated in LA County’s Westside, the Santa Monica Bay, and the waters off of Malibu taking water quality samples from storm drain outfalls along the coast, employing litigation to target egregious industrial polluters and utilizing scientific divers to restore kelp forest habitat.
As the organization developed and expanded, many of BayKeeper’s initiatives moved further inland, far beyond the borders of Santa Monica or even the City of Los Angeles. Therefore, to reflect the region-wide scope of its work, the organization officially changed its name to Los Angeles Waterkeeper in 2012. LA Waterkeeper now offers robust programs that operate across LA County, serving its over 10 million residents.
As one of more than 350 members of the international Waterkeeper Alliance led by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., and a founding member of the CA Coastkeeper Alliance, LAW is committed to the enforcement of the federal Clean Water Act and the protection of local waterways.
With a successful history of combating ongoing pollution of our waters and making strides restoring our impaired waterways back to dynamic ecosystems, LAW now seeks to address the root causes of pollution by encouraging community-and-coalition-building around a Reduce (conservation), Reuse (rainwater harvesting), Recycle (potable wastewater reclamation), and Restore (contaminated groundwater/surface waters) approach to the LA region's water supply needs. While we serve Angelenos throughout the County, our work is increasingly centered on lifting the voices and concerns of community members in historically underserved and underrepresented communities.