San Diego Coastkeeper is known as San Diego County’s water quality watchdog, and we advance the protection of clean water across San Diego County. We combine community education, data-driven advocacy, and legal action to protect and restore fishable, swimmable, drinkable water in San Diego County.
Marine debris plagues the San Diego coastline causing harm to children, swimmers, surfers, beaches, the ocean, and local wildlife. In order to tackle this persistent problem, San Diego Coastkeeper hosts 24-50 cleanups each year with community partners. Volunteers engage in direct environmental stewardship and have an immediate positive impact on our beach environment by removing trash before it infiltrates our coastal waters. At each cleanup, volunteers record the types, amount, and weight of trash found throughout the cleanup, which allows us to analyze the state of San Diego beaches each year. Additionally, we use these data to educate the public and local businesses about trash in San Diego County, and influence policy decisions that help prevent trash from reaching our beaches and coastline, and benefit our water and environment. We also educate the cleanup volunteers about marine debris, its harmful impacts, and prevention strategies including behavior changes and single-use plastic and waste reduction.
In 2018, more than 8,860 community volunteers removed more than 165,200 items of trash, weighing 11,530 pounds, from along San Diego County’s beaches and coastal areas. The primary types of debris found include plastics, glass, metal, Styrofoam, and cigarette butts, all of which negatively impact the health of our waters, coastline, beaches, and marine and aquatic wildlife.
San Diego Coastkeeper believes that environmental education is the basis of environmental stewardship. We will train the next generation of leaders through our environmental education program and help them become informed community members for the protection of our marine and coastal environments today and in the future. We provide hands-on, inquiry-based K-6 grade water and climate science curriculum to teachers and students to learn about local water quality, local aquatic and marine habitats and ecosystems, pollution issues and prevention strategies, ocean conservation, and environmental stewardship. This curriculum meets state standards and is available to all educators at no cost. In 2018, we educated more than 2,600 students, teachers, families, and community members with this water and climate science curriculum.
San Diego Coastkeeper brings an expert voice to regional policymaking, advocates for long-term pollution reduction strategies, and provides community education. With unparalleled credibility and partnerships, we are positioned as regional leaders in advocating for long-term sustainable water management and multi-benefit solutions to our region’s water quality issues and improving watershed health.
We continue to advocate for pollution reduction, improved watershed health, and advancement of stormwater capture and wastewater reuse projects. These advocacy efforts lead to implementation of practices that reduce polluted discharges into our inland and coastal waters, increase water security, improve water quality, and enhance natural habitats. In addition, this work will help advance smart and sustainable permits, regulations, and policies that will reduce pollution from industrial, municipal, and government sources and ensure discharges achieve water quality standards. By promoting sustainable stormwater and wastewater capture, treatment, and reuse projects as viable methods of addressing pollution issues, we will continue to advance regional policies and projects that support improved water quality and watershed health.