LA Waterkeeper in the News

Water district sued over desalination plant proposed for South Bay

Ryan McDonald  | Easy Reader | December 20, 2019

An environmental organization has filed a lawsuit against the West Basin Municipal Water District over its November approval of a large seawater desalination plant proposed along the coast just north of Manhattan Beach’s border with El Segundo, alleging that the water district ignored significant environmental issues in its assessment of the project.

“We refuse to let West Basin move forward with a project knowing that ratepayers, our climate and marine environment will pay the price: a price that we, quite frankly, cannot afford in the face of climate change and the decline of our world’s oceans,” Bruce Reznik, executive director of Los Angeles Waterkeeper, which filed the suit, said in a statement.


Victory for defenders of Californian waterways

Marianne Brooker | The Ecologist | 26th September 2019

Ruling requires state compliance with the Clean Water Act.
A coalition of river and coastal defenders have won a major victory against the State Water Resources Control Board (Water Board), securing an order that requires the Water Board to meet the statutory deadlines for its list of impaired waterways in California.

The lawsuit focused on the Water Board’s violations of the Clean Water Act and the Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act, the latter being California’s guiding clean water law that protects the health of the state’s inland and coastal waters.

Grant Wilson, Directing Attorney of Earth Law Center, said: “This victory will ensure that the State Water Board upholds its basic legal duty to identify and restore impaired waterways in a timely manner. This is an important step towards reversing the historic decline of aquatic ecosystems across California.”


Heavy Winter Rains Quench Drought But Bring Water Runoff Concerns

Spectrum 1 News – April 9, 2019

SANTA MONICA, Calif. – Melissa Von Mayrhauser said she has never seen so many flowers at the Ballona Creek Estuary as there are now. But the recent heavy rains have brought more than just flowers.

The waterways at the estuary carry runoff, including industrial and residential pollution, from all over Los Angeles County into the ocean, which is why it’s a good place to observe and measure water quality.

Mayrhauser is the watershed programs manager for LA Waterkeeper and she says that for a long time, L.A. hasn’t noticed or cared about its waterways. But that’s changing.

CEMEX, California clean water advocacy groups reach agreement

Compton Herald – July 12, 2018

Compton will benefit from CEMEX plan to upgrade stormwater management

CEMEX USA and clean-water advocacy groups Los Angeles Waterkeeper, Orange County Coastkeeper, and its chapter Inland Empire Waterkeeper have agreed on a plan to enhance stormwater management from three of CEMEX’s ready-mix plants in Southern California to resolve an ongoing dispute regarding the Clean Water Act.

Under the agreement, the company will upgrade Best Management Practices for stormwater at plants in Irvine (Orange County), Fontana (San Bernardino County) and Compton (Los Angeles County).


Opposition mounts to West Basin ocean water desalination plant in El Segundo

David Rosenfeld, Daily Breeze – July 6, 2018

As the proposed ocean water desalination plant in El Segundo moves into the next phase of the review process, more cities and conservation groups are lining up against the project they say is too expensive, wastes too much energy and harms marine life.

More than three dozen organizations, agencies and businesses have now either written letters in opposition or made comments critical of the environmental impacts they say a desalination facility on the coast might have, according to Melissa Kelly, an attorney with Los Angeles Waterkeeper.

The non-profit group leads a coalition known as Smarter Water LA representing those groups opposed to the plant that’s expected to produce 20 million gallons of freshwater daily with capacity to produce 60 million gallons per day in the future.

Are you taking from tidepools? In Marine Protected Areas, volunteers track bad behavior at the beach

Laylan Connelly, Orange County Register – June 25, 2018

You can look – just leave it where you found it.

Don’t take the fish — or other sea creatures — in Marine Protected Areas. Don’t even slip a shell into your beach bag.

People may be watching and documenting your every move, noting whether you’re breaking the law while exploring sensitive ecosystems.

Marine Protected Areas – or MPAs – dot the Southern California coastline, safe havens where marine life is protected from human impact to restore depleted fish populations and preserve the ocean ecosystem.

But studies show along the coastline, there’s still plenty of violations – whether accidental or intentional — of strict rules set in place.

LA Explained: The LA River

Emily Guerin, laist – June 22, 2018

Is it a river? A sewer? A flood control channel? A place to film awesome drag racing scenes? A tool of gentrifiers to raise property values? What’s the deal with the L.A. River, and why should I care about it? Let’s find out.

The L.A. River is shaped like a comma. It begins in the western San Fernando Valley at the foothills of the Simi Hills and the Santa Monica and Santa Susana Mountains. It flows east, curving around Griffith Park and passing beneath the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains before flowing south all the way to Long Beach and the Pacific Ocean.

In total, the river runs for 51 miles and passes through 17 cities.

County Targets Dirty Boat Cleaning

Gary Walker, Argonaut News – April 25, 2018

Boaters Face Penalties for Hull-Scrubbing that Exacerbates Copper Pollution in Marina Del Rey

Preventing the accumulation of toxic copper particles in Marina del Rey harbor has proved to be a vexing problem for Los Angeles County officials, as boats with hulls coated in copper-based paint still abound in most anchorages.

Faced with state and federal mandates to reduce copper pollution while encouraging use of alternative paints, the county’s latest legislative focus is to regulate how boats are cleaned.

In March the L.A. County Board of Supervisors approved a preliminary hull cleaning ordinance that would require all in-water cleanings be done by a certified professional and prohibit in-water cleaning that leaves a “visible” paint plume in the water. Those caught breaking the law would be cited for the first two offenses but could face misdemeanor criminal charges for subsequent violations. The board will soon vote on whether to make the new law permanent.


Meet Arthur Pugsley of Los Angeles Waterkeeper

Voyage LA – April 3, 2018

Today we’d like to introduce you to Arthur Pugsley.

Arthur, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.

I am the Senior Attorney at Los Angeles Waterkeeper. I live here in Los Angeles with Jeff, my husband of 23 years. I got to where I am today thanks to good timing, plenty of luck, supportive family and friends and an open mind. I certainly can’t lay claim to a heroic story of overcoming a life of hardship, so in that sense, it has been smooth. But like a typical flight from the East Coast, the smoothness is interrupted by occasional bumpy periods and maybe even the occasional seat belt turbulence advisory. But it has been an interesting journey and one I am very happy I have made.

Ninth Circuit Upholds Termination of “No Otter Zone”

Edhat Santa Barbara – March 3, 2018

In a major victory for threatened southern sea otters, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals [Thursday] issued a ruling denying a challenge by commercial fishing organizations to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) decision that has restored protections for sea otters in Southern California. The Environmental Defense Center (EDC), The Otter Project and Los Angeles Waterkeeper intervened in the case on behalf of the FWS.

The Ninth Circuit agreed with the environmental groups that the fishing industry’s position makes “no sense whatsoever” because it would require the FWS to implement a program after determining it was “counter-productive and harmed, rather than protected, threatened or endangered species.” This ruling affirmed two lower court decisions which upheld the FWS’s 2012 decision to end the “no-otter zone.”

South Bay environmentalists step up opposition to desalination plant in El Segundo

Megan Barnes, Daily Breeze – February 26, 2018

Setting the stage for the next big environmental battle in the South Bay, a group of activists on Monday announced a new coalition opposed to a $380 million oceanwater desalination plant proposed for El Segundo.

The announcement came hours before the West Basin Municipal Water District shared a March 27 release date for the project’s long-awaited draft environmental impact report.

West Basin, a Carson-based agency that supplies water to most of the South Bay, has spent more than 15 years and tens of millions of dollars exploring the idea of building a desalination plant to help make the region less dependent on imported water… read more


Ballona’s $180-Million Question

Gary Walker, Argonaut News – November 15, 2017

Deep-seeded ideological differences about the ends and means of ecological restoration in the Ballona Wetlands took center stage during last week’s only scheduled public hearing on the document that will guide those efforts.

Attendees also learned that the most extensive of three California Department of Fish and Wildlife restoration proposals could cost upwards of $180 million.

More than 250 people crowded into the Burton Chace Park Community room on Nov. 8 to raise topics for further study and, in the case of some prominent environmental groups, go on record about where they stand in the Ballona debate… read more

Researchers turn to slashing and vaccuming invasive devil weed off Catalina, Palos Verdes

Cynthia Washicko, Daily Breeze – October 16, 2017

Devil weed is in the crosshairs.

Researchers have shown some promising results managing the invasive species of algae, also known by its scientific name Sargassum horneri, that has taken hold along swaths of the California coastline.

Off the coast of Catalina Island, researchers tested cutting the plants at the stem and sucking them off the ocean floor. And, off the coast of the Palos Verdes Peninsula, an ongoing [Los Angeles Waterkeeper] study to test the effectiveness of sucking away the plants is set to continue into a second year of attempting to preserve kelp forests by controlling the non-native plants… read more

Los Angeles community groups call on state legislators to protect water and air from federal attempts to weaken environmental safeguards

Christopher Simmons, California Newswire, August 22, 2017

A coalition of Los Angeles community groups this week called on the area’s state legislators to support a package of bills designed to protect the region’s water and air from federal attempts to weaken environmental safeguards. The package is authored by area legislators Senate President pro Tem Kevin De León (D-Los Angeles), Senator Henry Stern (D-Canoga Park), Assemblymember Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles), Assemblymember Laura Friedman (D-Glendale), and Assemblymember Matt Dababneh (D-Woodland Hills).

Los Angeles Waterkeeper, joined by East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice and the Coalition for Clean Air, called on Assemblymembers Bocanegra (D-San Fernando Valley), Burke (D-Inglewood), Gipson (D-Carson) O’Donnell (D-Long Beach), Ridley-Thomas (D-Culver City), Rubio (D-Baldwin Park), and Irwin (D-Thousand Oaks) to support the “Preserve California” package pending in the state legislature.

Our Mother Ocean: Invasion of the Kelp Snatchers

Ashtyn Douglas, Surfer Magazine – March 18, 2017

Kelp forests help groom waves and act as a backbone for marine ecosystems, but along the California coast, many of them are disappearing.

On wind-torn days from San Diego to Crescent City, California surfers have always had an unsung ally in kelp forests. Those large accumulations of kelp you see floating outside the lineup have the ability to groom and comb waves as they make their way toward shore, which is why those of us obsessed with riding clean, glassy lines tend to flock to kelp-protected breaks on blustery days.

These citizen scientists are hoping what they find in the LA River can help them save it

Steve Scauzillo, LA Daily News – January 31, 2017

Todd Barneck crouches near a trickle of storm-water deep within the bones of the concrete Los Angeles River and gently lays in a thermometer.

“That’s 16 degrees C, or about 60 degrees Fahrenheit,” he announces to the group…

On Saturday, he was one of eight all-volunteer citizen scientists organized by the Los Angeles Waterkeeper and Friends of the Los Angeles River, taking the ecological pulse of a channelized section of what passes for a river a stone’s throw from the rumbling, diesel-spewing trucks of the 710 Freeway in Maywood. Their hope is to bring restoration like that proposed for the river’s northeast Los Angeles section to their neck of the river… read more

 A Battle is Brewing Over a Proposal for a New Source of Water in the South Bay

Matt Stevens, LA Times – January 3, 2017

On a picturesque summer afternoon, West Basin Municipal Water District officials chose to woo regulators with a stroll by the beach in El Segundo, stopping to admire an unadulterated strip of California coastline.

“It is beautiful,” said Diane Gatza, West Basin’s water resources engineer. A few hours later, environmental advocates held a town hall two miles away in Manhattan Beach.

“The reason we’re here is West Basin Municipal Water District is proposing a … desal plant,” said Bruce Reznik, head of Los Angeles Waterkeeper. “Unfortunately, it seems a little bit like a done deal. We’re trying to stand up here and say that there are better alternatives.” …read more



$4-Million Settlement Will Fund Stormwater Projects and a ‘Green Street’ for Watts

Matt Stevens, LA Times – December 12, 2016

A South Los Angeles street will get an environmentally friendly face-lift, and new rain gardens and cisterns soon will appear at homes across Los Angeles County thanks to a $4-million settlement reached late last month.

The agreement comes more than eight years after a pair of environmental advocacy organizations sued Los Angeles County and the Los Angeles Flood Control District over high levels of pollution in stormwater that flowed into the Los Angeles and San Gabriel rivers.

Specifically, the settlement will provide $2.8 million to develop and create a “green street” along 103rd Street in Watts and $1.2 million to fund small-scale stormwater capture, cleaning and reuse projects across unincorporated parts of L.A. County that are within the Los Angeles Flood Control District.

“We’re happy,” said Bruce Reznik, executive director of L.A. Waterkeeper, one of the groups that sued the county. “We’re really trying to focus on underserved communities.” …read more



Sargassum Called a Serious Threat to LA’s Coastal Waters. But There’s an App for That.

Jamie Hampton, Santa Monica Observer – December 12, 2016

LA Waterkeeper’s scientific divers plunge into the Palos Verdes Peninsula to survey plots for algae removal.

Sargassum horneri was brought to LA’s waters in 2003 on shipping vessels. Known as devil’s weed, it’s causing concern for kelp forests, in particular, because local groups did an intensive effort from ’97 to 2015 tor restore kelp habitat.

A new research effort by LA Waterkeeper (based in Santa Monica), NOAA and UCSB is tracking the spread of it (using a phone app!) and examining effectiveness of removal strategies… read more



Open Waters Offer Teens New Perspective

Santa Monica Daily Press – December 10, 2016

Tariq Morrow, Brian Parker and Avery Emerson are part of a new mentorship program with New Earth in Culver City. As they work their way through the criminal justice system, the program gives them a chance to get high school diplomas, make art and experience nature like this trip to Point Vicente and Abalone Cove off the coast of Palos Verdes.

Avery’s mentor and principal, Tony Zepeda, chaperoned the voyage. Every month they will be coming out onto to the water to learn about environmental efforts to restore natural habitats and marine life in the waters near Santa Monica.

The outing is part of a partnership between New Earth and L.A. Waterkeeper to get teens out of the city and onto the ocean. It’s a new tact for a four-year-old program run by Michael Quill, the community programs manager at the non-profit… read more


Cagle, Kate (2016, December 10). Open Waters Offer Teens New Perspective. Santa Monica Daily Press. Retrieved from

Dive Team Heads Underwater to Begin Investigation of Controlling Invasive Species

Palos Verdes Patch – November 23, 2016

Los Angeles Waterkeeper, a marine watchdog group, conducted an investigation Wednesday into the effectiveness of removing invasive algae to restore habitats along the Palos Verdes coastline.

The investigation specifically studies the non-native algae species Sargassum horneri. In 2003, Sargassum horneri was introduced to Long Beach Harbor in the form of biological pollution from commercial shipping vessels. Commonly called the “devil weed,” sargassum originates from Japan and Korea, but it has spread as far south as Baja, Mexico and north to Santa Barbara.

The introduction of non-native species is one of the greatest threats to our coastal marine environments… read more


Nguyen, Alexander (2016, November 23). Dive Team Heads Underwater to Begin Investigation of Controlling Invasive Species. Palos Verdes Patch. Retrieved from

 Chumash Community to Host Honor the Ocean Celebration

The Malibu Times – September 23, 2016

Honor the Ocean, an educational event designed around marine protection and tradition, is coming to Zuma Beach this weekend.

Malibu’s local Chumash community and indigenous maritime peoples will celebrate Los Angeles’ indigenous population Sept. 24 in partnership with Sherman Indian High School, an off-reservation boarding school. The event will run from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. at Trancas Beach at Zuma in Malibu.

Participants in the Honor the Ocean celebration will have access to a full day of education on how to…read more




Reynolds, Ashley (2016, September 23).  Chumash Community to Host Honor the Ocean Celebration. The Malibu Times. Retrieved from



Volunteers Pick Up Trash In Sea And Sand At Dockweiler State Beach For Coastal Cleanup Day

CBS Los Angeles – September 17, 2016

DOCKWEILER STATE BEACH (  —  They took the concept of Coastal Cleanup to an extreme Saturday.

Volunteers, literally, dug deep.

CBS2’s Joy Benedict reports that at Dockweiler State Beach, volunteers got in the water and cleaned like never before.

It’s a beautiful place to find sand and surf, she reported. But on second glance, if you look closely, things found at the beach might not be so appealing.

Just a few yards off shore, an auxiliary cord… read more


screen-shot-2016-09-26-at-10-28-40-am (2016, September 17). Volunteers Pick Up Trash In Sea And Sand At Dockweiler State Beach For Coastal Cleanup Day. CBS LA. Retrieved from



Divers off Palos Verdes Peninsula begin fight against algae invading Southern California coast

Daily Breeze – September 18, 2016

A small, exploratory dive off the Palos Verdes Peninsula has launched an effort to curb an invasive algae species that has overwhelmed habitats along the California coast.

The three-person dive was the first as part of a Sargassum Abatement project begun by Los Angeles Waterkeeper, a nonprofit focused on protecting ocean waters along the Southern California Coast. The algae, Sargassum horneri, likely hitchhiked its way in the ballast water of ships coming from Japan and… read more




Washicko, Cynthia (2016, September 18). Divers off Palos Verdes Peninsula begin fight against algae invading Southern California coast. Daily Breeze. Retrieved from



Bayside Celebration to Honor Los Angeles’ Wave Makers on September 29

Santa Monica Mirror – September 15, 2016

Clean water is a reason to celebrate. On Thursday, September 29, Los Angeles Waterkeeper presents its 5th annual Making Waves benefit to honor the leaders transforming how the region protects and restores its local water resources. Business, philanthropic and community leaders will join special guest and LA Waterkeeper Founder Terry Tamminen at the soiree in Santa Monica…read more





Mirror Staff (2016, September 15). Bayside Celebration to Honor Los Angeles’ Wave Makers on September 29. Santa Monica Mirror. Retrieved from



 LA Waterkeeper Takes Water Boards to Court … for Ignoring Public Outcry On Dangerous Pollution Levels

City Watch – August 1, 2016

WATER WATCH– After a decision by the California State Water Resources Control Board and the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board, legal pollution limits have increased to allow excessive amounts of copper and lead in the Los Angeles River and its tributaries. High levels of toxic pollution pose a serious threat to the marine life and possibly to people that depend on Los Angeles’ waters…read more


City Watch 2016-08-02 at 1.27.01 PM


Reznik, Bruce (2016, August 1). LA Waterkeeper Takes Water Boards to Court … for Ignoring Public Outcry On Dangerous Pollution Levels. City Watch. Retrieved from



Potential desalination plant near Manhattan Beach debated

The Beach Reporter – July 28, 2016

During last week’s meeting, opponents of the desalination plant, like Los Angeles Waterkeeper, Surfrider Foundation and Heal the Bay, extolled problems that could arise from a desalination plant. Many of these are the same issues Cooley sees with desalination plants….read more


Segura, Daniella (2016, July 28). Potential desalination plant near Manhattan Beach debated. The Beach Reporter. Retrieved from


 2.4 million gallon sewage spill was LA’s worst in 15 years

89.3 KPCC – July 21, 2016

“I think there’s been enough change in the city that this was an aberration”, Reznik said, adding that a 2.4 million gallon spill is still a major spill. “This is going to be a wake-up call to everybody to make sure we don’t fall back.” …read more

Guerin, Emily (2016, July 21). 2.1 million gallon sewage spill was LA’s worst in 15 years. 89.3KPCC. Retrieved from


Progress for clean water

VC Reporter – June 23, 2016

“The Ag Order includes enforceable water quality limits for wastewater discharges from farms, edge-of-field monitoring of discharges from individual farms and well-testing requirements that the Wishtoyo Foundation says will ‘protect farm workers from drinking contaminated water.’
The order was supported by an alphabet soup of environmental and Native American activist groups, including the Wishtoyo Foundation, Wishtoyo’s Ventura Coastkeeper Program, Santa Barbara Channelkeeper, Los Angeles Waterkeeper, CAUSE (Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy) and the Center for Food Safety…” read more.

VC Reporter 6-23-2016O’Neal, Chris (2016, June 23). Progress for clean water. VC Reporter. Retrieved from

Waterkeeper exists to keep the flow ‘clean’

Culver City News – June 23, 2016

“With the recent spate of incidents of black sludge emanating from local residential water faucets in such places as Crystal City, Texas and Gardena, Calif., the issue of clean water remains a top priority among advocates…” read more.

Culvier City News 6-26-2016

Luster, Gary (2016, June 23). Waterkeeper exists to keep the flow ‘clean’. Culver City News. Retrieved from


Water conservation has saved energy, cut greenhouse gas emissions, study finds

Los Angeles Times – June 7, 2016

‘“One of the things this Davis report shows, which people in the water sector have known for a long time, is if you really want to get a handle on climate change, you can’t do it without water conservation,” said Bruce Reznick, executive director of Los Angeles Waterkeeper.’

LATimes 6.7.2016

Smith, Joshua E. (2016, June 7). Water conservation has saved energy, cut greenhouse gas emissions, study finds. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from


Many California cities predict no conservation requirements under new water rules

The Sacramento Bee – May 19, 2016

For many environmentalists, on the other hand, the shift in approach represents a stunning retrenchment. They argue that California, as a whole, uses water as if much of the state isn’t desert, and that one year of forced conservation isn’t long enough to change habits.

“We have this program that’s been hugely, hugely successful,” said Bruce Reznik, executive director of the Los Angeles Waterkeeper. “And what is the state water board’s response? You get a little bit of rain and they walk away from it. … We know that these voluntary soft programs don’t work.”

Sacramento Bee 5.19.2016
Sabalow, Ryan & Reese, Phillip (2016, May 19). Many California cities predict no conservation requirements under new water rules. The Sacramento Bee. Retrieved from

Robert Kennedy Jr.: “Keep it Clean” Comedy Benefit for Waterkeeper Alliance – April 21, 2016

Robert Kennedy Jr., President of Waterkeeper Alliance, joined Fox 11 in their studios to talk about “Keep it Clean” — an annual comedy benefit for Waterkeeper Alliance, which features an impressive list of top comedians for the purpose of raising funds and awareness around the need for clean water sources around the world.


Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 1.38.04 PM




 An ‘unsung hero’ by the sea

Santa Monica Daily Press – March 7, 2016

LAW’s Michael Quill recognized as one of the “Unsung Heroes of Los Angeles” by the California Community Foundation. His portrait is included a photography exhibit by the same name at LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes that will run through April 4, 2016.

“One of the ways that “hero” Quill is responsible for bringing social change to the community is through L.A. Waterkeeper’s Marine Protected Areas Boat Based Survey, a program that provides the opportunity for at-risk youth to reconnect to the planet and themselves.”


Drought-Stricken Californians Asked Not to Wash Their Cars

NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams- October 10, 2014


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Environmental SWAT Team Tests Runoff to Nab Polluters

Cover of the Los Angeles TimesApril 8, 2014

Cover of LA Times_ April 8 2014







Breaking: Los Angeles Passes Fracking Moratorium

EcoNews- February 28, 2014

Los Angeles is the largest city in the U.S. to place a moratorium on fracking. City council unanimously voted Friday afternoon to send a moratorium motion to the city attorney’s office to be written as a zoning ordinance. It will then return to council for a final vote.

“While state oil and gas regulators drag their feet on enforcing existing rules and taking adequate precaution for the health of our communities, rivers and ocean, L.A. residents suffer from what is already occurring at the nation’s largest urban oil field and in communities throughout the city,” said Liz Crosson, Executive Director of Los Angeles Waterkeeper. “We don’t know all of the chemicals oil companies are exposing us to when they frack in our neighborhoods, but we know enough to know we don’t want them in our air or in our water.”

King Tides

KCRW 89.9- January 30, 2014

California’s Drought: The New Normal

Eco Watch- January 18, 2014

Gov. Jerry Brown has officially declared a drought in the state of California. Californians are being asked to reduce their personal water usage by 20 percent in 2014, projected to become the driest year on record. Scientific projections regarding climate change suggest that these dry conditions could become the new normal. The drought proclamation formally recognizes that “extremely dry conditions…may continue beyond this year and more regularly into the future.” This calls for permanent and fundamental changes in our behavior.

First Flush Results Not Good for Santa Monica

Santa Monica Daily Press- December 22, 2013

If you saw the beach in October after the first rain of the season then you know it was gross. Birds picked through the garbage that made its way from the mainland down to the edge of the shore. But the first flush was detrimental to the city by the sea in ways that don’t meet the eye. Samples from two dozen industrial facilities throughout the county taken during the flush by Los Angeles Waterkeeper, a Santa Monica-based advocacy group, showed dangerously high levels of fecal bacteria and heavy metals.

First Flush, First at the Scene of the Crime

Huffington Post- November 12, 2013

“The first flush and the upcoming rainy season is a crucial time for LA Waterkeeper to identify and assess some of the major sources of storm water pollution that plague our waterways, including the LA River. As part of our Water Quality Monitoring program, the Storm Water Assessment Team (S.W.A.T.) is a group of trained volunteers that conduct investigative storm water sampling when it rains at industrial facilities suspected of violating federal and state clean water laws. The storm water samples are then tested at state certified labs for heavy metals including iron, aluminum, copper, lead, zinc, and mercury, and trash and fecal bacteria. The data we collect from this year’s rain will be used to influence statewide and regional water quality regulations and to ensure, sometimes through litigation, that industrial facilities are operating in compliance with standards set to protect public health and the environment”- Liz Crosson, Executive Director, Los Angeles Waterkeeper


Whenever it Rains, Los Angeles Waterkeeper Goes Out and Collects Storm Water Samples at Industrial Sites

KCRW  89.9 FM- October 10, 2013


Volunteers Hit SoCal Beaches for Coastal Cleanup Day

KTLA Los Angeles, Channel 5 News – September 21, 2013

Over 400 volunteers collected and removed 250 lbs. of trash at Dockweiler Beach, Tower 60 as part of Los Angeles Waterkeeper’s Coastal Cleanup Day. In partnership with the California Coastal Commission and Heal the Bay, LA Waterkeeper’s beach cleanup site uniquely featured a sea cleanup by volunteer scuba divers and a “Pellet Watch” where volunteers sifted through sand for micro-plastics (broken down plastic that comes from factories, industrial plants and plastic litter). Participants came in busloads from near and far to participate in Los Angeles Waterkeeper’s cleanup. For some, this was their first trip to the beach. Among the items discovered on the beach was a 120 lb. piece of carpet.

Los Angeles Waterkeeper Conducts First Trash Survey in Urban Rivers Throughout Los Angeles

KPFK 90.7 FM, Pacific Evening News- September 19, 2013

Los Angeles Waterkeeper, along with other Keepers and agencies, is conducting the first Bight 13 study of trash in urban rivers from Los Angeles to San Diego. An expansion of a study started last year, Bight 13 focuses on the impact of urban land use through trash/debris assessments to better understand the sources of riverine pollution. Trained volunteers will follow a systematic procedure to characterize every item in a segment of river.  Los Angeles Waterkeeper will cover more than 6 river locations in the Los Angeles River and Santa Monica Bay Watersheds from now until the first big rain of the season. Partner agencies, including the City of Los Angeles and Algalita Marine Research Institute, are simultaneously conducting a study of marine debris found in the Santa Monica Bay and all results will be presented early next year.

 Divers Restore Kelp Forest off Palos Verdes-One Sea Urchin at a Time

KCRW- Which Way LA- September 16, 2013

Off the coast of Palos Verdes, the ocean floor is home to millions of purple urchins…and not much else. Kelp forests are iconic to the California coastline. Southern California is a world-class destination for divers looking to feel like they’re flying through a redwood forest, immersed in a paradisaical underwater ecosystem. But the water off of the Palos Verdes Peninsula is home to an exploding population of purple sea urchins, surprisingly destructive creatures that are wiping out the kelp forests needed to sustain a vibrant marine ecosystem. The are has become what scientists call an “urchin barren”, a desolate stretch of the seafloor where the urchin population has gone unchecked, trashing kelp forest and reducing biodiversity. Now, scientists, environmentalists and fisherman are coming together in a massive undertaking. The goal? To kill off 5 million purple sea urchins and thus restore the billowing canopies of kelp forest the area was once known for.

Sea Urchins Threatening Kelp Off Palos Verdes

ABC 7 Los Angeles- August 23, 2013

“…Reducing urchin density is the number one way to bring back kelp forests”- Brian Meux, Marine Program Manager, Los Angeles Waterkeeper

Appeals Court Deals Setback to L.A. County in Storm Water Case

Los Angeles Times- August 8, 2013

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals dealt a setback to Los Angeles County on Thursday in a long-running lawsuit over storm-water pollution. The Natural Resources Defense Council and Santa Monica Baykeeper — now Los Angeles Waterkeeper — sued the county flood control district in 2008 over pollution in the Los Angeles and San Gabriel rivers, alleging that the flood control district had violated its storm water permit.

The lawsuit cited high pollution readings at monitoring stations in the rivers. County officials have argued that the flood control district is not primarily to blame for the pollution in the rivers, because there are dozens of cities discharging polluted runoff upstream from the monitoring sites. Last year, the 9th Circuit ruled that the county was liable for pollution in the rivers, and referred to the water flowing from the “concrete channels” into the natural part of the lower river as discharges of pollutants. The U.S. Supreme Court in January reversed that opinion, saying that water flowing from one “concrete” section of the river to another section cannot be deemed a “discharge” of pollutants. It did not rule on a number of other issues raised in the case. The 9th Circuit issued an opinion Thursday saying that the county is still liable for excessively high pollution levels detected at monitoring stations in county waterways. Unless the county appeals, the case will go back to the federal district court to determine how the county will be required to fix the violations.

California Bill Regulating Ocean Trash Dies in Assembly Without A Vote

KPCC 89.3 FM, Southern California Public Radio- May 27, 2013

If part of your memorial day plans include a trip to the beach, please make sure not to leave any trash behind. Thousands of pounds of garbage wind up in the Pacific ocean every week, and things often get worse on holidays. Assembly Bill 521, which would have required manufacturers to be responsible for keeping most common plastic junk out of state waterways, died Friday in the state Assembly without even a vote. Liz Crosson, executive director of LA Waterkeeper, joins the show with more.

LA Waterkeeper: 20 Years of Environmental Activism

Westside People- May 26, 2013

It’s four in the morning and the late night reconnaissance crew at LA Waterkeeper is tired and hungry, but they keep pushing on. There’s a rare all-night rainstorm going on in Los Angeles, so this is their chance to grab valuable water samples. They’re in the gutters looking for pollution that might be headed to storm drains and out into the ocean. This morning they’re looking for industrial metals, the kind that flow from scrap metal yards or auto shops. In recent months, this small team of environmental sleuths has been targeting some of the biggest industrial polluters in the city, which means they’ve found some pretty disgusting places.

“There are some really nasty spots,” says executive director Liz Crosson, who personally takes part in the late night missions. “We play a really important role in ensuring that polluters are held responsible. We’re willing to get out there and be on the ground and collect the data.”

Liz Crosson: Standing Up for Clean Water

Huffington Post: The Blog- April 24, 2012

“Forty years ago our nation’s waterways had become a dumping ground for trash, sewage, oil, and chemicals. A small but powerful network of groups and individuals have used the Clean Water Act to take on powerful corporate and government polluters, and in doing so, have brought our rivers, streams, lakes, bays and ocean back from the brink”

$6.6 Million Settlement Reached on Malibu Beach Water Pollution

Los Angeles Times- April 13, 2012

Malibu has reached a $6.6-million legal settlement with environmental groups that both sides say will protect beachgoers by reducing the amount of polluted storm runoff that reaches the ocean.


The settlement of a 2008 federal Clean Water Act lawsuit against the city by Santa Monica Baykeeper [now Los Angeles Waterkeeper] and the Natural Resources Defense Council was approved Friday by a unanimous vote of the Malibu City Council during a special closed-session meeting. The agreement requires Malibu to build rain-water harvesting, infiltration or treatment devices to catch storm water before it is released from 17 storm drains throughout the city. In all, the work will cost about $5.6 million, said City Atty. Christi Hogin, who noted that Malibu is already undertaking 11 of those projects. The city also agreed to pay the environmental groups $750,000 in legal fees and set aside $250,000 to fund an ocean health assessment of Santa Monica Bay in collaboration with scientists at Cal State Northridge.

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