Tag Archives: conservation

Zoom with HTO & Expert Panelists on Thursday, June 17 @ 7PM to Hear How the Summerland Oil Wells are Being Capped & Learn What’s Next on the List!

Many HTO fans know about our organization’s work capping the leaking oil wells of Summerland. For decades, oil has been leaking from the wellheads of some of the first offshore oil rigs in the world, over 400 of them right here in Santa Barbara County. The beaches in Summerland were a major source of oil pollution, which, spread as far southeast as Carpinteria and northwest along the coast to Miramar, Hammonds, and East Beach.

Finding the exact locations of these leaks and making the determination that they were indeed old wellheads vs. natural seeps took years of research both above and below the ocean. Good observations, sophisticated technology – from drones and ROV’s to multibeam sonar – and determination, all would need to be deployed to solve the mystery of where the oil plumes were coming from, to arrive at a viable solution to stop the flow of oil into the ocean.

After years of collaboration, Heal the Ocean, former California State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, UCSB, InterAct, the California State Lands Commission, and our own Advisory Board Member Harry Rabin (who is greatly responsible for keeping the project on course), have successfully worked together to cap the leaking oil wells off Summerland Beach. 

Join us tonight, Thursday, June 17, 2021, at 7 pm as we come together to tell the story of this victory for the environment at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum’s Zoom event: Detecting and Capping Leaking Oil Wells in Summerland. This Zoom presentation will be led by producer, director, and documentary filmmaker Harry Rabin, the CEO, and founder of On the Wave Productions who worked alongside engineers and divers in the Summerland oil well field. The event will feature panelists who were involved in this environmental success, including:

• Mike Giuliani – Head engineer at InterAct – the contractors working under the California State Lands Commission (SLC);

• Joe Fabel – an attorney for the SLC;

• Hillary Hauser – Executive Director of Heal the Ocean;

• David Valentine, Ph.D. – Founding Director of the Marine Science program in the College of Creative Studies at UCSB & current Professor of Geochemistry and Microbiology at UCSB;

• Hannah-Beth Jackson – Former CA State Senator who authored SB 44 the Coastal Hazards & Legacy Oil & Gas Wells Removal & Remediation Program, which has secured $2 million per year in funding for the Summerland work.

The event is free for all, but registration is required. To register for the Zoom event, please click here. We hope to “see” you all on Thursday, June 17, at 7 p.m. for this interesting discussion.

NOTE: The next well, Ohlsson 805, is scheduled to be capped next month, in July 2021; and Duquesne, a beach well, is scheduled to be capped at the end of the 2021 year, in December – to end the year with a Christmas present for everyone!

Thank you to the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum and the event sponsor Marie L. Morrisroe!

Sanctuary | Lotusland Online Art Sale & Gallery Exhibition

Online Art Sale & Gallery Exhibition launches on Earth Day April 22 through May 3, 2021.

Launching April 22, visit the online show or in person at GraySpace in the Funk Zone GraySpace Gallery, 219 Gray Ave., Santa Barbara, California.

Please visit: www.Lotusland.org/sanctuary/ for more information.

The invitation was sent to 36 local artists to participate. Artists were asked to create new work inspired by Lotusland. Artists were given 3 days to visit the Garden and only 8 weeks to create, capture and complete their muse at Lotusland. Whether it be a specific garden, found materials, or to create in the Garden their piece of work for the show. It was a creative concept and challenge that the artists were craving, especially this year.

Funds raised support sustainable Lotusland’s sustainability programs which promote and teach individuals, groups, gardeners, and institutions about the best methods and practices in horticulture, environmental responsibility, and stewardship.

Lotusland Executive Director, Rebecca Anderson says, “In response to the pandemic, and the shortfalls we experienced as a result, we needed to rethink fundraisers. With a desire to connect the community to our mission, we dreamed up this concept for a new benefit event with participating artists from our region. We view this online sale and show as a way to foster connection with Lotusland’s supporters, engage and encourage local artists, and sustain the Garden’s important sustainability programs.”

The artists and show are curated by volunteers Ashley Woods Hollister and Casey Turpin, and the Gallery space is sponsored by Ruth Ellen Hoag and GraySpace Gallery. “We knew this could be a special way for people to bring a piece of the Lotusland sanctuary to their own home,” explain Ashley and Casey, co-curators of the exhibition.

Participating artists include:

Paulo Lima,

R. Nelson Parrish Michael Adcock Taiana Giefer

Skip Smith Meredith Brooks Abbott

Phoebe Brunner Robert Abbott Rick Garcia Baret Boisson

Leslie Lewis Sigler Ruth Ellen Hoag

Joan Rosenberg-Dent

Kerrie Smith Michael Haber Lindsey Ross Manjari Sharma Jessica June Avrutin Bobbi Bennett Connie Connally Inga Guzyte

Maria Rendon Cara Bonewitz Lynda Weinman Blakeney Sanford Erika Carter

Cathy Moholm Luis Alberto Velazquez

Sophie Gibbings George Leo Sanders Ro Snell

Olivia Joffrey Lily Hahn Whitney Hansen

Whitney Brooks Abbott Ryan Shand

“The garden is magic, and it has touched my work in a way that will give me endless ideas and new directions for much more time to come!” – Lynda Weinman, Former Lotusland Trustee, and participating artist

“Walking alone through Lotusland on those quiet Monday mornings felt like falling down the rabbit hole into a secret world. It was truly sensory overload at every turn – layers upon layers of colors and textures and smells.” – Jessica June Avrutin, participating artist

Ashley Woods Hollister has long supported local artists through her work with Art from Scrap and as the former director of the Morris Squire Foundation. Casey Turpin is an avid volunteer in the Insectary Garden at Lotusland, and both are passionate about showcasing Lotusland’s beauty and science through the eyes of a local artist community.

Lotusland is a precious outdoor space for the Santa Barbara community. Proceeds from this event keep the Garden growing, and remains a source of beauty and respite for visitors.

The artists’ contributions advance Lotusland’s mission to inspire and inform the public about protecting, conserving, and renewing nature and its precious resources.

“Through the Sanctuary Art Sale and Exhibition, our goal is to contribute to the success of Lotusland’s horticultural care, as well as providing education to others about best practices and philosophies to support sustainability. We feel very lucky and excited to be a part of this wonderfully creative process.” – Ashley Woods Hollister & Casey Turpin, Art Curators for Sanctuary

For more information, please Contact: Kerstin Olson Horneman, Event Manager, Ganna Walska Lotusland

khorneman@lotusland.org 805.969.3767 (130)

Save the Planet With Native Plants

How you can protect and restore mother earth all year round

Over 50 years ago, an oil rig experienced a pressure blowout in the Santa Barbara Channel resulting in up to 3 million gallons of crude oil ripping through the ocean floor — the worst oil spill in the nation’s history up to that point. It took years for Santa Barbara’s ecosystem to recover, but the Earth Day movement took root. Despite our collective efforts that were started on that first Earth Day, globally we are still in the throes of the sixth major mass extinction in planetary history and the first time this has been caused by humans. Today, our global biodiversity is collapsing, resulting in an accelerated rate of species extinction. 

Earth Day, a time to demonstrate support for environmental protection, is an opportunity to bring awareness to the healing power of native plants. The mission of the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden is to conserve and protect native plants and habitats for the health and well being of people and the planet. That mission has become increasingly urgent as more native plant species face extinction, threatening the foundation of all life on the planet.

Saving plants means saving the planet. 

In honor of Earth Day, the Garden invites the community to restore the earth by  celebrating these critical native plants.

1) Spending time in nature is something we can all do to reconnect with mother earth, and it doesn’t go without healing benefits. Nature can help reduce anxiety, promote creativity and contribute to heart health. Research shows rewards begin accruing with as little as 2 hours a week.

“The Garden provides the community with respite filled with redwood trees, wildflower meadows, and Channel Island views,” said Dr. Steve Windhager, Executive Director of the Garden. “It’s a good opportunity to remind ourselves of the connection between our own health and the health of the planet.”

2) The Garden welcomes the community to take a stroll through our native plant displays on Earth Day to observe the unique beauty of California flora and learn more about what simple seeds of change you can implement that make a huge impact on our environment. Discover our chalkboard signs along the trails with tips on what you can do to protect biodiversity or join our Instagram livestream from 11am – 12:30pm for a Garden stroll with our Director of Education and Engagement.

3) Participate in Earth Day virtually by registering to join in Chumash Earth Day on April 20 at 1pm, hosted by the Santa Ynez Chumash Environmental Office. Windhager will be giving a presentation on how you can heal the earth starting in your own home and neighborhood by planting native plants.

4) Learn more about where climate leaders are stepping up to do the critical work needed to combat the climate crisis by joining in the Community Environmental Council’s 3-Day Virtual Earth Day Festival. The Garden’s Director of Education and Engagement, Scot Pipkin, will be a co-emcee on April 24 from 12pm – 3pm and will share how native plants can be used to lean into climate action at this urgent moment.

5) At the Garden, be sure to visit our nursery, which offers the widest selection of native plants on the central coast. Staffed with knowledgeable and experienced gardeners, there’s no better place to learn more about native plants, find the right selection for your garden, create wildlife habitat, or purchase a plant for a friend.

Protect and restore the earth this year through native plants. Native plants enhance the environment instead of threatening it, provide habitat for wildlife, and are a source of nectar for pollinators. Earth Day began in our own backyard, and can continue to grow there as well. 

 About the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden

The Garden serves the public as more than just a pretty place, but as a model for sustainability. Founded in 1926, the Garden is the first botanic garden focused exclusively on California native plants and currently spans 78 acres with five miles of walking trails, an herbarium, seed bank, research labs, library, and Nursery. The Garden welcomes the public every day from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and offers a members-only hour from 9 a.m. – 10 a.m. For more information about the Garden, please visit sbbg.org.   

‘Zooper Heroes’ Celebrates Human and Animal Super Powers at the Santa Barbara Zoo

Come learn about amazing animal adaptations and wear your favorite superhero costume

The Santa Barbara Zoo celebrates both human and animal super powers with its first-ever ‘Zooper Heroes Month,’ a fun and educational event showcasing animal adaptations, beginning on March 26 through April 30. 

Guests are encouraged to come dressed as their favorite superhero anytime throughout the month to learn about various animal adaptations, and find out what projects the Zoo’s conservation team is working on. Guests can have fun with photo op vignettes throughout the Zoo featuring different animal adaptations like butterflies and other pollinators, spiders, frogs, and more, while visiting all their favorite animals. Special themed food and drink offerings will also be available for purchase. 

Zooper Heroes is free with Zoo admission or Zoo membership; online reservations are required.  Due to COVID-19 restrictions, face coverings that cover the nose and mouth must be worn by all guests over the age of 2 while in the Zoo; no costume head or face masks permitted. Keep costumes child-friendly: no gore or realistic weapons. The Zoo will be open for regular operating hours in line with the modified COVID-19 safety measures, including limited capacity. To make reservations for Zooper Heroes, visit www.sbzoo.org.

About the Santa Barbara Zoo

The Santa Barbara Zoo is open daily from 9 a.m. for members and 9:30 am for general admission until 5 pm (seasonal extended hours on select days); general admission is $19.95 for adults, $14.95 for children 2-12, and free for children under 2. Parking is $11. The Santa Barbara Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). AZA zoos are dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great visitor experience, and a better future for all living things. With its more than 200 accredited members, AZA is a leader in global wildlife conservation and is the public’s link to helping animals in their native habitats. Visit www.sbzoo.org.

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden Celebrates 95 Years

Santa Barbara’s historical gem invites you to celebrate its 95th birthday

On March 16, the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden invites the community to help them celebrate 95 years of history. Pop-up exhibits will share stories, photos, local history, and milestones of the Garden over the decades. Visitors can discover the oldest plants in the Garden, some as old as the Garden itself, as well as other surprises along the way. Birthday twins of the Garden born on March 16th will be welcomed into the Garden free of admission with a valid ID. 

The Garden’s history has deep roots. Founded in 1926, the Garden was the first botanic garden in the United States to focus exclusively on native plants. In 1925, the Carnegie Institution suggested a cooperative effort with the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History to create a botanical garden. The plan became a reality when local philanthropist Anna Dorinda Blaksley Bliss purchased 13 acres in Mission Canyon for the museum, with views spanning from the mountains and the ocean. In 1939, the Botanic Garden separated from the Natural History Museum and was named the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden. 

The garden was laid out in various plant communities, such as chaparral, desert, and prairie, with an emphasis on plants from the Pacific slope of North America. Experimental groupings of significant genera such as Ceanothus and Eriogonum (buckwheat) were displayed for horticultural research and to educate the public. By 1936, this emphasis had narrowed to plants native to the state of California, and now includes northwestern Baja California and southwestern Oregon, which are part of the California Floristic Province.

“Gardening with native plants is becoming more popular due to the desire to have an eco-friendly and low-maintenance garden,” said Dr. Steve Windhager, Executive Director. “Our founders were ahead of their time and recognized the important role that a garden dedicated to native plants could have in supporting an awareness and conservation of native habitat.” 

In honor of both the Garden’s birthday and Women’s History Month, Dr. Steve Windhager will share stories of the Garden’s “Founding Mothers” in collaboration with Casa Dorinda on March 16 at 2:00 p.m. Join in by visiting our “At Home” portal to be inspired by stories of Santa Barbara’s influential female leaders who have grown the Garden to what it is today. 

Those who aren’t able to join in the Garden’s socially-distant birthday celebration on March 16 can still enjoy pop-up exhibits throughout the week, and of course increasingly beautiful wildflowers throughout the Spring season. 

The Garden’s mission is to conserve California native plants and habitats for the health and well-being of people and the planet. The aim of the founders was to create a garden that would “…unite the aesthetic, educational and scientific.” The Garden currently spans 78 acres with five miles of hiking trails, an herbarium, seed bank, research labs, library, and native plant Nursery. For more information about the Garden, please visit sbbg.org.     

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden

Just like nearly every place in town, Santa Barbara Botanic Garden closed for two months during the first phase of the stay-at-home orders designed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic last spring. But then the county decided that the Garden was an essential service. 

Which, to anyone who has ever visited the 78-acre site that blends cultivated displays with stands of natural woodlands, was sort of a case of stating the obvious. Visiting SBBG is like taking a trip to a lush haven within the already inviting space that Santa Barbara and environs occupy between the ocean and the Santa Ynez Mountains. So welcoming people back to the Garden – as Joni Mitchell once sang – was a happy moment for SBBG Executive Director Steve Windhager.

“When I go for walks in the garden, it’s great to see people down in the woods, just recharging,” he said. “I can’t describe it any other way but that it’s almost like they’re plugging into something and getting renewed and refreshed. To me, that’s what the garden is all about and why it is so important that we’re available during this difficult time for everybody.”

It also helps that, as Windhager said, it’s a “super safe place to go,” because social distancing is pretty easy in such an expansive space and the staff are committed to enforcing the requirement that visitors wear masks at all times, a restriction that hasn’t stopped the Garden from having its biggest year yet in terms of visitors in 2020, pro-rating the numbers from the months it was open. It also doesn’t hurt that the Garden is easily accessible from anywhere in the area, just a short drive up Mission Canyon – “Literally four miles from the ocean, seven minutes from town, maybe a few more if you get stuck behind a slow-moving vehicle,” he said. 

But what’s becoming readily apparent over recent years is just how important SBBG is beyond serving as a recreational space for locals looking for time in nearby nature during lockdown. That value is right in the Garden’s mission: “To conserve California native plants and habitats for the health and well-being of people and the planet.” 

The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden is an ideal place to visit to unplug and recharge

“We’ve been around for 95 years and everyone knows that we’re a garden, but what they don’t understand is that really we’re a conservation organization that happens to have a garden,” Windhager explained, noting that SBBG contains more than 1,000 species of plants native to California. “The reason we’re all about those plants is because not only are they incredibly beautiful, they support the biodiversity that supports all of our lives. They support pollination services, support our crops, restoration and, well basically, life on the planet.” 

Correctly understanding what’s out there and making sure those plants continue to live for the coming generations is “the untold story about the Botanic Garden,” Windhager said. “We do want people to come visit us and be impressed by California’s flora, to come see the wildflowers instead of having to drive up to Figueroa Mountain – and they’re going to be gorgeous this year. But I think species research and preservation is the bigger story.” 

That goal is why SBBG has ramped up its Conservation & Research program, staffed largely by an ever-increasing team of PhD botanists and researchers, to study and understand biodiversity, protect rare plants, restore habitats, and engage in seed banking – the latter a 20-year-old program that got another jolt in 2016 when the Garden opened its new Conservation Center, an 11,500-square foot space that also has some public exhibits.

“An ecologist once said the first rule of intelligent tinkering is saving all the pieces,” Windhager said. “The truth is we still know so little about our planet that we don’t understand which species may form the critical link, which ones might provide the next cure for cancer, and which ones, if we lose them, will cause what’s called a trophic cascade, where all of a sudden, a third of the planet’s diversity disappears.” 

All of this is nothing new, by the way, Windhager said, noting that the Garden was founded back in 1926 out of concern for species cataloging amid the rapid development of Southern California. But that function somehow seems to fade in the wake of the Garden’s beauty, which is why the ED said SBBG is investing time and energy in getting the word out. 

“We’re like the Noah’s Ark for California’s rarest plants, going back to doing some of the first early explorations out on the Channel Islands, an incredible place to explore because they really are California’s Galapagos. Or rather, in many ways, they make Galapagos look really kind of chintzy, at least in terms of plant diversity,” he said.

While the Conservation Center remains closed during the pandemic protocols, the rest of the Garden is open and available. Late winter/early spring is a perfect time for visiting, Windhager said. “Just as a spring is a time of renewal, we’re going to see all these plants springing up.” With all of the recent rain, the manzanita – the Garden boasts a big section dedicated to the ground cover shrub – are beginning to bloom, boasting delicate bell-shaped flowers. “They’re just going to town and several others are about one or two weeks away from really starting to take off.”

He also stressed that the nursery is open, and right now is a perfect time to take home a beautiful California native species to plant in a home landscape. “It’s the absolute best time of the year to get plants in the ground,” Windhager said. “Most people think about spring as the planting season, but that’s completely wrong in Southern California. Right now is the most pleasant and easiest time of the year for a plant to get established, put those roots down before it has to go through a long protracted drought here in California.” 

Purchasing a plant to take home is one of the things people who might not have the means to make major donations can do to help with the Garden’s mission, too, since government funding for the Garden is on a contract basis, Windhager said. “Visiting, becoming a member, and taking home plants is what helps us continue to be a resource for Santa Barbara. Without the generosity of our community, we couldn’t exist.”

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden
(805) 682-4726
1212 Mission Canyon Rd, Santa Barbara, CA 93105

An Oasis for Animals and Humans Alike

After three months of being closed to the public in response to the pandemic, the Santa Barbara Zoo reopened in June. 

“The Zoo has been an amazing respite where families can congregate in a safe way,” says Board Chair George Leis. “That has been very meaningful for me; a touch of normalcy in a very confused world.” 

But it isn’t just humans finding respite at Santa Barbara’s world-renowned zoo. Through its conservation programs and the exciting opening of its new Australian Walkabout exhibit in summer 2021, the Zoo is busy protecting animal species ranging from California’s Western snowy plover to Australia’s Bennett’s wallaby.

The Zoo’s President and CEO, Rich Block, points to the Zoo’s now 18-year commitment to bring the California condor back from the brink of extinction. Part of a broad coalition of other zoos and federal agencies, the Santa Barbara Zoo has helped bring the population back from a mere 22 birds in 1987 to more than 500 today. In wild condor country (such as the Sespe Wilderness), Zoo staff can regularly be seen scaling sheer cliffs to get eyes on chicks and ensure their safety. And they assist in rounding up the birds each year to check the population’s health. 

“The people who work with them know these birds like avid soap opera fans,” Block says. “They know all the characters, know all the bonds, and all the cheating. It’s an incredible drama.” 

Within the Zoo’s walls, the deaths in 2018 and 2019 of beloved elephants Sujatha and Little Mac created a physical and emotional void that impacted the entire community. The Zoo’s experienced Animal Care team, along with outside partners, researched a multitude of options before narrowing down species and experiences that would be best for the animals and Zoo guests. 

Rooted in its conservation focus, the Zoo team landed on an “up close and down under” experience which will allow visitors to actually walk through the exhibit and get close to kangaroos, wallabies, and emus. While Australia has incredible biodiversity – more than 100,000 species of animals have been described so far – the wildfires of 2019-20 helped propel it to the dubious distinction of having the most rapid rate of mammal extinctions worldwide. 

“This new immersive exhibit is exciting for us and our Zoo guests. It perfectly complements our mission of bringing people and animals together for safe, inspiring, educational, and fun experiences. This will be a totally different Zoo opportunity, providing a wonderful added new dimension for visitors while supporting our commitment to conservation,” commented Block.

A Garden of Delights

Bounded by the Pacific to the west and the Sierra Nevada to the east, California is home to over 6,500 native plants, many of which only exist here, that serve as the backbone to our state’s diverse and increasingly fragile ecosystems.

“If those species are lost in California, they are lost to the planet,” says Steve Windhager, the executive director of the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden. 

For Windhager, the 78-acre Garden, with its over 1,000 species of native plants heralding from southern Oregon all the way to the tip of Baja including the southern-most redwood grove, is much “more than a pretty place.” It is the home base for a three-pronged conservation effort to “understand, protect, and restore” California’s rich flora. 

To do this, the Garden’s growing team of researchers, conservationists, and PhD-level botanists work throughout the state to actively document the diversity of plants across the California Floristic Province. To date, their scientific repository contains over 190,000 preserved plant and lichen collections dating as far back as 1860.

They are also protecting the future through widespread seed banking. “It’s an insurance policy for native plants,” Windhager says. “We put the seeds into suspended animation, to be defrosted for research or in a time of catastrophe.” 

And all the while, the Garden is working with large landholders, think the Department of Defense and the United States Forest Service, to better manage their lands, restore native species, and bring overall health to California’s rich but increasingly fragile ecosystems. 

Then, of course there is the Garden, a beautiful and beloved community asset set in Santa Barbara’s Mission Canyon, with sweeping views to both the Santa Ynez Mountains and out to the Channel Islands. Nearly 80,000 people visit each year to take in the seasonal splendor of quintessentially Californian nature scenes; a meadow lush with wildflowers in the Spring, a rushing stream and its riparian ecosystem springing to life with winter rains. The Garden is home to a rich tradition of public education, hosting numerous classes and lectures for adults each year, as well as one of the longest lasting school visiting programs, started in the 1950s, where Windhager says, youth “experience the importance of native plants as the cornerstone of all life on our planet.”

And the Garden is also the seat of serious scholarship. In 2019, its staff and affiliated researchers published a book, nine peer-reviewed articles, and six technical reports all while DNA coding plants, lichens, arthropods, mosses, and fungi growing on the Channel Islands. 

“The Garden itself is the gateway for most people,” Windhager says. “For some, visiting Mission Canyon and walking through the redwoods is enough. But others, they get hooked and they want to go deeper and learn more. These are our future conservationists.”

And with the near endless diversity of California’s flora, there is always more to learn and discover.

Pragmatic Environmentalism

In 2011,long before Covid-19 forever changed how we think of nonprofit fundraising events, Santa Barbara-based Heal the Ocean held an “imaginary gala” with “invisible” seats at “dream” tables. On the invitation, super booster Julia Louis-Dreyfus crowed that the event would be “the most unreal party” the organization ever had.

Not only did Heal the Ocean save money on producing the event, but also exceeded its fundraising goal. This no frills, practical approach is the environmental advocacy group’s calling card. 

“We are not complainers,” says Executive Director Hillary Hauser. “We focus on infrastructure, pipes, waste disposal, and sometimes it strikes us funny to realize we are very often just basic plumbers.”

Maybe so, but plumbers with an incredible track record of pragmatic change, using small charitable donations to win significant sums of public dollars to, well, heal the ocean. 

Hillary Hauser and Julia Louis-Dreyfus

The organization was launched in 1998, when Hauser caught wind of something rotten in the waters off surf-famous Rincon Point. The clutch of homes there all relied on septic systems. As tidewater rose and fell the systems steadily leached effluent into the waters – causing surfers to get sick. An early environmental DNA study, the first of its kind and funded by Heal the Ocean, found that 20% of the bacterial pollution in the lagoon there was “human/fecal.” By 2013, after an epic saga of bureaucratic red tape and setbacks, Heal the Ocean had not only secured sewer systems for Rincon, but 130 homes seven miles up and down the coast as well, radically improving ocean water quality, which has made surfing safer – and more fun.

More recently, Hauser and company translated a $10,000 investment in a knowledgeable consultant that helped to sweep into law a 2017 bill authored by HTO ally State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson that allocates $2 million per year to cap old oil wells and other hazards along California’s coastline for a total of $14 million. Serving as cheerleaders to the State Lands Commission, Heal the Ocean led the charge in 2018 for the plugging of the notorious, leaking Becker Well on Summerland Beach, and for 2020, they’re inspiring the plugging of two more leaking wells: Treadwell and NorthStar – scheduled for October 2020.

For Hauser and her team it has never been about lawsuits or quick fixes. It’s about finding solid strategies to heal this neck of California’s coastline. 

“It’s really about practical solutions,” Hauser says. “We always say that to get something fixed, you have to figure out how much it costs, then how to pay for it, then go get the money and just do it. I think that’s why people like us.”