San Diego Coastkeeper Accomplishments

In 2015, we celebrate our 20th year protecting and restoring fishable, swimmable and drinkable waters in San Diego County. That's celebrateable. Our important work keeps the natural spaces where you live, work, and play, clean and healthy for 20 more years of enjoyment. We hope you enjoy reading these top accomplishments that we've achieved with your support, and recognize and reward yourself for supporting this good work through the decades--these major and worthwhile achievements take time. Haven't gotten involved yet? Donate today to keep these good things coming for San Diego County.


San Diego Coastkeeper helped reduce countywide beach advisories by 77 percent in the ten years since 2000 by improving sewage and urban runoff policies, leading to cleaner, safer water.


We successfully advocated for adoption of strong marine protected areas (MPAs) in Southern California including Swami's, which is San Diego County's largest MPA as a 12.6-square-mile conservation area, and south La Jolla, a 7.5-square-mile MPA complex that includes a 4.7-square-mile marine reserve where no fishing is allowed.


Pushed the City of San Diego to restrict its use of single-use plastic water bottles and plastic foam products. And won the nation's first statewide plastic bag ban, which we continue to defend against the lobbyists trying to overturn it.


San Diego Coastkeeper and partner organizations have removed more than one million pounds of debris from area beaches and waterways. Since 2007, we have completed more than 200 beach cleanups and grown yearly volunteer numbers to more than 7,000.


We provide Project SWELL (Stewardship: Water Education for Lifelong Leadership) hands-on environmental science lessons and materials to teachers in 160 elementary and middle schools in San Diego County.


Won a regulatory ruling to close the ecosystem-damaging South Bay Power Plantafter a decade-long fight alongside our allies. Then we pushed the Regional Water Quality Control Board to order longtime polluters to conduct a massive cleanup of their toxic pollution at the bottom of San Diego Bay.


Earned a unanimous San Diego City Council vote to reduce ocean discharge from Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant and implement a large-scale water recycling system. The plant could supply up to one-third of the city's drinking water needs and will reduce environmentally costly imports from the San Joaquin River Delta and Colorado River.


A San Diego Coastkeeper lawsuit pushed the City of San Diego to invest $1 billion in infrastructure upgrades, which reduced sewage spills by 90 percent. In 2011, our volunteers identified a 1.9-million gallon sewage spill in Los Peñasquitos Lagoon, and our action resulted in a $12-million infrastructure investment by the City of San Diego to prevent future spills.


San Diego Coastkeeper's program is the state's largest volunteer water quality monitoring program. It trains around 100 volunteers yearly to test fresh water quality from Oceanside to the Tijuana River, in nine of the 11 watersheds in San Diego County. To date, San Diego Coastkeeper has trained more than 1,000 water quality monitoring volunteers.


In 1999, Coastkeeper negotiated with the City of Encinitas, leading it to establish its first stormwater pollution prevention plan. Since then, we have strongly influenced regional stormwater permits, most recently achieving a unique watershed-based permit in 2013 that allows cities and agencies in the San Diego region to work together to reduce pollution.


Coastkeeper introduced the region to a new technology that resulted in San Diego County and Senator Marty Block successfully passing a statewide bill that approved faster beach water quality testing. When it's implemented, this process could allow water quality warnings within two to four hours rather than 24 hours.

Take Action

Donate Now

Donate to San Diego Coastkeeper

Donate to San Diego Coastkeeper

With you, we can protect San Diego’s aquatic playgrounds. Gifts of every size help us defend your salty seas and beautiful bays. From test tubes in our lab to hands-on...

Read more

Become a Member


Start Coastkeeping. Become a member today and protect and restore swimmable, fishable and drinkable waters in San Diego County.


Report a Problem

Catch the Polluters

If you see someone pollute, report it to Coastkeeper. Let us help you protect your waters.

Attend an Event

Get the News

Read our Blog

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
Prev Next

2014 Annual Report: The Power of One

2014 Annual Report: The Power of One

The most important number to San Diego Coastkeeper is the power of one—you. Every day, we pursue more fishable, swimmable, drinkable water throughout San Diego County. And none of it...

"Water We" Westview wolverines…

"Water We" Westview wolverines going to do?: A High School Conservation/Ecology Project

The challenge: Use the information on the water scarcity problems we face in San Diego to become the solution. That's what Vicki Binswanger’s Biology class at Westview High School, Poway...

Project SWELL well equipped to educate f…

Project SWELL well equipped to educate future generations on water issues facing San Diego and possible solutions.

Teachers have a great impact on the attitudes students have towards their class subjects and subsequently have the opportunity to cultivate an appreciation for San Diego Waterways. With the assistance...

Is San Diego Saving Water?

Is San Diego Saving Water?

Though the State Water Board has had water use restrictions in place since August 2014--and they seem to be working, the Monterey Herald quoted Governor Jerry Brown recently saying he's...

The Fabulous Hendershots

The Fabulous Hendershots

Bruce and Beth Hendershot are rockstars. The dynamic duo makes up half of our Lower Escondido Creek water monitoring team, a group of four individuals who met through our Water...

Eleven Things We Learned at Beach Cleanu…

Eleven Things We Learned at Beach Cleanups

Data – they aren’t just numbers. The data we collect every year during our beach cleanups include numbers, of course, but we also gather valuable anecdotal insights from seasoned volunteers...

The Vicious Cycle Making Our Drought Wor…

The Vicious Cycle Making Our Drought Worse and Worse (unless we stop it)

We’ve got good news and bad news. The bad news: California has found itself in the worst drought in recorded history. More bad news: Climate change and drought are trapped...

Time-Lapse Video of San Diego King Tides…

Wetlands are the superheroes of ecosystems. They may look like patches of mud and grass, but they're saving San Diego one tidal flow at a time. In addition, they help regulate...

Resolutions Simple Enough For a Kid

Kathryn C. Kelchner, a marine science teacher from the Chesapeake Bay, knows that lecturing isn’t the way to inspire kids to become passionate about taking care of our waters. So for...

Bay Health Improves as Campbell Sediment…

Bay Health Improves as Campbell Sediment Cap Remains Effective

The Campbell Shipyard used to be one of the most unfishable and unswimmable bodies of water in San Diego. From the 1880s to the 1920s, this part of the San...

Fixable Facts

  • San Diego Coastkeeper's efforts have helped to reduce the number of sewage spills by 90% since 2001.
  • San Diego Coastkeeper and the San Diego Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation conduct twice-monthly beach cleanups. We work with more than 4,000 volunteers each year.
  • In 2008 and 2009, Coastkeeper and our north county partners successfully advocated for significant fines (totaling $2 million) for spills in Buena Vista Lagoon and Escondido Creek.
  • It's in order: reduce, reuse THEN recycle.
  • Each year Coastkeeper brings together nearly 5,000 cleanup volunteers to remove more than 7,000 pounds of trash.
  • San Diego Coastkeeper has trained over 700 volunteer water quality monitors.
  • A "consent decree" is a legal tool that provides an enforceable timeline and milestones for pollution cleanup and prevention.
  • Coastkeeper volunteers removed over 560 pounds of trash from Mission Bay on a single morning in October 2013.
  • Video
  • Facebook Fans
Join Our Newsletter
  • EarthShare_Californiaweb

2825 Dewey Rd., Ste. 200 • San Diego CA 92106 • TEL. 619.758.7743