Our Story

San_Diego_Coastkeeper_historyOur StoryOur Mission

San Diego Coastkeeper protects and restores fishable, swimmable and drinkable waters in San Diego County.

Our Vision

Swimmable, fishable and drinkable waters throughout San Diego County.

Our Values

In striving to achieve our mission, San Diego Coastkeeper seeks always (in all ways) to be:

  • Impactful: Addressing the root issues affecting our inland and coastal waters with a solutions-oriented approach that recognizes the connections between people and the natural world
  • Thoughtful: Basing our decisions and actions on the best available scientific, legal and public policy rationale, while being respectful of those who disagree with our views
  • Courageous: Being a zealous advocate for those positions we believe are right and necessary, even when unpopular
  • Transparent: Providing the public with the rationale for our decisions and actions in a straightforward fashion to help raise the level of public discourse about the important issues in which we engage
  • Innovative: Harnessing the power of San Diego's high tech and academic communities to develop and implement novel solutions to environmental problems
  • Collaborative: Engaging broad-based coalitions in our work to enhance effectiveness while empowering local communities to steward our shared environment
  • Passionate: Caring about the work we do and the waters we protect, ensuring that generations to come will be able to better enjoy the region's resources
  • Exemplary: Serving as role models for protecting the environment in both our personal and professional lives

Our Plan

2015 Strategic Plan 
Download San Diego Coastkeeper's 2015-2018 strategic plan to learn more about our goals and what San Diego waters and communities have to look forward to.

Our History

The concept of Waterkeeper dates to a 19th-century English tradition, where Riverkeepers physically guarded private streams to ensure waters remained healthy and free of poachers. In 1982, Hudson River fisherman became concerned about the modern poacher: pollution. They started the first Waterkeeper organization in the United States, and proved so effective at protecting water resources that Waterkeeper organizations trickled throughout the country.

Once established, we became the 15th Waterkeeper organization in the country and focused our efforts on local, community-based advocacy. We began in 1995 as a two-person team combating the chronic pollution and toxic dumping into San Diego Bay, hence our original name: San Diego Baykeeper. Today, as San Diego Coastkeeper, we continue our role as the region's clean water watchdogs as we help the identify solutions to a new myriad problems such as water supply challenges and urban runoff. 

img_1615-copy-sPhoto Credit Kevin Roche

We use community outreach, education and advocacy to empower San Diegans to guard their clean water and healthy ecosystem, relying on you to help us find and fix pollution hazards. Our team of scientists, activists, educators and lawyers work with our community and decision-makers to protect and restore fishable, swimmable and drinkable water in San Diego County.

Today, San Diego Coastkeeper is a proud member of the California Coastkeeper Alliance as well as the International Waterkeeper Alliance. On both a state and a global level, our alliances connect and support Waterkeeper organizations as a voice for clean water and healthy communities. The International Waterkeeper Alliance, headed by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., stands nearly 200 programs strong- making it one of the world's fastest growing environmental movements.

Community support and involvement has transformed us into the organization we are today—just take a look at our long list of accomplishments. Please continue to empower us on social media and follow our blog to keep up with events, opportunities to take action and sharing of environmental wisdom. If this isn't enough, check out ways you can get involved.


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...

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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.

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Water Education For All, Lesson 6: Water…

Water Education For All, Lesson 6: Water Conservation

In Water Education For All Lesson 6: Water Conservation, Students will apply their knowledge of drought and water consumption to their everyday lives. Students will keep track of how much...

Water Education For All, Lesson 5: Anima…

Water Education For All, Lesson 5: Animal Adaptations

In Water Education For All Lesson 5: Animal Adaptations, students discover ways animals change over time. Students will learn that animals can change in order to live in their own...

Water Education For All, Lesson 4: Natur…

Water Education For All, Lesson 4: Natural Hazards and Disasters

In Water Education For All Lesson 4: Natural Hazards and Disasters, students learn about natural hazards that result from natural processes -- and the water quality and water supply impacts...

Water Education For All, Lesson 3: Weath…

Water Education For All, Lesson 3: Weather vs. Climate

In Water Education For All Lesson 3: Weather vs. Climate, students learn to distinguish between weather and climate using San Diego's weather data over time (climate) and collecting temperature over...

Water Education For All, Lesson 2: Marin…

Water Education For All, Lesson 2: Marine Debris

In Water Education For All lesson 2: Marine Debris, students come to understand the problems caused by plastic pollution, explore solutions and become engaged as stewards of our beaches, rivers...

Water Education For All, Lesson 1: Water…

Water Education For All, Lesson 1: Watersheds and Water Quality

In Water Education For All Lesson 1: Watersheds and Water Quality, students will learn to test pH, temperature, dissolved oxygen, and turbidity using the World Water Monitoring Kits (or other available...

10 Things You Probably Didn't Know About…

10 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

Did you know that a member of American royalty will be presenting at this year's 18th Annual Seaside Soiree on October 28 at the Bali Hai in Shelter Island? That's...

I'll See You In The Water

I'll See You In The Water

Since I joined San Diego Coastkeeper in 2009, protecting the health of our waters has meant I could pour every ounce of my professional effort into a cause that is...

Education Specialist Job Announcement

San Diego Coastkeeper® seeks an education specialist to support the implementation and promotion of Project SWELL (Stewardship: Water Education for Lifelong Leadership), a hands-on K-6 science and pollution prevention curriculum in San Diego Unified...

Our Waterkeeper Really Loves Water

Our Waterkeeper Really Loves Water

San Diego Coastkeeper is part of the Waterkeeper Alliance, the fastest growing environmental movement in the world, protecting and restoring fishable, swimmable, drinkable water. Waterkeeper Alliance requires each of its...

Protectable Facts

  • Although there have been periods of drastic decline in Southern California's kelp forests, research has shown that they have a remarkable ability to recover when stressors are reduced.
  • More than 250 marine reserves have been established worldwide.
  • Marine reserves cover less than .01 percent of the ocean worldwide.
  • Scientists studied more than 120 marine reserves ranging in size and habitats. The review found that the weight of all animals and plants studied is more than 4 times larger in reserves than unprotected areas.
  • The Marine Life Protection Act, a state law introduced in 1999, requires networks of marine reserves as the backbone for California's ocean restoration and protection plan.
  • California designated thirty-four regions along the coast in the 1970s as "Area of Special Biological Significance (ASBS)" and requires 100% runoff pollution prevention in them.
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2825 Dewey Rd., Ste. 200 • San Diego CA 92106 • TEL. 619.758.7743