Our Story

San_Diego_Coastkeeper_historyOur 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. 

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Waterkeeper Alliance President
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
Photo 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.