Data shows San Diegans love the nationwide swim app! Swim Guide, developed by the Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, is a free app that allows you to view the water quality information of almost all of San Diego’s beaches. Updated daily, the app and web page make it so easy to check out current beach advisories.
Everyone knows after it rains you shouldn’t get in the water, but what about on a daily basis, especially here in San Diego where we don’t see rain that often? With the Swim Guide app, you can get this information right from your smartphone. The app allows you to see what beaches are safe nationwide, and it uses Google maps to help you get to the beach of your choice.
The beach statuses are updated twice a day, in the morning and at night, from information given by the County of San Diego. The app doesn’t just give current beach updates but also some cool historical information. The app allows you to find beaches, get directions and of course bookmark your favorites for convenience. The app is useful, super easy to use and warns beach-goers of poor water quality.
The Swim Guide has data for more than 400 beaches in California and 1,300 beaches in North America. The San Diego area has received the most hits on the Swim Guide app nationwide! This makes sense and is indicative of San Diego’s beach culture. The top five beaches looked at in San Diego were Children’s Pool in La Jolla, San Luis Rey River, La Jolla Cove, Blacks beach and Dogs Beach, respectively. The app definitely benefits our community here in San Diego with people swimming and surfing almost all year round.
Check the Swim Guide app daily because it’s always better to be safe than sick!
Thanks to Kona Brewing Company, Liquid Aloha Music Festival is back in town once again on Saturday, Sept.1. Last year, more than 3,000 participants joined Coastkeeper and fellow citizens to have a sip of the Kona brews and listen to some local tunes. Thousands enjoyed five live bands including The Dirty Heads, Kalama Brothers and DJ Cory Biggs. Adding to the fun, the event raised more than $18,000 to protect your swimmable, fishable and drinkable waters.
This year, The Expendables will headline the stage with Arden Park Roots, Natural Heights, Hi Roots, The Simpkin Project and Nervous Wreckords. Kona Brewing will bring back its goodies such as Longboard Island Lager, Fire Rock Pale Ale and Wailua Wheat as well as its new year-round launch—Big Wave Golden Ale.
Tickets are available for $15 dollars online and will be $20 at the door. You can also buy a ticket and Coastkeeper membership for just $40.
Now you can also get two FREE tickets with Coastkeeper’s help.
Here’s a fun contest–the best caption for the picture wins the tickets. Comment on the blog today. Please make sure you have your right full name and email so we can get back to you if you win. Contest ends on Friday, Aug. 31 at 5 p.m. We can’t wait to hear your funny captions!
When I first applied for San Diego Coastkeeper’s summer legal clinic internship, I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into. I had two years of law school under my belt and a year of working at the local County Attorney’s office in Buffalo, but that cannot compare to the time I’ve spent in San Diego the past few months. Along with four other law students (all of whom were from different parts of the US) I was tasked with a number of projects that would help improve the health of San Diego’s waters.
Notwithstanding the lack of air conditioning in the office, I wouldn’t trade this past summer for anything. While we were often working single-mindedly on tasks that involved staring at our laptops for hours on end, our clinic director also encouraged us to create a personal connection with the water. Each week, we were expected to spend at least an hour doing something water-related, whether it was surfing, swimming, walking along the beach or underwater basket weaving.
At first, I thought this request was unusual, but looking back, I realize just how important it was for my development over the summer. I spent a number of evenings with a friend out in Tourmaline sitting on a longboard, waiting for a good set to come in and enthusiastically rejoicing whenever I caught a wave. And as much fun as surfing is, I recognize now that being around people who work, play and interact with the coast on a daily basis helped fuel a drive in me to do more. I worked to keep the waters clean and safe for everyone to enjoy.
Here in San Diego, I saw that pollution isn’t an abstract problem that only causes damage in the long term. When sewer spills happen or urban runoff gets funneled into the water, people get sick, and Coastkeeper is doing everything it can to stop that from happening. But they need just as much help to do these projects as the coast does keeping clean. On the east coast, I was a well-functioning cog in the wheel of litigation, but out here, I was helping to save peoples’ lives and their livelihoods.
We want to help, but we need the support to keep doing it.
Today, our wonderful Megan Baehrens, Coastkeeper’s executive director, paid a visit to San Diego 6 morning show to talk about Clear Blue 2012. Besides the fun activities we have planned for the event, Megan also talked about why this celebration is so important.
So what’s Clear Blue 2012 about? It’s the appreciation of the legislative laws that keep San Diego’s waters safe and awareness about pollution problems our waters face.
For example, Megan shared about urban runoff, San Diego’s #1 water quality problem, which poses a continuous threat to our waters, even during the summer. The good thing is–you can help prevent it. Watch the video to see what you can do.
Clear Blue 2012 also celebrates Clean Water Act’s 40th anniversary. This act has had your back for the past 40 years, preventing pollution discharge into the oceans, rivers and creeks. With your donations, volunteer work and support, Coastkeeper keeps the laws protecting your waters afloat by fighting to keep them active and untouchable by the polluters.
Clear Blue 2012 is fun–let’s celebrate our clean waters that we work so hard to protect.
That’s right: we work hard and play hard. Join us in celebration this Sunday, Aug. 5 from noon – 5 p.m. at Mission Bay’s Ventura Cove to have some fun in the sun and spread awareness of how to keep our waters swimmable, fishable and drinkable.
About two months ago, I went to Portland for the annual Waterkeeper Alliance conference. This year, we joined the folks from River Network for one big happy 700-person celebration of all the things that make fighting for our waterways fun, challenging and important. The Hurricane Creekkeeper patrols a 32-mile creek and spent four days railing against coal ash and rallying people to fight The Dirty Lie. The Long Island Soundkeeper has spent 25 years crusading against pollution that robs him and his community of the fishing industry that forms the backbone of that area’s history and future. And in Tennessee a young activist founded not one, but two riverkeeper organizations.
So many people, so passionate about their water. For most, that passion connects them to a place: The Hudson River; Lake Ontario; Humboldt Bay. Keepers from around the country, around the world even, have vehement passion for the patch of water in their backyard.
It left me wondering, what is my place? I have that passion, but how do I describe it? The belief in protecting our water is part of me, just as the water is part of my identity. I grew up fishing in Lake Hodges, boating in Lake Poway, swimming at Fletcher Cove and Moonlight Beach. Now I live in Ocean Beach, surf at Sunset Cliffs and 15th Street and Pipes, hike around the lakes and have the freedom to wander the county in search of sunshine and cool water.
How does that compare to being connected to a single, specific waterbody? What do I protect? Where do I draw the conviction and energy to fight day after day?
My “place” is everywhere. That’s why San Diego Coastkeeper is special and why I give up weekends and evenings to protect our waterways. All of them. I do not crusade for a single source. I declare personal accountability for a lifestyle built on an entire, interconnected county full of water. It’s my home; it’s your home. We can all “keep the coast clear;” we must. This is our place and we are the only ones who can do it.
On May 18, at a local luncheon, I met a San Diegan JJ Fetter. JJ is a Yale graduate, and I was introduced to JJ by another Yale graduate, Stewart Halpern, who several months earlier toured San Diego Bay with Coastkeeper on a “Clean Sweep” boat patrol. The Yale chain doesn’t end there. Meagan Baehrens, our development director and a Yale graduate, introduced me to Stewart. San Diego Coastkeeper board member Jo Brooks is also a Yale grad.
I had no idea who JJ was, but she did say that her children loved to sail and that she was grateful to Coastkeeper for the work we do protecting San Diego bay. Later that day I discovered JJ has won three world championships and is the only American female to have won two Olympic medals in sailing (Bronze in ’92 and Silver in ’00). JJ has been named Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year four times, and last year she was inducted into the Hall of Fame at the San Diego Hall of Champions. I also came across a piece written several years back where she stated, “Thanks to all the sailboat racing, I’ve done around the world, I have had a chance to sail in gorgeous places like Portofino, St. Tropez, Buzios, Sydney, Auckland—I’m never disappointed by my hometown when I get back.” Not only does San Diego Coastkeeper work to make our waters fishable, swimmable and drinkable, but also sailable for people like JJ and her daughters. A clean Bay makes for happy faces.
Part of my responsibilities as the San Diego Coastkeeper is to patrol and protect our local waters. San Diego Coastkeeper, like 200 Waterkeeper organizations throughout the world, subscribes to a simple tenet unique to our movement: “all members of a community are the owners of its resources and injury to those resources is an act of theft against each member.” It is my job to redress that theft, be it with law-breaking polluters or unresponsive government agencies that allow the pollution to occur. Captain Chris Gunst and I patrol San Diego Bay once a week.
Never, not once, have Chris and I been on patrol and not found water pollution violations. For the past three months our focus has been on violations in which polluters sand and paint their boats in the water without any containment.
California Fish and Game code section 5650, the oldest water pollution statue in the state (1870), makes it unlawful to deposit into, permit to pass into, or place where it can into the waters of the state certain specified pollutants, (e.g., petroleum products, sawdust, cocculus indicus—a natural plant toxin that stuns fish) as well as a broad proscription against the deposit of “any substance or material deleterious to fish, plant, mammal or bird life.” A section 5650 violation is a strict liability offense; there is no need to prove any willful or negligent conduct in order to sustain a violation or conviction. Punishment for a 5650 violation can include up to six months in jail and $1,000 fine.
A single violation of 5650 might not seem to amount to much. Some might wonder what harm is there in a little sawdust or paint going into the water. But as David Gibson, executive office of the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board, points out, “Any one boat owner may say it’s not a big deal, but when you have 3,000 owners thinking the same thing, you have a much larger issue.” See a story about this overlooked pollution problem from Voice of San Diego. Think of a single violation as a broken window. If the window isn’t fixed, we will begin to find new broken windows. One violation leads to another violation and those violations lead to even more violations. It’s a death by a thousand cuts.
It is important that polluters know that there is a green line of environmental enforcement in San Diego and that Coastkeeper is a major player on the enforcement landscape. Compliance is the goal. Polluters also need to know that they will be caught and that enforcement has a bite. San Diego Coastkeeper is the voice for our waters. JJ and other sailors are happy about that. If you would like to get an idea about what our Clean Sweep patrols are like, see NBC San Diego’s story on the Bay’s copper pollution.
May is Bike to Work Month! The Coastkeeper team has joined SANDAG’s Bike to Work Corporate Challenge. As part of the challenge, we’re biking to work and are eligible to win prizes as we enjoy the benefits of bike commuting. How about joining us by biking to work or better yet, getting your whole company to sign up?
- You save money. I calculated that between gas and wear-and-tear on my car, I save about $5 every time I commute by bike. Your savings will depend on how far you commute and what kind of gas mileage you get in your car. I encourage you to do the research and see how much you can save.
- It will help you get in shape. Depending on how much you weigh and how fast you ride, an hour round-trip bike commute can burn around 600 calories. That means you could lose almost a pound a week just from the calories you burn on your commute. And have you seen the great leg muscles on cyclists?
- You’ll reduce your carbon footprint. Last year, Coastkeeper staff avoided huge amounts of air pollution by biking to work. In May alone, we saved 315 pounds of carbon dioxide and 8,670 pounds of carbon monoxide. That’s a breath of fresh air!
- It’s a great excuse to buy new gear. While you bike safely in the daytime with little gear, if you like to shop, commuting is a great excuse to buy new cycling clothing and gadgets. For women, Terry Bicycles has some great options. There are tons of great local bike shops in San Diego, including my friends at Moment Cycle Sport in Liberty Station.
- You’ll be more aware of cyclists next time you’re in a car. Too many cyclists have died in San Diego over the last few years. Sadly, these deaths could have been avoided if both the cyclists and the drivers are aware and respectful of the other’s rights to the road.
I don’t wear brands. (I’ve got nothing against them, but it’s not me.) Brands and labels give a sense of identity, loyalty, “in-ness.” They tell people something about you. I just don’t feel that sense of belonging to most companies. And don’t want people assuming things about me based on a label.
Enter The Breaks. This is different. This is local. I actually feel like I need to earn the right to wear these shirts. They might inspire more questions than assumptions. Why do I belong? Why do I care? Did I just read about it in some blog and figure I should bring my log out with five friends and bomb the lineup? What am I doing to protect the culture and the wave and the water?
That’s a lot of responsibility wrapped up in a couple yards of fabric. So I’ll wear the Cliffs shirt. And I’d better take responsibility for that declaration.
San Diego native Bird Huffman has brought surf culture and local pride to San Diego for 40 years. All you have to do is visit his Quonset hut on W. Morena Blvd. to talk story and check out the baddest collection of boards in the county to get a sense of his local pride. You can even buy a tide calendar to help him photo-document the more than 400 boards in his collection. When he chose a print shop for the tshirts, he went local with Strong Screen Printing in Barrio Logan. Taking care of our planet and our neighbors. That’s local.
San Diego Coastkeeper is all about what’s local. We work here, we live here, and we do what we can to protect the water here.
So join the (only slightly branded) movement. Pick up some trash next time you’re on the beach. And let everyone know you have local pride with a limited edition t-shirt from Bird’s Surf Shed that declares you’re part of the crew at Blacks, Cliffs, Jetty, Scripps, Tourmo or Windansea.
Bird says that local pride means we take care of our own. I agree. I’ll wear that brand.
Every time someone shows their local pride and buys a t-shirt from The Breaks collection, Bird will show his by donating a portion of the profit to San Diego Coastkeeper. Thanks, man.
Do you want to win a free surf sesh with the local legend? Bird partnered with Coastkeeper in a one-time-only contest. The first ten people to donate $100 to Coastkeeper by midnight Saturday, May 5, 2012 will be entered for a chance to win a free surf session with Bird to go on the hunt for the best waves in town. All six winners and anyone donating will receive one of “The Breaks” T-shirts. Check out other styles:
I love some friendly competition. I especially love trivia. And we all know how crazy I am about this ol’ planet we call home. That’s why when Coastkeeper partnered with San Diego CityBeat last year to put on our first Earth Day themed trivia night, I was pumped. Literally. And this year’s second annual trivia extravaganza did not disappoint!
My team (“Los Nerdos”) took home first place in 2011 and third place in 2012, both thanks to the combined power of some pretty awesome brains. We had about ten teams turn out for the Earth Day celebration at Raglan Public House (Great food, great beer, great sustainability! Check them out.) and our friends from Birch Aquarium took home the grand prize this year.
Trivia night was a fun, upbeat and energetic way to celebrate Earth Day. We tested our knowledge and learned some new fun facts about the planet. But we here at Coastkeeper like to celebrate Earth Day a little more often that once a year. We appreciate the planet and its resources as often as we can by hiking, surfing, kayaking or simply walking around the neighborhood and watching bees jump from flower to flower. Get outside and show some love for nature and donate now to help us protect and restore our most valuable resource: water!
Today is my last day at San Diego Coastkeeper. I am packing up my desk and re-organizing my files, taking down my Coastal Cleanup Day posters and my world map with the subtropical gyres and my travel spots outlined. It’s a bittersweet departure for an exciting career move to the Port of San Diego’s Environment and Land Use Department. Embracing this great opportunity to expand my skill set surely does not make it any easier to leave this engaging organization (which, by the way, is hiring).
I am eternally grateful for every inspiring experience and interaction with my coworkers, the board, donors, sponsors and dedicated volunteers of Coastkeeper over the last three years. San Diego has a close-knit environmental community and it’s been an honor to grow as a professional within this network of knowledgeable, action-oriented individuals. I am blessed to be able to continue my work in this field and to maintain a role in the finest city – especially now that I will be able to join the ranks of the volunteers!
One of the most important things I’ve learned here is how difficult, yet important, it is to inspire individuals to write or call their elected officials and agencies about a topic they care about. Get involved and speak your mind. And support organizations like Coastkeeper who are in the trenches every day by donating or volunteering – the ocean will thank you for it. See you on the beach (or bay).