Table of Contents
A Note From Leadership
As we entered 2021 in the midst of an enduring global health crisis, the San Diego Coastkeeper team leaned into the strength and comfort of turning toward one another and finding solace in community.
Time and again, we were filled with joy and pride as we watched our team continue to adapt to an uncertain world and rise to meet challenges with creativity, and dedication, and togetherness. We gathered at our favorite local beaches when it was safe to do so, celebrated our wins big and small, and just about perfected our transition from a wholly in-person organization to one able to thrive in a newly virtual world. Throughout it all, we cultivated a greater sense of community and recognized that we grow more resilient together.
This inspiration helped fuel a reimagining of community science. Last year, we launched a one-of-a-kind youth environmental education, outdoor recreation, and workforce training program engaging Black, Indigenous, and People of Color high school students. With the help and support of our partners, Groundwork San Diego – Chollas Creek and Outdoor Outreach, we committed to increasing environmental literacy, overcoming equity barriers to ecological stewardship and environmental science careers, and providing real-world science and advocacy experiences.
We also gathered our community around a common cause and raised our voices in unison. Over the summer, we developed and hosted the Clean Water Activists training program. This four-part workshop series taught volunteers and members to engage with clean water issues in San Diego County. Participants learned about the legal mechanisms of advocacy, how to engage with with elected officials, and how to provide effective public comment. This effort resulted in an outpouring of public comments supporting stormwater and climate-friendly green infrastructure funding before the San Diego City Council. We are inspired by the success of this program, and will continue to train the future keepers of our waters.
Last but not least, we saw years of research, dogged advocacy, and legal action culminate in the historic groundbreaking for construction of Phase 1 of Pure Water San Diego. This initial phase will bring 30 million gallons per day of safe, clean, sustainable water to San Diegans by 2023. All told, Pure Water San Diego will provide nearly 50 percent of San Diego’s water supply locally by the end of 2035. The project offers a cost-effective and climate-resilient investment in meeting San Diego’s water needs while reducing polluted discharges into the ocean.
We are again honored and grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of this team and this important movement throughout our San Diego communities in 2021. We thank you for your support, without which our vital work would not be possible.
For our waters,
AMPLIFYING OUR COMMUNITY’S VOICE
Over the summer, we launched our brand new Clean Water Activists program, a four-part workshop series training volunteers and members to play an active role in clean water issues in San Diego County. Participants learned about the legal mechanisms of advocacy, how to engage with elected officials, and how to write and deliver powerful public comments. This effort resulted in over 57 public comments supporting stormwater infrastructure funding during a key City Council meeting.
PRIORITIZING MULTI-BENEFIT AND NATURE-BASED SOLUTIONS
We produced the first of a series of three virtual events in partnership with Think Blue San Diego in September. The Green Infrastructure 101 workshop highlighted the multi-benefit stormwater infrastructure solutions and projects. The webinar featured interactive polls throughout the presentation, an engaged Q&A section, and received positive public feedback.
EXPLORING AT-HOME WATER CONSERVATION TECHNIQUES
In September, we hosted our third Ride the Tide event in partnership with San Diego Sustainable Living Institute and CatchingH2O. Over fifty community members and local environmental leaders, including Councilmember Joe LaCava, joined us on a tour of five homes in the UTC area that exemplify water harvesting and greywater reuse to reduce their environmental footprint. Together, we biked six miles and learned the importance of improving water supply and climate resiliency at the individual and regional levels. The event ended with a neighborhood cleanup to celebrate California Coastal Cleanup Day.
DISSEMINATING VITAL OIL SPILL INFORMATION
In early October, a broken pipeline off the Orange County coast spilled 25,000 gallons of crude oil into the ocean. The slick quickly spread across over 8,000 acres of the ocean surface and deposited tar onto beaches along much of the Southern California coast. Working quickly with our partners at Surfrider Foundation San Diego, we assembled a comprehensive list of updates and resources to provide vital information to those concerned about the oil spill and its impacts on our sensitive coastal ecosystem.
DEVELOPING REMOTE LEARNING RESOURCES
To tackle the challenges of a shifting school year, our education team responded with creativity and flexibility. In partnership with Think Blue San Diego, we launched a full suite of Project SWELL online modules for Kindergarten through sixth-grade classrooms in San Diego Unified School District. Each comprehensive grade-level module includes a curriculum aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards, complete with videos, hands-on activities, and interactive learning experiences in a digital format. The program teaches students the foundations of water and climate science and encourages them to build stronger community connections and better understand their local watersheds.
EDUCATING OUR YOUTH WITH ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE
Our education team headed back into the classroom for in-person lessons during the summer in partnership with the Elementary Institute of Science. We engaged with fourth-graders through a series of five interactions, teaching them about marine and freshwater and environmental science. Students took a deep dive into watershed dynamics, marine debris, water habitats, weather and climate, and water conservation.
ENSURING CLIMATE RESILIENCE IS A REALITY
In August, we joined the official construction kickoff for Phase 1 of San Diego’s groundbreaking Pure Water project. Phase 1 will bring 30 million gallons per day of safe, clean, sustainable water to San Diegans by 2023. In 2015, after years of research, dogged advocacy, and legal action, we, along with our environmental partners at Coastal Environmental Rights Foundation, Surfrider Foundation San Diego, and San Diego Audubon Society, signed a cooperative agreement with the City of San Diego obligating the City to implement the region’s largest infrastructure project, this first-of-its-kind, large-scale wastewater recycling project. Pure Water San Diego will provide 83 million gallons per day of the City’s potable water supply by 2035 — 50 percent of the current drinking water needs — bolstering regional climate resilience and significantly reducing polluted discharges into the ocean.
SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCING HARMFUL POLLUTION
We continued work on one of our most notable Clean Water Act enforcement cases to date throughout the year. This important enforcement action, originally initiated in 2020, is part of our efforts to hold the County of San Diego accountable for long-term, egregious polluting of San Diego waters and communities. The case results from years of collecting and analyzing water samples, conducting deep dives, and investigating the County’s insufficient stormwater and wastewater management practices. As with all our Clean Water Act enforcement cases, our ultimate goal is to ensure polluting entities comply with the law and make meaningful progress toward adopting multi-benefit solutions that contribute to a cleaner, more equitable future. We hit a key milestone in 2021 when, after much negotiation, we finalized an agreement with the County for the first settlement phase, outlining clean water solutions to come.
ENCOURAGING SELF-GUIDED BEACH AND NEIGHBORHOOD CLEANUPS
Although in-person events were hard to plan for and host again in 2021, we continued to connect volunteers with service opportunities through our self-guided community cleanup program, the Six Cleanup Challenge. Through this program, volunteers removed harmful trash and litter from local neighborhoods, parks, and beaches. The drive, dedication, and enthusiasm our volunteers display during these cleanups are unmatched, and we are incredibly inspired and grateful for our volunteer support.
MENTORING THE NEXT GENERATION OF ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENTISTS
Over the summer, we partnered with the National Student Leadership Conference to create a multi-faceted event with robust watershed education discussions, water quality monitoring demonstrations, and hands-on environmental stewardship activities. Students learned about San Diego’s various environmental issues, including habitat degradation. We connected the harmful impacts of trash and litter to the health of our communities and watersheds, provided pollution reduction strategies and tips on changing behaviors, and highlighted the importance of coastal and marine protection strategies, such as local marine protected areas.
TRAINING GROUPS TO MONITOR WATER QUALITY
We hosted a handful of events teaching local groups and organizations how to monitor the health of San Diego’s waterways. We provided our expert knowledge through these events, offered hands-on science training, and taught water quality monitoring techniques and equipment use.
In February, we trained a team of 10 restoration technicians from San Diego Canyonlands in preparation for a large canyon restoration project. We helped Canyonlands establish a baseline of environmental health to better measure the success of their work.
LAUNCHING A NEW YOUTH ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE PROGRAM
In partnership with Groundwork San Diego – Chollas Creek and Outdoor Outreach, we launched a new year-long environmental science, workforce development, and outdoor recreation program engaging a cohort of 13 Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) high school students from the communities adjacent to Chollas Creek. The program addresses equity barriers in environmental stewardship, increases science literacy, provides real-world experiences, and creates a pathway to build workforce development skills and explore environmental careers.
|Management and General||$42,995|
Funders and Donors
Cathy Stiefel and Keith Behner
City of San Diego
Coast Law Group
Resources Legacy Fund Land – Sea Connection program made possible by the Keith Campbell Foundation for the Environment
The San Diego Foundation
Coastal Environmental Rights Foundation
David Welborn and Ann Hunter-Welborn
Dr. Seuss Foundation
The Parker Foundation
County of San Diego
MUFG Union Bank Foundation
Bryce Kroha and Sierra Visher Kroha
David Fox and Lydia Thompson
Mike and Susanna Flaster
The Hervey Family
Bruce and Betsy Gill
Carole and Jerry Turk
First Church of the Nazarene
ISEC San Diego Region
Joe and Tori Callahan
John and Chris Fikes in honor of Ray Perkins
National Student Leadership Foundation
Patricia Meagher and David Ritter
Price Philanthropies Foundation
Robert and Allison Price
Schmidt Design Group
SIMA Environmental Fund
Spurlock Landscape Architects
The Samuel I. & John Henry The Fox Foundation
Tim Del Monte
Emma Sakson in memory of Kenny Rivers
Eric and Shannon Vajda
FM Global Foundation
Hey Social Good
Mitzi Belknap and John McDonough
Sacred Heart Parish School
Salmon Family Foundation
The San Diego Home Buyer
University of San Diego Graduate Business Student Association
Environmental Health Coalition
Gary Smith and Kathleen Kemper
HJ Walker Jr
J. Sarah Sorenson
Jacquelyn Diaz in honor of Marie Diaz
Jill Witkowski Heaps
John and Nuri Pierce
Juliana Marques Bross
Kristen and Jim Smith
Lucky Seven Foundation
Lydia Van Note
Mark and DeAnn Reynolds
Megan and Chris Thomas
Michelle Barry in honor of Gary and Marian Barry
Pamela and John Heatherington
Paula and Alan Wasserman
Richtr Financial Studio in honor of Andrew Relyea
San Diego Canyonlands
The “Gathering of Gals” in memory of Brendon Rios
The Vann P. and Carol G. Parker Charitable Fund
United Health Group
|Active Skin Repair|
Andrea Sanchez Davidson
Cooper & Lewand-Martin
Cristiane and Marcelo Valdez
Denise Hlavka in honor of Matt O’Malley
Flor Hernandez Stovall
Gayle Feallock in honor of Bliss Events
|Gayle Feallock in honor of Eternally Loved|
Gayle Feallock in honor of Events Inspired
Gayle Feallock in honor of Holly Kalkin
Gayle Feallock in honor of Melissa Reinke
Gayle Feallock in honor of Tahnie Nollenberger
Howard W. Newman
Jane Finneran in honor of Mitchel Bartolo
Jim and Barbara Peugh
John Anthony Jauregui
Josh “Josias” Osias
Keith Hunter in honor of William Hunter
Lisa Urbanek in memory of Emma Urbanek
Margaret Pettit in honor of Katie Pettit
Mary Margaret and Paco Barajas
Mohammed Shuman and Roxana Yasmin
Molly Zager Art and Florals
Patricia Butler and Cary Lowe
Pedro Da Silva
Rachel Muhlstein in honor of Samson and Ivy Lazarus
Ren Stinson in honor of Kenji Stinson
Shelley Hoolihan in honor of Cathy Anderson
United Way of South Hampton Roads
Wai Tung Cheung
|Matt O’Malley||Executive Director||He/Him/His|
|Stephanie Ritter||Development Director||She/Her/Hers|
|Patrick McDonough||Senior Attorney||He/Him/His|
|Rachele Lopez||Science Program Manager||She/Her/Hers|
|Marie Diaz||Marine Programs Coordinator||She/Her/Hers|
|Ally Senturk||Communications and Outreach Manager||She/Her/Hers|
|Lucero Sanchez||Community Policy Coordinator||She/Her/Hers|
|Delanie Medina||Education Coordinator||She/Her/Hers|
|Jenny Cornelius||Operations and Engagement Coordinator||She/Her/Hers|
|Shannon Subers*||Education Specialist||They/Them/Theirs|
*Left Coastkeeper in 2021. We miss you!
|Cindy Lin||Board President|
|Michael Torti||Board Vice President|
|Diane Castañeda||Board Secretary|
|Bruce Reznik||Board Member|
|Joe Callahan||Board Member|
|Tyler Hee||Board Member|
|Lee Duran||Board Member|
|Gabriela Torres*||Board Member|
|Murtaza Baxamusa*||Board Treasurer|
|Catherine Stiefel||Advisory Committee Chair|
|Jim Perry||Science Advisor|
*Left Coastkeeper in 2021. We miss you!