2013 Reflections

Annual report main photo

We see ourselves in the water. When we play in the shorebreak, when we surf, when we kayak, when we swim, sail and fish. As we look at 2013, we look to the water to reflect a year’s worth of events, achievements, experiences and advocacy for fishable, swimmable, drinkable waters that allow us to live enjoyable lives.

Thank you to all who have made Coastkeeper a primary resource for and defender of San Diego’s waters. Please consider our 2013 Reflections a token of our appreciation for everything you did–something we truly prize. Enjoy.


Megan Baehrens
Executive Director

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Current Coordinates 2013 Making Waves 2013 

 Our Crew Plotting the Course 2013

Current Coordinates

Protecting our waters is quantifiable. From the financial gifts you donate to this environmental organization to San Diego beach cleanup data and results from our Water Quality Monitoring Program, these are the numbers we live by.

San Diego Coastkeeper’s legal, science, education and engagement experts work together to achieve our mission. In addition, and not reflected in program expenses, are the thousands of hours contributed by volunteers–from water quality monitors to cleanup participants to board members. Efficiency and impact are the hallmark of our efforts, and we sincerely thank the many individuals and organizations who make this work possible. (Note: Infographic based on preliminary year-end data.)

Coastkeeper Financials


Water Quality Monitoring in San Diego County

2013 wm data trans60


Watershed Average Score Score Range
Los Penasquitos Watershed 81 Good
San Diego Watershed 81 Good
San Luis Rey Watershed 79 Fair
San Dieguito Watershed 72 Fair
Carlsbad Watershed 64 Marginal
Sweetwater Watershed 64 Marginal
Pueblo Watershed 59 Marginal
Otay Watershed 49 Marginal
Tijuana Watershed 14 Poor


Beach Cleanups in San Diego County

2013 Beach Cleanups FINAL

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Making Waves 

This year we made serious headway on important issues and overcame obstacles on the road to improved water quality in San Diego. Our supporters, our volunteers, our partners– the people who believe in us– made these accomplishments possible. 

  1. Stormwater Permit: We advocated for a new stormwater permit at San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board meetings until it was approved in May. Our Environmental Law & Policy Clinic, along with dozens of community spokespeople, persuaded the Regional Board to approve a collaborative, watershed-based approach that continues today to include environmental stakeholders in the process.
  2. Coastal Champions: We honored long-time environmental hero Jim Puegh with our Lighthouse Lifetime Achievement award at this year’s Coastal Champions awards. This years awards were presented overlooking the Area of Special Biological Significance in La Jolla. We also celebrated the leadership of six other water rockstars who stand out in San Diego County for their dedication to protecting fishable, swimmable and drinkable waters.
  3. Camp Pendleton Sewage: We settled a two-year lawsuit with the Department of Defense to protect our military personnel by drastically reducing the number of sewage spills at Camp Pendleton and protecting our region’s waters. 
  4. Baja Beach Monitoring Program: We trained water quality organizations in Tijuana and the entire Baja California region to analyze and monitor local waters and utilize the Waterkeeper Swim Guide.
  5. Wastewater Recycling Approved: After years of collaboration with a broad-based coalition of community and business groups, we pushed the City of San Diego to approve wastewater recyling in San Diego. Once completed, this new purified drinking water will service up to 40 percent of the City of San Diego’s water needs.
  6. Science Education: We trained teachers in two San Diego County school districts to teach tens of thousands of students across with county using Project SWELL curriculum to enable children to learn environmental science while helping teachers understand and meet goals in the new Common Core Standards. As of 2013, the curriculum is available for download on the Project Swell Website.
  7. Internship Program: We launched our new environmental mentorship program, LEAP, in which high school students participated in our five-month education and mentorship program highlighting environmental concerns, initiatives and careers in San Diego. At their graduation ceremony, our LEAP students shared their projects that they will implement in their own communities.
  8. Faster Beach Water Quality Tests: Coastkeeper thanks San Diego County for listening to our ideas and then approving a pilot project to test faster beach water quality testing methods that could lead to results in a few hours, rather than 24 – 48 hours. 
  9. Binational Movement: Our political borders may stop at the U.S./Mexico fence, but our pollution problems and the people solutions do not. This year, we activated a dual-language, cross-border Coastal Cleanup Day event along the shoreline and border fence of Imperial Beach. We also united 100 students from Tijuana and Lakeside in a full day of hands-on environmental lessons for World Water Monitoring Day. 

The media felt our ripples in 2013, producing a full calendar of news. Click the headline to go to the story and dive into some of our most discussable moments this year.

1 finalWe created a smart-phone app, MPA Watch, to track activity in San Diego’s marine protected areas, as told in this UT San Diego story.

6We hosted cleanups with over thirty EPMG staff during National Volunteer Appreciation Week, as told in this San Diego County News story.
2We stood strong as a water advocate urging the City and responsible parties to move forward cleaning up decades of pollution in San Diego Bay, as told in this Voice of San Diego story. 7We tapped into one topic everyone wanted to know about and as a result, most media in San Diego joined us to find out if Mission Bay is gross, as captured by San Diego News.
3We startled San Diego with beach cleanup findings from 2012 and encouraged participation in 2013 opportunities, as told in this San Diego Gay & Lesbian News Story. 8We joined forces with one of San Diego’s most prominent attractions to de-clutter Mission Bay, as told in this SanDiegoVille story.
4We settled a lawsuit with Camp Pendleton to reduce excessive and harmful sewage spills, as captured by ABC 10 News. 9

We trail-blazed with an innovative water quality testing method, as shown in this KPBS video.

5We joined local environmental organizations in advocating for the stormwater permit at Regional Water Quality Board hearing as told by this San Diego Reader story.

10We continued to be a powerful resource tackling road-blocks in the cleanup of San Diego Bay, as told in this page one story in San Diego Downtown News.

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Our Crew

Over the past twelve months, San Diego Coastkeeper has continued to work hard, building and deploying a network of water lovers and advocates to help achieve our vision for swimmable, fishable, drinkable waters in San Diego County. Our board contributed strategic guidance, nuts and bolts expertise, and countless hours to our organization. In 2013 we welcomed several new board members, including business and finance experts, a four-time Olympic sailor, and a noted landscape architect who champions environmentally sensitive development. Coastkeeper’s board, staff, and members reflect the diversity of San Diego, working together because we understand and embrace the need to ensure adequate and clean water for all San Diegans. As we do every year and every day, we love our volunteers, who generously share their time and talent to empower us beyond the work we can accomplish alone. And we can’t say enough about our 2013 Coastal Champions, who swim an extra mile to make San Diego better for everyone.

It is our honor to present you with some of the most important people making our organization dependable and enabling us to do what we are passionate about.

With gratitude,

Jo Brooks
Board President

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Board Members


A few of our board members share thoughts on 2013 and hopes for 2014.

  • Jo Brooks, President
  • Sandor E. Kaupp, Vice President
  • Harriet Lazer, Vice President
  • Eleanor Musick, Secretary
  • Everett DeLano
  • George Yermanos
  • Glen Schmidt
  • Gregg Sadowsky
  • Lee Barken
  • Mark Reynolds
  • Micah Mitrosky
  • Stewart Halpern
  • Thank you to Sue Stewart, Susie Armstrong, Megan Lim and JP McNeill who completed their service terms in 2013.


volunteers 2013 AR

In 2013, Coaskteeper worked with 6,489 volunteers who participated in cleanups, water quality monitoring, lab work, trash assessments and an assortment of projects vital to the vision of turning San Diego into a regional leader for clean water. Find out how you can become part of the Coastkeeper volunteer family.

Coastal Champions

AwardeesAll 07

From left to right: 

  • Noah Thoron – Coastkeeper Volunteer of the Year, 2013
  • Josh Robinson – Water Wise
  • Russell Moore – Blue Tech
  • Jim Peugh – Lighthouse Lifetime Achievement, with his wife Barbara
  • Taya Lazootin – Runoff Rockstar
  • Sophie Silvestri of Port Tenants Association, Operation Clean Sweep – Find and Fix
  • Anonymous Resident – ASBS Special Recognition (not pictured)

And our proud Executive Director Megan Baehrens. 

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Plotting the Course 

When you peer over the edge of your stand-up paddleboard, boat or kayak into the water, what do you want to see reflected back at you? When our volunteers, supporters and community members look at San Diego’s waters, we want them to see Coastkeeper, an organization leading an aquatic renaissance and building a comprehensive understanding of our waters to change perception, inspire new habits and encourage an ecosystem on land that protects the one in our waters. This depiction of our organization would be painfully incomplete without you, our community members, volunteers, supporters, urban-runoff heroes, marine-debris guardians and water-lovers. It is because of you we have become a watchdog for San Diego’s swimmable, fishable, drinkable wates and can continue to do so.

San Diego Coastkeeper is supportable in many ways.

  • We are giveable. There are many ways to give to Coastkeeper, depending on which suits you best. Everything from a small donation to a corporate gift can ensure the waters you love are represented and protected now and for years to come.
  • We are sponsorable. Coastkeeper proudly partners with environmentally conscious and sustainable companies who want to connect with like-minded consumers supporting Coastkeeper. 
  • And we are very much volunteerable. Our volunteers make the world go ’round. Become part of the Coastkeeper team and sign up to volunteer. You’ll get a hands-on understanding of the waters we protect while meeting fun folks who care about keeping San Diego’s water clean as much as you do.

As we sail into 2014, we spot some of our most anticipated goals on the horizon. Our ambitions for the year are more reachable than ever. With all hands on deck, we will:

  • Launch our new bioassessment program to allow us to gather crucial information about pollutants in our water by examining the bug community.
  • Teach millenial leaders with our education and internship program to nurture tomorrow’s scientists and the next generation of clean water leaders. 
  • Expand Project SWELL to incorporate after-school programs, volunteers from other nonprofit organizations and train nearly one hundred teachers in San Diego County.
  • Implement MPA Watch, a new volunteer program to survey human activity in marine protected areas and improve our understanding of the interaction between San Diego’s on-land and underwater communities.
  • Collaborate with stormwater management programs to prevent urban runoff from ruining the county’s water quality, including in our new protected areas.
  • Move forward with a good implementation plan with the City of San Diego for using wastewater recycling as a water supply.
  • Train at least six graduate law students and close to one hundred new water quality monitoring volunteers.
  • Track Chollas Creek pollution to the biggest sources and reduce their impact on the creek. 

As we head into 2014, we strive to lead residents, businesses and governments to a new water ethic in San Diego County. This means an integrated water management plan that considers all of our water–drinking water, runoff and sewage—as a valuable resource. It requires working as a community to invest in innovative watershed-based management of stormwater pollution. And it demands that we make a dramatic change to reduce, reuse and recycle scarce drinkable water. Together, we’ll clean beaches and parks; track pollution with cutting edge monitoring and bring together a community that cares to enact solutions that matter. In 2014, San Diego County will embrace a new water ethic, and San Diego Coastkeeper leads that charge. 

Thank you.

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