Coastkeeper Wraps Up for the Happy Holidays

Thank you for your support this year. It’s been one of ups and downs – so many victories, a few losses and a goodbye to some of the members of our Coastkeeper family. And Coastkeeper really is a family – a ridiculously good-looking, smart, passionate, talented, compassionate, funny, driven family. The staff of Coastkeeper, our team of dedicated volunteers and our supporters work tirelessly to make our collective desire for clean water a reality.

You, our supporters who commit your time, talent, funds and name to the important work of keeping the coast clear, have a lot to celebrate. This year we’ve seen years of hard work culminate in some very special victories.

South Bay Power Plant shuts down
The sweetest words I’ve heard all year came from Dynegy spokesman David Byford in October, “Our operations will cease at the end of the year.” An aging power plant, a few months shy of half-a-century, will shut down next week. The South Bay can begin to recover its past glory as an incredible habitat and nursery for migrating birds, turtles, fish and countless other species. I first heard of the plant’s negative impacts in law school, 2001. The next summer I helped Coastkeeper and the Environmental Health Coalition to fight a destructive discharge permit and limit some of the damage. To see the Plant finally cease operations, nearly a decade into my own involvement and many more years after environmental giants like Laura Hunter and Jim Peugh began the fight is hugely satisfying, and more than a bit humbling.

Network of Marine Protected Areas adopted in Southern California
More than four years ago Southern Californians came together to implement the Marine Life Protection Act in our coastal waters. Through an expansive public discussion process including 60 meetings and hundreds of hours of service by our staff members and many other environmental, community, and fishing groups, a statewide system of underwater parks grew. The path to this amazing win for our coastline was not easy – our staff were threatened, some groups boycotted the process, and fears about how this decision would impact lives and livelihoods had to be overcome. Ultimately, the Fish & Game Commission’s approval of the Integrated Preferred Alternative map shows the dedication and resources needed to protect the “Yosemites of the sea.”

Indirect Potable Reuse Pilot Project Moves Forward
If you enjoy the reliability of water in your home when you turn on the tap, or for agricultural production, or even industrial processes, you have to be concerned that San Diego is at the end of a very long pipeline. The overdependence on imported water, and the environmental quality impacts that reliance brings, brought Coastkeeper to dip into the water supply debate. What we’ve found is a long history of mistrust and a lack of transparency and dialogue. Fortunately, we’ve spent the past few years building an award-winning coalition of environmental, consumer, business, labor, development, taxpayer and technical organizations to support the development of a safe, reliable, sustainable and cost-effective local water supply. With the approval this year of a public outreach contract and the award of the contract to design, build and operate the Advanced Water Purification Facility, we are well on our way to the overall goal.

These three examples of victory after years of hard work remind me that nothing worth having comes easily. It is with your long-term support – morally, financially, even physically, that we reach these critical goals, and soldier on to the next victories. Whether you’ve only just heard of San Diego Coastkeeper or you are a long-time supporter, thank you. We’ll be resting up next week, eager to get back to the frontlines in 2011.