June 13 – South Bay Heroes Shine at Coastkeeper’s Coastal Champions

Annual awards ceremony honors San Diego County clean water advocates 
SAN DIEGO, June 13, 2014 – Today, San Diego Coastkeeper showed it truly does take a community. By honoring nine clean water heroes at its annual Coastal Champion awards, Coastkeeper unveiled a network of community activists whose individual work intertwines, creating a countywide collective protecting fishable, swimmable and drinkable waters in San Diego.
All 2014 Coastal Champions received additional certificates of recognition from both Supervisor Dave Roberts and California Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins.
“The community nominates our Coastal Champions, so imagine our delight to see how long-term relationships and collaboration play important roles in protecting San Diego County’s waters,” said Executive Director Megan Baehrens. “From the decades-long leadership of our Lifetime Achievement winners Mike and Patricia McCoy to the en vogue ideas of H20 Trash Patrol, our Coastal Champions are a network of heroes keeping San Diego beautiful and healthy.”
To a full crowd at Birch Aquarium, Coastkeeper’s annual breakfast ceremony included presentations of eight awards to nine people and businesses for their commitments to protect fishable, swimmable and drinkable waters. A large percentage of this year’s heroes dedicated their activism to water quality issues in South San Diego, often acknowledging one another in their acceptance speeches. 
“In addition to our South San Diego advocates, our Coastal Champion Awards recognized honorable efforts along the county’s coastline extending to Encinitas and Oceanside,” said Baehrens. “It truly does take a county.”
This year’s Coastal Champions include: 
  • Christine Hillger, Runoff Rockstar: for the installation and maintenance of biodegradable dog waste bag dispensers in Imperial Beach over the past 14 years. She made a huge impact on beach water quality by reducing toxic runoff. 
  • City of Chula Vista, Water Wise: for the city’s progressive approach to water conservation efforts that includes public forums, exceptional instruction tools and housing construction requirements that embrace recycled water.
  • H2O Trash Patrol, Marine Conservation: for the more than 16,000 pounds of trash collected since 2011 and its efforts to teach children about the environment and marine debris, while the kids also learn to paddle board.
  • Diane Castaneda, Marine Conservation: for developing a successful marine conservation outreach program for Hispanic and underserved children in San Diego County. 
  • Laura Hunter, Find & Fix: for driving the adoption of one of the most environmentally appropriate development projects in our region, the Chula Vista Bayfront Master Plan that includes over 500 acres of bayfront property.
  • Southern California Coastal Ocean Observing System (SCCOOS), Blue Tech & ASBS: for their development of innovative technology that will fuel data collection about Areas of Special Biological Significance and allow us to better keep these areas free of pollution as mandated by state law.
  • Steve Kwik & Kai the dog, Volunteer of the Year: for his reliability, dedication, positive personality and willingness to help. Every month, Steve leads a team of volunteers and trainees out to collect water samples that Coastkeeper uses to monitor pollutants in the Los Peñasquitos watershed. 
  • Patricia and Mike McCoy, Lighthouse Lifetime Achievement: for their more than 45 years of inspirational environmental stewardship, which includes the establishment of the San Diego Bay Wildlife Refuge, the Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge, the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve and designation of the Tijuana Estuary as a wetland of international importance.
Funding for the project was provided in full or in part through an agreement with the State Water Resources Control Board as well as generous contributions from host Birch Aquarium, PuraKai and others.
For more information about the winners, please click here. For more information on San Diego Coastkeeper, please visit localhost/sdcoastkeeper.  
SAN DIEGO COASTKEEPER: Founded in 1995, San Diego Coastkeeper protects and
restores fishable, swimmable and drinkable waters in San Diego County. Visit us online
at https://www.sdcoastkeeper.org