The original concept of a “Waterkeeper” dates back to 19th century England, where men called Riverkeepers were hired to stand guard over the private fishing streams of wealthy landowners and protect them from poaching and degradation.
The modern Waterkeeper movement started in the 1960s, when a band of blue-collar fishermen decided to take a stand against the degradation of the Hudson River by a powerful force threatening their way of life: industrial pollution. Sick of seeing the river they relied on used as a dumping ground for industrial effluent, they formed the first Waterkeeper organization. Their tough, no-nonsense advocacy and dedication inspired what is now a global movement of over 300 locally-focused Waterkeeper Alliance member organizations from across six continents.
Founded in 1995 as San Diego Baykeeper, and predating the formation of the Waterkeeper Alliance itself, we were the fifteenth organization to arise from the Waterkeeper movement. Originally established to combat the systematic polluting of San Diego Bay, Baykeeper was a dogged two-person team that worked tirelessly to fight toxic dumping and hold polluters accountable for restoring what had once been a thriving ecosystem.
Today, as San Diego Coastkeeper, our team of advocates, educators, scientists, and community engagement specialists work in tandem to address myriad water challenges across San Diego County. As the voice for San Diego’s rivers, streams, and coastline, we fight to protect and restore our waterways for the communities and wildlife that depend on them.
Whether it is promoting legislation to improve stormwater health, holding polluters accountable for the damage they’ve caused, educating San Diego’s students about watersheds and wildlife, hosting a cleanup along the coast, or sending trained volunteers out to collect water samples from a local creek, your San Diego Coastkeeper team is hard at work protecting our shared waters. We hope you will join us.