January 2018 E-Letter

Off to a roaring start for 2018!

Off to a roaring start for 2018!

In this E-Letter...

  • HTO Starts the Year With All-New Website & Online Store
  • Another Good Start For 2018: Becker Well Capping Begins!
  • HTO Seeks Prop 1 Grant for Santa Ynez Septic-to-Sewer Project
  • Los Olivos Voting on Forming its own CSD to Handle Wastewater
  • HTO Welcomes Becky Twohey to Our Staff
  • 2017 Dog Bag Program: A Dog-Gone Success!
  • HTO Support Reaches Historical High in 2017


Heal the Ocean has a great new website! The redesign focuses on timelines and history for each of our Mission Statements – and where we are going now. A quick scan through our site shows our impressive accomplishments – physical changes to infrastructure that have reduced pollution sources to the ocean and watersheds.

PLUS – a great new HTO store! HTO T-shirts are ever-popular, and over the years fans come by the office to buy them, and they sell like hotcakes at Earth Day and other public events. Now you can see new HTO T-shirts, sweatshirts and hats in groovy new colors, and buy any time you want!
For a limited time only, you can also buy custom Jes MaHarry necklaces, too.

Huge thanks to Mike Wald of Oniracom for website design and consulting.


SLC officials discuss plans for Becker Well construction on Summerland Beach. Photo by Hillary Hauser.

SLC officials discuss plans for Becker Well construction on Summerland Beach. Photo by Hillary Hauser.


HURRAH! Talk about starting the New Year with a bang…construction planning has started for capping the infamous Becker Well! State Lands Commission (SLC) drilling engineer Steve Curran reported to HTO today, January 3, 2018, that SLC is near the end of the permitting process, is finalizing the noticing, and anticipates being on schedule to begin construction/capping at the end of January, “weather permitting.” InterAct Engineering, Ventura, has been named contractor, and will be bringing in construction equipment by ocean float barge – rather than the beach being disturbed with the moving in of heavy machinery. Biological monitoring will be conducted from the cliff overlooking the well site. We salute Steve Curran (photo, far right) and the SLC staff for its persistence in addressing Becker Well – which has been oozing oil onto Summerland beach – and into the ocean – for far too long.



Heal the Ocean has hired Dudek to submit a project proposal to the State for Proposition 1 Groundwater Program funding for an important septic-to-sewer project in the Horizon/Stadium area of Santa Ynez where over 400 homes on septic systems overlie a groundwater basin used for drinking water. HTO is collaborating with the Santa Ynez Community Services District (SYCSD) to get this funding, which could possibly pay the bulk of costs for homeowners. We’ll keep you posted!

Meanwhile, the Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB) has reported to Heal the Ocean that the analysis of its Groundwater Characterization Project is expected to be completed this month, January, or in February. This report will show nitrate trends in Santa Ynez groundwater basins to help RWQCB and Santa Barbara County Environmental Health officials gauge proper action according to septic system regulations under the County’s Local Area Management Program (LAMP).


Residents of Los Olivos will go to the polls beginning next week (January 8, 2018) to decide whether or not to form its own community services district (CSD) to create its own wastewater treatment system. Ballots and voter information guides on Measure P2018 are being sent by the Santa Barbara County Elections Division to approximately 500 registered voters in Los Olivos who will decide whether or not to authorize an annual special tax not to exceed $200,000 per year but which shall increase automatically each fiscal year thereafter. For Measure P2018 to succeed, 66% of the voters need to vote in favor. The cost of the actual building of wastewater plant infrastructure will require another vote in the future.


Becky - Copy.jpg

HTO is proud to welcome our new Policy Analyst, Becky Twohey, to our staff! Becky received her Ph.D. from UCSB’s Interdepartmental Graduate Program in Marine Science, where her research focused on integrating human dimensions into marine governance. She has worked for a number of marine conservation organizations on program creation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation. As HTO Policy Analyst, Becky is responsible for leading HTO research projects and will be working closely with HTO Executive Director Hillary Hauser to develop policy, position statements and papers, as well as establishing communication and coordination with local and state agencies. Becky lives in Santa Barbara with her husband, Matt, and their 18-month old son, Ansel.



A huge bark-out to our supporters for making Heal the Ocean's Doggy Bag Program the most successful ever! We are now adding up the totals for 2017, to send to both the County and City of Santa Barbara to pay for 100% compostable dog bags. In 2017, our sponsorship program raised over $15,000, and we brought in $9,000 from direct Doggy Bag donations….making a total contribution of over $24,000 that goes directly to the maintenance and installation of truly compostable doggy bag dispensers at City and County parks and beaches! Thank You, doggy bag program supporters, and a special big bark to San Roque Pet Hospital, Montecito Pet Hospital, Advanced Veterinary Services, Susan Petrovich, Helen Walker and La Cumbre Animal Hospital for participating in our sponsorship program. Please patronize these businesses as a way of saying Thank You from all of us!


Hillary Hauser accepts donation from Sotheby's International Realty for 8th year in a row!   (Rich van Seenus of Sotheby's International Realty, Montecito office does the honors)

Hillary Hauser accepts donation from Sotheby's International Realty for 8th year in a row!
(Rich van Seenus of Sotheby's International Realty, Montecito office does the honors)

In 2017, HTO donations were the highest in our 20-year history! We are so grateful to you, our supporters, for keeping us highly operational despite the turmoil and natural disturbances of 2017. Each of us at HTO pours our hearts into our work, and we are so glad to have such a strong supporter base to keep our important projects moving forward. We will continue working tirelessly towards all of our goals in 2018 (and beyond). Thank you, all!