February 2019 E-Letter

In this E-Letter:

  • The Next Summerland Oil Cleanup Coming Soon!

  • Get Ready...Here Comes the Ocean (King Tides & Sea Level Rise)

  • James Hawkins appointed Associate Director at Berkeley Institute for the Future of Young Americans 

  • EF International Language School Honored for EF/HTO Earth Day Work

  • Filmmaker Harry Rabin Joins HTO Advisory Board

  • Three Simple Things YOU Can Do for the Environment

  • HTO is Hiring a Part-Time Intern!

Next Summerland Oil Cleanup For June

On Sunday, January 20, 2019, Hillary and Steve Curran discuss the next phase of the Summerland Oil field cleanup.

On Sunday, January 20, 2019, Hillary and Steve Curran discuss the next phase of the Summerland Oil field cleanup.

Just in time to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Santa Barbara Oil Spill, Heal the Ocean is happy to announce a few preliminary details of the next phase of the Summerland Oil Field cleanup. The State Lands Commission has hired the contractor (InterAct) to cap the next leaking well - or two, or maybe even three (!), with work estimated to begin by June 2019. On Saturday, January 20, 2019, HTO Executive Director Hillary Hauser met withSLC Petroleum Drilling Engineer Steve Curran on the beach at Summerland at extreme low tide, to view the area as part of SLC's preliminary scoping of a work plan. The two were joined in this exercise by Summerland residents Michael Hurley & his wife Nora McNeely Hurley, whose family foundation, Manitou, is a major funder of preliminary surveys for the oil cleanup of Summerland Beach. Later on, Hillary & Curran met with State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson and her husband, retired Superior Court Judge George Eskin, at Summerland's famed Nugget restaurant, to talk about oil cleanup funding issues - and also to watch the Kansas City-Patriot game while sharing French fries. We will keep our members updated as plans for capping/construction proceed!

Lookout Park, Summerland -- a likely work spot for cleanup. (Harry Rabin/On the Wave Productions)

Lookout Park, Summerland -- a likely work spot for cleanup.
(Harry Rabin/On the Wave Productions)

Get Ready...Here Comes the OCEAN!

Top Left: Sandyland/Sand Point (Branden Aroyan) / Top Right: Predictive coastal flooding in Carpinteria (including Sandyland/Sand Point) due to SLR in 2100 (Our Coast Our Future) / Bottom Left: Goleta Slough/Airport (Harry Rabin) / Bottom Right: Predictive coastal flooding in Goleta Slough due to SLR in 2100 (Our Coast Our Future)

The Santa Barbara Airport flooded. Goleta Beach Park gone. The ocean over Cabrillo Blvd...are these scenarios sensationalism? No. The above scenarios will come to pass by 2100 if nothing is done to prevent such inundation- or at least prepare for it.

Sea Level Rise, directly caused by climate change, is a real deal, and theKing Tides of December 22-23, 2018 & January 20-21, 2019 gave us a hint of what the future looks like for Santa Barbara if we do nothing but talk about it.

A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words...HTO contracted withphotographer/pilot Harry Rabin and well-known surf photographer Branden Aroyan to photograph Sandyland/Sand Point (Carpinteria coast area), Miramar Beach, Goleta Beach, and the Santa Barbara Airport. 

The photos speak for themselves. All these areas are at risk of flooding - even now, in a high tide/storm event. Years ago, as climate change symposiums and plans and analyses began to proliferate, HTO made strong input about Adaptation to Sea Level Rise. Years ago, we recognized how much of our infrastructure is in flood zones and smack in the path of an incoming ocean. We maintained then, and emphasize now, that we must act. A building permitted today should last longer than 30-50 years. All the money spent on expanding the Airport might have been better spent building a monorail to the Santa Maria airport - because the Airport is already flooding, and may be totally underwater in too few years.

Left: Miramar Beach December 2018 & January 2019 (Branden Aroyan) / Right: Goleta Beach January 20, 2019 (Branden Aroyan)

Knowing that the seas are coming in and that groundwater will rise with it, HTO has been emphasizing a list of what a responsible community should start doing to prepare:

  • Waterproof, raise, or relocate vulnerable wastewater treatment plants, which will otherwise flood;

  • Disallow building in flood zones (including airports);

  • Clean up toxic pollution in groundwater, which is expected to rise along with sea levels;

  • Halt septic system installation in flood zones (and remove those that are already in high groundwater!);

  • Changing permitting requirement in the coastal zone (require setbacks, pilings, etc.)

Heal the Ocean is campaigning for these, and other preventative measures, to prepare for things to come.

James Hawkins takes Associate Directorship at Berkeley Institute for the Future of Young Americans

James Hawkins

James Hawkins

Former HTO Policy Analyst James Hawkins has been appointed Associate Director of Berkeley Institute for the Future of Young Americans at the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley. The position follows hisreceiving a Masters of Public Policy from UC Berkeley. James' focus at the Institute includes examining public policies designed to expand opportunity for young people in today’s labor market.

During his time at HTO, James led policy campaigns for recycled water as a green water supply alternative. This work included publication of a white paper (Inventory of Municipal Wastewater Discharges to California Coastal Watersas a foundational work to examine the potential for recycled water production from coastal wastewater treatment plants in California. James still works with HTO on the Advisory Board as policy consultant and we are thrilled to have him carry on with us still!

EF International Language School honored for
EF/HTO Earth Day work

2017 EF Earth Day 3.jpg

EF International Language Center, Santa Barbara has partnered with HTO for its “Every day is Earth Day” beach cleanup campaign every year in April, wherein over 300 international students clean up to 10 different beaches simultaneously, creating one of the largest local beach cleanups in Santa Barbara. For its instigation of this unusual program, at the end of 2018, EF International was chosen the fourth top finalist to receive the prestigious Accrediting Council for Continuing Education & Training (ACCET)  2018 Community Service Award. HTO thanks EF VolunteershipCoordinator Susanne Heierling for creating and maintaining such a successful and vibrant environmental volunteering program - and we especially like EF International's intent to spread the "Every Day/Earth Day" shore-cleaning concept to many of its campuses around the world.

Filmmaker Harry Rabin joins HTO Advisory Board

Harry Rabin

Harry Rabin

Film producer, writer, cinematographer and director Harry Rabin has joined Heal the Ocean's Advisory Board, lending us his invaluable hand with aerial drone work to assist State Lands work on the Summerland Oil Field cleanup. Harry is also beginning to work on a documentary, which includes some of Heal the Oceans success stories, and he helps us in achieving many of our goals to help our environment.

The founder of On the Wave Productions—Harry is a talented film producer with a passion for the ocean and marine life. He has worked on several projects with Mike deGruy, consulted for James Cameron's “Deepsea Challenge 3D”  and produced natural history shows aired worldwide as well as providing footage for other films like Sylvia Earle’s Mission Blue documentary. 

Rabin works as an official advisor and liaison between universities, community and government entities like NOAA, USGS, UCSB's Bren and Marine Sciences Institution, Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, California National Marine Sanctuary, WHOI, Monterey Bay Aquarium and more! He also serves as Producer and advisor to the prestigious Academy of Underwater Arts and Sciences.

Welcome aboard Harry, we are thrilled to have your expertise and insight as we move forward!

Three Simple Things YOU Can Do
For the Environment

1. Recycle That Awful Styrofoam


Styrofoam is basically outlawed in the City of Santa Barbara. It's terrible stuff that NEVER breaks down in the environment, disintegrates into smaller and smaller pieces that blow in the wind until ending up in the ocean, where fish eat it, thinking it's food.
BUT, next time you receive a package packed in Styrofoam peanuts - do not throw them in the trash! Take the product out of the packing material, makes sure there's no tape or paper, just the styrofoam, tape up the box, and send it to:

Foam Fabricators, Inc.
1810 S. Santa Fe Ave.
Compton, CA 90221 

Actually, that's where we send ours because we're in Southern California. There are two other locations in California - and in other states as well.Click here find the addresses for other regions. It's almost too good to be true, so we called Foam Fabricators in Compton and they said absolutely they will accept it - and repurpose it.  You can also break up the big pieces of Styrofoam that pack your new TV Screen, electronic equipment, etc. and send that stuff, too - just tape up the original box. YES, it costs money to send, but Styrofoam is extremely light and shipping fees are minimal. You'll get more than your money's worth in feeling good.

 Click here for facts on Mail-Back Recycling for EPS (Expanded polystyrene).

2. Home Planting


Maybe HTO is the last to know, but only recently we found out from a knowledgeable gentleman in the Home Improvement Center garden shop in Santa Barbara that Miracle-Gro plant food is terrible for the ocean. The reason? It's a synthetic fertilizer. When synthetic fertilizers run off into the water system, they can serve as pollutants and thus cause eutrophicationto occur, which is essentially the presence of too much nitrogen in a body of water. This can cause life to rapidly die off, and it kills both animals and plants in the water.

The Home Improvement guru told us that much better is the line of Dr. Earth organic plant food. He said Washington and Oregon states have already made the move toward organics, to protect precious salmon fisheries.

3. Recycle Film Plastics (Bread Bags, Air Pillows, & Bubble Wrap)


Heal the Ocean salutes the Community Environmental Council (CEC) and Santa Barbara Channelkeeper (SBCK) for initiating public awareness ofAblitt’s Fine Cleaners “Recycle Plastic Bags & Film Packaging” Program.Ablitt’s has been collecting film plastics and turning them into plastic pellets that are then used for home and garden products. This program helps keep plastics out of the ocean and our landfills.

Please save the following items for the program:

  • Retail, carryout, produce, newspaper, bread, and dry cleaning bags (clean, dry and free of receipts and clothes hangers);

  • Zip-top food storage bags (clean and dry);

  • Plastic shipping envelopes (remove labels), bubble wrap and air pillows (deflate);

  • Product wrap on cases of water/soda bottles, paper towels, napkins, disposable cups, bathroom tissue, diapers, and female sanitary products

  • Furniture and electronic wrap;

  • Plastic cereal box liners (but if it tears like paper, do not include).

You can drop off the above materials (as long as they are clean and dry) at three locations, including Ablitt’s (14 W. Gutierrez St.), the CEC office (26 W. Anapamu St. 2nd floor), or SBCK (714 Bond Ave.) between 9am and 5pm.Ablitt's, by the way, is a really nice cleaning establishment, and some of us in the HTO office have switched laundry services. Thank you, Ablitt's for instituting such a great program to help the environment!

Heal the Ocean is Hiring a Part-Time Intern


HTO is hiring an Operations Intern to assist with day-to-day office activities as well as research projects! Please click here to read the job description flyer and for instructions on how to apply