April 2019 E-Letter

In this E-Letter:

  • HTO Moves into Moscow

  • Treadwell to be Capped off Summerland Beach

  • SB 44 Funds Clear Haskell's Beach Hazards

  • HTO Welcomes New Operations Intern Wendy Pelayo

  • City Takes up HTO Suggestion, Renames El Estero WWTP

  • AB 885 Septic Regulations get First Action in SB County

  • #trashtag Cleaning Challenge Goes Viral

  • That Awful, Stupid Styrofoam!

  • EF International Beach Cleanup Spreads from SB to San Diego and Honolulu

  • Visit HTO at the Earth Day Festival, April 27-28

  • Save the Date for HTO's 2019 Event

  • Have a Listen: Hillary on Solutions News Radio


Whale Jail in Sredyaya Bay, Russia

Whale Jail in Sredyaya Bay, Russia

HTO Executive Director Hillary Hauser is proud to announce that Heal the Ocean has been asked to open an office in Moscow by Vladimir Putin, who says he loves fish and that his country needs help getting more of them. The connection was made by Julian Assange of WikiLeaks, who emerged from his sanctuary at the Embassy of Ecuador in London to arrange contact.

April Fools!

However, no fooling about the fact that, Charles Vinick, Jean-Michel Cousteau and Harry Rabin are on their way to Russia today, on a mission to visit the notorious so-called “whale jail” near Vladivostok, where 10 orcas and 87 belugas are languishing in icy sea pens.

Vinick is executive director of the Santa Barbara-based Whale Sanctuary Project, which aims to build a model sanctuary where whales and dolphins can be rehabilitated and live permanently in their natural environment. Vinick and Cousteau (who both serve on HTO’s Board of Directors) received a formal invitation from Russia's Ministry of the Environment & Natural Resources to visit Srednyaya Bay, where the whales are being held captive. On the Wave documentary filmmakerHarry Rabin is along on the expedition to document it. (Rabin also works with HTO as an Advisory Board member, and does a lot of photography and filming for us.) We wish our ambassadors the best of luck in achieving victory on this mission!


Treadwell from the air, March 22, 2019 (Photo by Harry Rabin/On the Wave Productions)

Treadwell from the air, March 22, 2019 (Photo by Harry Rabin/On the Wave Productions)

Heal the Ocean is so very happy to announce that the notorious Treadwell oil well which is actively spewing oil into the ocean off Summerland Beach,will be capped this summer. We thank State Lands Commission (SLC) petroleum drilling engineer Steve Curran for working closely with us to get this project rolling, and for putting us together with Mike Giuliani andErik Kroh of InterAct Engineering, Ventura, which has been contracted by State Lands to get the capping project underway. HTO also thanks Nora McNeely-Hurley, who keeps a watch on the water from her Summerland seaside home, letting us know when new oil messes appear on the surface, and lately, there has been a LOT from Treadwell.


Haskells BEFORE Steel posts (2).jpg
Photos by Harry Rabin

Photos by Harry Rabin

In mid-March, 2019, State Lands Commission petroleum drilling engineer Steve Curran called HTO to report that funds from state senator Hannah-Beth Jackson’s SB 44 legislation were being used to clear the rusty hazards from Haskell’s Beach, which fronts the oceanfront Bacara Resort. HTO Advisory Board member (and hard worker!) Harry Rabin documented the work with aerial drone and still photography.


Wendy Pelayo/Photo by Hillary Hauser

Wendy Pelayo/Photo by Hillary Hauser

Heal the Ocean welcomes Wendy Pelayo to our team as Operations Intern! In two short weeks, this wonder-woman has produced an immense amount of work that has helped us move forward on many fronts. Wendy, a third-year undergraduate student in Environmental Studies at UCSB, is responsible for assisting with research projects, administrative duties, and supports HTO social media work. We're glad to have her with us!


el estero.jpg

On April 16, 2019, the Santa Barbara City Council will act on the city Water Commission's recommendation that the El Estero Wastewater Treatment Plant be renamed El Estero Water Resource Center. As a result of HTO’s recommendation during the Water Commission’s February 15, 2018 meeting, the name change was approved by the Commission on March 28,2019 and will next be taken  up by City Council. The name change reflects the expanded role of wastewater management, in that the facilities have a much larger role than in the past in relation to recovering water resources and protecting the environment. The Goleta Sanitary District changed its name to Goleta Sanitary Water Resource Recovery District last year and together with the Goleta Water District are recycling water for landscape irrigation to the tune of saving up to 300 million gallons of potable water annually.



Heal the Ocean spent much time working with environmental health directors from around the state in Sacramento meetings to craft language for AB 885 septic regulations, written into law by then-assemblymember (now state Senator) Hannah-Beth Jackson in the year 2000. It was difficultbusiness, because Malibu is different from Mojave, and San Diego is not the Russian River, and so on. But with the consulting help of former Santa Barbara County Environmental Health Director Rick Merrifield (who is now on HTO’s Advisory Board), we and Heal the Bay, Santa Monica wereable to make input into language that was acceptable to all, and the regulations went into effect in June 2012.

For over a year we have been seeking AB885 compliance on a number of non-compliant septic system owners in a listed 303(d) impaired area in the Santa Barbara south coast, where septic systems have been identified as contributing to pollution issues in nearby water bodies (ocean and creek). We thank the Los Angeles Regional Water Control Board for following through on the AB 885 mandate with enforcement notices.*

*Notices have been heavily redacted to delete confidential information.


We at Heal the Ocean send huge applause to  Byron Román  for making this post on Facebook.

We at Heal the Ocean send huge applause to Byron Román for making this post on Facebook.

There is a great new cleanup drive on the internet that started when Arizona-based Byron Román posted a challenge to "bored teenagers" around the world to clean up litter in their communities - anywhere in their communities - and post before and after photos showing the transformation to social media using the hashtag (#trashtag). The post has gone viral and thousands of people around the world have caught on and challenged their friends, family, and community members to help clean up garbage found on streets, beaches, parks, and rivers. The trending hashtag has been used on social media hundreds of thousands of times. The genius of this global challenge is its simplicity: that everyone can get involved. 

Perfect timing for all this: Earth Day is around the corner. If you want to put on your own #trashtag event, contact Alison at the HTO office 805-965-7570 and we will get you set up with everything you need for a successful cleanup - whether a beach, hiking trail, or city street. After all, almost all trash ends up in the ocean.



Following our recent collection call for Styrofoam, the HTO office turned into a giant mess of the terrible stuff. Within one week alone, HTO Operations Coordinator Alison Thompson cut up, broke up, smashedand shipped over 13 large boxes of this highly polluting material to be repurposed at Foam Fabricators in Compton, CA. 

Styrofoam never ever EVER breaks down. It becomes smaller and smaller until it resembles plankton - and marine life all over the world are eating it. Please, can you help by 1) asking that products be shipped in recycled cardboard filler, and 2) if you receive styrofoam, PLEASE do not throw into the trash, instead, send it back to the manufacturer in the original box, or send to:

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


EF Students on Goleta Beach

EF Students on Goleta Beach

EF International Language School, Santa Barbara, has joined hands with HTO for the fourth year in a row to celebrate Earth Day in a massive coastal cleanup scheduled for April 12, 2019.

The EF/HTO model has been picked up by EF San Diego and EF Honolulu, and on that same day in April, hundreds of students will be hitting the beaches in these locations too!

EF Santa Barbara School Director Kristen Reilly says it is the school’s vision to further introduce the beach cleanup model to other EF schools on the U.S. west coast, including campuses in San Francisco and Seattle. The project is part of the school's Ocean & Environmental Awareness campaign entitled “EVERY DAY IS EARTH DAY.”

For the Santa Barbara event, all 300 students from the EF campus on Chapala Street will spread out to clean up ten South Coast beaches from Summerland to Goleta, while in Hawaii, EF Honolulu will be working on its coastline with Hawaii-based Kokua Hawaii Foundation (founded by Kim and Jack Johnson). In San Diego, EF San Diego will tackle San Diego beaches, partnering with the Adopt-A-Beach Program, funded by the California Coastal Commission’s Whale Tail Grand and run by I Love a Clean San Diego (ILACSD) of San Diego County.



Heal the Ocean will have a booth at the annual Earth Day celebration in Alameda Park on Saturday and Sunday, April 27-28, so please stop by to say hello, and to shop Heal the Ocean's new supply of t-shirts, as well as coffee mugs, hats, sweatshirts, reusable stainless steel straws, and other items! Learn about our most recent projects, and sign up for #trashtag cleanups. You can follow us on Facebook (Heal the Ocean) and Instagram (@healtheoceansb) to stay updated on our ocean work and events, but it's always more fun to talk in person.

Above all, you can make your own personal commitment to do what you can to help your immediate environment - every day - by doing some or all of the following:

  • Read labels on cleaning agents - if you can’t pronounce it, don’t buy it, wastewater plants that are not full tertiary can’t process these chemicals, (neither can septic systems), and all this stuff ends up in the environment;

  • Avoid “anti-bacteria” lotions and other products, especially those containing tryclosan. Use alcohol-based hand cleaners, and wash your hands often instead;

  • Refuse take-home food in single use plastic containers (bring your own containers instead)...and please remember to ask that nothing be brought to you in styrofoam!;

  • Remember to take your cloth bags for shopping  - PLEASE do not use single-use plastic bags (which are banned in the City of Santa Barbara but unfortunately are still in use in Santa Barbara County). 

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle is now joined by REFUSE! Do you really need to buy that new stuff?


Save the Date 2019-page-001.jpg

Join HTO at the Historic El Paseo Restaurant in Downtown Santa Barbara on Saturday, October 19, 2019, for Heal the Ocean's Annual Celebration. More news to follow!


Rinaldo Brutoco hosting Solutions News (KZSB 1290AM)

Rinaldo Brutoco hosting Solutions News (KZSB 1290AM)

Heal the Ocean Executive Director Hillary Hauser was featured onSolutions News Radio on Friday, March 29, 2019, in a lively discussion with World Business Academy (WBA) Founder/Director Rinaldo Brutoco and Kristina Jansen, Chief of Staff/Producer of Solution News Radio.

On the Friday session, Hillary and Rinaldo discussed the positive and negative consequences of converting decommissioned oil platform foundations as "rigs to reefs" in the ocean off the Santa Barbara coast.

Click here to listen to the interview now.

Solutions News is a new weekly radio talk show that discusses solutions to local, national, and global problems to give people optimism concerning solutions for the future. Rinaldo Brutuco is the Founding President of the World Business Academy (Founded in 1987).  He is an economics and business expert specializing in energy policy, renewable energy, finance, innovation, and the causes of, and adaptation strategies for, climate change.