Santa Barbara Channelkeeper is a tenacious clean water advocate and watchdog with a proven track record, an unmatched depth of policy, legal and scientific expertise, and a keen ability to navigate and influence complicated regulatory processes affecting water quality. This experience has gained us the confidence of the community as well as credibility with decision-makers, and has enabled us to secure significant gains for clean water and healthy aquatic habitats.

We’ve compelled some of our area’s worst polluters to clean up, convinced public officials to strengthen and enforce the policies that protect our ocean, beaches and waterways, involved more than 1,000 volunteers in our programs, and educated tens of thousands of students and citizens through hands-on activities in classrooms, in the field, and through a variety of media and public outreach initiatives. Some of our key accomplishments include:

  • Compelling the City of Santa Barbara to increase its effort and investment in repairing and replacing aging sewage pipes and improving its sewer system operation and maintenance practices in order to reduce sewage spills and prevent the contamination of creeks and beaches with sewage.
  • Convincing the Regional Water Quality Control Board to require a more rigorous and effective clean-up plan for a DDT-contaminated site on the Carpinteria coast. The clean-up levels ultimately required were more stringent than required at any DDT waste-impacted site in the entire nation.
  • Compelling the Santa Barbara Polo Club to stop illegal discharges of water polluted with horse waste into storm drains that empty onto Padaro Beach.
  • Stopping a proposal to put a dangerous Liquefied Natural Gas terminal in the middle of the Santa Barbara Channel.
  • Training and engaging more than more than 1,000 volunteers in our “Stream Team” program, which conducts monthly water quality monitoring in several creeks throughout the South Coast. Our data are used by numerous public agencies to guide their pollution prevention efforts.
  • Preserving a critical public health service by taking over water quality monitoring at local beaches when funding for the County’s winter beach testing program was cut in 2008. We now conduct weekly bacteria sampling at 12 area beaches from November through March and provide timely public notification of our results to help ocean users avoid risking their health by swimming in polluted water.
  • Identifying numerous illegal discharges of raw sewage, oil and other contaminants into creeks and storm drains through our routine pollution patrols and working with public officials to get them cleaned up.
  • Playing a lead role in California’s policy process to create a network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) along the California coast, which will serve to protect and restore marine life and habitat for future generations.
  • Engaging hundreds of volunteers in community clean-ups, removing thousands of pounds of garbage from area beaches, creeks and harbors and preventing it from escaping to the ocean.
  • Educating 19,000 youth through our Clean Water Environmental Stewardship Training (CWEST) Project, which provides interactive watershed and marine science education programs that build math and science skills while also fostering environmental stewardship in the younger generation.