HTO to Receive Commendation from Regional Board, State Assembly & Senate
During its two-day hearing in Santa Barbara on January 29-30, 2015, the Regional Water Quality Control Board is set to make a public commendation to Heal the Ocean and, specifically, Executive Director Hillary Hauser, for leadership shown in bringing the Rincon Septic-to-Sewer project to fruition. The State Assembly and Senate are joining in on this bestowal of honor, which recognizes the 15 years of tenacity it took to bring this important environmental project to fruition. The Rincon project was part of the South Coast Beaches Septic to Sewer Project, which removed septic systems from 7 miles of Santa Barbara coastline. To recognize those who made this victory possible, HTO is in the process of inviting to this public ceremony the surfers, homeowners, Carpinteria Sanitary District board members, public officials – and mainly the great HTO membership – who made this victory possible. Stay tuned!
HTO Joins CSD at CASA Conference
On January 21, 2015, HTO Executive Director Hillary Hauser will join Carpinteria Sanitary District Craig Murray in a presentation at the California Association of Sanitary Agencies (CASA) conference, where CSD is being recognized with CASA's“Best Project of the Year” award for the Rincon Septic-to-Sewer project. This honor, which is being given in Palm Springs, CA., is highly sought after within the industry.
Carpinteria Sanitary District deserves this reward – and more! – for its years of perseverance and commitment to the entire South Coast Beach Communities Septic to Sewer Project. Thank you Carpinteria Sanitary District, and Craig Murray, for making this project a reality!
Heal the Ocean is proud to announce that on December 29, 2014 we wrote a check for $4,000 to the County of Santa Barbara to supply compostable doggy bags for dispensers at all south county beaches – bringing our 2014 contribution to the County for dog bags to a grand total of $17,800!
With the County budget at $24,000 to buy these bags, HTO is proud that we've been able to pay for nearly three-quarters of the bags – which are compostable “BioBags” made in California with non-GMO corn resin.
Principal donations during 2014 came from Jack & Kim Johnson's "All at Once" matching program ($5,000) and a whopping $6,000 was donated by Dr. David Dawson, owner of Montecito Pet Hospital/Santa Barbara Veterinary Group, HydroPaws & San Roque Veterinary Hospital, through HTO's Dispenser Sponsorship Program. Dr. Dawson's stickers, made by Heal the Ocean, can be seen on all the dispensers at Arroyo Burro Beach, and throughout Montecito and Summerland beach areas. And we thank Leslie von Wiesenberger for funding all the bags that fill the dispenser at Rincon Beach Park.
Mainly, the bulk of the support came from YOU, our wonderful, dog-loving HTO members who have donated right and left to pay for these bags!
We ask our supporters to renew their commitment to this outstanding collaboration between HTO and the County by making a donation today. Every $60 donation buys 1,500 bags for beach dispensers from Rincon to Goleta!
Please make a donation in the name of your dog(s), and e-mail us their picture(s) at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can include them in our fabulous HTO Dog Show, posted on our website to the tune of "Who Let the Dogs Out?" Please check out the show, and please join us in supporting this program. Thank you!
Developing a Strong Septic Policy for Santa Barbara County
While Heal the Ocean is being feted at State, County and Regional levels for our success in a 15-year battle to get septic systems off the beaches in South Santa Barbara County, we are still battling for stronger septic regulations in Santa Barbara County so that a 15-year war doesn't break out every time there is a movement to fix a problem area. For the past year, Heal the Ocean has participated in a stakeholder process led by County Environmental Health Services to develop a Local Area Management Program (LAMP) that complies with AB 885 – a state law authored by then State Assemblywoman Hannah-Beth Jackson and others governing septic systems. Heal the Ocean objected to the draft LAMP that came out of the year-long local process and we approached the Regional Board for intervention, testifying that the proposed regulations were weak, and ultimately unable to target areas needing repair or upgrade.
The Regional Board supported our request, the draft LAMP went back to the stakeholder committee, and a revised draft was developed that sets up a regulatory path to identify and address areas with existing polluting septic systems. This revision was submitted in December 2014 to the Board of Supervisors where HTO argued for it being approved and sent to the Regional Board for its input on the document. The Regional Board is now reviewing the LAMP, and is expected to hold a public hearing on the issue during spring 2015. HTO is staying close to the language on this one, because we don’t want to see long and expensive fights over cleaning up areas where septic systems are known to be polluting groundwater or surface water.
Expanding Recycled Water on the South Coast
HTO believes the wastewater treatment plant is one of the most important environmental tools of our day (try living without it!) We are working with sanitary districts rather than fighting them, to find funding for treatment plant upgrades to include the production of purified “gold standard” recycled water. We have been working to unite the Montecito Sanitary District (MSD) with the Montecito Water District on a plan wherein the two agencies would participate in an upgrade to the MSD plant to include recycled water, and possibly a desalination component, which would help the Montecito community solve its water shortage problems. HTO is also working with RMC Water, Santa Monica, to narrow a scope of a study we plan to commission, to increase recycled water use in the City of Santa Barbara. We believe wastewater is Waste(d)water™ and that a key strategy of keeping Waste(d)water™ out of the ocean is to purify and reuse it on land.
On Wednesday, January 28, 2015, at the Arlington Theater in Santa Barbara, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival will present the prestigious Attenborough Award For Excellence in Nature Filmmaking to the Cousteau Family – Jean-Michel and his son and daughter Fabien and Celine — for their decades-long commitment to educating the public and discovering the mysteries of the ocean. The award will be presented on Wednesday, January 28, 2015 at the Arlington Theatre.
Heal the Ocean has been given tickets to give to our supporters, first-come, first served, which we are proud to do, to celebrate the fact that Jean-Michel is not only a long long-time friend of HTO but he also provided a 501c3 status to Heal the Ocean when we first came out the gate in 1998 during a public demonstration in Santa Barbara about the sad state of ocean pollution. For the first few years of our life, we were a subset of the Jean-Michel Cousteau Institute (now Ocean Futures). Jean-Michel is still on HTO’s Board of Directors – and we are on board with him!
For a pair of tickets, please send your request to email@example.com. The show begins at 8 p.m., and it’s general admission.
Thank You, Sotheby's
For the fifth fabulous year in a row, Sotheby’s International Realty chose HTO as one of the non-profits to be given the proceeds of their one-year (2014) collection of a portion of its real estate commissions! We are not only in awe of the sizable donation made to us, we are proud to be honored along with four other wonderful charitable organizations in Santa Barbara County. We give deep thanks to all of the Sotheby’s realtors as well as big bear hug to Greg Tice, Sotheby’s Senior Vice President and Brokerage Manager, who ran a great show at the awards ceremony at the Cabrillo Arts Center this past December.