History

Heal the Ocean (HTO) was formed in August 1998 in Santa Barbara, California, in response to the closing of local beaches due to bacteria. Its original organizers are Hillary Hauser, a journalist who has covered marine topics – both internationally and in Santa Barbara – for over 40 years, and Jeff Young, a practicing attorney in Santa Barbara who once owned an oyster farm that was polluted out of business in the late 1980s. It is a citizens’ action group that began with Hauser’s newspaper editorial, published in the Santa Barbara News-Press on August 9, 1998, called “Another Day at the Beach?” The piece prompted a huge outpouring of emotional support and calls for action within the community. In response, a public demonstration took place at the Santa Barbara County administration building on August 27, 1998 in support of clean waters and clean beaches, with this community outcry giving rise to Heal the Ocean.

In our early years HTO tackled the septic systems at Rincon, a world class surfing area in Santa Barbara County. We were the first environmental organization in the county to do DNA testing in the environment in order to identify the origins of contamination. While bureaucrats and the public alike argued about the sources of pollution at Rincon, HTO raised $36,000 for this DNA study, and the results were conclusive…the pollution in the Rincon Lagoon was attributable to humans.

After countless hours of advocacy and support by Heal the Ocean at key stages of the project over fifteen years, the South Coast Beaches Communities Septic to Sewer Project is complete, meaning that seven miles of Santa Barbara coastline are now free of septic systems. 



Proud Corporate Supporters of Heal the Ocean

Individual Donors

  • Robert & Cindy Gelber
  • William W. Hildreth
  • Paul & Tiffany Dore
  • Marianne & Jim Henry
  • Heather Kelly Clenet
  • Richard & Lois Gunther
  • Peggy & Bill Callahan
  • Kathy B. Gallo
  • Salvador Cisneros
  • Charles Perez
  • The Jim Ryerson Environmental Fund
  • Nancy Acosta
  • George & Deanna Gregg
  • Chip & Kelley Bell
  • Roger & Sarah Chrisman
  • Al & Julia Clark
  • Lance Anderson
  • John & Carrie Givens
  • Patagonia.com
  • Robin Donaldson
  • Melissa & Michael Costello
  • Eric & Julie Friedman
  • Mike Furner
  • Robert & Christine Emmons
  • George Fertitta
  • Polly Turpin
  • Bernard & Joan Fried
  • Andrew & Adrianne Davis
  • Richard Coleman
  • Melissa Riparetti-Stepien
  • Roy E. Crummer Foundation
  • Robert & Christine Emmons
  • Suzanne & Edward Eubanks
  • Robert Feldman
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus & Brad Hall
  • David & Lyn Anderson
  • Cotty & Isabella Chubb
  • Charles Blitz
  • Scott Waters
  • Renee Hamaty
  • Charlene Harris
  • Christine Gallagher
  • Sandra & Tim Armour
  • Randy Freedman & Jennifer Freed
  • Suzanne Edick
  • Joe deBruynKops
  • William & Wendy Drewry III
  • Cliff & Nicola Ghersen
  • Kathryn Courain
  • Jody Thomas
  • The Manitou Fund
  • Danica Damiani
  • Julia Louis Dreyfus & Brad Hall
  • Marie Morrisroe
  • Susan Anderson
  • David, Theresa & Summer Dolotta
  • Dr. & Mrs. John A. Clark
  • Elizabeth Graham
  • Dennis & Suzanne Shanelec
  • Georgia & Ted Funsten
  • Wendy Foster
  • Brittingham Family Foundation
  • Michael La Puma
  • Joe & Barbara Godley
  • Mimi deGruy
  • Heidi Clever
  • Julie Shamblin
  • David & Ruth Green
  • Chrissy & Jason Blumenthal
  • Maribeth Hammond
  • Jeffery & Laura Seawards
  • Robert Coronado
  • Hiroko Benko
  • Peter R. & Sarah de Tagyos
  • Jack Finnegan
  • Harry & Sharon Felder
  • Anne Doubilet
  • Connie & Dennis Doheny
  • Francesca Cava
  • Ann Crawford
  • Steven Gilbar & Inge Gatz
  • Devon Geiger Nielsen
  • Ken & Nancy Goldsholl
  • Barbara & Roy Harthorn
  • Michael Tish
  • Nancy Roberts
  • Rayethon
  • Marilyn Magid
  • Marcia & John Mike Cohen
  • Hoyt Tarola
  • J.T. & Elizabeth Gerig
  • Tarola Properties
  • The Brittingham Family Foundation
  • Bob Cunningham
  • Dan & Rae Emmett
  • Susan and Carol Robertson
  • Big Speak, Inc.
  • Don & Cinda Erdman
  • Meg Miller & Dean Dawson
  • Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation

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