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

  • Hermine & Gary Gallup
  • Tarola Properties
  • Jessica Scheeter & Zach Gill
  • Gail Kennedy
  • Jeffery & Monica Fried
  • Kathy B. Gallo
  • Ann Crawford
  • Nicholas & Margaret Dewey
  • The Manitou Fund
  • Roy E. Crummer Foundation
  • Deb Monroe
  • Daniel Frank
  • Lauri & Michael Hamer
  • Morgan Coffey
  • Capital Group Companies Charitable Foundation/Morrow
  • Ronald J. & Carole A. Fox
  • Julia Louis Dreyfus & Brad Hall
  • Charlie Graham
  • Charlene Harris
  • Cotty & Isabella Chubb
  • Peet's Coffee & Tea
  • Marilyn Magid
  • Connie & Dennis Doheny
  • Polly Turpin
  • Lauren Hawksworth
  • Bob Cunningham
  • Phillip Vedder
  • Robin Donaldson
  • Anne Doubilet
  • Francesca Cava
  • Joyce & Fritz Patterson
  • David & Ruth Green
  • Chrissy & Jason Blumenthal
  • Robert & Christine Emmons
  • Nancy Acosta
  • Amy Kunze
  • Hoyt Tarola
  • Harry & Sharon Felder
  • Charles Vinick & Susan Venable
  • Christine Gallagher
  • Sallie & Curt Coughlin
  • David, Jeannie & Roxy Clark
  • Joe & Barbara Godley
  • Mimi deGruy
  • Jack Finnegan
  • William Cornfield
  • Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation
  • B & B Foundation
  • Georgia Funsten
  • Pat & Maire Radis
  • Susan Anderson
  • David, Theresa & Summer Dolotta
  • Barbara Dukas
  • A-Frame Surf Shop
  • Steven Gilbar & Inge Gatz
  • Bob & Alea Cunningham
  • Suzanne & Edward Eubanks
  • John & Marsha Elleston
  • Clarinda Conger
  • Sandra & Tim Armour
  • Graham & Sara Farrar
  • Thomas Dabney
  • Melissa Riparetti-Stepien
  • William & Wendy Drewry III
  • Peter R. & Sarah de Tagyos
  • Neil Dipaola
  • Andrew & Adrianne Davis
  • Aubert & Pamela de Villaine
  • Robert & Prudence Sternin
  • Robert Feldman
  • Kathryn Courain
  • Anonymous
  • George Fertitta
  • Robert & Stan Fishman
  • Martha Clyde
  • Nora McNeely Hurley & Michael Hurley
  • Michael La Puma
  • Judith Little
  • Rich & Krista Coffin
  • Margo Rose
  • George & Deanna Gregg
  • The Brittingham Family Foundation
  • Eric & Julie Friedman
  • Michael Tish
  • Jeffery & Laura Seawards
  • Jennifer Oakley
  • Billy & Lin Goodnick
  • Jim Garcia & Erin Graffy
  • Pam Caswell
  • Eva Marie Saint & Jeffrey Hayden
  • Ani Casillas
  • Meg Miller & Dean Dawson
  • Devon Geiger Nielsen
  • Dr. Jeffrey & Dr. Monica Fried
  • Dan & Rae Emmett
  • Barbara & Roy Harthorn
  • Chip & Kelley Bell
  • Christine Ebert
  • Renee Hamaty
  • Neil Elliot

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