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

  • Jody Thomas
  • Paul & Tiffany Dore
  • Peggy & Bill Callahan
  • Deb Monroe
  • Christine Ebert
  • Robert & Stan Fishman
  • Nancy Roberts
  • Aubert & Pamela de Villaine
  • Bob & Alea Cunningham
  • Elizabeth Graham
  • The Brittingham Family Foundation
  • Charles Vinick & Susan Venable
  • Marie Morrisroe
  • Barbara & Roy Harthorn
  • Charlene Harris
  • John & Carrie Givens
  • William W. Hildreth
  • Yvon & Malinda Chouinard
  • Robert Feldman
  • Mimi deGruy
  • Elizabeth B. (Betsy) Denison
  • Frances Lufkin
  • Eva Marie Saint & Jeffrey Hayden
  • Al & Julia Clark
  • B & B Foundation
  • Melissa & Michael Costello
  • Santa Barbara Shellfish Company
  • Andrew & Adrianne Davis
  • Eric & Francine Kirsch
  • Peet's Coffee & Tea
  • Jack Finnegan
  • Jeffery & Monica Fried
  • William & Wendy Drewry III
  • Mina Goena-Welch
  • Pat & Maire Radis
  • Nora McNeely Hurley & Michael Hurley
  • Lindy Kern
  • Lauren Hawksworth
  • Steven Gilbar & Inge Gatz
  • Ganer Stewart
  • Billy & Lin Goodnick
  • Brittingham Family Foundation
  • Jennifer Oakley
  • Steven & Deborah Hartzman
  • Big Speak, Inc.
  • Hoyt Tarola
  • Andrew & Penelope Gottlieb
  • Suzanne & Edward Eubanks
  • Tracy Fernandez & Hyla Fetler
  • James Hawkins
  • Don & Cinda Erdman
  • Ani Casillas
  • Plum Goods
  • The Jim Ryerson Environmental Fund
  • Melissa Riparetti-Stepien
  • Ani Casillas
  • Marianne & Jim Henry
  • Joe deBruynKops
  • David & Monica Fishman
  • Lauri & Michael Hamer
  • Devon Geiger Nielsen
  • Amy Kunze
  • Bob Cunningham
  • Anne Doubilet
  • Marcia & John Mike Cohen
  • Michael La Puma
  • Roy E. Crummer Foundation
  • Neil Elliot
  • Joyce & Fritz Patterson
  • Boston Mochi
  • Joe & Barbara Godley
  • Craig Rice
  • Susan and Carol Robertson
  • Connie & Dennis Doheny
  • Janet Graham
  • Roger & Sarah Chrisman
  • Salvador Cisneros
  • Ronald J. & Carole A. Fox
  • Morgan Coffey
  • Donald & Diane Jackson
  • Robert & Christine Emmons
  • Harry & Sharon Felder
  • Jessica Scheeter & Zach Gill
  • Lee Heller
  • Paul & Downing Denison
  • Scott Waters
  • Eliot Crowley & Debra P. Geiger
  • Charles Blitz
  • Margo Rose
  • Thomas & Nancy Crawford
  • Will Davies
  • Polly Turpin
  • Dr. & Mrs. John A. Clark
  • J'Amy Brown
  • Jim Garcia & Erin Graffy
  • Ann Crawford
  • Nicholas & Margaret Dewey
  • Ken & Nancy Goldsholl
  • Amy Cooper
  • Eric & Julie Friedman

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