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

  • Rayethon
  • Jessica Scheeter & Zach Gill
  • Amy Kunze
  • Morgan Coffey
  • Brittingham Family Foundation
  • Julia Louis Dreyfus & Brad Hall
  • David, Theresa & Summer Dolotta
  • Christine Ryerson
  • Kate Mead & Marty Conoley
  • Peter R. & Sarah de Tagyos
  • Charlie Graham
  • The Jim Ryerson Environmental Fund
  • Gail Kennedy
  • Ann Crawford
  • Lauri & Michael Hamer
  • Marianne & Jim Henry
  • Lee Heller
  • Suzanne & Edward Eubanks
  • Donald & Diane Jackson
  • Hiroko Benko
  • Andrew & Konnie Gault
  • Robert Feldman
  • Paul & Tiffany Dore
  • Robert & Stan Fishman
  • Scott Waters
  • Dr. Douglas Cummings
  • Robert & Christine Emmons
  • Robert & Prudence Sternin
  • John & Marsha Elleston
  • Don & Cinda Erdman
  • Christine Gallagher
  • Bob Cunningham
  • Georgia Funsten
  • Roy E. Crummer Foundation
  • Meg Miller & Dean Dawson
  • Chrissy & Jason Blumenthal
  • Rosemary Fatano
  • Heidi Clever
  • Neil Dipaola
  • Richard & Lois Gunther
  • Cliff & Nicola Ghersen
  • Nora McNeely Hurley & Michael Hurley
  • Frances Lufkin
  • Georgia & Ted Funsten
  • Charles Vinick & Susan Venable
  • David & Lyn Anderson
  • Pat & Maire Radis
  • D. Maile Ellington
  • William W. Hildreth
  • Sandra & Tim Armour
  • Fardad Rahimian
  • Cooper Allebrand
  • Charles Perez
  • Julie Shamblin
  • Hoyt Tarola
  • Richard & Lloyd Dallet
  • Lance Anderson
  • Jim Garcia & Erin Graffy
  • Mike Furner
  • Bernard & Joan Fried
  • Ani Casillas
  • Francesca Cava
  • Mina Goena-Welch
  • Eric & Francine Kirsch
  • Santa Barbara Shellfish Company
  • Dennis & Suzanne Shanelec
  • Boston Mochi
  • A-Frame Surf Shop
  • The Brittingham Family Foundation
  • Aubert & Pamela de Villaine
  • Robert Coronado
  • Billy & Lin Goodnick
  • Dr. & Mrs. John A. Clark
  • Tracy Fernandez & Hyla Fetler
  • Robert & Christine Emmons
  • J'Amy Brown
  • Charlene Harris
  • Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation
  • The Manitou Fund
  • William Cornfield
  • George & Deanna Gregg
  • Hermine & Gary Gallup
  • Pam Caswell
  • Jack Finnegan
  • Connie & Dennis Doheny
  • Cotty & Isabella Chubb
  • Plum Goods
  • Heather Kelly Clenet
  • Will Davies
  • James Hawkins
  • Dr. Jeffrey & Dr. Monica Fried
  • Eva Marie Saint & Jeffrey Hayden
  • Susan and Carol Robertson
  • Wendy Foster
  • Ganer Stewart
  • David & Lyn Anderson
  • Randy Freedman & Jennifer Freed
  • Andrew & Penelope Gottlieb
  • Gebb Turpin
  • Joyce & Fritz Patterson

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