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

  • Kathy B. Gallo
  • Amy Cooper
  • Dan & Rae Emmett
  • Marcia & John Mike Cohen
  • Melissa & Michael Costello
  • Charlie Graham
  • Danica Damiani
  • Steven Gilbar & Inge Gatz
  • Rosemary Fatano
  • William W. Hildreth
  • J.T. & Elizabeth Gerig
  • Mike Furner
  • Cotty & Isabella Chubb
  • Ronald J. & Carole A. Fox
  • Steven & Deborah Hartzman
  • Charles Blitz
  • Julia Louis Dreyfus & Brad Hall
  • Melissa Riparetti-Stepien
  • Mimi deGruy
  • Frances Lufkin
  • Joyce & Fritz Patterson
  • Peet's Coffee & Tea
  • Charlene Harris
  • Robert & Cindy Gelber
  • Randy Freedman & Jennifer Freed
  • Lauren Hawksworth
  • Heidi Clever
  • John & Marsha Elleston
  • Ann Crawford
  • Eric & Julie Friedman
  • Mark Schildhauer & Joyce Gauvain
  • D. Maile Ellington
  • Robert & Stan Fishman
  • B & B Foundation
  • Polly Turpin
  • Jody Thomas
  • Lance Anderson
  • Craig Rice
  • Brad Fiedel & Ann Dusenberry
  • George & Deanna Gregg
  • Jack Finnegan
  • Harry & Sharon Felder
  • Marianne & Jim Henry
  • Christine Gallagher
  • A-Frame Surf Shop
  • Martha Clyde
  • Nora McNeely Hurley & Michael Hurley
  • Aubert & Pamela de Villaine
  • Heather Kelly Clenet
  • Marilyn Magid
  • Eva Marie Saint & Jeffrey Hayden
  • Neil Elliot
  • The Jim Ryerson Environmental Fund
  • Sarah Kass
  • David & Lyn Anderson
  • Patagonia.com
  • Elizabeth Graham
  • Big Speak, Inc.
  • Lauri & Michael Hamer
  • Jeffery & Monica Fried
  • Rich & Krista Coffin
  • Paul & Tiffany Dore
  • Plum Goods
  • Bob & Alea Cunningham
  • Barbara Dukas
  • Christine Ryerson
  • Joe & Barbara Godley
  • Thomas & Nancy Crawford
  • Bernard & Joan Fried
  • Tracy Fernandez & Hyla Fetler
  • Billy & Lin Goodnick
  • Robin Donaldson
  • Joe deBruynKops
  • Michael La Puma
  • David & Lyn Anderson
  • Renee Hamaty
  • George Fertitta
  • Fardad Rahimian
  • Richard Coleman
  • Meg Miller & Dean Dawson
  • Robert & Prudence Sternin
  • Charles Vinick & Susan Venable
  • Janet Graham
  • Margo Rose
  • Judith Little
  • Jim Garcia & Erin Graffy
  • Peggy & Bill Callahan
  • Clarinda Conger
  • Andrew & Penelope Gottlieb
  • Sandra & Tim Armour
  • Eliot Crowley & Debra P. Geiger
  • Santa Barbara Shellfish Company
  • Caolyn Hubbs
  • Charles Perez
  • Paul & Downing Denison
  • Robert & Christine Emmons
  • Andrew & Adrianne Davis
  • Michael Tish
  • Georgia & Ted Funsten
  • William & Wendy Drewry III

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