Orange County Coastkeeper: Defending Clean Water for 20 Years.

No matter where you are in the world – water is imperative for all living things. In Orange County, we live between two extremes: an abundance of salty water to our west and a limited supply of fresh water to our east. However, our region’s water quality and water supply are challenged because of pollution and high-water use. That’s where Orange County Coastkeeper comes in.

In the picture: Sea in Orange County. Photo Credit: Unsplash.

Coastkeeper serves as the water watchdog in Orange County, the Inland Empire and Coachella Valley, protecting fishable, swimmable and drinkable water for the community. For 20 years, we have focused on three major areas as an organization:


We have consistently been the only voice at the table advocating on behalf of the environment in regional policy decisions. Thanks to our advocacy, our region adopted higher standards for limiting pollution in our waterways and protecting marine habitats.


We stop pollution at its source by holding local industries accountable for pollution violations. Thanks to our legal enforcement action, more than 100 industrial facilities have come into compliance with clean water laws and now do things like capture and filter polluted storm water before it flows into our waterways.

In the picture: Lifeguard post in Orange County. Photo Credit: Unsplash


Thousands of volunteers – young and old – join us to connect with our environment and learn how to protect it. We provided water warriors with the resources to remove trash from our beaches, defend our Marine Protected Areas, advocate for improved water quality and more.


While Coastkeeper has protected waters in Orange County and the surrounding areas for two decades, we understand that the best way to protect water is to move beyond man-made lines. That’s why Coastkeeper expanded our Southern California footprint to include the newly formed Coachella Valley Waterkeeper.

In its infancy, Coachella Valley Waterkeeper is a chapter of Coastkeeper that will enhance and protect the quality of the waterways within the Whitewater River Watershed. We plan to accomplish this through five program tenets: advocacy, education, restoration, conservation and enforcement. The addition of the Coachella Valley Waterkeeper is also reflected in Coastkeeper’s vision for the next three years, including:

  • Remain vigilant as the leading organization providing professional environmental advocacy to protect water quality and advance ecosystem health
  • Directly engage in pollution prevention through monitoring, research, restoration, and enforcement actions
  • Educate and inspire more students and community members to strive for clean water that supports the community by introducing a new, formalized membership program and expanding our existing education program
  • Ensure Coastkeeper remains a stable, viable and visible organization that is representative of the community and provides an effective and influential voice for clean water in our communities
  • Expand Coastkeeper’s reach into the greater Southern California region with the newly created Coachella Valley Waterkeeper

In the picture: Palms in Orange County. Photo Credit: Unsplash


The best way to help is to become a member of your local Orange County, Inland Empire or Coachella Valley Waterkeeper organization by donating $20 or volunteering two hours of your time to the organization. You can also consider becoming a part of our Membership Advisory Committee to play a role in the types of issues we address.

We know our battle for clean water is not over. With the community of Southern California’s support, we will continue to protect the region’s water resources so they are swimmable, drinkable and fishable for present and future generations.

In the picture: Part of the Orange County Coast. Photo Credit: Unsplash

EDITOR’S NOTE: The opinions expressed here by columnists are their own, not those of 

About the Author /

Garry Brown established Coastkeeper in 1999 and serves as the organization's Founding Director. Under Garry's leadership, Coastkeeper has become a powerful voice for water quality, marine habitats and water supply issues in Southern California. Garry also holds positions of leadership on numerous Boards of Directors and governmental advisory committees including the California Coastkeeper Alliance, Nature Reserve of Orange County, Ocean Defenders Alliance and many more.

Post a Comment

Scroll Up