THE SURGE November 2016               DONATE

Save The Blue

LAW and NRDC Win Multi-Benefit 'Mootness' Victory Before 9th Circuit

The federal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled decisively in favor of LA Waterkeeper and its co-plaintiff and partner Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), agreeing the groups have the right to pursue injunctive relief against LA County for violating water quality standards contained in the 2001 MS4 Permit regulating pollution in the County's stormwater discharges.

The October 31 ruling, reversing a lower court decision, sets an important federal precedent because it establishes a clear legal right for citizen watchdogs like LAW and NRDC to pursue injunctive relief for Clean Water Act permit violations, even when the permit is subsequently reissued. This is an important legal milestone in a lengthy case that had gone all the way to the US Supreme Court!

While the federal court's ruling was limited to addressing the 'mootness' issue, the three-judge panel's decision included language that suggested that they agreed with NRDC and LAW that the 2012 stormwater permit may have improperly weakened provisions of the 2001 permit. The two groups have a separate legal challenge against the 2012 permit in state court, with a critical hearing scheduled in late January. While the federal court ruling does not bind the state court, we expect and hope the court will strongly consider this important ruling when determining whether the State Water Board violated anti-backsliding provisions of the Clean Water Act when issuing its 2012 permit.
Join Our Team! 
We're hiring: Events & Membership Coordinator

Passionate about clean water and thriving communities? Have experience with event planning and membership? Take a look at our opening for the  Events & Membership Coordinator. Apply by November 30! Milestones
Los Angeles and California Reach Enviromental Milestones

Applause is in order for Los Angeles and California voters!

LA County residents voted overwhelmingly in support of Measure A, which will provide funding for building parks, restoring rivers, and protecting beaches. With 73% of the vote, Measure A passed, and Angelenos proved that open space and parks matter to us! For more information, please visit Yes On A For LA Parks.

There is also reason to celebrate across the state:  we banned the bag! With the passage of Proposition 67 and the failure of Prop 65, California voted to uphold the plastic bag ban.  Sara Aminzadeh, Executive Director of the California Coastkeeper Alliance, puts it this way:

"Proposition 67 is unquestionably an environmental victory - it will help eliminate the 25 million plastic bags polluting our beaches and waterways. It is also an important ideological victory - it sends a powerful message to the plastic bag industry and to corporate interests across the country that California's environmental protections are not for sale."

Rain is Here!

Attention all pluviophiles: Los Angeles is officially in its rainy season. Really! Here at LA Waterkeeper, we're eagerly refreshing our weather forecast websites and scanning the clouds, hoping to see some raindrops shortly.

Stormwater in LA carries particular significance for us - not only because it provides necessary relief to our water tables during our current drought, or because it's a source of delight to see our fellow Angelenos in awe when it finally appears. We jump into action when rain is approaching because stormwater is the main source of pollution to our waterways.

Read our latest blog, authored by LAW's Watershed Program Coordinator, Melissa von Mayrhauser, which outlines the harmful impacts of urban stormwater runoff and offers simple ways to avoid contributing to it.

Want to help right now? Here's how:
  1. Download the Water Reporter app 
  2. Join the Los Angeles Waterkeeper group
  3. Snap a photo of run-off you see in you neighborhood
  4. Share it with us! You've helped us to map pollution concerns across LA County. We will notify the appropriate authorities.
Forget Black Friday.

Opting Outside: LAW Staff Kayak Trip
Along the LA River
Instead of standing in line on Nov. 25th, #OptOutside with us! Over 1.5 million people have already pledged to opt outside. We'll be joining REI for this eco-friendly effort and encourage you to do the same! Be sure to tag us on Instagram @LAWaterkeeper

Plus, consider us for #GivingTuesday! Los Angeles Waterkeeper is a charitable nonprofit, and your donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. Donations can be made any time hereAlienHunting
Back In The Water: LAW Divers Hunt Alien Seaweed
What we're seeing, and how we plan to remove it

S. horneri. Photo by Adam Obaza.
Our Dive Program has had a busy year. We've undergone a total transformation, shifting our focus from kelp forest restoration to addressing the invasion of the alien seaweed 
Sargassum horneri . After years of collaborative restoration efforts, how could we stand by as the "devil weed"  S. horneri  threatened the integrity of our kelp forests?

We decided to take action. We launched a new dive project, centered on researching, mapping and eliminating sargassum from our coastline. We were awarded grants from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Agency and the Edgerton Foundation.  Read more...
Conservation Standards: What's Next?

With the State Water Resources Control Board poised to issue its much-anticipated report on adopting long-term conservation standards for California, we encourage everyone to review an excellent piece authored by NRDC's Tracy Quinn in the Water Deeply blog that examines the hypocrisy of many of California's water agencies during our ongoing historic drought.  Episode3
LAW vs The Water Boards: How to Weaken Water Standards

The third installment of our series on the lawsuit we filed against the state and regional Water Boards, authored by LAW Staff Attorney, Arthur Pugsley.

The Water Boards' resolutions we are challenging replace the existing Water Quality Standards for copper and lead in the Los Angeles River and its tributaries with "Site Specific Water Quality Objectives" or SSOs.

LA River. 2016.
The Clean Water Act establishes water quality standards that are national in character, aimed at protecting the designated uses of a "generic" waterbody. But the effects of pollution on a concrete (no pun intended) waterbody like the LA River can vary greatly from the effects of pollution on the generic waterbody because of differences in local water chemistry and biochemistry, and differences in aquatic communities compared to the generic waterbody.

November Events

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MPA Boat Survey Trip
MPA Trip w/ Sherman Indian H.S.



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MPA Boat Survey Trip

RAFT @ Marsh Park

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MPA Boat Survey Trip

MPA Trip,
RAFT @ Maywood


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Thxgiving Holiday



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#Giving Tuesday
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Please contact Watershed Program Coordinator, Melissa von Mayrhauser,
regarding RAFT and CWW:

Please contact Community Programs Manager, Michael Quill,
regarding our MPA Watch Boat-Based Survey trips: