San Diego Coastkeeper Celebrates 20th Anniversary
I'M TOM FUDGE AND YOU'RE LISTENING TO KBPS MIDDAY. ALL ROADS LEAD TO THE OCEAN AND WHAT IS BASED ON THEN BECOMES A SOLUTION AND POLLUTION FROM THE SEA. IT HAPPENS WITH DISCARDED CONTAINERS AND LOTS OF OTHER THINGS. SAN DIEGO COAST GUARD MADE IT THEIR MISSION TO PROTECT IT. THIS IS 20 YEARS OLD AND THAT THE SAMPLING OF OTHER KEEPER GROUPS AND THEY WORK TO PROTECT THE WATERS OF LONG ISLAND SOUND. WHERE CAN I TALK ABOUT THE 20th ANNIVERSARY OF KOS KEEPER AND ONE IS MEGAN BARRON WHO IS THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR. MEGAN THANK YOU FOR COMING AND --. THEN WE HAVE TOM NIELSEN AND HE IS THE OWNER OF NIELSEN INCORPORATED WHO IS THE WINNER OF ONE OF THEIR PRIZE OF RECOGNITION. Tom: MEGAN YOU LOOK BACK ON THE 20 YEARS WHAT ARE THE IMPORTANT ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF KOS KEEPER? THIS CONCEPT OF ENVIRONMENTAL SENSITIVITY AND ENVIRONMENTAL RESOURCE IS THERE AND IF YOU TALK TO THE PEOPLE THAT IT CAN HEAR 30 OR 40 YEARS THEY WILL TELL YOU THAT THINGS HAVE BECOME DRASTICALLY MORE HEALTHY AND SAFE. Tom: TELL US ABOUT THE HISTORY OF THE WATER KEEPER MOVEMENT. IT STARTED IN THE NAME -- LATE 1960S IN NEW YORK AND IT WAS INITIATED BY FISHERMEN. IMAGINE THE SALTY AS OLD CADRE INFO ON THE HUDSON. THEY SAW THE POLLUTION ROBBING THEIR LIVELIHOOD. AND BECAUSE THERE WAS CHEMICAL AND TAXES -- TOXIC WASTE THEY DECIDED TO DO SOMETHING. IF YOU CAN IMAGINE THESE GUYS GETTING AROUND IT WILL SHOW MATTRESSES AND HAVE DYNAMITE ON A DINGHY AND WE WILL BLOW THAT UP. LUCKILY COOLER HEADS PREVAIL AND THEY TOOK THE CLEAN WATER ACT AND THIS IS THE PAIN COMPANY THEY WERE DUMPING INTO THE RIVER AND THEY WANTED A SETTLEMENT FROM THE MOVEMENT GREW AND GREW. Tom: YOU MENTIONED THE SALTY OLD CONTOURS AND WE HAVE A CLIP FROM THE FIRST KEEPER GROUP IN THE COUNTRY AND THEY WERE TO FISHERMEN TALKING ABOUT HOW BAD POLLUTION WAS IN THE 60s. IT WAS HORRIBLE. THEY PAINT CARS OVER THERE IN THE RIVER WOULD BE BLUE AND RED TRACKS RIVER WOULD BE RED, ETC. WOULD BE OUT THERE FISHING AND ALL THE CINEMA SCREEN. AND WE HAD A BAD REPUTATION. Tom: WE CALL THE KOS KEEPER MOVEMENT AND WE WERE TALKING ABOUT THE HUDSON RIVER IN NEW YORK, IS THAT INSPIRING TO YOU? HAVING TOM HERE WITH US EXEMPLIFIES THE MOVEMENT AND THERE ARE 200 ORGANIZATIONS AROUND THE WORLD. AS A SAN DIEGO KOS KEEPER HAS DEVELOPED THREE OF LEARNED THAT IT'S IMPORTANT TO HAVE THE TOOLS AND WE NEED TO HAVE TO WORK TOGETHER WITH GOVERNMENT AND BUSINESS TO PROTECT THE WATER. WE WANT THIS TO BE REALISTIC AND THE PRACTICES AT HIS BUSINESS WITH A SIMPLIFIED AT. -- THAT. Tom: DISSECTED TOM WHO IS THE OWNER AND I KNOW YOU HATE TO BRAG BUT WHAT HAVE YOU DONE? WE BELIEVE THAT THE FACILITY A FEW YEARS AGO AND YOU NEED TO DO IMPROVEMENTS TO THE LAND LEASE AND WE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY AFTER OPERATING FOR 25 YEARS AGO AND WE HAVE THIS NEW ONE FOR CLEAN WATER NIGHT ASSIGNED DESK DESIGN -- AND I DESIGNED A NEW SYSTEM. Tom: YOU DESCRIBE IT? WE HAULED ABOUT HOW TO CLEAN THE BOTTOMS AND THERE'S A HIGH PRESSURE WASHER AND NORMALLY WILL HAVE OXIDE AND THAT MATERIAL BENDS DOWN TO A SYSTEM THAT RECYCLES THE WATER AND WE USE THE SAME WATER AGAIN SO THAT WE CAN CONSERVE WATER. IT'S ALSO DESIGNED TO CAPTURE STORM WATER SO DURING A RAIN EVENTS IT'S A CLEANING EVENT AND AFTER THAT THE STORM IS OVER AND WE HOLD THE WATER ON-SITE AT THE SHALLOW LAKE AFFECT. Tom: WERE YOU REQUIRED BY LAW TO GET YOUR COMMISSIONS -- EMISSIONS, WERE YOU SUPPOSED TO GET IT DOWN TO ZERO OR DID YOU DO IT VOLUNTARILY? WE HAVE A SYSTEM THAT ALLOWS YOU TO DISCHARGE AND IT WILL NOT MEET THAT IT BECAME CLEAR TO ME THAT WE CAPTURE THE WATER IN THE NEW ROLES THAT ARE OUT TODAY ARE MORE STRINGENT AND MAY EXCEED THEM BY FAR. Tom: WHEN YOU LOOK AT MARINA AS TO WHAT EXTENT OUR BOATS AND CLEANING BOATS A PROBLEM? IT'S REALLY QUITE UNIQUE IN THAT IT NOT JUST AN INDUSTRIAL DOCK, WE HAVE UNIQUE HABITATS OUT THERE AND ANY POLLUTION IS A PROBLEM WHEN WE HAVE THINGS THAT COME OUT FROM THE STATE OR PROTECTED AREAS. HOWEVER EACH INDUSTRY OR PRACTICE IS OPERATING IT'S IMPORTANT TO LOOK AT THAT AND KOS KEEPER LOOKS AT HOW PEOPLE ARE COMPLYING IN OUR FIRST ACTION IS TO GO OUT AND SAY HOW DO YOU OPERATE HOW CAN WE PROTECT THE WATERS BECAUSE OUR ECONOMY AND QUALITY OF LIFE DEPENDS ON IT. Tom: HOW ARE WE DOING? 10 EVEN 20 YEARS AGO THEY WERE IDENTIFIED WITH THE WALLET -- WATER QUALITY CONTROL AND THERE HAVE BEEN POLLUTANTS IN THE WATER AND THEY ARE A LEGACY IN THE INDUSTRY.. Tom: YOU ARE LISTENING TO MIDDAY EDITION IN MY GUESS IS THAT MAY GAME IS HERE -- MY GUEST IS MEGAN BARRON AND TOM NIELSEN AND TOM I DON'T KNOW IF I ASKED YOU THE QUESTION WHY IT WAS IMPORTANT TO GET DISCHARGES DOWN TO ZERO? I WAS BORN AND RAISED HERE AND I AM ON THE WATER EVERY DAY. WATER TO US IS A LIVELIHOOD AND EVERYTHING. EVEN RECREATIONALLY I USE THE WATER AND WE SWIM IN THE WATER AND FISH IN THE WATER AND IT IMPORTANT TO US AND OUR EMPLOYEES AND WE SEE THAT WATER CAN USE THAT WATER EVERY DAY. HAVING AN OPPORTUNITY TO START OVER AND GOING DOWN TO BARE DIRT WE MET STANDARDS BECAUSE WE HAD TO ADOPT A FACILITY THAT WAS THERE AND WE DIDN'T. THE NEW FACILITY WHEN YOU START WITH A NEW PIECE OF PAPER AND START OVER, WE HAD 100 YEAR STORM EVENT WHICH IS THEORETICAL AND HAS NEVER OCCURRED AS FAR AS I KNOW AND LOOKING BACK 250 TO 300 YEARS. IT'S A THEORETICAL EVENT. I WOULD EXCEED THAT. Tom: MEGAN D WON'T -- DO YOU WANT TO TELL THE STORY OF HOW THIS WAS FOUNDED IN THE GUY THAT STARTED THE GROUP? WE ARE THE TYPICAL STARTUP AND IT WAS A COUPLE OF PEOPLE BACK TO MIDDAY, NOT QUITE IN THE GARAGE OR LIVING ROOM, WE WERE THE 15th WATER KEEPER ORGANIZATION AND WE WERE DEALING WITH BASIC ISSUES AND THAT WAS REALLY INSPIRING TO PEOPLE THAT LIVED HERE AND RECREATED HERE. AND BECAUSE THE CITY INVESTED WE REDUCE THE SPELLS BY 90%. Tom: ULTIMATELY IS THAT LAWSUIT YOUR PRIMARY TOOL? IT IS OUR LAST RESORT AND SOMETIMES THERE ARE ISSUES THAT CANNOT BE DEALT WITH IN OTHER WAYS THAT WE WOULD RATHER SEE PEOPLE INSPIRED IN THE RIGHT WAY. WHEN FOR ONE REASON OR ANOTHER THEY ARE A COMMON RESOURCE AND WE WILL LOOK AT THAT. Tom: IF YOU'RE LOOKING AT WHAT'S AHEAD WITH REGIONAL LAWS IN ARCHITECTURE AND DEVELOPMENT I'VE BEEN TOLD THAT THERE ARE NEW STORMWATER REGULATIONS. WE HAVE A NEW ONE THAT WAS PASSED AND IT GOES TO A NEW APPROACH TO MANAGEMENT AND WE USED TO HAVE JURISDICTION BY JURISDICTION AND LISA HAVE TO DO X, Y, Z, THE AIRPORT AND EVERYONE HAD TO COMPLY. NOW WE HAVE WATERSHED-BASED POLLUTION CONTROL. RATHER THAN HAVING REQUIREMENTS FOR EACH HAVE REQUIREMENTS AND WE HAVE TO WORK TOGETHER AND COME UP WITH SOLUTIONS. THIS COULD BE A CHECKBOX THAT GETS MARKED OFF. Tom: TOM ICU NODDING YOUR HEAD, WOULD YOU LIKE TO COMMENT? WE WENT TO THE OLD SYSTEM AND TRIED TO DO WITH IT AT THAT TIME. THE NEW FACILITY IS SELF-CONTAINED AND IT DOES NOT DISCHARGE. Tom: MADE AND WE TALKED A LOT ABOUT THE DROUGHT AND HOW ITS EFFECT DOING THINGS AND KOS KEEPER. FOR THE LAST 50 YEARS WE WERE WORKING TO GET THIS AND THEY GENERATE ALMOST 100,000,000 THEY GENERATE ALMOST $100 MILLION OF WATER TODAY. WERE OUT THERE TALKING ABOUT CONSERVATION. Tom: IT'S TEMPTING TO THINK THAT IT WOULD NOT. RUN-UP IS ALWAYS A PROBLEM AND YOU PUT IT IN A CUP AND MIX IT UP AND IT WILL BE MORE CONCENTRATED AND THE LESS WATER THE MORE CONCENTRATED. Tom: FINALLY MEGAN WHAT ARE THEY DOING TO RECOGNIZE THE 20 YEAR ANNIVERSARY? WITH THE COASTAL CHAMPION AWARDS AND TOM IS A COASTAL CHAMPION, PROTECTING THE WATER. WE WILL HAVE AN EVENT IN OCTOBER 28 AND ROBERT F KENNEDY JUNIOR WHO IS PRESIDENT OF THE WATER ALLIANCE WILL BE THERE. Tom: I WANT TO THINK MY GUEST, MEGAN BARRON'S WHO IS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF KOS KEEPER AND TOM NIELSEN IS A COASTAL CHAMPION. AND TOM IS OWNER IS FROM NIELSEN INCORPORATED. THANK YOU TOM. Tom: IN A MOMENT MIDDAY WILL CONTINUE AS WE TALK ABOUT CALPERS AND WHETHER IT IS HEADED FOR BAD NEWS. STAY TUNED FOR THAT ON MIDDAY EDITION.
San Diego Coastkeeper, following in the footsteps of environmental activists from the 1960s, honored Coastal Champions Monday.
The honorees included individuals and businesses involved in helping protect and restore the region’s inland and coastal waters. The organization celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.
Water keeper groups started in this country in 1966, when a couple of Hudson River fishermen in New York took action against illegal but tolerated dumping that had been fouling the water and killing the fish for years. That group became Riverkeeper. Similar groups started popping up across the country after the Riverkeeper’s triumph over river pollution.
San Diego BayKeeper was the 15th such group in the country. Its mission was to clean up pollution and prevent dumping in the bay. The group changed its name to Coastkeeper and expanded its reach to all "fishable, swimmable and drinkable" waters in the county.
Megan Baehrens, executive director of the San Diego Coastkeeper, said the region has come a long way in protecting the waters.
“The biggest accomplishment since 1995 is this concept of environmental sensitivity,” Baehrens told KPBS Midday Edition on Tuesday. “It’s really become a movement not just throughout the country but really here in San Diego. Things have become drastically more healthy and safe.”
Baehrens said there are more than 2 million keeper organizations around the world.