SANTA BARBARA CHANNELKEEPER

Keeping Watch for Clean Water

aka SBCK   |   Santa Barbara, CA   |  www.sbck.org

Mission

Santa Barbara Channelkeeper is dedicated to protecting and restoring the Santa Barbara Channel and its watersheds. Through science-based advocacy, education, field work and enforcement, Channelkeeper defends our community's right to clean water and informs, inspires and empowers people to speak and act for our waterways.

Ruling year info

2002

Executive Director

Ms. Kira Redmond

Main address

714 Bond Ave

Santa Barbara, CA 93103 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

91-2151460

NTEE code info

Water Resource, Wetlands Conservation and Management (C32)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (C01)

Environmental Quality, Protection, and Beautification N.E.C. (C99)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The Santa Barbara Channel is one of the most biologically productive ecosystems on Earth. It boasts extraordinary species density and diversity, including numerous endangered, threatened and sensitive species. The importance of protecting the Channel’s unique ecological wealth was nationally recognized in 1980 when Congress created the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. However, despite this special protection, decades of pollution, over-fishing, development, plastic pollution and other human impacts have degraded precious water resources of the Channel and its watersheds. Water quality and aquatic habitats are being degraded by urban, agricultural and industrial runoff, trash, sewage spills and oil spills, while drought, climate change, population growth, unsustainable development, and rising demands for water are putting added strain on our already stressed water resources. This dire situation has made SBCK’s role as an advocate for our waterways more critical than ever.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Monitoring

SBCK patrols the Santa Barbara Channel and its tributaries to identify pollution problems and respond to citizen reports of pollution. We collect and disseminate scientifically sound water quality data to aid decision-makers and the public in protecting local waterways, and to foster greater awareness about the challenges they face. Nearly 1,200 volunteers have participated in our "Stream Team” citizen water quality monitoring program, which trains and engages volunteers to help collect samples and measurements of numerous water quality parameters every month at 45 stream sites along our coast. SBCK also monitors water quality and marine habitat health in the Santa Barbara Channel, including monitoring cruise ships to detect and deter dumping, partnering with university researchers to monitor ocean acidification and radiation levels, collecting samples for the California Department of Public Health’s Marine Biotoxin Monitoring Program, monitoring marine life and human activities in coastal Marine Protected Areas, and surveying impacts of the Refugio oil spill. Regulatory agencies regularly utilize our monitoring data to inform and prioritize their pollution prevention and restoration efforts, and our investigations have identified and helped abate numerous water pollution problems.

Population(s) Served

SBCK builds environmental awareness and stewardship, changes attitudes and influences the decisions of tomorrow by educating policy makers, students and the wider community about the biggest threats to the Santa Barbara Channel and its watersheds and solutions to address those threats. We deliver frequent presentations to schools, community groups, policy-makers and the general public, and educate people through our volunteer programs, at community events, and through the news, our website and social media, newsletters, video storytelling, and other creative communication tools. We’ve educated more than 35,000 kids through our Youth Environmental Science Education and Stewardship Program, fostering water literacy and stewardship through interactive, standards-aligned lessons, experiments, field trips and partnerships with other education providers. We provide educational “Seafari” cruises on our boat for underserved youth so they can experience and learn about the ocean firsthand, including through an interactive “live dive” in a kelp forest. We also organize numerous clean-ups to engage volunteers in removing trash from local creeks and beaches.

Population(s) Served

SBCK represents our community’s interest in clean water by providing expert stakeholder input to policy processes affecting water quality and aquatic habitats in southern Santa Barbara County and northern Ventura County. We review and comment on Environmental Impact Reports for proposed development projects and on wastewater discharge permits for local facilities to ensure strong environmental protections. We testify before public officials to advocate for enforcement of existing laws and enactment of stronger ones when necessary to better protect our waters and habitats. When government fails to enforce or comply with environmental laws, SBCK steps in and pressures them to live up to their mandate. Litigation is a last resort, but has proven to be a very effective tool when our advocacy efforts fail.

Population(s) Served

To multiply the impact of our advocacy efforts, SBCK works to inspire, mobilize and organize local citizens and other community groups to show decision-makers that there is widespread support for policies to reduce water pollution and aquatic habitat degradation. We provide many opportunities, tools, training and support for citizens to speak out for clean water and a healthy coast. We also organize numerous clean-ups to engage volunteers in keeping our local creeks and beaches clean and preventing trash from polluting the Santa Barbara Channel.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Affiliations & memberships

California Coastkeeper Alliance 2000

Waterkeeper Alliance 2000

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Santa Barbara Channelkeeper is dedicated to protecting and restoring the Santa Barbara Channel and its watersheds. Through science-based advocacy, education, field work and enforcement, Channelkeeper defends our community's right to clean water and informs, inspires and empowers people to speak and act for our waterways. We aim to strengthen and enrich the communities along the Santa Barbara Channel by using a strategic combination of grassroots advocacy, education and outreach, water quality monitoring, and community organizing and engagement to improve water quality and aquatic habitats in the Santa Barbara Channel and its watersheds while also providing unique and rewarding educational and volunteer opportunities for local students and citizens to learn firsthand about their watersheds and the environmental problems threatening them, and to participate directly in monitoring and protecting them. Our programs strive to enhance compliance with and enforcement of laws that protect our waterways; to produce scientifically sound data that is useful to regulatory agencies and others to improve water quality and aquatic habitats; to monitor and protect marine habitats in the Santa Barbara Channel and identify emerging impacts to marine ecosystems; and to reach out to, educate and engage local citizens and influence a change in behaviors that cause water pollution. Cleaner water benefits the health of local citizens and wildlife as well as our tourism and recreation-dependent economy and, coupled with a more environmentally educated citizenry that is invested in protecting our water resources, makes our community a healthier place to live, work and play.

Santa Barbara Channelkeeper (SBCK) employs a strategic mix of policy advocacy, water quality and marine habitat monitoring, education, volunteer engagement, community organizing, and partnerships with schools, research institutions, government agencies, businesses and other non-profits to protect and restore the creeks, beaches, wetlands, watersheds and marine waters of the Santa Barbara Channel.

Monitoring: SBCK patrols the Santa Barbara Channel and its tributaries to identify pollution problems and respond to citizen reports of pollution. We collect and disseminate scientifically sound water quality data to aid decision-makers and the public in protecting local waterways, and to foster greater awareness about the challenges they face. Regulatory agencies regularly utilize our monitoring data to inform and prioritize their pollution prevention and restoration efforts, and our investigations have identified and helped abate numerous water pollution problems.

Education & Outreach: SBCK educates citizens about practices that contribute to the degradation of water quality and aquatic habitats and solutions to reduce these impacts. We make frequent presentations to students, community groups, the public, and policy makers and educate the broader community through the press, our website, social media, newsletters and events. Our Clean Water Environmental Stewardship Training (CWEST) program has educated more than 25,000 local youth through hands-on activities that build build science and math skills while fostering environmental stewardship.

Advocacy & Enforcement: SBCK represents our community's interest in clean water by providing expert stakeholder input to policy processes affecting water quality and aquatic habitats. We review and comment on Environmental Impact Reports for proposed development projects and wastewater discharge permits to ensure strong environmental protections. We also testify before public officials to advocate for enforcement of existing laws and enactment of stronger ones when necessary to better protect our waters and habitats.

Community Organizing: SBCK works to inspire and mobilize local citizens and community groups to show decision-makers that there is widespread support for policies that reduce water pollution and aquatic habitat degradation. We organize numerous clean-ups and citizen science opportunities and engage thousands of volunteers in keeping our local creeks and beaches clean and preventing trash from entering the ocean.

SBCK has a highly skilled and dedicated staff who work well together and have a deep commitment to our organization and mission: an Education & Community Outreach Director, a Watershed & Marine Program Director, a Watershed & Marine Program Associate, a Development Director, a Communications & Administrative Coordinator and a part-time Bookkeeper who report to the Executive Director. We have a strong intern commitment and an exceptionally high level of volunteer participation.

Santa Barbara Channelkeeper is a member of Waterkeeper Alliance (WKA), a coalition of more than 300 independent local Waterkeeper organizations collectively patrolling and protecting two million square miles of watersheds around the globe. We are also a member of the California Coastkeeper Alliance (CCKA), which represents all 12 Waterkeeper organizations in California on water policies and issues at the state level. Our membership in these organization assures us unique resources, credibility and effectiveness.
What makes SBCK unique is our near-constant presence in the field, on the water and in our rivers and watersheds. Our scientifically trained staff works diligently to collect robust and reliable data on water quality and the health of aquatic habitats and to restore degraded aquatic ecosystems. We then leverage our data, scientific expertise and intimate understanding of our waterways to guide and inform our advocacy and education efforts. This has lent us exceptional credibility with public officials and the community and makes us that much more effective in making necessary policy and behavioral changes happen.Finally, our boat, the R/V Channelkeeper, sets us apart from other organizations. We use our boat for a variety of on-the-water and underwater activities to monitor water quality and marine habitat health, participate in collaborative research, and provide educational programs for students and donors.

Santa Barbara Channelkeeper has 18 years of experience with water policy advocacy, water quality monitoring, youth education and community engagement; firsthand knowledge of our local water resources and the threats facing them; a large cadre of dedicated volunteers; and strong working relationships with local public officials, schools, research institutions, businesses, and other non-profits. We're known as a tenacious clean water advocate and watchdog with a proven track record, an unmatched depth of policy, legal and scientific expertise, and a keen ability to navigate and influence complicated regulatory processes affecting our water resources. This experience has gained us the confidence of the community as well as credibility with decision-makers, and has enabled us to secure significant gains for clean water and healthy aquatic habitats in the Santa Barbara Channel and its watersheds. We've compelled some of our area's worst polluters to clean up, convinced public officials to strengthen and enforce the policies that protect our ocean, beaches and waterways, involved 3,000 volunteers in our programs, and educated tens of thousands of students and citizens through hands-on activities in classrooms, in the field, and through a variety of media and public outreach initiatives. Some of our key accomplishments include:
- Compelling the City of Santa Barbara to improve its sewer system maintenance practices, reduce sewage spills and nearly double the amount of pipes it replaces each year with a focus on those with the highest risk of leakage to storm drains and creeks. Spills decreased by 55% in 2013 alone.
- Convincing Santa Barbara to adopt a plastic bag ban ordinance that has reduced the use of 45 million plastic bags per year.
- Convincing the State Water Board to adopt new regulations to control toxic runoff from irrigated agriculture on the Central Coast.
- Compelling the Ojai Quarry to reduce erosion and runoff pollution and prevent blockages to migration of steelhead in North Fork Matilija Creek and the Ventura River.
-Playing a lead science-based advocacy role in the policy process to create a network of Marine Protected Areas along the southern California coast, which will protect and restore marine life and habitat for future generations.
- Strengthening policies to reduce trash and nutrient pollution in the Ventura River.
- Delivering interactive watershed and marine science education programs to 25,000 local youth, building math and science skills and fostering environmental stewardship in the younger generation.
- Training and engaging 2,000 volunteers to help us conduct monthly water quality monitoring in streams throughout the South Coast since 2001. Our data are used by numerous public agencies to inform pollution prevention and restoration efforts.
- Engaging hundreds of volunteers in creek and beach clean-ups to prevent tons of trash from polluting the ocean.

Financials

SANTA BARBARA CHANNELKEEPER
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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SANTA BARBARA CHANNELKEEPER

Board of directors
as of 12/03/2019
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Mike Wondolowski

Zebra Technologies

Term: 2016 -

Ken Falstrom

Private Practice

Blaine Lando

Mattole Valley Naturals

Sherry Madsen

Planned Parenthood

Bruce Reitherman

Land Trust for Santa Barbara County

John Simpson

The Shopkeepers

Mike Wondolowski

Zebra Technologies

Jack Stapelmann

Carla Tomson

Randy Solakian

Coldwell Banker

Brad Newton

Newton Geo-Hydrology Consulting Services

Hank Mitchel

Scott Carrington

Patagonia

Katharine Gerhardt

Kathy Rogers

Jeff Phillips

US Fish and Wildlife Service

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes