OUR PROGRAMS

Making a difference every day!

From testing our coastal waters to ensuring that runoff stays in your garden to reducing plastic pollution, Surfrider’s programs help ensure that our marine ecosystems are protected.

Beach Cleanups

Beach clean ups can reduce litter, protect our ocean and raise awareness about litter and plastic pollution.

The Surfrider Foundation’s Chapter & Youth Club network conducts beach cleanups throughout the West, East, Gulf, Hawaiian and Puerto Rican Coasts. Our National Beach Cleanup Program provides a fun and easy way to volunteer and engage with our mission to protect our ocean, waves, and beaches. Volunteers of all ages, community groups, tourists, clubs, local and corporate businesses and elected officials around the country contribute to the success of this program and are essential to keep our beaches and coastline clean.

Participating helps to:

  • Protect our coastlines, waves, and beaches
  • Policy changes that lead to coastal victories
  • Promote a healthy lifestyle and consumer choices
  • Raise awareness about the pollution impacting our beaches

Teach and Test

The Teach & Test Program monitors ocean water bacteria levels at local beaches to raise awareness and improve water quality in the South Bay area. The goal of the program is to involve the local community and raise awareness of the environmental challenges we confront at our local beaches. By doing so we hope to reduce our environmental impacts and improve the quality of our community.

Throughout the school year (October through May), students coordinate with dedicated Surfrider activists to collect bi-weekly water samples from 18 South Bay beach locations and the Ballona Wetlands. The water samples are analyzed at the SEA Lab in Redondo Beach with the oversight of an experienced lab technician.

Waste Characterization Study

The WCS considered part of the T&T Program but also is related to Surfrider Foundation’s Rise Above Plastics Program for our chapter. The study enlists high school students from a couple of local schools to do trash collections and trash processing. Volunteers and a Marine Biologist help conduct this beach trash study. Trash is collected where it is deposited on the beach in front of a storm drain outlet on the beach. A first flush trash collection is performed after the first significant rain for the new rain season which usually occurs in the months of October or November. This beach trash pickup is usually done by L.A. County workers and delivered to us at the SEA Lab. Other trash is collected twice a month by students at the same time that they take ocean water samples at the same beach. The collected trash is processed and then sorted into classes, counted, weighed and the resulting data is put into a database for use in our chapters efforts to reduce plastic trash on the beach and in the ocean. Data tables are created and Pie Charts are plotted for the current year and for all years back to the fall of 2010. These plots and the data is shown to the public at our events throughout the year and on special occasions to city leaders to address the problem of trash on the beach and in the ocean.

The Goals the South Bay Chapter’s and WCS are:

  • Involve students in real science projects that address local
    environmental issues in a hands-on approach.
  • Get students interested in thinking about and doing something about
    the problem that they have discovered through this process.
  • Generate useful data that can be used to create student, resident and
    government official awareness of the plastics trash problem.
  • Get cities to enact environmental regulations to reduce the amount
    plastic trash on the beach and in the ocean.

Blue Water Task Force

The Blue Water Task Force (BWTF) is the Surfrider Foundation’s volunteer-run, water testing, education, and advocacy program.  Our chapters use this program to alert citizens and officials in their communities about water quality problems and to work toward solutions. The BWTF has demonstrated success by identifying problems with beach and coastal water pollution, raising public awareness of these incidents and working collaboratively with local stakeholders to find and implement pollution solutions.

The BWTF has also precipitated the establishment of state and local government water quality monitoring programs in many communities and continues to fill in data gaps, improving the public’s knowledge of the safety of their beach water.  BWTF water testing programs measure bacteria levels at both marine and freshwater beaches and compare them to federal water quality standards established by the EPA to protect public health in recreational waters. View South Bay data here.

Rise Above Plastics

Rise Above Plastics is designed to eliminate the impacts of plastics in the marine environment by raising awareness about the dangers of plastic pollution and by advocating for a reduction of single-use plastics and the recycling of all plastics.

Ocean Friendly Gardens

The Ocean Friendly Gardens (OFG) Program is Surfrider Foundation’s volunteer-run landscape education, hands-on training, and advocacy program. In addition to providing valuable information to property owners on how landscapes and hardscapes can prevent water pollution, Surfrider chapters are using this program to encourage landscape professionals to incorporate the program’s principles into their business practices. Chapters also use the program to motivate local governments to support OFG-oriented policy changes for existing and new development.

OFGs apply what is coming to be known around the country as the watershed approach. The principles are the same: healthy, living soil; retain rainwater; climate-appropriate plants; efficient supplemental irrigation as needed. Learn more here.