The ocean and water watchdog group Heal the Ocean celebrated its 20th anniversary over the weekend.
The event at the El Paseo restaurant featured videos, auction items and tributes. Among those honored were retiring Santa Barbara Coutny Fire Chief Eric Petersen and Retired City Fire Chief Pat McElroy.
Heal the Ocean has spoken out strongly about efforts to clean up and cap leaking oil wells along the Summerland coastline that have polluted the waters there. It helped to do aerial surveys and effort legislation through State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) that resulted in $14-million in state money for those projects.
It has also worked on multiple projects to bring neighborhoods on septic tanks get their system and into water treatment facilities if they are in areas where creeks and groundwater are impacted. They also supply biodegradable doggy bags for beaches and parks.
The group started in 1998 with hand-made flyers and stickers. They have led many efforts to speak to city and county leaders in support of ocean water cleanup projects.
“Thank you for all the work you continue to do,” said singer Jack Johnson via video from Hawaii. “I wish I could be there.” He donated two tickets at Aloha stadium to his upcoming show with the Eagles.
Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus sent in a video from Washington D.C. where she was attending an event to receive a Mark Twain Award for comedy. She said, “You’re turning 20 years old? What? That means next year you can drink! I send all my love.” She then blew a kiss.
The event also featured a toast from Senator Jackson, and live music with Jason Libs from the Red Piano.