The History of Save Our Shores
Members of the Santa Cruz community banded together in the late 1970's to fight the placement of offshore oil rigs along the Central Coast. They won the battle in 1978 and the all-volunteer grassroots group decided to create a citizen-action organization to protect the Monterey Bay from future threats. This is the story of how Save Our Shores began...
1978: Concerned individuals founded Save Our Shores, an all-volunteer grassroots organization, to protect the marine environment throughout California's Central Coast.
1981: SOS organizes the first coastal cleanup along the North Coast of Santa Cruz County.
1985: In response to SOS' successful 7-year history of organizing citizens, the City of Santa Cruz decides to partner with Save Our Shores and generate public support for a statewide ban on Offshore Oil Drilling. SOS hires Dan Haifley as Executive Director.
1985 - 1988: Save Our Shores staff travel all over California asking cities and counties to prohibit Offshore Oil Drilling Companies from constructing onshore facilities. The trips culminate in 26 cities and counties from San Diego to Humboldt passing anti-oil zoning bans.
1987: The City of Santa Cruz along with several other municipalities and counties survive a lawsuit from the Western Oil and Gas Association for its laws pertaining to offshore oil drilling facilities.
1988: U.S. Congressman Leon Panetta secures congressional authorization to start planning a National Marine Sanctuary in the Monterey Bay Area. The momentum against Offshore Oil Drilling that SOS helped generate provides the support for a marine sanctuary. Dan Haifley represents SOS on the Environmental Working Group (EWG) as Co-Chair. He advocates for the best boundary for the proposed Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary
1988 - 1992: By organizing over 300 slide-show presentations to local governments, schools and service clubs, SOS and the EWG build a ecological case and gather public support for the best boundary for the proposed Marine Sanctuary.
1988-1992: 4,000 citizens attend public hearings and submit comments of support for a marine sanctuary.
1992: President George H.W. Bush creates the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary with the boundary supported by SOS and EWG. *Dan Haifley, the ED of SOS at the time, believes President George H.W. Bush would not have created the Sanctuary had there not been such a large support and public mobilization for it.* SOS launches the Sanctuary Watch Hotline which begins ringing on Day One.
1994: The Association of Monterey Bay Area Government's MBNMS Award is given to SOS as "Organization of the Year."
SOS works with the City of Santa Cruz to set a state-wide legal precedent by requiring that the City of Santa Cruz control illegal sewage outflow into the Sanctuary.
1995: SOS launches the first Sanctuary Stewards course. SOS prevents the highly controversial Acoustic Thermometry of Ocean Climate (ATOC) experimental project from being implemented in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
1996: SOS helps strengthen the Magnuson Fishery Conservation and Management Act. SOS mobilizes the community to renew the Outer Continental Shelf Moratorium on offshore oil development. SOS receives the 1996 Sanctuary Currents Award from the MBNMS in honor of our ongoing support of the Sanctuary.
1997: SOS initiates a new volunteer program, the DockWalkers, to provide information and tools to boaters, helping them to safely discard their oil and waste products. To this day, DockWalkers serves as a model for harbors and marinas throughout California.
1998: In colaboration with NOAA, the U.S. Coast Guard, the shipping industry, and other stakeholders, SOS co-authors the recommended vessel traffic management system for Central California.
1999: SOS expands its educational activities in Spanish for Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties.
SOS creates the DockWalker program, designed to educate boaters about oil spill prevention and clean boating. The program was quickly adopted by the California Coastal Commission and taken state wide.
2000: In collaboration with NOAA and key stakeholders, SOS begins participation in an extensive Sanctuary Management Plan Review to identify and address a variety of vital issues that affect Monterey Bay, Gulf of the Farallones, and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries.
2001: SOS chairs the Conservation Working Group (CWG) for the MBNMS Advisory Council. CWG makes 13 consensus-based environmental recommendations to the Sanctuaries Joint Management Plan Review.
2002: SOS hosts the first Central California Fisherman's Forum on Marine Protected Areas in March, 2002. Attended by 170 local fishermen, marine scientists, environmental organizations, marine resource managers, and government decision-makers, this premiere conference equipped central coast fishermen to better participate in the region's ongoing MPA decision-making processes.
2003: 1,641 students (grades K-12) and 168 parents from five surrounding counties participate in Save Our Shores Sea Lion Steward Marine Education Program. In this unique program, a trained (rehabilitated) sea lion serves as ambassador for the ocean, teaching students the importance of marine protected areas, adaptations of marine mammals, impacts of plastics and marine debris on wildlife, importance of recycling and what they can do to help protect our local and global oceans.
2004: Save Our Shores is instrumental in achieving the installation of permanent bilge-pump facilities at each of the regional harbors. The pumps are offered free of charge to boaters to pump oily bilge water and dispose of it appropriately, thus preventing a serious pollutant from entering Sanctuary waters.
2005: Save Our Shores expands its work with the Spanish speaking population by making presentations on marine policy issues to youth and adults at central coast community centers, promoting and delivering an interactive, bilingual puppet show with ocean conservation messages and sponsoring interpretive beach clean-up activities.
2006: SOS forms the Clean Beaches Coalition with Surfrider Foundation, Ecology Action, and Pack Your Trash to conduct joint monthly beach cleanups and encourage year-round stewardship for clean beaches.
2007: SOS coordinates 3,100 volunteers on Annual Coastal Cleanup Day at 39 sites in Santa Cruz County. Over 10,000 pounds of trash were collected by volunteers on beaches and rivers, kayaks on kelp beds, and underwater from scuba divers under the Santa Cruz Wharf. SOS Marine Visitors Center opens at the Santa Cruz Harbor. SOS supports efforts to encourage the Department of Fish and Game to approve 29 new Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) along the California Central Coast. The MPAs were made official on April 13th.
2008: SOS Celebrates 30 years of successful marine conservation in the Monterey Bay. SOS coordinates 3,015 volunteers on Annual Coastal Cleanup Day at 45 sites in Santa Cruz County. 10,200.5 pounds of trash and 4,050.5 pounds of recyclables were collected by volunteers on beaches, rivers, kayaks on kelp beds and underwater from scuba divers under the Santa Cruz Wharf. The innovative DockWalker program is relaunched. SOS coordinates a beach cleanup on July 5th and coordinates 282 volunteers and collected over 2,000 pounds of trash and 857 pounds of recycling.
2009: SOS introduces the Adopt-a-Beach program for Santa Cruz County. SOS coordinates their first rock climbing creek cleanup in Aptos Creek with 13 dedicated rock climbing volunteers who collected over1,200 pounds of trash and recycling in just 4 hours! SOS coordinates 3,802 volunteers on Annual Coastal Cleanup Day at 50 cleanup sites in Santa Cruz County. 9,012 pounds of trash and 3,903.5 pounds of recycling were collected by volunteers on beaches, rivers, kayaks on kelp beds and underwater from scuba divers under the Santa Cruz Wharf. SOS coordinates a pollution prevention on July 4th passing out over 1,200 garbage bags to beach goers and held a beach cleanup on July 5th where 115 volunteers collected over 2,300 pounds of trash from 7 beaches in Santa Cruz County.
2010: SOS advocates for Gulf support in wake of BP oil disaster, hosts first ever Plastic Bag Video Contest, and brings two new staff members on board to handle communications and volunteers. SOS works with Cities of Capitola and Santa Cruz on BaitTank program to combat cigarette butt litter in the marine environment. SOS launches monthly beach cleanups in Motnerey County and coordinates Annual Coastal Cleanup Day in Monterey County for the first time, where 2,012 volunteers removed over 3,550 pounds of trash and 1,010 pounds of recycling. In Santa Cruz County, 4,031 volunteers prevent over 12,062 pounds of trash and 3,750 pounds of recycling from entering the Sanctuary. SOS supports AB 1998 at the state level, as well as advocated for local bans on single-use plastic bags in Santa Cruz County and all around the Sanctuary. SOS forms Central Coast Sanctuary Alliance with over 32 organizations and supporting businesses to work together to ban plastic bags around Monterey Bay. SOS hosts largest film screening to date, Bag It, and collects over 200 petition signatures for local bans on plastic bags.
2011: Advocacy efforts hit a stride with passage of single-use plastic bag bans in Santa Cruz County and the City of Monterey! Plastic water bottles were banned in City of Santa Cruz offices, and Styrofoam take-out containers were banned in the cities of Salinas, Marina, and Half Moon Bay - huge wins in the advocacy arena! Our first full year of monthly beach cleanups in Monterey County was a huge success, and 28 Adopt-a-Beach Groups continue to protect SC County beaches.
Sanctuary Stewards logged over 320 volunteer hours in 2011, and SOS broke it's own record by rallying over 11,500 total cleanup volunteers. The Clean Boating Program distributed 133 DockWalker kits, and 242 boaters were reached, meanwhile 5,065 students benefited from the SOS Marine Education Program. A total of 34,926 lbs. of pollution were prevented from entering our Sanctuary in 2011 alone.
2012: Plastic pollution advocacy started a domino effect with the passage of seven single-use plastic bag bans in Watsonville, Carmel, City of Santa Cruz, Mountain View, Daly City, Capitola and Sunnyvale. This is a great way to stop pollution at the source and spread awareness about reusable bags! Styrofoam take-out container ordinances were expanded in Capitola, Santa Cruz County and the City of Santa Cruz to include the banning of the sale of Styofoam cups, coolers, plates, bowls, plates and packing peanuts. This ordinance is the first of its kind in the county and is now gaining traction in other parts of the state. Our second year of beach cleanups Monterey County was a huge success with 45 total cleanups and 1,906 volunteers from Monterey. Volunteers collected a total of 8,659 pounds of trash and recycling, the most common item collected was cigarette butts at 14,548.Beach and river cleanups in Santa Cruz County remained strong and effecting with 183 cleanups and 7,117 volunteers. Volunteers collected a total of 18,075.7 pounds of trash and recycling, the most common item collected was cigarette butts at 47,473.Sanctuary Stewards logged over 300 volunteer hours in 2012, and SOS was able to recruit over 9,100 total program volunteers. The Clean Boating Program distributed 76 DockWalker kits and reached 172 boaters. Meanwhile, over 2,000 students benefited from the SOS Marine Education Program. A total of 27,080 pounds of pollution were prevented from entering our Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary in 2012 alone.
- Monthly Beach Cleanups
- Private & School Cleanups
- Adopt-a-Beach Cleanups
- Meet the Beach Adopters
- Earth Day
- July 4th & 5th
- Annual Coastal Cleanup Day
- Cleanup Calendar
Special Projects & Internships
- To Volunteer for Special Projects or inquire about Internships, email email@example.com