Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson addresses participants during Santa Barbara's first Swimmable California Day

Penny Owens

Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson addresses participants during Santa Barbara's first Swimmable California Day

Santa Barbara Celebrates First ‘Swimmable’ Day

Sen. Jackson Joins with Nonprofits to Demand Cleaner Water

Tuesday, July 30, 2013
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State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson spoke at Santa Barbara’s first celebration of the statewide “Swimmable California Day” at East Beach, where nonprofits Santa Barbara Channelkeeper and Reef & Run hosted ocean races to promote keeping area waters clean and swimmable.

After Jackson delivered a brief speech on the shoreline outside the Cabrillo Bathhouse, swimmers took part in 500-meter, 1,000-meter, and one-mile swim races. Swimmable California Day was officially established on July 3, when the California State Legislature formally adopted SCR-48 — a resolution creating the commemorative day.

Penny Owens, education and outreach coordinator for Santa Barbara Channelkeeper, said Swimmable California Day invites California residents to enjoy their local waters and work toward cleaner and safer water conditions.

“Today, we’re celebrating the importance of clean water and raising awareness that only we can all take actions ourselves, in our daily lives, to reduce our impact on the environment — in particular pollution that runs off the land and into the creeks and oceans,” Owens said.

The Santa Barbara area has faced its own battles with polluted ocean waters, as Goleta Beach just received a warning earlier this month for unsafe swimming conditions. However, Owens said such water pollution is most problematic during the rainy season, when stormwater runoff flows into waterways like creeks and sewer drains.

More than a dozen beaches throughout Santa Barbara receive weekly bacteria testings, but determining the cause of rising and dropping bacteria levels can be difficult, according to Owens. She said Southern California’s number one source of pollution is urban runoff — a mixture of oil, pesticides, and other pollutants that is partially created by everyday activities like driving and gardening.

“Oftentimes, it’s not intentional pollutions. The big impact is really the cumulative aspect of it,” Owens said.

But through events like Friday’s swim races, residents can become more aware of harsh or potentially dangerous water conditions, according to Jane Cairns, event director for Reef & Run. Cairns pointed to the poor health effects human pollution can leave on marine life.

“The more people we have see animals who are sick from the pollution, the more they’ll want to make sure our ocean has clean water,” Cairns said.

The California Coastkeeper Alliance is also hosting a photo contest for Swimmable California Day, in which participants can submit photos by sharing them via Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram using the hashtag #swimmableca, and there is a new smartphone app featuring a guide to local beaches.

Swimmable California Day was celebrated throughout the state, with chapters of the national Waterkeeper Alliance in cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco all taking part.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

Jackson, do something right now about the vagrant populations living in the bushes and creekside, if you are serious about keeping our waterways and beaches clean.

Otherwise you are just posturing and blowing smoke. Re-open the state care institutions and get these vagrants and street people from illegally camping out in our watersheds.

This is a state problem to solve and you are the elected state representative. Start representing solutions for real problems; not your political window-dressing versions of them.

Thank you. This is a serious request.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
July 30, 2013 at 8:34 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Google Hannah-Beth Jackson and Heal the Ocean - then you may wish to revise your commentary.

tabatha (anonymous profile)
July 30, 2013 at 10 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Our pod of dolphins will be there, ready not only to swim with the Humanoids, but give them free rides around the harbor.

dolphinpod14 (anonymous profile)
July 31, 2013 at 5:45 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Its great to see dolphins and humans swimming together in clean water. Kudos to Jackson and Channelkeeper!

p.s. Channelkeeper has a water quality mobile app here:

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
July 31, 2013 at 10:08 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Yes, yes, yes... DO something about the lowlifes who are causing ALL our problems!

(Of course, 5 years from now, you "high and mighty" types are most likely going to be in the exact same position as those you now consider "riff raff", but what the heck, we'll cross that bridge when we get to it, huh?)

spiritwalker (anonymous profile)
July 31, 2013 at 10:47 a.m. (Suggest removal)

event calendar sponsored by: