LA2050 Grants Challenge applications are open now through June 28th, 2024.
2020 Grants Challenge

Heal the Bay's River Report Card

Idea by Heal the Bay

Heal the Bay’s River Report Card (RRC) protects the health of Angelenos who enjoy freshwater swimming and recreation areas by providing water quality information during the hot summer months. Funds will support the training of community college students in bacterial water quality monitoring, the development of state-of-the-art public notification tools, and a targeted outreach campaign for communities living near these sites. The RRC will also be used to identify water quality problems in the region and advocate for improvements.


In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

County of Los Angeles

In what stage of innovation is this project?

Expand existing program

Please list the organizations collaborating on this proposal.

Heal the Bay will continue to partner with Los Angeles Trade Tech College (LATTC) to meet the objectives of its River Report Card project. LATTC is a public community college in Los Angeles

California. It offers academic courses towards 4-year colleges and vocational training programs.

If you are submitting a collaborative proposal, please describe the specific role of partner organizations in the project.

Los Angeles Trade Technical College and Los Angeles Valley College will serve as project partners and subcontractors. Students from partner schools will be hired and trained to carry out some of the objectives of this work (e.g., monitoring and analysis). Each student will receive payment for their work.

What is the need you’re responding to?

Heal the Bay’s River Report Card identifies health hazards caused by water pollution and provides job training in STEM fields for underserved college students. It also provides the public a much-needed service of water quality monitoring and notification at freshwater sites, which is not legally mandated. Before Heal the Bay started this program, there was very little monitoring by other agencies and the data collected was not designed to be protective of public health.

The RRC should be easy-to-understand, consistent with the Beach Report Card, and widely used by the public. Additional data analysis and communications development are needed. By training students from Los Angeles Trade Technical College and Los Angeles Valley College, Heal the Bay is expanding data collection and monitoring while providing valuable real-world job skills. Improving the grading methodology and online presentation will help us advocate for infrastructure improvements and better public health protections

Why is this project important to the work of your organization?​

Since 1985, Heal the Bay has worked diligently to protect the health of millions of California beachgoers through its science, advocacy, education, stewardship, and public notification programs, including the innovative Beach Report Card and year-round beach cleanups. Building on the success of its water quality advocacy programs, Heal the Bay made a commitment to expand its work “up the watershed” to include waterbodies and tributaries which run through Los Angeles’ diverse landscapes and communities.

In 2015, Heal the Bay began monitoring water quality in the Los Angeles River and freshwater areas (e.g., swimming holes) in the Santa Monica Mountains as a way to better protect the health of recreational water users, swimmers and kayakers and advocate for stricter water quality standards. Heal the Bay continues to offer critical water quality information through its River Report Card, which is available to the public, policymakers, health officials and media.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this proposal?​

Direct Impact: 25

Indirect Impact: 60,000

Please describe the broader impact of your proposal.

Heal the Bay’s work addresses multiple challenges impacting the region: water pollution, public health hazards caused by a lack of notification, and a shortage of opportunities for underrepresented groups seeking jobs in STEM fields.

Identifying water quality problems, including the sources of those problems, puts Heal the Bay in a unique position to alert the public and hold polluters accountable. Utilizing Heal the Bay data is an effective way to advance policy, promote environmental change, and protect human health.

Long-term partnerships with Los Angeles Trade Tech College and Los Angeles Valley College will result in robust monitoring and create a pipeline for those seeking job opportunities and training in the sciences.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.

Heal the Bay will advance public notification and awareness of water quality conditions in freshwater recreation and swimming areas throughout Los Angeles County by engaging and educating local community college students, communities near freshwater sites, and other stakeholders. Heal the Bay’s River Report Card will be updated through the development of a new website and app that promotes consistent and easy-to-understand messaging about water quality conditions.

Successful project outcomes include:

The annual hiring, training and employment of seven college students collecting weekly water quality samples in Malibu Creek State Park and the Los Angeles River during summer months;

Diligent processing of water quality samples to determine levels of fecal indicator bacteria;

The development of a new River Report Card website and mobile app;

Timely posting of grades on the online River Report Card; and

The engagement of local communities and stakeholders by giving talks, attending community events, giving oral testimony at hearings, and educating the public about water quality and the importance of clean water.

Which of the LIVE metrics will your submission impact?​

Water pollution

Local water

Resilient communities

Are there any other LA2050 goal categories that your proposal will impact?​

LA is the best place to PLAY

Which of LA2050’s resources will be of the most value to you?​

Access to the LA2050 community

Host public events or gatherings

Communications support

Capacity, including staff