SAN DIEGO–This morning, San Diego Coastkeeper presented Coastal Champion awards to seven environmental leaders across San Diego County for their efforts to protect fishable, swimmable and drinkable waters. Hosted at Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in honor of World Oceans Day, Coastkeeper’s yearly awards program honored individuals and organizations for their contributions in the categories of Runoff Rockstar, Find and Fix, Water Wise, Blue Tech, Lighthouse Lifetime Achievement, Volunteer of the Year and ASBS Special Recognition.
The 2013 Coastal Champions include:
· Jim Peugh, Lighthouse Lifetime Achievement: for his lifetime of achievements and commitment to clean water that include providing homes to 783 bird species through Friends of the Water that saved 15 acres of wetlands and bringing environmental sustainability to the X Games in 1997 and 1998. Throughout the years, Jim Peugh has been on countless boards and committees that advocate only the best for San Diego County’s water.
· Taya Lazootin, Runoff Rockstar, creator of Students against Neglect and Debris (SAND): for developing a program where students and their families participate in city cleanups and receive lessons on land-use impacts, urban runoff and stormwater pollution.
· An Anonymous Resident, ASBS Special Recognition: for taking the initiative to reach out to San Diego Coastkeeper after seeing local storm drains in La Jolla were almost completely clogged with sand, mud and plants. Thanks to this local action, San Diego Coastkeeper worked with the City of San Diego Transportation and Stormwater Department to quickly implement a solution.
· Operation Clean Sweep, Find & Fix: for its bay-wide cleanup around Port Tidelands wheremore than a thousand volunteers, organized by the San Diego Port Tenants Association, removed48,000 pounds of waste in 2012 from nine different locations.
· Russell Moore, Blue Tech, of Xplore Offshore: for his innovative boat design to be Coast Guard certified to provide guests with unique tours and to collect trash and keep a watchful eye for suspicious activities around the La Jolla reserves.
· Noah Thoron, Coastkeeper’s Volunteer of the Year 2013: for his success in San Diego Coastkeeper’s water quality lab the past three years. This technical water wizard successfully drew plans and secured funding for a homemade automated sampling device budgeted around $500 – a fraction of the retail cost of $7,000.
The award winners received a hand-made glass sculpture depicting one of the beautiful sea creatures that their work helps to protect. James Stone of Stone and Glass designed, created and generously donated the award sculptures to commemorate his dedication to the ocean. Funding for this project has been provided in full or in part through an agreement with the State Water Resources Control Board as well as generous contributions from host Birch Aquarium at Scripps.