The concept of Waterkeeper dates to a 19th-century English tradition, where Riverkeepers physically guarded private streams to ensure waters remained healthy and free of poachers. In 1982, Hudson River fisherman became concerned about the modern poacher: pollution. They started the first Waterkeeper organization in the United States, and proved so effective at protecting water resources that Waterkeeper organizations trickled throughout the country.
Once established, we became the 15th Waterkeeper organization in the country and focused our efforts on local, community-based advocacy. We began in 1995 as a two-person team combating the chronic pollution and toxic dumping into San Diego Bay, hence our original name: San Diego Baykeeper. Today, as San Diego Coastkeeper, we continue our role as the region's clean water watchdogs as we help the identify solutions to a new myriad problems such as water supply challenges and urban runoff.
We use community outreach, education and advocacy to empower San Diegans to guard their clean water and healthy ecosystem, relying on you to help us find and fix pollution hazards. Our team of scientists, activists, educators and lawyers work with our community and decision-makers to protect and restore fishable, swimmable and drinkable water in San Diego County.
Today, San Diego Coastkeeper is a proud member of the California Coastkeeper Alliance as well as the International Waterkeeper Alliance. On both a state and a global level, our alliances connect and support Waterkeeper organizations as a voice for clean water and healthy communities. The International Waterkeeper Alliance, headed by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., stands nearly 200 programs strong- making it one of the world's fastest growing environmental movements.