The environmental group San Diego Coastkeeper has bestowed nine Coastal Champion awards to those who help protect San Diego’s waterways.
Coastkeeper’s lifetime achievement award went to Patricia and Mike McCoy, who helped establish the San Diego Bay Wildlife Refuge, the Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge and the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve during their 45 years of environmental work.
The McCoys also helped get the Tijuana Estuary designated as a wetland of international importance, according to Coastkeeper.
“The community nominates our Coastal Champions, so imagine our delight to see how long-term relationships and collaboration play important roles in protecting San Diego County’s waters,” said Megan Baehrens, Coastkeeper’s executive director.
“From the decades-long leadership of our Lifetime Achievement winners Mike and Patricia McCoy to the en vogue ideas of H20 Trash Patrol, our Coastal Champions are a network of heroes keeping San Diego beautiful and healthy,” she said.
The award to the H2O Trash Patrol was for collecting more than 16,000 pounds of trash since 2011, and teaching children about the environment and marine debris.
Christine Hillger was honored for installing and maintaining biodegradable dog waste bag dispensers in Imperial Beach over the past 14 years. She made a huge impact on beach water quality by reducing toxic runoff, according to Coastkeeper.
The city of Chula Vista was touted for a progressive approach to water conservation efforts that includes public forums, “exceptional” instruction tools and housing construction requirements that embrace recycled water.
Diane Castaneda was honored for developing a successful marine conservation outreach program for Hispanic and underserved children in San Diego County.
Laura Hunter was singled out for her work in the adoption of the Chula Vista Bayfront Master Plan, which Coastkeeper calls “one of the most environmentally appropriate development projects in our region.”
The Southern California Coastal Ocean Observing System was recognized for the development of innovative technology that will collect data about Areas of Special Biological Significance to keep these areas free of pollution as mandated by state law.
Steve Kwik was named Volunteer of the Year. He leads a team of volunteers and trainees that collects water samples used by Coastkeeper to monitor pollutants in the Los Penasquitos watershed.
– City News Service
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