Recognizing Excellence in the California Waterkeeper Movement

August 11th, 2017

There are roughly 75 scientists, lawyers, teachers, policy wonks, divers, communications specialists, and fundraisers working at Waterkeeper organizations throughout California. Our network comprises some of the best and the brightest who dedicate themselves to clean water work out of love for their communities and local waters. When we gathered in Bolinas for our retreat, we developed new skills and strategies, and celebrated the work of the people of our movement. Two individuals who represent excellence and make our whole movement stronger warrant particular commendation.

Waterkeeper Innovator

Ben Pitterle has worked at Santa Barbara Channelkeeper for more than 10 years, and currently serves as Watershed and Marine Program Director. In that capacity, he runs a robust monitoring program, collaborates with businesses and other groups to educate and engage the community in water issues, and oversees policy work to protect the Santa Barbara Channel and its watersheds from oil spills, agricultural pollution, excessive water withdrawals, and so much more.

Ben is a skilled videographer who uses cameras and other innovative technologies to track and halt pollution and to inspire the community to care about and protect the Santa Barbara Channel. He recently created an underwater dive map that showcases the underwater beauty of the Naples State Marine Conservation Area. He uses infrared camera technology to track cruise ship discharges in the Channel, and has recently started deploying drones for monitoring.

Ben’s use of creative approaches to engage the public and make the case for clean water add dimension and depth not only to Channelkeeper’s programs, but to others in the movement as well. Ben supports other Waterkeepers by sharing diving and monitoring techniques and offering his skills to support their programs. For example, he put together this short video to showcase the youth kayak program of Humboldt Baykeeper.

We recognize Ben Pitterle as an innovator for clean water, someone who makes our network stronger and more dynamic because he is a part of it.

Policy Powerhouse

Sean Bothwell is an attorney and advocate who serves as Policy Director for California Coastkeeper Alliance. He came to the organization after attending law school with the purpose of advancing coastal and environmental protections. In his six years with Coastkeeper Alliance, he has done just that.

Sean has been instrumental in many precedent-setting coastal protections that California has adopted in recent years. He helped to write and negotiate the Trash Policy, the first policy of its kind to establish a goal of no trash in California waters by 2031, and continues work to ensure California communities are on track to achieve that goal. Sean was also a leader in the development of the Ocean Desalination Policy, the first in the world to regulate the coastal and ocean impacts of ocean desalination plants.

Currently, Sean is working to pass a new California bill to put our state on track to develop potable recycled water in a safe manner that facilitates greater public confidence and investment in this multi-benefit water supply. He was also the architect of a bill currently before the Legislature to urge the state to use dredged spoils strategically to combat sea level rise.

We recognize Sean Bothwell as a policy powerhouse, someone who is both a thought-leader and an extremely hard worker who will put the hard work in to getting things done.

Categories: Happening Now