Anybody can be a Sloughkeeper! Here are some specific steps you can take to help clean up our waterways:
- Eliminate single-use plastic bags. 80% of plastic marine debris originates on land. Marine animals such as otters, sea lions, and seals get tangled or ingest plastic and die. Use reusable shopping bags, water bottles, coffee cups, and utensils instead of disposables.
- Cut beverage six-pack plastic rings apart before throwing them away. Marine animals can get caught in the rings and strangled if they end up in the ocean.
- Avoid releasing helium balloons into the sky as they often end up in bodies of water.
- If you are a kayaker or boater, give marine mammals plenty of space. If you startle them and cause them to dive, you might separate a pup from its mom as well as cause them to expend energy that should be used for survival activities.
- Make sure your car is not leaking oil. Oil down the storm drain gets into the ocean and could affect an otter’s ability to stay warm.
- Never touch or move an injured, sick, or stranded marine animal. Call the Marine Mammal Center at
- Reduce or eliminate your use of herbicides, pesticides, oil or other toxins. They flow into the ocean via storm drains or waterways in your neighborhood.
- All hazardous materials should be disposed of properly. Check with your landfill or city government. Most have a way to drop them off. Never put toxic substances down the drain.
- Dispose of cat litter in the trash can rather than flushing it down the toilet. Cat feces carry bacteria and diseases that sea otters are particularly sensitive to.
- Buy organic produce. Support farmers who do not pollute the environment.
- Dispose of fishing lines, lures, and nets properly to help keep them out of the ocean. Marine animals can mistake them for food and or become entangled in them.
- Check the box on your California Tax Form to donate to sea otter conservation.
- Tell your representatives that you care about our ecosystems and urge them to do the same.
- Donate to organizations that support healthy estuaries, sloughs, and marine environments.