Visit Focuses on Water Quality, Marking 40th Anniversary of Clean Water Act

SAN PEDRO, Calif. — April 20, 2012 — The Port of Los Angeles welcomed U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa P. Jackson Thursday as part of her visit to Los Angeles to celebrate Earth Day and commemorate the 40th anniversary of the EPA’s Clean Water Act. During her visit to the Port, she observed fifth-grade students aboard a “floating environmental science lab,” a boat tour program facilitated by the Think Watershed Partnership.

"I'm excited to be here to see the great things the Port of L.A. is doing to protect the waters of this community, and to open up opportunities for environmental education to the next generation," said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. "Even as we mark the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, we know there is work left to do. These students know that this is their water, and they're taking an active role in its protection."


Since being named President Obama’s cabinet member in charge of environmental protection in 2008, Jackson has worked to protect our nation’s air, water and land from pollution that threatens human health. As the first African-American to serve as EPA Administrator, Jackson has made it a priority to expand outreach to communities that are historically under-represented in environmental action.

The Port of Los Angeles is a sponsor of Think Watershed, a collaborative partnership whose mission is to educate students about the watershed’s impact on the marine environment and to inspire them to become stewards of the environment. The centerpiece of Think Watershed is the Marine Science Floating Lab Program, which has been operating in Los Angeles Harbor since 1974 through the Los Angeles County Office of Education.

Students from Hawaiian Avenue Elementary School in nearby Wilmington were eager to participate in the floating lab, where they tackled hands-on, marine-science learning activities, including a plankton lab, water visibility testing, bottom sediment study, fish morphology, and wildlife observation. Through this style of first-hand education, students are able to see how human behavior affects the quality of water, air, habitat, animal life, plant life, and human life in the marine environment and in their own communities.

“This is my second time on a boat,” said Kevin, age 11. “The first time was here, too. We saw a dolphin jump in the water.”

Hawaiian Avenue Elementary School is a past participant of the Port’s own School Boat Tour Program, an annual summer program aimed at maritime education tailored to thousands of fifth and sixth grade classes in the greater Los Angeles area. The Port of Los Angeles School Boat Program is listed among the approved school field trips for LAUSD schools and tours complement the local history curriculum for the selected age group.

With expanded water quality programs and the development of a coordinated Water Resources Action Plan (WRAP) with the Port of Long Beach, the Port of Los Angeles has taken a comprehensive approach to target remaining water and sediment pollution sources in the San Pedro Bay.

The WRAP has two main driving forces: a broad mission to protect and improve water and sediment quality, and the reduction of Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) — the maximum amount of a pollutant that a body of water can receive while still meeting water quality standards.

The Port of Los Angeles formally adopted an Environmental Management Policy in 2005, honoring a commitment to implement programs and take actions that will protect and improve the quality of the harbor environment with respect to water resources. The policy included provisions aimed at protecting and improving water and sediment quality, and the adoption of the WRAP in 2009 was a direct outcome of this policy.

Water and sediment quality in San Pedro Bay has improved greatly over the last 40 years through increased monitoring, more aggressive regulation by state and federal agencies, better pollution source control and dredging that has removed accumulated contaminants in harbor sediment.

The Port of Los Angeles is America’s premier port and has a strong commitment to developing innovative strategic and sustainable operations that benefit the economy as well as the quality of life for the region and the nation it serves. As the leading seaport in North America in terms of shipping container volume and cargo value, the Port generates more than 830,000 regional jobs and $35 billion in annual wages and tax revenues. The Port of Los Angeles – A cleaner port.  A brighter future.