Protect Monterey Bay is a non-profit committed to building the first-ever California Marine Sanctuary in the Monterey Bay. This initiative began in 2016 with my idea of creating a simple sticker Protect Monterey Bay designed by James Deleon and printed by Shawn Adams owner of Santa Cruz Monterey Signs. I told JD and Shawn I have an idea that is purely altruistic NO MONEY. They said awesome let’s do it. I passed these out in all the coastal communities surrounding the Monterey Bay for 4 years.
The general call to action was based around the number of single-use plastics flowing into the Monterey Bay as a direct result of over-tourism in Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties. This kick-off was simply from me noticing and picking up trash from the kelp beds during paddleboard sessions in the Carmel and Monterey Bay. I had encountered a large group of humpback whales in September of 2014 while paddle-boarding which changed me forever when one spy hopped 25 yards away and looked me right in the eye.
I created the first Stand Up Paddle ocean clean-up of kelp beds in collaboration with the local Surfrider chapter in August of 2015 which evolved to above and below water cleanups at Point Lobos State Reserve one of the most iconic coastal California State Parks. Later came the evolution of more stand up paddle cleanups in the rivers feeding into the Monterey Bay and Carmel Bay.
The final straw began in 2017 with the escalation of cruise ships coming into the Monterey Bay and anchoring off the small coastal community of Monterey, CA. Yes, this is a National Marine Sanctuary, but the protections provided do nothing with these massive polluters. This non-profit is being designed around local authentic business persons in the community that want to problem-solve our issues and empower the next generation of youth to do the same.