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Orange County Coastkeeper

 3151 Airway Avenue, Ste F-110
 Costa Mesa, CA 92626
[P] (714) 850-1965 x 1002
[F] (714) 850-1592
[email protected]
Ellen Orange-Brown
 Printable 1 Page Summary
 Printable Profile
Organization DBA Orange County Coastkeeper
Former Names --
Organization received a competitive grant from the community foundation in the past five years Yes
Employer Identification Number 33-0847892 00000


Mission StatementMORE »

Our mission is to protect the region’s water resources so they are swimmable, drinkable and fishable for present and future generations.

Mission Statement

Our mission is to protect the region’s water resources so they are swimmable, drinkable and fishable for present and future generations.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year 2019
Projected Expenses $2,455,000.00
Projected Revenue $2,455,000.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Education
  • Advocacy
  • Restoration
  • Research
  • Enforcement

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2017 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

For more details regarding the organization's financial information, select the financial tab and review available comments.


Mission Statement

Our mission is to protect the region’s water resources so they are swimmable, drinkable and fishable for present and future generations.

Background Statement

Orange County Coastkeeper was founded in 1999 by Garry Brown, an Orange County native who remembers abundant abalone, catching bonito and barracuda from the piers, and digging for clams along the beach in Newport as a young boy.  Realizing that his sons could not enjoy the same coastal waters as he had, Mr. Brown established Orange County Coastkeeper, which became the 27th Waterkeeper to be licensed in the United States. 
 The concept of "waterkeepers" dates back to 19th century England, where self-appointed fishermen acted as wardens of private streams to ensure that the waters were healthy, abundant, and safe from poachers.  In 1983, fisherman John Cronin founded the Hudson Riverkeeper, and today there are over 200 Waterkeeper organizations worldwide.  Each Waterkeeper is a nonprofit corporation with its own operating budget and Board of Directors. 
Coastkeeper works to achieve its mission through numerous education programs that promote environmental stewardship, advocating for coastal issues at all levels of government, restoration of threatened marine habitats, enforcement of the Federal Clean Water Act and other environmental laws by working with regulatory agencies and industrial polluters, and promoting sustainable development that uses advanced water management technology to minimize environmental impact. 

Impact Statement

Coastkeeper implements a variety of programs in five areas; education, advocacy, restoration, research, and enforcement. Following are a few examples of our core programs, projects and accomplishments:

  •           Through our education programs, Kids Care, WHALES and Kids Ocean Day our team reaches 5,000 students and 55 schools. Our education programs engage under-resourced schools in watershed-based curriculum and field trips.
  •          Coastkeeper plays a major role in the Marine Life Protection Act’s proposal of the South Coast study region. Through the collaboration with community groups, businesses and other stakeholders we conduct educational outreach and train volunteers to perform MPA Watches.
  •      Restoration staff works throughout the year to restore critical coastline and marine habitats. Our current projects include eelgrass and oyster restoration.
  •      Coastkeeper offers community events through their Cleanup OC program. We host 2 monthly beach cleanups and creek/channel cleanups throughout the year. This program is open to everyone and inspires our community members to become environmental stewards.
  •      Coastkeeper has a sustainable 2.5 acre garden in Orange, CA to teach the public about drought friendly landscape.
  •      Through the SmartScape Program Coastkeeper is assisting property owners and landscaping contractors in transitioning away from reliance on traditional high water use landscaping.
  •      Our enforcement team works to protect the Clean Water Act through litigation. 



Needs Statement

General operating support is essential to Coastkeeper's capacity to deliver impactful programs and sustain itself as an efficient, high-performing organization.  Charitable, corporate, and government grants are largely restricted to program expenses, and thus general operating support is an area of high need. 
The following are current project that are in need of funding.
- Education Programs. Our education team provides field trips and service learning project to under served school at no cost to the school or students. Additional funding would grant us the opportunity to serve those schools currently on our waiting list.
- Restoration Programs. The funds donated to restoration go towards ongoing restoration efforts which currently include eelgrass and oyster restoration in the Upper Newport Bay and Alamitos Bay in Long Beach. Funds donated to our restoration program help us purchase equipment, hire consultants to do studies on the effectiveness of our restoration efforts and coordinate the massive volunteer effort it takes to perform these activities.  
- Cleanup OC. Our cleanup programs have grown from 25 volunteers a month to now over 700 every month. Donations help support the expansion of this program to inland and north Orange County as well as to cover the cost of equipment.
- Coastkeeper Garden. Our 2.5 acre demonstration garden needs help throughout the year with maintenance and upkeep so we can continue to keep it open for the public to enjoy and learn about drought-friendly yet visually dynamic gardening. 

CEO Statement

Orange County Coastkeeper is the only nonprofit organization in the region working on the water to protect our marine habitats and watersheds.  What is additionally distinctive about our work is our long-standing success collaborating directly with leaders in business and government to establish realistic, achievable goals. 

Board Chair Statement

Orange County Coastkeeper's vision is to preserve the integrity of our communities by ensuring clean waterways, harbors, and coastal waters, along with a healthy water supply for generations to come. We collaborate with a variety of stakeholders and believe that environmental solutions are also smart business solutions. Our unique community-wide approach to watershed management promotes equitable, achievable strategies that meet broad societal goals and avoids future conflicts.

Other Ways to Donate/Volunteer

Thank you for considering making a donation to Orange County Coastkeeper. There are 3 ways to give: 1. Make a donation online by visiting 2. Make a credit card payment over the phone by calling us at (714) 850-1965 3. Make a gift by check or money order and mail it to us at: 3151 Airway Avenue, Suite F-110, Costa Mesa, CA 92626 4. Make an in-kind donation of equipment, office supplies, or electronics. Call us at (714) 850-1965 for our current wish list. Coastkeeper also relies on the talent and passion of volunteers at our monthly beach cleanups, at the Coastkeeper Garden, and for our habitat restoration projects. Our staff additionally offers corporate volunteer opportunities. Visit to learn more.

Geographic Area Served

In a specific U.S. city, cities, state(s) and/or region.
Central Orange County
West Orange County
South Orange County
North Orange County

Orange County Coastkeeper focuses our efforts on the county's 11 watersheds, which collectively cover an area of 950 square miles inhabited by approximately 3 million people.  Coastkeeper's high school watershed education program in particular, serves schools in inland communities, which largely lack the resources for outdoor education and hands-on science educational experiences.  
In addition, Coastkeeper manages an Inland Empire Waterkeeper program, which works to protect the watersheds of San Bernardino and Riverside Counties.  Inland Empire Waterkeeper has its own staff, advisory board, and annual operating budget of approximately $135,000.

Organization Categories

  1. Environment - Natural Resources Conservation & Protection
  2. Environment - Environmental Education
  3. Environment - Water Resource, Wetlands Conservation & Management




Coastkeeper developed the WHALES marine science and watershed education curriculum and engages about 2,500 students per year from under-resourced junior high and high schools through the program.  The curriculum includes field trips to coastal habitats and inland waterways, water quality testing, biological assessments, marine life surveys, habitat restoration activities, and career development. 
Our other education programs include Kids Care, a marine-debris education program that provides free assemblies to underserved schools along with a field trip to the beach where students put their passion into action by performing a beach cleanup, Kids Ocean Day, an assembly/beach cleanup event that hosts over 1,000 elementary students at the beach where they perform a giant beach cleanup then line up in the sand to create an aerial art piece in the sand that we then photograph via drone, and Cleanup OC, our community cleanup program.  
Budget  $100,000.00
Category  Environment, General/Other Environmental Education
Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years) Adolescents Only (13-19 years) At-Risk Populations
Program Short-Term Success  As a result of participating in any of our education programs, students will have a greater understanding of marine science, coastal issues, educational and career paths that lead to professions in watershed management, and a sense of environmental stewardship. 
Program Long-Term Success  Our education programs will give students the knowledge and opportunities to become active and engaged members of their communities. We will help inspire behavioral changes that reduce urban runoff pollution affecting waterways, encourage students to pursue careers in science, math and technology, and to always keep their local environment in mind.
Program Success Monitored By  Educational staff continually monitor program success quantitatively and qualitatively through student and teacher surveys and via ongoing communication with school administration and teachers. 
Examples of Program Success 
For the 2017-2018 school year, Coastkeeper set goals to expand our reach to new audiences, and enhance our curriculum. We have fulfilled these goals through the following actions:
• STUDENTS REACHED: Between July 2017 and August 2018, Coastkeeper reached 3,033 students, working with 21 teachers and over 60 classes/groups. Coastkeeper’s education staff completed 43 field trips and 30 in-class presentations.
The WHALES program is meeting and exceeding intended outcome goals. Our short term goal was to increase students' performance on a comprehensive watershed test by 30%. Students take the assessment at the beginning of the program and are evaluated again at the end of the program. We also strive to foster students' interest and pursuit of watershed-related careers. As a result of our program, our students have applied for and obtained internships at the sites we visit and here at Orange County Coastkeeper where they gain further insight into the watershed field. Our long term goal is expanding our reach to more students each year. Since the program's inception in 2005, we have grown by over 800%. We are on track to increase the number of field trips by 15% in the 2018-2019 school year through further expansion. Coastkeeper's Education Department has made great strides. Some recent achievements include: 1) Following up with a previous WHALES student who has pursued a successful career as and environmental specialist at San Diego Gas and Electric (Blog Post: and 2) Last year, we launched a brand new partnership with a local water district that has helped us almost double our participation. We hope to model this partnership with more water districts to help bring water education to all of Orange County 


Through a collaborative approach, we work with public and private agencies to develop water quality solutions that balance the need of the environment and the community.  Our main focuses are eliminating polluted urban runoff and advocating for behavioral changes that will ensure a healthy future water supply.
Budget  $138,000.00
Category  Environment, General/Other Environment, General/Other
Population Served General/Unspecified
Program Short-Term Success  Coastkeeper will continue to participate in regular administrative and enforcement hearings, critically important events that rarely receive public attention yet fundamentally shape the quality of our environment.  As a result of Coastkeeper's participation, enforcement will become stricter, financial penalties will be directed to on-the-ground restoration, and water quality will measurably improve.
Program Long-Term Success  As a result of our advocacy program, public coastal access will be protected and expanded, threatened marine species will be restored, and regulations that protect water quality from industrial polluters and development will be further enforced.
Program Success Monitored By  The success of the advocacy program can be quantified by water quality.
Examples of Program Success  --


To preserve critical habitat and species, Coastkeeper has worked to restore kelp forests, eelgrass beds in Newport Bay, the green abalone population off the Orange County coast, and native Olympia oysters in Alamitos Bay.  In addition, Coastkeeper hosts monthly beach cleanups at Huntington State Beach to reduce the amount of debris entering the ocean and to educate the public about coastal issues.
Budget  $76,000.00
Category  Environment, General/Other Environment, General/Other
Population Served General/Unspecified
Program Short-Term Success  Our restoration efforts will result in Minimum Viable Population (MVP) density for eelgrass, green abalone, and oysters.
Program Long-Term Success  Restoring threatened marine species such as eelgrass, green abalone, and oysters will contribute to the overall health and resilience of marine ecosystems. 
Program Success Monitored By  Success is tracked through periodic field surveys, biological assessments, and regular monitoring of newly restored or established habitats. 
Examples of Program Success  --


Coastkeeper conducts scientific research on sediment and water quality analysis in local waterways and harbors.  Our reports are utilized by governmental agencies at every level to create policy and regulations that address water-related challenges. Coastkeeper keeps a special focus on emerging technologies and innovation that can prevent pollution and reduce water and energy  use. 
Budget  $55,000.00
Category  Environment, General/Other Watershed Conservation
Population Served General/Unspecified
Program Short-Term Success  Coastkeeper will continually be on the cutting edge of innovating solutions that conserve water and energy and prevent pollution.
Program Long-Term Success  The research program will lead to the adoption of advanced BMPs (best management practices) that mitigate industrial runoff pollution.
Program Success Monitored By  Success of the research program will be assessed by ongoing testing of water quality.
Examples of Program Success  --


Coastkeeper has successfully achieved "on-the-ground" improvements in water quality through grassroots advocacy, active involvement in stakeholder groups, and third-party Clean Water Act lawsuits.
Budget  $125,000.00
Category  Environment, General/Other Natural Resources Conservation & Protection
Population Served General/Unspecified
Program Short-Term Success  The success of the enforcement program can be measured on a case-by-case basis.  Attendance at administrative hearings and legislative tracking will ensure that Coastkeeper is continually shaping government policy, enforcing the Clean Water Act, and protecting safe coastal access.
Program Long-Term Success  Marine environments will be preserved, restored, accessible, and as a result, healthy functioning ecosystems.
Program Success Monitored By  Stricter regulations, greater coastal access, and industrial compliance with regulations that protect water quality.
Examples of Program Success  --


CEO/Executive Director Mr. Garry Brown
CEO Term Start Mar 1999
CEO Email [email protected]
CEO Experience

Garry Brown founded Orange County Coastkeeper in 1999 to protect and preserve local marine habitats and watersheds.  Through his work at Coastkeeper, Mr. Brown has helped to establish new wetland areas and to protect others from being threatened by pollution or development.  He has successfully negotiated solutions to runoff and pollution issues that have adversely impacted our watershed and ocean and has been widely lauded for his ability to advocate for cooperative solutions.  Under Mr. Brown's leadership, Coastkeeper has become a tried and trusted ward of our fresh- and saltwater ecosystems through education, advocacy, restoration, research and enforcement.

Mr. Brown comes from a long background of building public private partnerships.   He served for five years as an assistant city manager for the City of Redlands, ten years as an advocate and executive director for trade associations in the real estate and building industries, and served two terms as president of a chamber of commerce.  These varied experiences brought him an extensive and pragmatic understanding of both state and local government and the politics that drive them.
A native of Orange County, Mr. Brown is committed to expanding Coastkeeper's presence as a proactive, results-oriented organization that uses coalition building and partnerships to find effective solutions to the environmental problems that impact our communities and watersheds.  In addition to serving as Board President for Orange County Coastkeeper, Mr. Brown holds positions of leadership on numerous other Boards of Directors and governmental advisory committees, including the California Coastkeeper Alliance, the National Waterkeeper Alliance, the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority's One Water One Watershed, and the National Research Institute's Advisory Panel for the Groundwater Replenishment System.  Mr. Brown holds a B.A. in Government from the University of Redlands.

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
-- -- --

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
Garry Brown Founder & President --
Raymond Hiemstra Associate Director-Programs --
Colin Kelly Senior Staff Attorney --
Ellen Orange-Brown Associate Director --
Dyana Pena Education Director --


Award Awarding Organization Year
-- -- --


Affiliation Year
-- --

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --



Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 12
Number of Part Time Staff 3
Number of Volunteers 10,000
Number of Contract Staff 1
Staff Retention Rate % 100%
Staff Professional Development Yes

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 1
Caucasian: 13
Hispanic/Latino: 2
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: --
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 11
Male: 5
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Yes
Organization has Strategic Plan? Under Development
Years Strategic Plan Considers 3
Management Succession Plan No
Organization Policies And Procedures Yes
Business Continuity of Operations Plan No

Risk Management Provisions

Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes

Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? Yes
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually

Government Licenses


CEO Comments


Foundation Comments



Board Chair Steve Bone
Board Chair Company Affiliation Chairman, Orange County Coastkeeper
Board Chair Term Jan 2014 -
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Kara Adams Ernst & Young LLP Voting
Steve Bone CEO, Huntington Beach Marketing & Visitors Bureau Voting
Garry Brown President/CEO-Orange County Coastkeeper Voting
Mark Draper -- --
Alan Freeman -- --
Bob King -- --
Mandana Massoumi Manatt, Phelps & Phillips LLP Voting
Ellen Orange-Brown Associate Director - Orange County Coastkeeper NonVoting
James Parkhurst -- --
John Weispfenning, Ph.D Coast Community College District Voting
Vince Zimmerer -- --

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Additional Board Members and Affiliations

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 12
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: --
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 3
Male: 9
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 2
Board Term Limits 2
Board Meeting Attendance % 95%
Written Board Selection Criteria Under Development
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 25%
Board Orientation Yes

CEO Comments


Foundation Comments


Standing Committees



Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2017 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Fiscal Year Jan 01, 2019 to Dec 31, 2019
Projected Revenue $2,455,000.00
Projected Expenses $2,455,000.00
Form 990s

2017 Form 990

2016 Form 990

2015 2015 OCCK 990

2015 Form 990

2014 Form 990

2013 2013 IRS Form 990

Audit Documents

2017 2017 OCCK Audit

2015 2015 OCCK Audit

2011 2011 Audited Financial Documents

IRS Letter of Exemption

IRS Letter of Determination

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Total Revenue $1,782,330 $1,975,912 $1,380,986
Total Expenses $1,772,988 $1,617,380 $1,321,208

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Revenue By Revenue Source
Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
$1,582,184 $1,687,113 $1,167,413
Government Contributions $146,677 $187,304 $119,405
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified $146,677 $187,304 $119,405
Individual Contributions -- -- --
Indirect Public Support -- -- $0
Earned Revenue -- -- $0
Investment Income, Net of Losses $373 $65 $50
Membership Dues -- -- $0
Special Events $51,816 $84,535 $94,118
Revenue In-Kind -- $16,490 $0
Other $1,280 $405 $-72,883

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Expense By Type
Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Program Expense $1,582,730 $1,437,926 $1,150,427
Administration Expense $122,629 $125,961 $123,482
Fundraising Expense $67,629 $53,493 $47,299
Payments to Affiliates -- -- $0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 1.01 1.22 1.05
Program Expense/Total Expenses 89% 89% 87%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 4% 3% 3%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Total Assets $1,457,801 $1,469,107 $1,082,295
Current Assets $1,046,963 $1,034,370 $607,894
Long-Term Liabilities -- $13,303 $14,367
Current Liabilities $98,883 $106,228 $76,884
Total Net Assets $1,358,918 $1,349,576 $991,044

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 10.59 9.74 7.91

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 0% 1% 1%
Endowment Value --
Spending Policy N/A
Percentage(If selected) --
Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Purpose --
Campaign Goal --
Capital Campaign Dates -
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount --
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? --

CEO Comments


Foundation Comments

Summary financial data is per the form 990s  along with consultation with the organization. Foundation/corporate and individual contributions are combined under Foundation and Corporation Contributions.


Other Documents

No Other Documents currently available.