A Waterkeeper is a grassroots, citizen watchdog organization that advocates for compliance with environmental laws, responds to citizen complaints, identifies problems affecting the water body it is charged with protecting, and devises appropriate remedies to address the problems. A Waterkeeper is equal parts investigator, scientist, lawyer, lobbyist, educator, and public relations agent. A Waterkeeper's clients are all of the users of the represented water body and watershed. Waterkeepers employ a variety of strategies to enforce environmental laws including operating volunteer water quality monitoring programs, responding directly to tips received on their pollution hotlines, educating the public, and when necessary taking legal action. Waterkeepers also restore habitat, such as wetlands and kelp forests.

Each Waterkeeper program is a member of the Waterkeeper Alliance, a growing international movement founded by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and John Cronin (the Hudson Riverkeeper) in 1992.

Environment Now’s Waterkeeper Program Partners


Humboldt Baykeeper
Inland Empire Waterkeeper
Orange County Coastkeeper
Russian Riverkeeper
San Diego Coastkeeper
San Francisco Baykeeper
Santa Barbara Channelkeeper
Los Angeles Waterkeeper            
Ventura Coastkeeper                    


La Paz Waterkeeper
Magdalena Baykeeper (Vigilante de Bahia Magdalena)           
Punta Abreojos Coastkeeper
Bahía de Los Angeles Coastkeeper
Loreto Coastkeeper
Los Cabos Coastkeeper
Tijuana Waterkeeper

California Coastkeeper Alliance
Founded in 1999, the California Coastkeeper Alliance (CCKA) began as coalition of Southern California Waterkeepers and has since expanded to the Oregon border and into the Delta. The CCKA is a non-profit organization that coordinates, supports and enhances the work of local California Waterkeepers to ensure Californians enjoy clean water and a healthy coast. The CCKA and its member Waterkeepers represent the only statewide-local partnership focused on the health of the state's waters and coastal ecosystems. By coordinating on-the-ground work at the community level with policy work at the statewide level, the CCKA protects and expands upon the advances made by local groups by educating state decision makers about issues important to California communities, giving the communities a statewide voice.

Defensa Ambiental del Noroeste
Defensa Ambiental del Noroeste is a non-profit organization working to protect the natural environment of northwest Mexico. Founded in 2004, its mission is to provide legal information and consultation in environmental matters to nongovernmental organizations and the public, and to promote legal action against projects that threaten the environment and natural resources of Baja California. Defensa has collaborated with communities to challenge marinas that threaten marine ecosystems. Defensa seeks to create an environmental culture guided by the idea of sustainable development, adherence to the law and access to information

Klamath Riverkeeper
Klamath Riverkeeper's projects and campaigns restore water quality on the Klamath River, bringing vitality and abundance back to the river and its people. With a commitment to making the Klamath fishable and swimmable again, Klamath Riverkeeper works with all people who need clean water and healthy fisheries in the Watershed. They work closely the Klamath River tribes, fishermen, and recreational groups, in all aspects of their programs.

Natural Resources Defense Council
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is a national, non-profit organization, founded in 1970, that uses law, science and the support of 1.2 million members and online activists to protect the planet's natural resources. NRDC’s purpose is to safeguard the Earth: its people, its plants and animals, and the natural systems on which all life depends. NRDC works to restore the integrity of the elements that sustain life--air, land and water--and to defend endangered natural places. NRDC seeks to establish sustainability and good stewardship of the Earth as central ethical imperatives of human society. NRDC strives to protect nature in ways that advance the long-term welfare of present and future generations. NRDC works to foster the fundamental right of all people to have a voice in decisions that affect their environment. NRDC seeks to break down the pattern of disproportionate environmental burdens borne by people of color and others who face social or economic inequities. Ultimately, NRDC strives to help create a new way of life for humankind, one that can be sustained indefinitely without fouling or depleting the resources that support all life on Earth.

The Southern California Wetlands Recovery Project
The Southern California Wetlands Recovery Project (SCWRP) is dedicated to acquiring, restoring, and expanding coastal wetlands and watersheds throughout Southern California. The SCWRP is a partnership of public agencies, nonprofits, scientists and local communities working cooperatively to acquire, restore, and enhance coastal wetlands and watersheds between Point Conception and southern border with Mexico. Using a nonregulatory approach and an ecosystem perspective, the SCWRP will work together to identify wetland acquisition and restoration priorities, prepare plans for these priority sites, pool funds to undertake these projects, implement priority plans, and oversee post-project maintenance and monitoring. The goal of the SCWRP is to accelerate the pace, extent and effectiveness of coastal wetland restoration in Southern California.

Surfrider Foundation
The Surfrider Foundation is a grassroots, non-profit, environmental organization that works to protect our oceans, waves and beaches. Founded in 1984, Surfrider Foundation's most important coastal environmental work is carried out by Surfrider Foundation's 60 chapters located along the East, West, Gulf, Puerto Rican and Hawaiian coasts. Surfrider Foundation now has over 50,000 members in the U.S. In addition, International Surfrider Foundation chapters and affiliates have been established in many foreign countries including the Surfrider Foundation Europe (with ongoing programs and chapters in France, Germany, Spain, Portugal and Italy) as well as Japan, Brazil and Australia.