Since November 2020, members of the Surfrider Foundation Club at San Pedro High School have been participating in the EarthEcho International Water Challenge. San Pedro, California is a typical coastal and port city in which all citizens are a mere 10 minute drive from the nearest beach at most. Our local high school is no different. For nearly all students of San Pedro High School (SPHS), our beautiful coastal waters have been a staple throughout our childhood whether it be playing in the surf at Cabrillo Beach or searching the tidepools at Royal Palms. Perhaps most notable of all, our coastal waters are the source of many citizen’s livelihoods, as the Port of Los Angeles provides jobs to thousands of local workers. Upon seeing the opportunity to participate in the Water Challenge, our club jumped to action and got involved as soon as possible.

We, the SPHS Surfrider Club, see the immense importance of this project as it relates to our local area. Our appreciation of the coastal waters have driven us to help in any way we can to combat the growing list of environmental issues within the past few years. While the Port of LA has allowed many San Pedro citizens to prosper, we are not oblivious of the risks that come along with such an industry like ocean pollution. Our members seized the opportunity to analyze the health of our waters and investigate how local industries including the Port, agriculture, and fishing impact the South Bay.

Our club took to testing the water quality of five different locations across three local beaches. Once a month, available members meet on a Saturday to test at Cabrillo Beach, Royal Palms Beach, and Torrance Beach. Using the Water Challenge Testing kit provided to us through the program, we look for water temperature, turbidity, pH levels, dissolved oxygen levels, and oxygen saturation.

Many of the SPHS Surfrider Club members, myself included, personally felt the impact of the actions we have taken to give back to our coastal waters. On many occasions while out testing, we are approached by fellow citizens that ask us about our efforts and express their gratitude for what we do. As our water quality testing efforts continue, we hope to establish an understanding of how local industries affect our coast, to help record data that will inform the scientific community of what needs to be done to protect our ocean life, and to raise awareness to the issues that threaten to poison the waters that have shaped our city into what it is today.

- Travis Crane