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Mark Gold Leaves Heal the Bay  


By Lookout Staff

January 12, 2012 -- After 23 years, Mark Gold, the face of Heal the Bay and the environmental group's very first employee, will step down as executive director at the end of the month to accept a post at UCLA.

Gold, who since 1990 has delivered Heal the Bay's popular annual beach water quality report card and has long pushed for tougher environmental laws, will become associate director of UCLA's Institute of the Environment and Sustainability.

“Everyone who lives in or visits Southern California has benefited from Mark Gold’s tireless efforts to keep our waters safe and clean,” said Matt Hart, chairman of Heal the Bay’s board of directors. “He has also built a great organization of smart, dedicated professionals that will sustain the legacy he and Dorothy Green started over 25 years ago."

Beginning January 30, Gold will help spearhead efforts to build the Institute’s education, research and public outreach programs at his alma mater.

Executive Director Karin Hall and Associate Director Alix Hobbs will continue to manage the agency as the board determines a management structure for the nonprofit, agency officials said.

Gold became Heal the Bay's first employee when he joined the agency as staff scientist in 1988 while working on his doctorate in Environmental Science and Engineering. Gold was named executive director in 1994 and president in 2006.

"He has worked extensively over the last 25 years in the field of coastal protection and water pollution and is recognized as one of California’s leading environmental advocates," said officials of the non-profit.

Gold has authored or co-authored numerous California coastal protection, water quality and environmental education bills.

Under Gold's watch, Heal the Bay led efforts to stop treatment plants from dumping waste into the ocean, fought to have site-specific pollution limits included in routine regulation and instituted the beach report card in 1990, which grades almost 500 beaches along the coast on a weekly basis.

In 1990, the agency launched Coastal Cleanup Day, which currently draws 15,000 people each year to clean more than 65 sites in L.A County, both inland and along the coast. In 2003, the agency also opened the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium, which is visited by more than 70,000 people a year.

This year, Heal the Bay is focusing on key policy issues that include implementing marine protected areas off the coast of Southern California, helping to enact a statewide ban on single use plastic bags and advocating for a countywide stormwater permit to reduce polluted runoff.

“I have been lucky to be part of an environmental organization that has achieved so much to better Southern California,” said Gold. “I am confident that the senior management team we’ve spent years developing will continue to move the organization forward."


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