The long-time public face of Heal the Bay, one of California's leading and most influential environmental advocacy groups, is stepping down after nearly a quarter of a century with the Santa Monica-based nonprofit.
Mark Gold, president of the environmental group focused on the health of Santa Monica Bay and waters up and down the West Coast, is leaving to accept a position as associate director of the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, where he has taught as an adjunct professor and serves on its board.
Heal the Bay is best known for its Beach Report Card that gives letter grades to hundreds of beaches in California, Oregon and Washington based on water quality. The group also advocates against water pollution and marine debris, for environmental education and marine habitat conservation, and it operates the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium.
Gold, 48, joined Heal the Bay as a volunteer in 1986 and was hired as its first employee, staff scientist, in 1988. He went on to become its executive director in 1994, was named president in 2006 and has been the face of the group, an outspoken environmental watchdog who often appears at public hearings and pushes for state and local coastal protection laws.