History of the Organization
Environment in the Public Interest is a 501(c)(3), nonprofit environmental watchdog dedicated to enforcement of water quality, watershed, and marine protection in Central Coast Counties. Since 2002 EPI has been a consistent voice for environmental change taking the necessary action to protect the coast and waterways throughout the region.
Our work has encompassed nearly the entire central coast responding to environmental issues from Santa Cruz to the Santa Ynez River watershed. Successful efforts have included serving as the SLO County environmental representative on DFG's Regional Stakeholders Group resulting in the establishment of the Central Coast Network of Marine Protected Areas, as well as our latest program to improve citizen participation in public trust resource protection (See our crowdsourcing site epic805.org)
Since 2002 the organization's efforts have been invested in the following areas:
A. San Luis Obispo Coastkeeper - Clean, abundant water is essential to the environmental, human, and economic health of the Central Coast. SLO Coastkeeper initiative priorities include:
B. Life on the Edge - our biodiversity initiative Where the edge of the continent and the Pacific Ocean meet on the Central Coast is one of the most spectacular and biologically diverse areas in the state. Working to protect healthy ecosystems in this special place our biodiversity initiative priorities include:
C. Government and People (GAP) - our civic engagement initiative Our organization provides educational and training services to groups and individuals seeking to participate in government decisions affecting the environment and public trust resources. We believe increased public participation in agency decisions will improve environmental protection and quality of life issues.
To engage and inform groups and individuals we partner with, EPI produces a weekly ALERT regarding agency and permit issues affecting water, land use and quality of life on the California Central Coast. Recipients of the ALERT include individual subscribers, and environmental groups. In addition through our epic805 program, we are involving citizens in a collaborative problem-solving relationship with environmental enforcement agencies.
EPI Executive Director, Gordon Hensley, is a Central Coast native and respected environmental professional. He obtained a Master's Degree in Ecology and Systematic Biology from California Polytechnic State University; is a recipient of Environment Now's 2006 Coastal Protection Achievement Award; sits on the Advisory Committee for the Natural Resources Management Department at Cal Poly SLO; and is a recognized leader in the local environmental community.
Mr. Hensley has worked on environmental issues and biological studies throughout the California Central Coast. Successful efforts have included serving as the SLO County environmental representative on DFG's Regional Stakeholders Group resulting in the establishment of the Central Coast Network of Marine Protected Areas, as well as programs to improve citizen participation in public trust resource protection.
EPIC 805: Enhancing environmental protection through community engagement and technology, EPIC805 is an environmental crowdsourcing project that identifies, reports, tracks and maps environmental and health harms.
Get the APP: Swim Guide: Swim Guide is built and powered by Waterkeepers to connect you to beaches and swimming holes everywhere.
Identify at a glance which beaches are clean for swimming (Green) and which have water quality problems (Red); Get walking, driving, or transit directions to the beach of your choice; Share your love for the best swimming holes on social media; and help protect your waterway by reporting pollution or environmental concerns
Get the App: http://www.theswimguide.org/guide/get-the-app/Living in America (LIA): LIA is a civic engagement program assisting Latino residents improve the quality of life, build healthy and safe communities in harmony with the Central Coast environment.
Habitat and Watershed Caretakers (HAWC): HAWC is EPI's local presence in Santa Cruz. Our major efforts have been the protection of the San Lorenzo River watershed and the biodiversity it supports.
Internships: EPI offers Program and Policy internships geared toward Junior, Senior, and Graduate Students wishing to pursue careers in field biology, planning, environmental law, advocacy, or consulting. Interns assist in technical analysis and preparation of public comment on a variety of conservation issues.