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Ocean Defenders Alliance

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Environment, Water, Water Resources, Wetlands Conservation & Management

Mission: Ocean Defenders Alliance works to clean and protect marine ecosystems through documentation, education, and meaningful action. Working with affected communities, we focus primarily on the reduction and removal of man-made debris which poses serious threats to ocean wildlife and habitats.

Results: 2013 was a record breaking year on many fronts for ODA: • ODA conducted 30, daylong debris removal expeditions, primarily within California’s Channel Islands. This number is a new record for us! • ODA removed 33 abandoned traps, more than doubling last year’s record! • ODA recovered 2,190 pounds of trap remnants, breaking our record by more than 200 pounds! • ODA retrieved 1,420 pounds of nets, nearly doubling last year’s record! • We also released 56 animals from certain death, setting another new record! • Though we did not set a record in this category, we are also proud to have reclaimed 3,490 feet of polypropylene line. This line poses an entanglement and drowning risk to surfers, divers, and migrating whales. • Last but not least: ODA representatives gave 31 educational presentations to high schools, middle schools, magnet schools, dive clubs, community groups, and others in 2013. Many of these were in Ventura County, and were supported by local media coverage. This is more than double our previous record!

Target demographics: clean the oceans and save marine wildlife.

Direct beneficiaries per year: We help all marine life (birds, fish, invertebrates, mammals, plants and algae) by removing from the ocean abandoned fishing gear including lines, nets, and traps, as well as all other forms of man-made debris such as plastic, metal, and all types of garbage.

Geographic areas served: California coastal waters

Programs: Ocean Defenders Alliance's mission is to work toward clean, healthy marine ecosystems through documentation, education, technology improvements, and meaningful action. The large majority of this active work is done at sea, from aboard our 50-foot vessel donated by television celebrity Bob Barker and named after him: Mr. Barker's LegaSea. The boat crews are volunteer deckhands, mechanics, divers, and our captain is ODA Founder and President Kurt Lieber. Our team's primary action goal: Remove manmade pollution from the oceans, leaving marine habitat and wildlife in a safe and thriving environment.

Community Stories

101 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Ocean Defender Alliance has made me more aware of the detrimental impact that marina debris has on the environment. Perhaps more importantly they have shownthat local action can have a positive effect. Their volunteers work tirelessly to improve the oceans. The leader Kurt Lieber is there (hands on) to educate and encourage both his volunteers and the public.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I spent the weekend with ODA a few years ago on Catalina Island and was very impressed by the level of dedication and professionalism they bring to necessary ocean cleanup efforts. I adore and wholeheartedly support their mission.

Donor

Rating: 5

ODA does a GREAT job keeping our oceans clean and safe for the wildlife!!

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Advisor

Rating: 5

ODA is my all time favorite org., and I given to a lot of different groups. The work that the founder, Kurt Lieber, and his volunteer crew does is amazing. The creatures in our Southern California ocean are lucky to have ODA around. If possible please sign-up for a monthly donation to ODA. Thank you.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I spent a day on an ODA boat to help collect trash from the ocean when I lived in Los Angeles. The group was highly organized and meticulous about safety for the divers and those on the boat. What struck me was their selfless dedication to this cause--they are always seeking ways to improve with technology, be it with drones or cleaner engines on their boats. They are filling a neglected niche in the bigger picture and are bravely going forward despite the difficulties of locating abandoned underwater traps, gear, and other hazards. I was moved by their dedication to ocean life.

Donor

Rating: 5

I am so impressed with the wonderful work that Ocean Defenders Alliance does to clean dangerous debris from the ocean, and they do it on a limited budget with lots of volunteers. They also educate many people both locally and around the country about the problem.

Advisor

Rating: 5

Ocean Defenders Alliance is a GREAT organization and they share the same vision as we do. This vision is to help our marine animal friends and protect them from the devastation abandoned fishing nets and traps have on the inhabitants of the ocean. We applaud their efforts and are very proud to be on their Board of Advisors and a partner of this amazing non-profit.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Ocean Defenders Alliance is an amazing organization. With a cadre of able volunteers and a selfless leader, we are involved in removing discarded fishing gear, lost lobster and crab pots and other debris from the ocean.

Frequent presentations to local groups, schools and other organizations help to get the ODA message out to the general public and reinforce the need for an involved populace in keeping our oceans safe and debris free.

Donor

Rating: 5

They are very local right in Huntington Beach and are very organized but very close to home.
Not too centralized, or big.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

ODA is the only group I know of directly removing dangerous and deadly fishing debris from our coastal waters. This organization needs more funding and more chapters - every major city in the world should have one!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Ocean Defender's Alliance Is simply the best. As a Naturalist for the American Cetacean Society, Marine Biology Teacher, and a new member of their crew, I can speak from experience. Kurt Lieber has a passion that is infectious. We see whale entanglements off our Southern California Coast several times a year. We participate in several beach clean ups. But what happens when the gear is abandoned/lost in the ocean? How do we protect our whales, sea lions, sharks and other marine life then? Enter ODA. Who knows how many animals have lived as a direct result of the gear and lines being found and pulled from the sea before the entanglement occurs. I can't speak highly enough about Kurt and all of the volunteers that are the force behind this organization.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

We are so grateful for Ocean Defenders Alliance! They are the real deal unlike some of the other ocean charities we have seen over the years, not to say there are not other good ones to. ODA actually gets out there and makes a difference to the creatures in the ocean rather than just talking about why it should be done. They suit up and show up and they care. They have gotten thousands of ghost net left behind from derelict fishermen, and they have saved countess dolphins, seals, fish, turtles, name it! The Healey's

Board Member

Rating: 5

This group is passionate about removing debris from the ocean to make it a safer environment for everyone (ocean animals and humans)! Kurt is constantly making an effort to expand the organization's work and share his results to benefit ocean resource managers and better inform the public.

Cheryl113

Volunteer

Rating: 5

ODA does amazing work helping to remove deadly debris from our ocean and raise awareness of the dangers of lines, abandoned traps, trash, and nets and the effect they have on this fragile marine ecosystem.

I've personally been involved in many cleanups and it is the most gratifying experience and really feels like you are making a difference!

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

ODA - Ocean Defenders Alliance work amazes me - hands on team of divers literally pulling debris, rope, nets, trash, traps from the ocean which kills or traps 100's of marine animals an HOUR! Given that 70% of our oxygen comes from the ocean, their work is critical to protect all of us.

Donor

Rating: 5

They are very focused and skilled in what they do. I was personally thanked when I contributed. I think what they are doing is very special, and very effective.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have known of ODA since they were founded about 17 years ago, and I have been pleased to see what they have been able to accomplish on a modest budget. Founder Kurt Lieber has been tenacious in organizing expeditions to haul out deadly ghost gear and tons of trash.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Ocean Defenders Alliance is a wonderful small grassroots nonprofit working to clean up the bay in Southern California. We need more small groups that care about clean water, safe places to dive. They also are committed to cleaning up old nets that tangle fish, old fishing line, lobster pots left behind, and much more. Please check them out and always support your small local grassroots nonprofits.

Donor

Rating: 5

Ocean Defenders Alliance does some extraordinary work. Where others regard the ocean as a dumping ground and a place to throw stuff away, ODA dives in the Pacific to pick up the cast away stuff like nets and traps and other stuff. Countless marine life has been saved by ODA where they would get entangled in line and ropes, ODA takes it out of the ocean and discards it safely. ODA is one of the few organizations who does the diving and retrieval work. It's difficult and hard work and even dangerous at times where long lines can entangle a diver. ODA has done this work for many years - and now, they are building up their operation so that they can do even more. They deserve our support.

T_Weisel

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been donating money for a number of years and have been amazed how efficiently the money has been utilized. This group with their cadre of dedicated volunteers have been performing amazing environmental work for many years. The amount of underwater lost fishing gear, etc and the effort to retrieve it (often very deep) have been impressive

Previous Stories

Donor

Rating: 5

My wife and I have been supporting ODA since its inception and it has been the best use of our donated dollars I've witnessed. The volunteers involved with this organization and what they give for the cause are amazing. I only wish I had more money to help leverage their efforts.

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General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Ocean Defenders is a great organization that helps and advocates for our most important
asset on Earth, the Ocean and its creatures. All the animals in the ocean and seas are in great danger from a variety of threats, mostly man made. Ocean Defenders has taken on a tremendous role in helping to save our sea animals, clean up the oceans, and also to educate the public about the dangers faced and how to alleviate them, making us all participants in a most important role that is of saving our Oceans and eventually our planet. They are a group of dedicated people who have learned what needs to be done and do it. I applaud them and wish their mission greatest success in educating the public, cleaning the oceans and protecting the animals that call the Oceans their home.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Ocean Defenders Alliance is tackling an overwhelming and very important task of removing debris from our oceans. This benefits all of the earth’s creatures, sea, land and air. And, when I submitted a question on their website I was contacted directly by the organizations founder and executive director almost immediately. Now that is an organization worth supporting.