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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

I love that the Ocean Defenders Alliance helps to clean our ocean as much as possible! It is so important to have a healthy and clean ocean since it is 99% percent of the living space on this planet. It is great to work with such professional and passionate people and I am so glad that I can be a part of it. Keep up the good work!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

ODA began as a longed for dream by my friend Kurt Liber to save marine wildlife. An old dilapidated boat was donated after we looked at a lot of "turkey boats" that were in our price range. Several would have been perfect for the final "boat blows up scene" in a movie. We worked on the boat for 3 years and 4 months in my driveway before it was seaworthy. From there ODA has become a global model of how to go about accomplishing one's dreams of cleaning up the oceans and creating focused public awareness regarding the challenges and solutions of wildlife rescue and ocean cleanup. Any resource donated to this organization is used in a honed efficient manner to solve the problem at hand. It's always "All Hands On Deck" at ODA. I am proud to have served as a volunteer and co founder.

Advisor

Rating: 5

ODA is undeniably one of the world's top experts in marine debris removal! Their unparalleled expertise in hauling out abandoned fishing gear (along with plastic and other manmade pollution) is invaluable to coastal waters and marine life that are suffering from this hazardously and often deadly debris. If you follow ODA, you will see the most hard-working and passionate volunteers carrying out the organizations mission on behalf of so many people who care about the ocean but just can't get out there on the water to do it themselves! Hooray for ODA!

Previous Stories

Advisor

Rating: 5

ODA is providing a very important service to the oceans and wildlife! No other nonprofit in California or Hawaii does what ODA does -- remove debris from the sea from onboard their vessel. I love what they do! We have to clear the fishing lines so whales can swim free!

Catherine94

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Getting fishing gear out of the water is one of the most direct ways to save ocean wildlife. Thanks to Ocean Defenders Alliance, it's happening. Plus, having extra eyes on and in the ocean helps identify issues - like too many fishing pots too close together - that gives inside info to the conservation movement.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've helped ODA clean up LA Harbor. It is a selfless group doing great work to help our local environment. Thanks ODA.

Andre9

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have helped ODA for years and cant think of a better way to directly impact the global environment via local direct action! Every dollar spent by ODA is applied completely to the removal of man made trash from our ocean. The change starts here!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Doing a part to clean up marine habitat. We put it there, we should clean it up.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

ODA is an amazing organization. Truly a non-profit, existing with many volunteers who dive, maintain the ODA boat, and spread the word about our mission.

1 Deb_34

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The hard work of the Ocean Defenders Alliance continues to make a big difference for the local marine ecosystems where they operate. Having watched them grow over the past several years, we're proud to have them as part of the Sylvia Earle Alliance / Mission Blue family.

Previous Stories

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

We are partners of the Ocean Defenders Alliance and we find Kurt and his team to be incredibly effective at making a real difference to the marine environment. Their stories, shared on our Mission Blue website have inspired people across the globe to launch ocean cleanups of their own! Organizations such as ODA give us hope for the future!

1 seamonkey

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Totally focused on cleaning up the ocean. I dive with ODA, and every dive we remove traps and nets that are down there killing the wildlife in our oceans. This is a noble enterprise worthy of everyone's support.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Kurt and his crew out there doing the Lord's work. Cleaning up the ocean is no small task and it's hard work. Keep it up ODA!

Donor

Rating: 5

ODA is a group of highly dedicated, experienced individuals working toward a common goal. They are industrious and creative and the work they do is essential!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

ODA is everything an organization should be: passionate, resourceful, reliable, frugal & always ready & able to help their cause. ODA rids the ocean of harmful abandoned fishing gear & anything else they find under the sea that's wreaking havoc, from car batteries to microwaves to nets and gear, they clean it up so the animals are safe and healthy. ODA is the best!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

FANTASTIC organization, selfless and dedicated volunteers. I have helped on a few of their harbor cleanups and it is wonderful to see these altruistic people hauling leaky & destructive garbage out of the ocean waters.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

ODA is in Hawaii! Great to have them here and cleaning up our ocean for the Marine life as well as keeping the debris from getting on our beaches.
I don't dive but as a land and water photographer, I have documented them in action.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Amazing non profit that is doing wonderful things to rid our oceans of marine debris!

Donor

Rating: 5

I started donating when a great guy suddenly died. This was the organization that was recommended in memory of him. He had volunteered along with his brother so when birthday, anniversary date comes, holidays I donate in memory of him. What this organization does to try to get OUR ocean clean is so amazing. My bucket list includes actually visiting this place and maybe getting my hands wet in OUR ocean. Thank you Kurt for all you do, the time you put into this for everyone and animal in the ocean.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Ocean Defenders is a great non-profit advocate for the care of our oceans and its animals. When not on the ocean clearing ghost nets and debris, they are actively participating in outreach programs to the next generation of ocean protectors.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Ocean Defenders Alliance is a excellent protector of ocean wildlife. ODA has been very helpful in the fight against deadly driftnets that unnecessarily kill ocean wildlife like sea turtles, whales, dolphins and many other species.

Lauren135

Client Served

Rating: 5

Thank you so much for all the hard work you do keeping our oceans clean and sea life safe! ODA is one of the best local organizations and their services are valuable beyond measure!

Dale F.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

You will be hard pressed to find a more deidcated group of conservationists! The work they do to remove dangerous debris from the Ocean is not for the faint of heart and a blessing to marine life. Their efforts are helping to heal the damage our species has wrought on the ocean we depend on.