Ocean Friendly Gardens
Urban runoff is the #1 source of ocean pollution. Water running off our properties picks ups pollutants like fertilizers, pesticides, animal poo, and fine sediment as well as oil, brake pad dust and exhaust from cars. Runoff also contributes to flooding, and it wastes a free source of irrigation in the landscape. Click here to learn more.
Principles - CPR: Conservation, Permeability and Retention
Ocean Friendly Gardens (OFG) revive our watersheds and oceans by applying CPR - Conservation, Permeability and Retention - to our landscapes and hardscapes. OFGs utilize rainwater as a resource, create permeable soil and hard surfaces, and conserve water, energy and wildlife habitat through native plants and drip irrigation. Vegetable and fruit trees can be part of OFGs as as long as they "apply CPR." Click here to learn more about CPR and here for the OFG Sign Criteria (there's also a version of the criteria in a check-box format here). See the OFG Map section below to order an OFG Yard Sign.
Programs & Partnerships
We implement OFG through education, hands-on activities and policy change. (Check with your local Surfrider chapter to see what components they are offering.) We seek to team-up with government, professionals and non-profits to help host events and scale-up implementation. Here's info for:
- Activists - The OFG Activist Toolkit explains how to run program events: walks, classes, workdays, workshops. Here's a brief description of each event: walks, class, workdays and workshops. The Toolkit also has volunteer job descriptions, sample event flyers, tabling visuals, slideshows, case studies & more. Note: the Toolkit only has .pdf files. Go to ChapterNet (Resources>Programs>Ocean Friendly Gardens) for .doc and .ppt files, and an "Intro to OFG" .ppt is in this Public Dropbox folder.
- Workday hosts - Click here for more information on your responsibilities. Click here for more information on how Surfrider chapters may help. Here's a set of steps to follow to create an OFG.
- Professionals - Chapters work with professionals who agree to follow the OFG criteria when leading an OFG class or an OFG workday. Professionals who volunteer with chapters may be given priority for leading a chapter event. Click here for more information.
- Post a garden - See descriptions, runoff and water savings, pictures, plants lists and more. Click here.
- Order a yard sign - Get info on the map's "Instructions" page - click here.
Do It Yourself...Or Share This Info With a Professional
- Creating a Site Plan and Creating a Rain Garden
- Determining your soil type
- Killing your lawn through sheet mulching
- Properly installing a plant to insure success
More Resources - click on the "Resources" tab, above, for videos and articles, the recent OFG Annual Report, and more!
Ocean Friendly Gardens 2012 Annual Report - download a copy.
Ocean Friendly Gardens Brochure - download a copy.
Ocean Friendly Gardens How-To Gardener's Guide Book:
- Surfrider chapters - send an order to Surfrider Mail Order Manager, Jill Tierney, that states how many books you want, your mailing address, and when you need the books by. Jill will give you a price for the books and shipping.
- General public - order it here.
7 shorts from SWRCB on how to retrofit a landscape and hard surface to be an OFG.
- #1 - intro to stormwater
- #2 - killing lawn through sheet mulching
- #3 - disconnecting downspouts
- #4 - lawn care
- #5 - supporting healthy soil
- #6 - permeable hard surfaces
- #7 - swales and rain gardens
The value of a rain barrel with Surfrider-East Coast Regional Manager, John Weber
Stormwater outfall pipe in action - spewing runoff into Seattle's Puget Sound (on a rainy day)
A city hall landscape becomes an OFG through hands-on workshop with Conservation Corps
OFG featured on state water agency website.
"Slow The Flow: How To Make Your Garden Act More Like A Sponge" (features San Francisco Chapter's OFG Program)
Elmer Avenue - OFG + green street (Los Angeles Area)
A small residential OFG done with Surfrider volunteers - Long Beach Daily Bulletin
Fish put into rain garden-filtered runoff survive; those in un-filtered runoff do not, after just 12 hours!
National OFG Program Coordinator, Paul Herzog, interviewed by Los Angeles City Stormwater blog - click here
Article on OFG Program in Watershed Management Group's newsletter ("Get Your Garden Out Of The Gutter") - click here
December 05 2014
The Surfrider Foundation’s Ocean Friendly Gardens Program undertook an awesome effort in 2013, detailed in a newly released annual report.
December 05 2014
A beautiful Ocean Friendly Garden now sits in what used to be an unused grassy area in front of a highly utilized city community center. It's a model for directing rainwater into the landscape for irrigation, preventing runoff, and creating wildlife habitat.
November 17 2014
Today's release of a report, which Surfrider contributed to, lists actions that state and federal agencies can take now and prepare for the future. It's right in line with Surfrider's Clean Water Initiative approach.
November 07 2014
Surfrider members and staff visited our nation’s capital to lobby for a set of federal priorities related to the protection of oceans, waves, and beaches.
October 24 2014
This project got started when Surfrider-First Coast Chapter Ocean Friendly Garden (OFG) Coordinator, Paul Hayden, got a request from Fletcher Middle School Art Teacher, Chris Hicks (in Jacksonville Beach, Florida), to help turn three garden spots at the School into Ocean Friendly Butterfly Gardens.
October 03 2014
Last year’s legislative season in California was a bust for the coast and ocean. In 2013, Surfrider worked on ten coastal and ocean protection bills, and only two bills were signed into law. Surprisingly, this year’s season was the opposite and very successful. Surfrider actively worked on more than a dozen bills and the Governor recently signed nine of those bills into law. Talk about a game-changer for the coast.
September 19 2014
Homeowner association (HOA) residents can now replace their turf grass with low water use plants without fear of being fined or sued by their HOA. Less turf means cleaner surf, since urban runoff is the #1 source of ocean pollution.
September 17 2014
Surfrider's Clean Water Initiative is a solution for wet and dry years - and for drier and wetter climates. It connects together our work to reduce water use, utilize rainwater as a resource, and recycle "wastewater."
June 24 2014
The 1st film gave an intro to why polluted runoff is bad. Now get started with removing your turf grass through sheet mulching - featuring Surfrider Foundation's Ocean Friendly Gardens Program Coordinator!
June 11 2014
A bill to protect the right of a homeowner to plant climate-appropriate landscaping just got a step closer to the governor's desk. Surfrider initiated a sign-on letter, signed by 10 enviro non-profits, in support of the bill.
June 10 2014
A California state agency is launching 7 short films on how to prevent runoff from landscapes and hard surfaces. The objective is essentially Ocean Friendly Gardens!
May 27 2014
Paul Hayden, Chair of the Ocean Friendly Gardens Program for the Surfrider-First Coast Chapter, gave a well-received talk to classes at Fletcher Middle School in Jacksonville, FL. Learn from Paul how it came about, what was said, and how it’s leading to an OFG landscape retrofit project.
April 18 2014
After reading a Los Angeles Times article on turf grass vs. no turf grass, the discussion seems much more about getting more bang for the buck for landscapes and hardscapes: economically, ecologically, and in many other ways.
April 18 2014
Surfrider activists work with a team of a 5 residents on a street, plus the support of government and a fellow non-profit to clean up urban runoff by greening up cemented-over parkways in San Francisco. It's a way to scale-up OFG.
April 08 2014
Aveda salons and Experience Centers throughout So Cal are, again, raising money for Surfrider's Clean Water Program. They've raised $750,000 over the past 7 years!
March 21 2014
For the past two decades, the Ventura Chapter has been identifying problems and promoting solutions for clean water throughout the Ventura River watershed. Their proactive urban watershed program is helping to protect water supply and quality, coastal habitats and recreational opportunities by restoring ecosystem function throughout the watershed.
March 20 2014
Water supply is a big topic of conversation in California, and this new OFG meets the test. City officials and water agencies like as well for being beautiful, preventing polluted runoff and providing wildlife habitat.