Our Work

Ocean Friendly Gardens

Water runoff is the #1 source of ocean pollution in urban areas, and it erodes stream banks and creates flooding. Also, nutrients from fertllizers are a major cause of ocean acidification. The water could irrigate landscapes, recharge groundwater and help ensure base stream flows. Plus, plants do not need chemicals and commercial fertilizers. Click here to learn more about the problem. Read about how soil works to "sponge up" water, pollution, and carbon (from carbon dioxide).

Ocean Friendly Gardens is part of Surfrider's Clean Water Initiative, an integrated approach to water, where you will find resources such as our short, animated film, "The Cycle of Insanity." 

Ocean Friendly Gardens (OFG) revive our under-hydrated watersheds and polluted oceans by applying CPR - Conservation, Permeability and Retention - to our landscapes and hardscapes:

  • C - Conserve water, energy and wildlife habitat with native or climate appropriate plants.
  • P - Permeable, living soil and hard surfaces that runoff to landscapes to filter pollutants, sponge up water for plants to tap into during dry months, and absorb carbon dioxide from the atmostphere.
  • R - Retain rain as the first source of irrigation.

OFGs are like rain gardens (pictured above/right), where water is slowed down, spread out, and allowed to sink in. Click here for a short-form version of the criteria, and here for a longer list of best practices. Think of the criteria as the techniques to follows. If you meet the short-form criteria, please order and display our yard sign - see info below in the "OFG Map" section. You can stay in touch with OFG through our Facebook page.


See gardens and post yours - learn how others went ocean friendly, and see the water runoff prevented and water use savings, pictures and plants lists, and more. Click here.
Order a yard sign - the info is on the map's "Instructions" page (last item) - click here (and download the order form that is hyperlinked in item 17).


Do It Yourself Info

You can also share this with a professional you hire:

 Programs & Partnerships

As the above video shows in part, 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 collaborate with government, professionals and non-profits to help put on events and scale-up implementation. Here's info for:

  • Activists - The OFG Activist Toolkit explains how to run program events: walks, talks, workdays, and policy meetings. Here's a brief description of each event: walks, talks, and workdays (Garden Assistance Party). Just tabling at events is great! 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.) An "Intro to OFG" slideshow is in this Public Dropbox folder to download and edit; here's a short slideshow focusing on program objectives and how it has a national reach. Also, chapter OFG activists can enter their activity data at any time into this tracking sheet rather than waiting till the end of the year.
  • 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. Click here for more information.
  • Public gardens (botanic gardens) - they often offer programs for children and adults, and may have connections with colleges, other gardens, nurseries, native plant societies and landscape associations. Check out the American Public Gardens Association for a garden near you.