Santa Barbara Channelkeeper Blue Water Ball
Santa Barbara Channelkeeper board president Mike Wondolowski, left, Kim Rogers and board member Kathleen Rogers at the organization’s 19th annual Blue Water Ball. (Rochelle Rose / Noozhawk photo)
  • Santa Barbara Channelkeeper board president Mike Wondolowski, left, Kim Rogers and board member Kathleen Rogers at the organization’s 19th annual Blue Water Ball.
  • Debra McCarty, left, event chairwoman Kristin Larson and Amanda Kelley.
  • Speaker Rick Ridgeway, left, Channelkeeper executive director Kira Redmond and advisory council member Dan Emmett.
  • Marc McGinnes, left, Kerry Shaughnessy and board secretary Ken Falstrom.
  • From left, Louise and Tim Casey with Marni and Hank Mitchel.
  • Nels Gerhardt, board member Katharine Gerhardt and 7-month-old Nelson.
  • Theresa Reed with Patrick Reed of sponsor First Republic Bank.
  • The Blue Water Ball was held at Deckers Brands headquarters in Goleta.
  • The Santa Barbara Ukulele Club performs.
  • Dessert from Enjoy Cupcakes.
  • The Santa Barbara Channelkeeper logo.

iSociety: Rochelle Rose

Santa Barbara Channelkeeper’s 19th annual Blue Water Ball was held March 16 at Deckers Brands headquarters in Goleta, where the large rotunda room was transformed into a blue and aqua, beach-themed venue that was enjoyed by 230 clean-water enthusiasts.

The Blue Water Ball helps Channelkeeper raise funds toward its mission to protect and restore the Santa Barbara Channel and its watersheds, creeks and beaches.

“Our goal was $180,000 gross, and we exceeded it by quite a bit, raising about $225,000,” executive director Kira Redmond told Noozhawk.

The Ball Committee was led by chairwoman Kristin Larson along with committee members Lynda Blue, Charla Brown, Katharine Gerhardt, Nancy Hussey, Lyndsey Kenefick, Terry Kleid, Sam Macks, Janet Velarde Loubet and Carla Tomson.

Sponsors included MarBorg Industries, Patagonia, UC Santa Barbara, the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians Foundation, News Label, Advanced Veterinary Specialists, Mission Wealth, the Santa Barbara City College Foundation, Montecito Bank & Trust, TCIG Pacific Insurance Services, Farmers Insurance Federal Credit Union, First Republic Bank, Wells FargoSanta Barbara Home Improvement Center, Stradling Attorneys at Law, Sustainable Vine Wine Tours, Seabridge Marina, HG Insights and many others.

Master of ceremonies Andrew Firestone managed the evening’s program, which featured music performed by the Santa Barbara Ukulele Club. Guckenheimer Catering provided a trio of entrees, including halibut, roasted chicken and eggplant stack.

Wines were donated by Alma Rosa, Melville, Pence, Presqu’ile, Rusack, Storm and Sunstone. Many wineries contributed to the extensive silent auction, which also included jewelry, original artwork, clothing, destinations and professional services.

Yvon Chouinard, founder of Ventura-based outdoor wear-maker Patagonia, introduced keynote speaker Rick Ridgeway, the company’s vice president of public engagement.

Santa Barbara Channelkeeper Blue Water Ball
Debra McCarty, left, event chairwoman Kristin Larson and Amanda Kelley. (Rochelle Rose / Noozhawk photo)

Since 1985, Patagonia has set aside 1 percent of sales to finance grassroots environmental groups in the United States, such as Channelkeeper, as well as abroad. Revenues hit $800 million in 2017.

During his 14 years at Patagonia, Ridgeway said he has worked with teams to develop and launch environmental and sustainability initiatives within the company. He also was the founding chairman of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and is recognized as one of the world’s foremost mountaineers.

Ridgeway has produced and directed many adventure shows for television, authored six books and magazine articles featured in Outside, National Geographic and Harvard Business Review, and was honored by National Geographic with its Lifetime Achievement in Adventure Award.

During remarks by Redmond, she noted some recent accomplishments.

“First, we scored big in our ongoing crusade to tackle the epidemic of plastic pollution,” she said. “Channelkeeper and our partners at the Community Environmental Council succeeded in convincing the City of Santa Barbara to ban Styrofoam containers and plastic straws last summer, and just this past week the City of Carpinteria enacted one of the most progressive single-use plastic bans in the U.S.

“We also achieved major headway with our effort to resurrect the Ventura River, which is being sucked dry by excessive pumping by the City of Ventura. For the first time ever, all the major players who hold rights to water in the Ventura River have agreed to come to the table to negotiate a binding agreement that will limit pumping and diversions so there is enough water left in the river for endangered steelhead and other wildlife to survive and thrive.”

Board president Mike Wondolowski said: “Santa Barbara Channelkeeper is a tenacious clean-water advocate and watchdog with a proven track record, an unmatched depth of policy, legal and scientific expertise, and a keen ability to navigate and influence complicated regulatory processes affecting water quality. This experience has gained us the confidence of the community as well as credibility with decision-makers, and has enabled us to secure significant gains for clean water and healthy aquatic habitats.”

Click here for more information about Santa Barbara Channelkeeper, or contact Debra McCarty at or 805.563.3377.

Noozhawk contributing writer Rochelle Rose can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.