One of Santa Cruz County’s longest-running corporate/environmental partnerships kicked off over Memorial Day weekend, with the launching of the 19th annual Save Our Surf campaign.

Through Save Our Surf, the Santa Cruz Chapter of Surfrider Foundation received a pledge from Couch Distributing to donate a percentage of sales from Bud Light, Bud Light Platinum and Budweiser between Memorial Day and Labor Day. The fund-raising partnership was started in 1996 and has raised at least $10,000 a year for the local environmental nonprofit group each year ever since.

Surfrider volunteer Phil Chowaniec holds two of the more unusual items collected at a Moran Lake Beach cleanup: a crock pot and bicycle handlebar.

Surfrider volunteer Phil Chowaniec holds two of the more unusual items collected at a Moran Lake Beach cleanup: a crock pot and bicycle handlebar.

Save Our Surf has provided the local chapter with the means to be an official supporter of the Santa Cruz World Surfing Reserve, which –together with its affiliated Local Stewardship Council — is committed to keeping an eye on threats to the coast and surf breaks. It has also allowed the chapter to be a strong environmental leader in the community through outreach and education programs, beach clean-ups, storm drain stenciling, weekly water quality tests, and ongoing activism on environmental matters affecting local beaches and ocean waters.

“We’re supporting Surfrider again this year because we believe we have an obligation to give something back to the community,” president George Couch said. “A healthy coastal environment is important not only to all the local communities we serve, but to all of us individually.”

A pristine beach, great waves and clean water are the environment Surfrider is working to maintain.

A pristine beach, great waves and clean water are the environment Surfrider is working to maintain.

Speaking for Surfrider Foundation, Sarah Mansergh, co-chair of the local chapter, said, “Couch Distributing and their Save Our Surf campaign have been amazing supporters of our local environmental programs, including our weekly water sampling by our Blue Water Task Force. This year we are using those sample results to fuel our efforts to clean up Cowells Beach and remove it from Heal the Bay’s “Beach Bummer” list. We also are working on San Lorenzo River water quality improvements to reduce impacts at the river mouth and Main Beach. Being an all-volunteer run chapter, this kind of local support and encouragement is invaluable in sustaining our efforts to help us protect and have everyone enjoy our local ocean, waves and beaches. “

Couch Distributing Company, Inc., is the largest independent beverage distributor in the Central Coast area. It distributes Anheuser-Busch/InBev (Budweiser and Stella Artois), Crown Beverages (Corona, Modelo), Heineken, and Diageo/Guinness, among other brands, in Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Benito counties.

To learn more about the Santa Cruz County Chapter of Surfrider Foundation, visit http://www.santacruz.surfrider.org