San Diego Bay Clean Up

General Dynamics NASSCO and BAE Systems hired Southwest Strategies to help mobilize supporters and secure a favorable vote in response to the opposition from environmental activists surrounding the cleanup plan of sediment in San Diego Bay.


Client: General Dynamics and BAE Systems
Expertise: Public Outreach and Government Relations

Our Challenge

In 2005, the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board issued an order that required a costly and inefficient cleanup of sediment in San Diego Bay, where General Dynamics NASSCO’s and BAE Systems’ shipbuilding and ship repair operations are located. By fall of 2011, the Board had developed a new plan that attempted to balance environmental and economic factors while still initiating the largest cleanup of its kind in regional history. Environmental activists soon launched a negative media and community outreach campaign opposing the plan. In response, General Dynamics NASSCO and BAE Systems hired Southwest Strategies to mobilize supporters and secure a favorable vote.


Our Solution


Southwest Strategies began by conducting a robust, multi-faceted research program and developing a strategic message platform to guide all communications and materials. Our team then coordinated presentations to community and industry groups, briefed state and local elected officials, launched an eblast campaign and employee education program, and held a collaborative meeting for key stakeholders to reach a consensus on the plan. These efforts helped secure numerous letters and emails urging the Board to adopt the current cleanup proposal.


Leading up to the final vote, Southwest Strategies mobilized supporters to place favorable opinion editorials and letters to the editor. Our team also helped recruit 100 shipyard workers to attend the hearing and more than 50 key stakeholders to provide testimony.



After more than two decades of discussion, the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board voted unanimously to approve the cleanup plan. Board members and staff called the decision “monumental,” and the cleanup was also deemed “historic” by leading the regional newspaper, which ran an editorial supporting the cleanup. The team ultimately secured the support of nearly every key influential group and elected official in the region.

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Our expertise, strategic guidance and innovative approach have made Southwest Strategies California’s leading public affairs and public outreach firm. Our clients come to us because we work harder, we produce more – and we get results. We design creative strategies to solve the complex issues that our clients – large and small – face every day. Let us put our knowledge, capabilities and creativity to work for you.

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