Meet Paloma Aguirre

Paloma Aguirre has over twelve years of experience working to address Imperial Beach’s most pressing threats to its quality of life, including both environmental and public health issues. Her bilingual and bicultural background allows her to be a leading advocate addressing cross-border beach water and solid waste pollution.

Aguirre was born in San Francisco California, and moved to Imperial Beach in 2003 to pursue a college education and competitive bodyboarding. Paloma is the first person in her family to graduate college. After putting herself through school, she graduated from the University of San Diego, California with a B.A. in Psychology. She later earned a certificate in Nonprofit Management from Brandman University and, most recently, obtained a Masters of Advanced Studies in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation, from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at University of California, San Diego.

Early in her career, Aguirre worked as a social-justice community organizer in South San Diego, helping low-income Hispanic families address immigration, foreclosure, and predatory lending issues. In 2006, she joined WILDCOAST, where she became U.S.-Mexico Border Director, leading efforts to conserve 79,642 acres of coastal, marine and island ecosystems in the San Diego-Tijuana border region. In 2016, Paloma left WILDCOAST to complete the prestigious NOAA Sea Grant Knauss fellowship in Washington D.C. working for U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), assisting him in developing federal legislation in the oceans and environment portfolio. In 2017, she re-joined WILDCOAST as Coastal and Marine Director and currently oversees projects to conserve coastal ecosystems in the border region, ocean policy at the state and federal levels.

In 2014, Aguirre was named Woman of the Year by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher for outstanding leadership in environmental conservation and for her work restoring the Tijuana River Valley.

Aguirre was recently elected as the Citizens Forum Co-chair for the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC), serves as an advisor to the State Lands Commission in their development of its Environmental Justice Policy, is an advisor in the 4th Climate Change Assessment for the State of California, helping develop their Environmental Justice section, is co-founder of the Tijuana River Action Network, a board member of Four Walls International, a member of Tijuana and Rosarito Clean Beaches Committees, and is a member of the IBWC Minute 320 Core, Water Quality, and Solid Waste working groups.

Past appointments include a two-year term as the U.S. International Boundary and Water Commission’s Citizen’s Forum co-chair (2013-2015), a two-year term to San Diego County’s Environmental Health Advisory Board (2013-2015), service on the State Assembly District 80’s Women’s Advisory Board, and Member of Southwest High School’s Eco-Engineering Board for two years.

In her spare time, Aguirre enjoys bodyboarding and spending time with her husband and two dogs. She is a competitive bodyboarder having placed in the top three finalists in multiple bodyboarding tournaments.