Guide Monitoring Southern California’s coastal waters

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The outfall from the Point Loma Plant was constructed before kelp beds were included as water contact sports areas and the treatment plant is experiencing difficult meeting bacterial standards at the outer perimeter of the kelp beds. About 60 stations are usually sampled on these surveys. From three to five samples are collected at each station in April and May of each year.

In addition, surveys of 40 stations, with a single sample from each station, are performed in early July and September. Many of these stations are interspersed with the shoreline stations sampled by the dischargers. A routine weekly survey of water quality in Mission Bay was started in and continued through January The city of San Diego has replaced it with a more intensive monitoring program with more stations sampled more frequently.

This monitoring program was initiated voluntarily by the city because of strong public concern about poor water quality. The data collected in all these monitoring activities is shared with the State Department of Health Services, regional water quality control boards, and other state and federal agencies concerned about recreational water quality. While the numbers of stations are too few to present a comprehensive picture of contaminant levels in the bight, they do provide a basis for making comparisons with contaminant levels in other parts of the country.

There were eight stations in the Southern California Bight. Mussel tissues were analyzed for six metals, three radionuclides, DDT and its breakdown products , PCBs, and petroleum hydrocarbons Goldberg et al. The national program was not continued past , but several local programs were continued. In the Benthic Surveil- lance Project, sediments and demersal fish have been collected annually since from 50 sites along the U. In the Mussel Watch Project, mussel and oyster samples have been collected once each year since from sites along the U.

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Sediments are also collected at many of the Mussel Watch stations. An extensive suite of metals 17 , polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons l8 , pesticides 15 , and PCBs is analyzed in the animal tissues and sediment samples. In addition, the fish are examined for diseases and histopathological lesions. The overall objective of the National Status and Mends Program is to assess and document the status of coastal and estuarine environments. Specifically, the program is intended to define the geographic distribution of contaminant concentrations in biological tissues and in sediments from U.

This information will be used to make decisions about the use and allocation of resources in the nation's coastal and estuarine regions. Its purpose is to provide the state board and six coastal regional boards with an ongoing assessment of the geographic and temporal trends in levels of chemical contamination in coastal waters. The state's Mussel Watch Program is somewhat different than -the national program in that it includes only five reference stations and several site-specific "hot spot" survey sites.

Southern California Coastal Water Research Project

The latter may change from year to year. Resident mussels are used at the reference sites, but transplanted mussels or the Asiatic clam, Corbicula fluminea, are used at most site-specific stations.

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They are also National Mussel Watch sampling sites, providing an opportunity for intercalibration of results from the two programs. These studies were performed at one or more locations inside harbors, marinas, or enclosed bays. All but two of the site-specific surveys were designed to collect baseline estuarine data.

Citizen and Community Monitoring Interest in the bight and its resources by community and environ- mental groups has extended to voluntary participation in monitoring and research programs. Three examples of these efforts have provided useful ntormatlon. Over organizations and their personnel, mostly volunteers, monitor marine mammal strandings along the California coast as part of the Ma- rine Mammal Stranding Network.

Notification of strandings has been useful to scientists studying chemical contamination, diseases, and population trends of marine mammals Sea- gars et al. Volunteer reporting of physical evidence of sewage entering recre- ational waters has provided local health departments with timely infor- mation needed to determine whether to close recreational beaches and swimming areas.

Finally, annual volunteer beach cleanups coordinated by the California Coastal Commission have resulted in estimates of the type and quantity of plastic debris littering beaches. These data. These efforts are supported officially, since Section of the Marine Plastic Pollution Research and Control Act directs the Secretary of Commerce, in cooperation with EPA, to encourage the formation of volunteer groups, to be designated as "Citizen Pollution Patrols," to assist in monitoring, reporting, cleanup, and prevention of ocean and shoreline pollution Marine Plastic Pollution Research and Control Act included as Title II in the U.

Monitoring Expenditures Marine monitoring programs are expensive, primarily due to staffing needs. Itained scientists and technicians are required to conduct field sampling, perform laboratory analyses, interpret resulting data, and write reports. Many activities involved in monitoring, such as benthic infaunal analysis and analytical chemistry, are labor-intensive. These estimates are low compared to current rates, but they do show that monitoring is not cheap.

In the Orange County h monitoring program, benthic infaunal samples and sediment chemistry samples are analyzed each year. Equipment and facilities that must be purchased are also costly. An atomic absorption spectrophotometer, used to analyze metals, will have a similar cost. Able summarizes estimated costs incurred during the last five years in different types of monitoring in the Southern California Bight. This summary is incomplete, since it does not include several voluntary nonmandated monitoring programs and research efforts performed by different dischargers, environmental agencies, or universities.

In addition, the costs of effluent monitoring activities are probably under-recorded, since they often are not consolidated with receiving water monitoring budgets. Facilities and overhead costs for those aspects of monitoring performed. While an accurate accounting of overhead costs is not available, these have been estimated to be equivalent to the direct costs, effectively doubling the total. Expenses incurred by county public works departments in monitoring chemicals in stormwater runoff are also not included in Table Despite these omissions, the costs summarized in Table do give a rough impression of the minimum level of expenses incurred in monitoring water quality, natural resources, and public health.

Table reveals some important facts. Because of the large budget of the Marine Review Committee's study of SONGS ending in , monitoring costs for the electric utilities are higher in this year than for the municipal wastewater treatment plants. Total natural resource assessments. Much of the remainder is spent by the California Department of Fish and Game for marine resource monitoring.

For the most part, monitoring is performed in response to permit requirements that regulate discharge activities. There are many agencies, federal, state, and local, involved in establishing standards and regulations under which these permits are administered. Despite the many agencies and programs, there is no overall coordination of monitoring in the bight. There is, however, cooperation among agencies that jointly regulate specific discharges such as the Hyperion outfall.

Individual monitoring programs are carefully carried out using state-of- the-art methods, and the quality of the resulting data is typically very high. Finally, liable reveals that, with the exception of the recently ended Marine Review Committee program at San Onofre, the bulk of monitor- ing funds are devoted to measuring the effects of municipal wastewater discharge.

Some of this research is oriented specifically toward environmental problems such as the effects of municipal wastewater outfalls that are also addressed by monitoring programs. Other research is oriented toward more general issues in oceanography and marine ecology. Research results can benefit monitoring programs by:.

Southern California Coastal Study - Water - Region 9 - EPA

The research sector is even more diverse than the monitoring sector, with a wide variety of programs that span the range from large-scale studies carried out by multidisciplinary research groups to narrowly focused studies performed by individual scientists. The following sections describe repre- sentative research activities sponsored by federal, state, and local agencies, universities, and private industry. This is not meant to be an exhaustive listing of programs and certainly does not come close to describing all the research carried out in the bight.

The NSF funds individual investigators as well as research programs and institutes at universities throughout the bight. This research is described more completely in the section below on university research. NOAA funds several important programs in the bight.

The National Status and [lends Program was described above as part of the monitoring sector. NMFS performs studies of the biology of commercially important fish species and of the relationships between stocks of these species and the physical and chemical oceanography of the bight. Such studies in- clude investigations of habitat requirements, reproduction, feeding biology, population dynamics, geographic distribution, and response to contami- nants. The federal Sea Grant legisla- tion requires that at least one-third of the total federal funds received by each program be matched with local nonfederal funds.

The U. EPA funds research targeted at specific environmental prob- lems. This research is not extensive compared to that carried out by other agencies, since EPAs regional activities are predominantly enforcement re- lated. As an example of such targeted research, EPA supported a study in to investigate fish catch and consumption among population subgroups in the Los Angeles area.

California Water Quality Monitoring Council Meeting - November 29, 2018

The study was designed to furnish information useful in formulating local regulatory approaches, and was motivated by awareness that certain parts of the local population consume larger than average amounts of locally caught seafood containing elevated concentra- tions of DDT and PCBs Puffer et al.

In addition, research carried out at the various EPA research laboratories is often relevant to environmental issues in the Southern California Bight. The Pacific Outer Continental Shelf Region of the MMS funds an Environmental Studies Program established in designed to provide basic information needed to make management decisions about the outer continental shelf F.

Although most of this region lies outside the boundary of the bight, some portions of these studies are carried out inside it. Southern California region studies have investigated air quality, potential toxicity of oil to seabirds and marine mammals, adaptation of marine organisms to chronic exposure to petroleum hydrocarbons, and the effects of geophysical acoustic survey operations on important commercial fisheries.

In addition, MMS has carried out large-scale reconnaissance of benthic hard- and soft-bottom communities and assessments of long-term changes in benthic communities in oil and gas development areas. Some MMS studies e. One of these, the California Basin Study CaBS , be- gun in , is a multidisciplinary effort to examine and understand the production, transport, and ultimate fate of biogenic Articulates and the energy-related products e.

One of. FWS Biological Services Program has performed an ecolog- ical inventory of the entire Pacific coast, including the bight. The FWS has published several reports on critical habitats within the bight, including kelp forests and coastal marshes, and has developed a series of profiles of environmental requirements for coastal fishes and invertebrates.

In addition, state funds contribute to the support of the Sea Grant College Program. The Marine Resources Branch of the Department of Fish and Game conducts research designed to protect and enhance specific fished re- sources.

The department has studied the effectiveness of artificial reefs in enhancing fish stocks and evaluated various methods for rehabilitating kelp beds. In addition, the department participates in funding the CalCOFI program, which investigates the biology of commercial fisheries. The State Water Resources Control Board funds research specifically related to identifying environmental problems and developing water and sediment quality criteria and regulatory standards.

For example, the board has supported a survey of PAH levels throughout the bight, followed by lab- oratory studies of PAH uptake and toxicity. The board has also requested studies of sediment transport and alternative methods of establishing sedi- ment quality criteria. These are of special concern because of their high potential for bioaccumulation and toxicity. Local Agencies The single largest and most focused body of research on pollution problems in the bight is that performed by the municipal and regional sani- tation agencies and the research organization they jointly fund, the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project SCCWRP.

In addition, local. The four major sanitation agencies in the bight all maintain active marine research programs that are beyond the activities mandated by their discharge permits. These agencies typically fund research on questions that are relevant to the management of their discharges and the understanding or mitigation of environmental impacts.