Beachgoers and wildlife need the same thing – clean ocean water. A relaxing day enjoying California’s waters can easily be undone by beach closures or widespread harmful algal blooms. California has made improving water quality a top priority. The State Water Resources Control Board is charged with preserving and enhancing the quality of California’s water resources.

The ocean is usually the end point of land-based pollutants that flow from coastal watersheds.  Nearshore impairment of water quality can result from municipal sewage discharges, industrial waste discharges, dredge spoils, and agricultural and urban runoff. When water quality is poor, the ability of coastal ecosystems to support healthy fisheries, aquaculture, recreational opportunities, and other beneficial uses is undermined.

 

Informing Decision-makers and the public about water quality

The California Water Quality Monitoring Council has identified ocean and coastal ecosystems as key areas for bridging water quality and ocean resource management. To ensure effective coordination of monitoring and assessment activities the Council initiated a scoping group to chart a roadmap for developing ocean-themed water quality resources.

Developing a roadmap for ocean and coastal ecosystem resources: The new roadmap charts a clear path forward towards an achievable, cost-effective content and development strategy for an ocean-themed component of the My Water Quality website. 

The Ocean and Coastal Ecosystem Workgroup will steward the development of ocean-themed resources within My Water Quality. 

 

California’s urban coast brings water quality together with ocean resource management

California is actively seeking ways to better integrate water quality and marine resource monitoring programs and to foster relevant research.

  • Developing a roadmap for an ocean ecosystems data portal: A new roadmap charts a clear path forward towards an achievable, cost-effective content and development strategy for an ocean-themed component of the My Water Quality website. Read the Roadmap

  • Tackling shared monitoring questions: The Bight ’13 monitoring program and the South Coast MPA Baseline monitoring program are pursuing opportunities to share data, perform combined data analyses, and collaborate on future monitoring.

  • Finding the overlap between monitoring projects on the ground: Identifying reciprocal links between water quality monitoring and MPA monitoring is vital to establishing and implementing a sustainable, cost-effective integrated ocean-monitoring program in California. The proximity of Areas of Special Biological Significance (ASBS) to MPA’s provides the opportunity to jointly address questions such as the relative effects of discharges and fishing pressure on living marine resources. Find out about ASBS’s and associated monitoring

  • Developing new research and monitoring tools: The Southern California Coastal Water Research Project (SCCWRP) and the Ocean Science Trust are teaming up to use South Coast MPA Baseline Monitoring Program data, in conjunction with water quality and fishing data, to produce an “index” of ecosystem health and relate it to the history of these ecosystem stressors before MPA implementation.