Watershed Monitoring Program
Wishtoyo and its Ventura Coastkeeper Program monitor Ventura County’s waterbodies for pollution, and uses the results of our monitoring efforts to protect the water quality and ecological integrity of Ventura County’s coastal and inland waterbodies.
At the heart of our monitoring efforts are volunteer composed Stream Teams that record water quality data in the field and analyze water samples in our lab. Our staff and Stream Team monitor in accordance with Ventura Coastkeeper’s Volunteer Water Monitoring Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP) that is certified and approved by the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board. Additionally, VCK monitors by reviewing discharge monitoring reports to determine compliance with Clean Water Act water quality standards and by visually inspecting waterways for illegal fills.
With over 50 river, estuary, wetland, storm channel, and coastal monitoring sites, over the last 6 years we have mobilized hundreds of stream team volunteers to assist with sampling and monitoring in the Calleguas Creek, Santa Clara River, Ormond Beach, and Ventura’s Coastal Watersheds. The high-quality bacteria (total coliform, E. coli), nitrate, phosphate, dissolved oxygen, water temperature, flow, turbidity, trash, conductivity, and pH actionable data we collected in the field and analyzed at our California State University Channel Islands laboratory in accordance with our QAPP is used by state and regional water quality agencies to determine water quality impairments and to formulate remediation plans for swimming, fishing, wildlife, and other uses. We also use this actionable data to bring polluters into compliance with applicable state and federal regulations, to support our legal and advocacy efforts to improve water quality, and to work with land owners to stop water pollution at its source.
Ventura Coastkeeper’s Stream Teams are composed of staff and volunteers interested in protecting Ventura County’s waterbodies, enjoying nature, serving the public as watershed stewards, and learning about water quality monitoring.
Clean Water Act 303 (d) Impaired Waterbody Listings
In 2009, Ventura Coastkeeper's Watershed Monitoring efforts and ensuing advocacy before the State Water Board resulted in the first ever Clean Water Act 303 (d) Impaired Waterbody listings for trash in California! As a result of the data collected through VCK’s watershed monitoring program and provided to the state, eight reaches of Calleguas Creek were designated as impaired for trash pollution. Municipalities, business, and agricultural operations now have to take mandatory steps to protect Calleguas Creek, Mugu Lagoon, and the Pacific Ocean from debris.
New data collected through VCK’s watershed monitoring program and submitted to the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) supports 29 new Clean Water Act 303(d) impaired waterbody listings in the Santa Clara River, Ormond Beach, Bubbling Springs, Nicholas Canyon, and various Ventura County coastal watersheds for trash, flows, fish barriers, nitrate, phosphate, dissolved oxygen, E. coli, and pH impairments. If adopted by the State Water Board as expected in 2016, the listings will mandate that California adopt Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) designed to abate the sources of pollution from municipal, industrial, and agricultural sources causing these impairments.
California State University Channel Islands (CSUCI) Partnership
Ventura Coastkeeper’s and California State University Channel Islands’ (“CSUCI’s”) scientific research and education partnership provides CSUCI students with enhanced hands-on professional and educational experiences. The partnership provides Wishtoyo and its Ventura Coastkeeper Program with an on-campus laboratory, an increased capacity to monitor and protect Ventura County’s water bodies, and access to the student body for mobilizing and outreach. We have 5 CSUCI watershed monitoring and protection interns who assisted with conducting our monthly watershed monitoring outings.