Research Technical Report
Citizen Monitoring: Real People, Real Science, Real Results
Hoover, B. (March 2005)
Oral presentation at the 2005 Sanctuary Currents Symposium, Seaside, CA
Volunteer monitoring has been collecting valuable data in the Monterey Bay area for over 5 years, when unique programs such as First Flush and Urban Watch were first initiated. The Urban Watch program measures pollutant concentrations in dry season storm drain outflow, and the First Flush program compliments Urban Watch by measuring pollutant concentrations from the same locations, but during the first storm of the season. Together, these programs are filling a gap in information by monitoring the quality of water in storm drains, a source of water pollution that is overlooked by traditional programs. Ultimately, these programs will provide a feedback mechanism on current urban runoff control efforts. Snapshot Day is another monitoring event that brings together over 200 volunteers on the first Saturday of May to monitor the health of rivers and creeks from Pacifica to Morro Bay. All of the citizen-based water quality monitoring, including programs such as the Coastal Watershed Council's Clean Streams program and many other volunteer monitoring groups, is developing a core dataset that is establishing trends; identifying hot spots for follow up action, and establishing a baseline to which future data can be compared against. Other volunteer programs within the Sanctuary include TeamOCEAN, knowledgeable naturalists on the water in sanctuary kayaks, to greet and interact with fellow day kayakers; BeachCOMBERS, a beach monitoring study utilizing volunteers to sample selected beaches for dead mammals and birds; and BAY NET where docents interact with the public at various locations along the shoreline, interpreting and providing information about the sanctuary and its unique natural resources.