are many monitoring programs that
are responsible for assessing environmental quality throughout the Sanctuary
and its watersheds. Many of these programs monitor toxic pollutant concentrations
in water, sediment, and animal tissue. Although significant effort goes
toward monitoring and assessment, few of these programs are integrated
to provide a regional view of water quality.
ability to monitor water quality conditions comprehensively and accurately
over time, and to use the data to make effective management decisions
is a priority of the WQPP. The WQPP began its efforts to integrate monitoring
programs and their reporting by working with key government agencies like
the State Regional Water Quality Control Boards. Through the coordinated
efforts of agency members of the WQPP and various public and private groups,
the second in a series of action plans was developed to address the need
for an integrated, comprehensive regional monitoring and reporting program.
The WQPP's Action Plan II defines priority strategies for addressing monitoring
and data sharing issues in the Sanctuary region. The EPA and NOAA assisted
with the initial background work by jointly funding a detailed review
of over 20 existing government monitoring programs in the region.
In 2006, funding from the Resources Legacy Fund Foundation and the US EPA enabled us to hire a Water Quality Analyst to implement the Central Coast Water Quality Data Synthesis Assessment and Management (SAM) Project. This program addresses many of the strategies outlined in the Regional Monitoring Action Plan. The SAM Project facilitates region-wide water quality monitoring coordination, data management, and data analysis for addressing fundamental questions surrounding non-point source (NPS) pollution in the region through technical and scientific activities. Key goals of the project include enhancement of the regional water quality monitoring network and improving access to information for managing coastal watersheds and nearshore marine systems.
of Strategies in Action Plan II:
strategy was designed to coordinate and build upon existing federal, state
and local monitoring activities within the Sanctuary and its watersheds.
The goal of the strategy has been to provide comprehensive information
regarding existing water quality condition, long-term trends, and the
success of pollution management efforts. Filling the needs of the region
requires both enhanced monitoring and improved coordination. This coordination
is being undertaken on both government monitoring programs, which are
working to develop a statewide monitoring program for ocean waters and
coastal watersheds, and through support of citizen monitoring groups.
This latter effort has resulted in the formation of the Monterey
Bay Sanctuary Citizen Watershed Monitoring Network, a network of volunteer
monitoring groups which actively monitor in the watersheds that drain
to the Sanctuary.
This strategy will provide local, state and federal agencies with easy
access to existing database systems containing water quality and related
information. The goal of this strategy is to provide resource managers
with readily understandable information they need to evaluate environmental
problems and make effective management decisions.
Interagency coordination will establish a framework for the continuous
interagency coordination on water quality issues and watershed management,
including funding priorities, education, technical assistance, monitoring
and data exchange, permit review, and enforcement. A Water Quality Coordinating
Council would be established to ensure implementation of WQPP strategies
as needed, and address new problems as they arise.