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MBNMS Volunteer Opportunities: Urban Watch

volunteer collecting a sample at Hopkins outfall in Pacific Grove, CA
A volunteer collects a sample at Hopkins outfall in Pacific Grove, CA Photo: L.Emanuelson

During winter rainstorms, storm drains collect water from city streets where water can flood business or homes. But during the dry weather months storm drains still collect water and pollutants from sources such as neighborhood car washes, illegal connections from the sanitary sewer, over watering lawns or landscape, or from draining pools or hot tubs. Urban runoff is one of the leading sources of pollution into coastal waters. The Urban Watch monitoring program provides a way for local residents and community members to become involved in learning more about water quality and urban pollution issues by becoming an Urban Watch volunteer monitor for the dry weather months (June-October).

The Urban Watch Program monitors storm drain outfalls during the dry weather months to help cities understand sources of pollution that may be impacting local creeks and the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Volunteers perform field measurements for pH, temperature, and conductivity, and collect water samples that are then tested for ammonia, phosphate, chlorine and detergents using an EPA approved Storm Water Test Kit.

The Urban Watch Water Quality Monitoring Program is a collaborative effort between the Cities of Monterey, Pacific Grove, Capitola, the Coastal Watershed Council, and the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Since 1998, teams of volunteers trained in water quality monitoring have been collecting water samples and conducting basic field analysis. This continuing program has helped the cities of Monterey, Pacific Grove, and Capitola and the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary identify and implement targeted educational programs aimed at addressing urban pollutants entering the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

Urban Watch 2016 training: Thursday June 9th 6-8 pm at the MBNMS offices
99 Pacic Street, Bldg 455 in Monterey

Please download and share the 2016 brochure (225K PDF)

To get involved in Urban Watch please contact Lisa Emanuelson ( or call 831-647-4227.

Volunteers check chlorine levels in water samples
Volunteers check chlorine among other constituents while participating in Urban Watch. Photo: L.Emanuelson

For more information please check out these links: