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Session Abstracts


Saturday, March 6, 2004


Dr. Chris Hasegawa, California State University Monterey Bay

Board Representative, Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments

William J. Douros, Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary


Chris Coburn, Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Session I: Inflows to the Sanctuary

Moderator: Dr. Chris Harrold, Monterey Bay Aquarium

Cultivating for Clean Water: Agriculture's Role in Protecting the Bay

Dr. Daniel Mountjoy, USDA - Natural Resources Conservation Service

In 1998, the agricultural industry stepped forward to participate in the development of the Sanctuary's Agriculture and Rural Lands Action Plan to protect water quality. Since then, growers throughout the region have realized that they need to show agriculture's commitment to voluntarily complying with water quality protection standards or face tighter regulatory controls. Hundreds of farmers and ranchers have organized into watershed working groups to assess their potential contribution to water quality problems and develop water quality protection plans for their lands. These private land owners are being assisted by a coordinated team of technical agency partners. This Agricultural Water Quality Alliance (AWQA) is viewed as a model for seeking proactive solutions to protect the health of our shared water resources.

Seawater Desalination and the California Coastal Act

Tom Luster, California Coastal Commission

Recent increased interest in seawater desalination has raised questions about its effects on coastal resources. The renewed interest in using desalination to provide more of the state's water supply is due largely to increased efficiencies in desalination processes, decreased costs and energy requirements, and interest by many communities in having a local and reliable source of water rather than being dependent on imported water. At the same time, seawater desalination brings with it potential effects on water quality, marine biology, public access, and other coastal resources. The presentation will identify a number of issues and concerns about seawater desalination, primarily from the perspective of ensuring that proposed facilities are protective of coastal resources covered under the California Coastal Act.

Beach Water Quality: Sources of Contamination and Risk of Illness in Northern Monterey Bay

John A. Ricker, Santa Cruz County Environmental Health Services

Since the 1970ís, Santa Cruz County has been monitoring ocean and stream water quality for bacterial indicators of health risk: total coliform, fecal coliform, fecal streptococcus, E. coli and enterococcus. In addition to basic monitoring, the county has done extensive source investigations and has used genetic fingerprinting to help identify the sources of contamination. Primary sources of beach contamination originate from urban areas: dry weather and wet weather storm drain discharges, birds and sewage spills. Much lower levels of contamination occur in rural areas from non-point sources, birds, old septic systems, and livestock. Water quality has improved as a result of improved septic system management and upgrade of sanitary sewer systems. Actual incidence of water borne illness at beaches is low in the summer, but elevated during runoff periods in the winter. A number of efforts are underway to reduce contamination from storm drains.

Session II: Impacts of the Chemical Cocktail

Moderator: Kaitilin Gaffney, The Ocean Conservancy

DDT in the Oceans: An Early Impact of Changing Technologies

Robert Risebrough, Bodega Bay Institute, Berkeley

High concentrations of DDT compounds recorded in the mid-1960s in fish and marine birds from Monterey Bay and elsewhere on the California coast, at a time when DDT had just been detected in Antarctic wildlife, provoked widespread concerns about the impact of this new chemical technology on the world's oceans. These concerns merged with other concerns generated both by the appearance of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring in 1962 and by the results of scientific studies of the impacts of pesticides on wildlife to create in the late 1960s what was to develop into the Environmental Movement we have today; the ending of all uses of DDT in the United States in 1972 was its first accomplishment. From a perspective of almost 40 years, this Symposium provides an opportunity to re-assess the initial concerns about DDT in the oceans. Were they entirely valid and to what extent are they relevant to the current concerns about the dredging of Moss Landing Harbor? The campaign to end the use of DDT provoked controversies that were frequently bitter and personal, controversies which persist to this day; the wisdom of banning DDT continues to be challenged. The history of these disputes, and a consideration of the motivations behind them, are almost as fascinating as is the history of DDT. Is there anything to be learned from them that would assist in the resolution of current environmental conflicts, not only about Moss Landing Harbor, but particularly about climate change and other critically important environmental problems such as the loss of biological diversity?

California Killer Whales: Their Ecology and Chemical Contaminants in an Apex Predator

Nancy Black, Monterey Bay Cetacean Project

Three eco-types of killer whales occur in Monterey Bay; residents, transients and offshore types. Each is genetically distinct and even though these types have overlapping ranges they do not intermix. Transients are most frequently seen throughout the year. As top predators, they specialize on marine mammal prey. One hundred twenty six different transient killer whales have been identified by their natural markings. Their predation behavior, social patterns, and movements have been documented for over 15 years in Monterey Bay and along the west coast. Recently, we have discovered that transient killer whales that frequent Monterey Bay contain the highest levels of PCB's and DDT for any known cetacean population in the world.

Non-Point Pollution Around the Bay: Examples of Sources and Solutions

Brian Anderson, Department of Environmental Toxicology, U.C. Davis Marine Pollution Studies Laboratory, Monterey

As point source pollution has decreased through implementation of federal and state laws, resource managers and regulatory agencies have recently emphasized programs to identify and reduce water pollution from non-point source discharges. In the watersheds surrounding the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, these include programs to monitor stormwater and dry weather urban runoff and programs to monitor agricultural runoff. Research is being conducted by a number of different groups funded by federal, state and local agencies. In addition to measuring chemical pollutants, nutrients and bacteria, toxicity of water samples is measured using a variety of freshwater and marine organisms. This talk will describe the cooperative efforts of citizen volunteers, Sanctuary resources managers, regulatory agencies, farmers, city managers and other entities participating in programs designed to reduce water quality impacts on the Sanctuary and its watersheds. Emphasis will be placed on recent results of "First Flush" stormwater monitoring and results of ongoing agriculture runoff monitoring.

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