Water Quality Index Score: 66, Fair
To no surprise, our 2015 data showed that:
- Nitrate continues to be consistently high in upper Escondido Creek. Every single sample collected from our three upper Escondido Creek sites was above the basin plan standard.
- Fecal indicator bacteria counts were also high.
In fact, the ten samples with the highest nitrate concentrations collected anywhere in San Diego County in 2015 came from Escondido Creek. Because of this, our volunteers report seeing a lot of algae growth in the water.
We’re not surprised because nitrate always measures high in Escondido Creek, but we’re interested in learning why this consistently happens. Recently, we inquired with the City of Escondido, and representatives say it comes from groundwater and the legacy pollution from the agriculture industry. Thankfully, our longtime volunteer and board member, Taya Lazootin, is running a research project to examine nitrate in Escondido Creek to figure out what’s happening. We’ve also implemented stormwater monitoring in the upper Escondido Creek sites to investigate the pollution issues here.
Fun fact: Our volunteers in Carlsbad are some of our longest serving volunteers. Many of them have been water quality monitors for over 5 years.