SAN DIEGO, Dec. 14, 2011- San Diego Coastkeeper’s 2011 Water Quality Monitoring data show minimal improvements of the water conditions throughout San Diego County as compared to 2010 data. Sweetwater Watershed’s water quality score improved by 20 percent and Tijuana and San Dieguito Watersheds’ water conditions worsened.
According to Coastkeeper’s scoring methodology for its water quality data, Sweetwater watershed’s score improved 20 percent from 2010. This means that the number of times that contaminants exceeded healthy levels dropped by 50 percent this year, or Coastkeeper detected pollution less often.
“We’re seeing decreased levels of ammonia and fecal indicator bacteria pollution in this watershed, which we could attribute to a variety of factors,” said Travis Pritchard, San Diego Coastkeeper’s Water Quality Monitoring Program Manager. “Sampling timing, water flow or urban runoff impacts could be driving the increase in water quality we are seeing. We hope this trend will continue and that the efforts to reduce pollution in this watershed are working.”
In spite of the improvement, Sweetwater Watershed’s water quality still remains in fair condition.
Other watersheds in the county, mainly Los Peñasquitos, Otay, San Luis Rey, San Diego, Pueblos and Carlsbad Watersheds, also showed minimal improvement in the water quality. But all remain in fair condition based on the data collected through the year.
Another significant highlight from Coastkeeper’s efforts in 2011 occurred when the organization’s volunteers discovered where the 2.6-million gallon sewage spill settled in the Los Peñasquitos Lagoon. The findings prompted the city to start their cleanup, which required them to restore water quality in the lagoon to the historical standards shown by Coastkeeper’s monthly data. Without Coastkeeper’s Water Quality Monitoring Program’s volunteers, the sewage could have remained in the lagoon for an undetermined amount of time.
Another project in 2011 involved the San Dieguito River Park, which sets an example for improving water quality in a watershed. The organization constructed treatment wetlands to treat stormwater from the 313-acre watershed before it goes into the fragile San Dieguito Lagoon. Coastkeeper began monitoring the inflow and outflow of these wetlands in December 2010 and has now completed the first year of monitoring. Coastkeeper’s data show the wetlands successfully filter contaminants out and deliver cleaner water to the lagoon.
In the upcoming year, Coastkeeper wants San Diego residents to join them in pursuing its long-term goal for good and excellent water conditions throughout the county.
Coastkeeper invites volunteers and funders to get involved by:
- Volunteering. Coastkeeper trains new Water Quality Monitoring volunteers every other month and invites people of all ages and backgrounds to help collect samples in the field and run lab analyses. To sign up, perspective participants can email [email protected].
- Checking water quality on Coastkeeper’s website. The organization posts the current beach water quality status, along with the historic beach water quality data in graphs. The watershed information and water quality data can be accessed through Coastkeeper’s site at localhost/sdcoastkeeper.
- Donating. Coastkeeper wants to expand its capacity to cover more parts of the county and also add more investigatory work like rain event monitoring. Donations will go along way to building capacity.
- Hiring Coastkeeper. For any water quality monitoring related projects for non-profit or charity organizations, contact San Diego Coastkeeper Water Quality Monitoring Lab Manager Travis Pritchard at [email protected] for more information.
The dates for 2012 Water Quality Monitoring include:
- Jan. 21: New Volunteers, 8 a.m. – Returning Volunteers, 11 a.m.
- Feb. 25: Returning Volunteers Only – 9 a.m.
- March 17: New Volunteers, 8 a.m. – Returning Volunteers, 11 a.m.
- April 21: Returning Volunteers Only – 9 a.m.
- May 19: New Volunteers, 8 a.m. – Returning Volunteers, 11 a.m.
- June 23: Returning Volunteers Only – 9 a.m.
- July 21: New Volunteers, 8 a.m. – Returning Volunteers, 11 a.m.
- Aug. 18: Returning Volunteers Only – 9 a.m.
- Sept. 22: New Volunteers, 8 a.m. – Returning Volunteers, 11 a.m.
- Oct. 20: Returning Volunteers Only – 9 a.m.
- Nov. 17: New Volunteers, 8 a.m. – Returning Volunteers, 11 a.m.
- Dec. 15: Returning Volunteers Only- 9 a.m.
For more information, visit Coastkeeper’s website. To contact San Dieguito River Park, please visit organization’s official website.