WATER QUALITY MONITORING
From 2008 to 2018, San Diego Coastkeeper ran the largest volunteer-based freshwater water quality monitoring program in the state of California. The Water Quality Monitoring Program created a pathway for interested residents to learn the scientific tools they need to not only understand their local watersheds, but to directly influence local resource management by collecting data used to inform regulatory decisions about the protection and management of San Diego’s rivers and streams.
Throughout the course of the ten year program, trained volunteers met once every month to form small teams and head to sites along nine of San Diegoʼs eleven watershed management areas. At these sites, volunteers took readings, made observations, and collected water samples that were then analyzed for nutrient loads and bacteria levels in Coastkeeper’s water quality laboratory. Coastkeeper used the data generated by the Water Quality Monitoring Program as a powerful tool to fill the gaps in monitoring and analysis created by limited governing agency resources and to track sources of pollution.
Coastkeeper’s Water Quality Monitoring Program trained hundreds of San Diegans in watershed health, sample collection, and laboratory analysis. These volunteers visited roughly 34 watershed sites each month, generating thousands of useful data points over the course of the program.