Healthy Watersheds – A Vision for the Future
Message from the Board
- Healthy Aquatic Habitat – By 2025, 80 percent of Aquatic Habitat is healthy, and the remaining 20 percent exhibits positive trends in key parameters.
- Proper Land Management – By 2025, 80 percent of lands within an watershed will be managed to maintain proper watershed functions, and the remaining 20 percent will exhibit positive trends in key watershed parameters.
- Clean Groundwater – By 2025, 80 percent of groundwater will be clean, and the remaining 20 percent will exhibit positive trends in key parameters.
The Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board is moving in a fundamentally new strategic direction, based upon a Vision of Healthy Watersheds. Healthy Watersheds function well ecologically and are sustainable. They support healthy, diverse aquatic habitat, have healthy riparian areas and corridors with sufficient vegetative buffer area to minimize land pollutant runoff into surfaces waters, sufficient cover and canopy to maintain healthy habitat, and have near natural levels of sediment transport. Surface waters meet water quality objectives, and sediments are sufficiently low in pollutants to provide for healthy habitat. Groundwaters are near natural levels in quantity and quality, for water supply purposes and for base flow for sustaining creek habitat and migratory fish routes. A Healthy Watershed sustains these characteristics through measures that ensure the dynamics that provide these healthy factors and functions are protected. For example, watersheds must be protected, through low impact development or other forms of protection, from hydromodification that adversely affects recharge areas' function or creeks' bed or bank stability. Creek buffer/riparian areas must be protected from land disturbance activities. Healthy sustainable watersheds use less energy for imported water, have fewer greenhouse gas emissions, and a lesser carbon footprint than unhealthy watersheds. Our goal of Healthy Watersheds is compatible, supportive, and in coordination with the larger issue (beyond water quality) of sustainability and the State's Global Warming Solutions Act.