NPS Tracking and Monitoring

Monitoring Efforts

Supporting Monitoring and Assessment Programs

To date, much effort has gone toward supporting monitoring and assessment programs through:

319(h) Monitoring and Grants
The California NPS Program allocates approximately $4.5 million annually in grants to implement activities that contribute towards controlling and reducing NPS pollution. These grants, through the Clean Water Act §319(h) federally funded nonpoint source pollution prevention control program, may focus on planning, assessment, and implementation of management activities leading to reducing or preventing pollutants that impair surface and groundwater. Although monitoring activities may not be the focus of the projects, often, there are associated monitoring activities to gather information on project effectiveness.

California Monitoring and Assessment Program for Perennial Streams
Streams and rivers support aquatic life by providing habitat, spawning grounds, food, and shelter for fish, birds, and other wildlife. Approximately 34,000 miles of California's streams are wadeable perennial streams.

The California Monitoring and Assessment Program was initiated as a collaboration among the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the State Water Board's Nonpoint Source and Surface Water Ambient Monitoring Programs and the CA Department of Fish and Game. Its purpose is to monitor and assess perennial streams.

From 2004 through 2008, the Nonpoint Source Program contributed approximately $2.1 million to support this effort. This monitoring program, now called the Perennial Streams Assessment program, is an ongoing long-term survey designed to provide information on the quality of water in perennial streams statewide and in some land use classes, such as agriculture, forested, urban and other. It also provides valuable information on the magnitude of stream length affected by certain stressors and the risk these pose to aquatic life use in streams. Assessment reports are available here and the SWAMP Website.

Copper Monitoring
The leaching of copper from antifouling paints used on recreational boats has been determined to be the major source of copper pollution in some California marinas. The Nonpoint Source Pollution Prevention Program contributed support to a water quality investigation conducted by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation to determine the geographical scope and severity of pollution stemming from antifouling paint pesticides in California marinas.

Developing Regional Monitoring Frameworks

The California Nonpoint Source Pollution Prevention Program’s efforts on contributing to the development of regional monitoring frameworks focus on the Klamath River Basin and the Central Coast .

Klamath Basin Monitoring Program
The Klamath Basin Monitoring Program was established in 2007 to enhance monitoring efforts in the Klamath Basin, including waters within California and Oregon. The members in this group include, but are not limited to, state and federal agencies, local agencies, volunteer organizations and tribes. Since 2007, this coordinating body has focused on developing and establishing governing rules and a structure for coordinating monitoring. The group has also created an operational structure, including a data portal for information sharing. Currently, a Monitoring Plan for the Basin has been adopted, the data portal continues to be developed, and the group continues to seek long-term sustainable funding. See the newsletter, the Klamath Current.

Central Coast Water Quality Data Synthesis, Assessment and Management (SAM) Project The SAM Project was initiated in 2006 to facilitate water quality monitoring coordination and data assessment to address the sources, status, trends of non-point source pollution in the Central Coast. This project is a cooperative effort with the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, the Sanctuary Integrated Monitoring Network, the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, the Environmental Protection Agency, the California Coastal Commission and the Central Coast Wetlands Group. Get information on this project.

Continuing Coordination with State Programs

The California Nonpoint Source Pollution Prevention Program continues to coordinate with other monitoring programs in order to leverage limited resources, reduce duplicative efforts, foster communication and collaboration, and focus existing efforts. These include coordination with the:

California Water Quality Monitoring Council and the Surface Water Ambient Monitoring Program (SWAMP)
As a collaborative effort with California Water Quality Monitoring Council, SWAMP and the U.S. EPA, the NPS Program played the lead role in sponsoring monthly webinars (web-based seminars) as a communication and networking tool for the monitoring community. The webinars are now led by SWAMP’s Clean Water Team. These webinars are designed to create and foster communication and collaboration among water quality monitoring efforts across the state. Get more information, including recorded webinars.

Citizen Monitoring Programs
In 2008, the Nonpoint Source Pollution Prevention Program and the SWAMP's Clean Water Team supported focused efforts to coordinate citizen monitoring groups into the statewide monitoring framework. Water quality monitoring groups across the state were identified and a core working group was established to assess needs. These efforts have resulted in the development and completion of a communication plan and a strategy. A technical advisory committee has been developed to guide coordination and communication efforts. A web-based data management and reporting tool for citizen monitors has also been developed to assist in integrating citizen monitoring group data into a SWAMP-compatible format. Work has also focused on incorporating citizen monitoring into the California Water Quality Monitoring Council Strategy.

Supporting Monitoring Tool Development

Refining monitoring and assessment tools allows us to further examine the effects of land uses. In addition to supporting monitoring and assessment tools developed through the California Monitoring and Assessment Program, the Nonpoint Source Pollution Prevention Program has contributed to the development of several tools including:

North Coast Stream Condition Interpretive Index
An interpretive index for stream condition assessment in Northern Coastal California was developed using existing bioassessment data. A memo discussing its limitations for certain uses is included in the link.

Central Valley Stream Condition Interpretive Index
An interpretive index for stream condition assessment in the Central Valley was developed using existing bioassessment data sets from 1994 through 2005. The index serves as a measuring tool to determine changes in stream condition associated with agriculture and other land uses.

Taxonomy Standardization
Biological monitoring using macroinvertebrate sampling methods is now commonly used to determine effects of certain practices or to track improvements resulting from restoration efforts. As the use of this assessment method increases, standardization of California bioassessment taxonomy is critical. The NPS Program supported the work of the Southwest Aquatic Freshwater Invertebrate Taxonomists workgroup, who has taken the lead in standardizing taxonomic trait table. See the revised versions.

Data Integration
The NPS Program also supported an effort to explore ways to integrate datasets from random and targeted survey designs. The broader objective of the synthesis report is to identify ways that data from different survey designs can contribute to a full response to key environmental stressors and gradients. The report for this analysis is currently being finalized and will be available at Reports.