Ocean Standards

Ocean standards protect the beneficial uses of California’s marine waters through establishing water quality objectives and implementation provisions in statewide water quality control plans and polices. Ocean standards plans and policies include: the Water Quality Control Plan for Ocean Waters of California (Ocean Plan); the Water Quality Control Plan for Control of Temperature in the Coastal and Interstate Waters and Enclosed Bays and Estuaries of California (California Thermal Plan); and the Water Quality Control Policy on the Use of Coastal and Estuarine Waters for Power Plant cooling (Once-Through Cooling Policy).

The Ocean Standards Unit is responsible for developing and updating the statewide plans and policies involving marine waters, and providing scientific support and inter-agency coordination regarding marine pollution and resource management.  

California Ocean Plan

California Ocean Plan 2015 (effective January 28, 2016)
Whale breaching

Public Meetings

Review of the Ocean Plan

February 6, 2019
10am – 12pm
Konocti Vista Casino Banquet Room
2755 Mission Rancheria Road
Lakeport, CA 95453

The meeting will also be available via webcast and conference line at: https://meet.lync.com/cawaterboards/angela.rabe/5K7Y4R6F or + 1 (916) 562-0861, conference ID 65462047

Ocean Plan Amendments Under Development

Fecal Coliform Shellfish Standard White Paper - Review of potential actions State Water Board can take with regard to implementing a Fecal Coliform Standard in the Ocean Plan for Shellfish harvesting in state recreational waters. This is Issue 5 from the Ocean Plan Triennial Review Workplan 2011-2013.

Ocean Plan Amendments Recently Adopted

Seawater Desalination Facilities

The amendment to the Water Quality Control Plan for the Ocean Waters of California addressing Desalination Facility Intakes, Brine Discharges, and to Incorporate Other Non-substantive Changes (Desalination Amendment) was adopted by the State Water Resources Control Board on May 6, 2015 as Resolution 2015-0033. The Office of Administrative Law approved the Desalination Amendment on January 28, 2016.

Statewide Water Quality Control Plans for Trash

The amendment to the Water Quality Control Plan for Ocean Waters of California to Control Trash and Part 1 Trash Provisions of the Water Quality Control Plan for Inland Surface Waters, Enclosed Bays, and Estuaries of California (Trash Amendments) was adopted by the State Water Resources Control Board on April 7, 2015 as Resolution 2015-0019. The Trash Amendments was approved by the Office of Administrative Law on December 2, 2015 and approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on January 12, 2016.

State Water Quality Protection Areas and Marine Protected Areas Amendment

 Model Monitoring, Vessel Discharges and Non-Substantive Amendments

Reasonable Potential Calculator

A program to determine when effluent limitations are needed.

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