The Stream Pollution Trends (SPoT) Monitoring Program conducts statewide monitoring to provide information on the condition of California waterways with respect to trends in sediment toxicity and contamination. SPoT data are currently used by the Water Boards to assess the levels to which aquatic life beneficial uses are supported in California streams and rivers. As part of the Surface Water Ambient Monitoring Program (SWAMP), SPoT was initiated in 2008 with three primary goals:
- Determine long-term, statewide trends in stream contaminant concentrations and effects.
- Relate key water quality indicators to land-use characteristics and management efforts.
- Establish a network of sites throughout the state to serve as a backbone for collaboration with local, regional, and federal monitoring programs and management agencies.
This video provides an overview of the SPoT Monitoring Program.
The SPoT Monitoring Program analyzes sediment samples deposited at the base of watersheds for metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, polychlorinated biphenyls, legacy pesticides, current use pesticides, and emerging contaminants such as fipronil and polybrominated diphenyl ethers. In addition, toxicity is analyzed using the amphipod Hyalella azteca and the midge Chironomus dilutus, and categorized using this flow chart. SPoT has fostered continuing collaborative studies with the California Department of Pesticide Regulation, and has also partnered with the California Department of Toxic Substances Control. SPoT is currently working on a collaborative study with other UC Davis researchers analyzing constituents of emerging concern and sublethal effects on aquatic organisms.
The results of SPoT analyses have been documented in five reports that span multiple years. These reports each have an accompanying fact sheet that provide a brief summary of the findings.
Water quality, toxicity, and habitat data can be queried by selecting “SWAMP Stream Pollution Trends” from the “Select Parent Projects” filter.
Science Review Committee Members
Research Scientist III
CA Department of Pesticide Regulation
Phone: (916) 445-2505
Michelle Hladik, Ph.D.
U.S. Geological Survey
Phone: (916) 278-3183
Kelly Moran, Ph.D
The San Francisco Estuary Institute
Phone: (650) 627-8690
For questions about SPoT, please email
(Page last updated 09/20/2021)
Water is a precious resource in California, and maintaining its quality is of utmost importance to safeguard the health of the public and the environment.