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Water Quality Protection

California Marine Sanctuary Foundation provides technical expertise in the development of monitoring, messaging, and relationship building required to protect California's watersheds.  Through work with coastal cities, non-profit organizations, and rural communities, CMSF provides vital data to resource managers focused on improving water quality in creeks, rivers, and storm drains. 

CMSF also works to lessen the impact of runoff from agricultural production.  Runoff can contain nutrients, pesticides, and plastics that ultimately enter streams, rivers, and the ocean.  Our work is solution oriented, founded in strong science, and close relationships with researchers, technical service providers, and growers.

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Urban Runoff Monitoring

CMSF partners with Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS) to provide technical expertise in the development and implementation of urban runoff monitoring, effectiveness monitoring, IDDE monitoring, data management, and relationship-building required to protect California's watersheds. By building relationships with cities, non-profit organizations, and rural communities, CMSF provides necessary data to resource managers focused on improving water quality.

Four programs (First Flush, Urban Watch, Snapshot Day, and Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination Monitoring (IDDE in the MS4 NPDES Permit Section E9c) provide high quality data to resource managers. Grant funded effectiveness monitoring or special studies projects have been conducted on human-specific bacteria (HF 183), nutrients, and total copper.

Plastic Pollution in Agriculture

CMSF leads scientific research on agricultural plastic pollution in watersheds. Partnering with Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, UC Cooperative Extension, local growers, and researchers from Washington State University and Cal Poly, CMSF conducts trials of biodegradable mulch in place of traditional plastic

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CMSF also works with agricultural products recyclers, manufacturers, educators, and The Nature Conservancy to increase the removal and recycling of irrigation drip tape by identifying solutions.

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Reducing Pollutants in Agricultural Runoff

CMSF works with key partners and agricultural stakeholders to reduce nutrient and pesticide pollutants entering the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary from agriculture.   Agrochemical management practices can be improved through the combined use of equipment, software, bioreactors, wetlands, and other vegetated practices that can remove pollutants from water through processes such as solar degradation, microbial breakdown, and plant uptake.

Key collaborators on projects include the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service, Resource Conservation Districts, Monterey County Farm Bureau, UC Cooperative Extension, Central Coast Wetlands Group, and California State University Monterey Bay as well as growers willing to take a role in creating industry change.

Mitigating Legacy Contaminants

CMSF partners with Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and other water quality scientists to reduce the continuing impacts of legacy contaminants on Monterey Bay. Legacy contaminants, such as chlorinated pesticides and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are broadly distributed across the landscapes surround Monterey Bay following decades of industrial, municipal, residential, and agricultural uses. Largely banned in the 1970s these contaminants remain in soils and continue washing off the landscape into Monterey Bay in amounts have that have led the State of California to recommend that Monterey Bay be listed as an impaired waterbody due to elevated concentrations of DDT, Chlordane, Dieldrin, Toxaphene, and PCBs.

CMSF provides fiscal sponsorship support for sampling, chemical analyses, reporting, and providing data to the public through online data portals. Specific activities include measuring loads of these contaminant flowing into Monterey Bay from local rivers and identifying specific sources to help reduce the impairments of ocean waters.

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