Watershead, Spring 2004
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FSCR Will Direct Santa Clara River Stream Team

Friends of the Santa Clara River has received notification that our proposal to develop a Santa Clara River Stream Team has been approved by the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB). Our proposal involves training a group of citizen volunteers to regularly monitor water quality at selected sites along the river from Soledad Canyon to the estuary. Our first task is to obtain joint agreement with the SWRCB on a Statement of Work and Budget for the 3-year Stream Team operation. Following that, we will jointly develop a monitoring plan and quality control plan. A concerted effort will be made to engage committed citizen volunteer water monitors, who will be trained by specialists in the proper collection and measurement of pollutants. Raymond Jay and Macariah Flores at the Regional Water Quality Control Board in Los Angeles will oversee the work. Specific goals of the Stream Team project are:

1) To verify ammonia and nutrient loading estimates utilized in the Santa Clara River Nitrogen TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load) from non-point sources through monitoring, collecting and analyzing physical and chemical water quality parameters associated with beneficial uses.

2) To acquire background nutrient data for use in estimating the success of Best Management Practices to be put in place during the first year of the Nitrogen TMDL to achieve reductions in agricultural runoff into the river.

3) To provide background and monitoring data on ammonia to the southern steelhead recovery plan now in development by the National marine Fisheries Service.

Stream Team volunteer sampling will be a primary factor in evaluationg the success of the Nitrogen TMDL, which will be promulgated by USEPA in 2004. The 1618 square mile Santa Clara River watershed contains numerous endangered species, extensive riparian habitat, valuable agricultural beneficial uses, and some of the fastest growing communities in California. The Nitrogen TMDL will cover ammonia, nitrate, nitrite and organic enrichment resulting from point and non-point source pollutants. Non-point sources, including crop fertilization and atmospheric deposition, have been identified as ammonia sources in the initial loading analyses prepared for the TMDL. Success of ammonia and nutrient control are critical to preservation of one of the few remaining runs of the endangered southern steelhead.


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