Fresh Water Quality Long-term Monitoring

Photo Credits: Mason Cummings, NPS

Because water and good water quality is essential to all life, it was selected as one of the "Vital Signs" measured by the Inventory and Monitoring Program. Between 2007-2011 the program sampled streams in Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area to:

  • Document the condition and trends in condition of water quality (water chemistry)
  • Provide correlative data on water quality for evaluating trends in amphibian populations
  • Provide data to support management actions to improve water quality in impaired or threatened streams

Specific monitoring sites were chosen because of concerns such as endangered species or nearby pollution sources, and also through a randomized process. Each year a minimum of 31 sites were sampled three times a year: “first flush”, mid-late spring, and at the end of the wet season. The three independent samples collected at each visit were tested for dissolved oxygen, specific conductance, pH, temperature, discharge, ammonia, nitrate, orthophosphate and chloride.

The MEDN Inventory and Monitoring Water Quality Monitoring Program is currently being revised in collaboration with Dr. Felicia Federico of the UCLA La Kretz Center for California Conservation Science. The revised monitoring protocol will provide a detailed plan for collecting, analyzing and reporting information on water quality and riparian system integrity at both Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area and Channel Islands National Park. Data collection is anticipated to begin again in 2014.