Coastkeeper continues volunteer water-quality watch

COAST CITIES — The quest for clean water continues as San Diego Coastkeeper, which works to protect and restore fishable, swimmable, drinkable waters, will continue its water-quality monitoring for 2013. The Water Quality Monitoring Program sends volunteer teams to locations across the county to collect baseline data that help to identify polluted waters and reveal solutions to reduce pollution at the source.Anyone can become a volunteer. Those interested need to sign up for one of the water quality-monitoring volunteer training sessions, which are held every other month prior to the sample collection. Once trained, a volunteer can help with every water-quality-monitoring event. To sign up, contact the Community Engagement Coordinator at (619) 758-7743, ext. 131 or by e-mail at volunteer@sdcoastkeeper.org.“The water quality monitoring program is almost completely volunteer based, and this year we trained our 700th volunteer,” said Travis Pritchard, Coastkeeper’s water quality lab manager. “Because our volunteers produce professional-level data, they become a vital part of the Coastkeeper team and of a larger effort by many community, government and corporate stakeholders to understanding San Diego County’s water quality and how to improve it.”

Coastkeeper’s Water Quality Monitoring Program trains volunteers to collect and analyze water samples in San Diego County’s inland rivers and streams. The organization distributes the data to government agencies throughout the state, partner organizations and community members so that decision makers and concerned residents have access to comprehensive data when making decisions about how to best address water pollution.

Samples are analyzed in the Water Quality Lab, which adheres to stringent guidelines set by the State Department of Water Resources. Methods developed by the Environmental Protection Agency are also implemented to ensure accurate data.

Coastkeeper is currently working to post raw and analyzed data on its website, which allows the public to see the health trends of San Diego’s watersheds. For the first time this year, Coastkeeper compiled, analyzed and presented the data in its comprehensive Watershed Report. The report revealed that elevated concentrations of ammonia, nitrates and phosphorous were present in watersheds throughout the county. It also showed that the county’s creeks have high levels of fecal bacteria.

Founded in 1995, San Diego Coastkeeper protects and restores fishable, swimmable and drinkable water in San Diego County. Visit online at sdcoastkeeper.org

 

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