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Integrating Regional Compliance Monitoring and Ocean Observing Systems

Stephen B. Weisberg 1, Burt Jones 2, Paul DiGiacomo 3, Eric Terrill 4

1 Southern California Coastal Water Research Project Authority, Westminster, CA
2 University of Southern California
3 Jet Propulsion Lab, Pasadena, CA
4 Scripps Institution of Oceanography, LaJolla, CA

Extensive ocean monitoring is conducted every year as part of NPDES compliance programs, most of which is based on routine ship-based monitoring techniques. Remote and real-time ocean observing techniques provide new opportunities for enhancing routine monitoring to better address larger spatial and temporal scales. Here we present a pilot regional monitoring effort to assess the spatial effects of urban stormwater runoff on ocean water quality using both traditional and new techniques. Eight ships sampled suspended solids, bacteria and toxicity at distances of 1 to 10 km offshore from five river systems. These collections were supplemented with satellite imagery, drifters and shore-based high frequency radar. Simultaneous use of these alternative strategies revealed their relative strengths and complementary nature.

Keywords: water quality, runoff, remote sensing, toxicity.

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