NOAA 03-R422
Contact: Ben Sherman
NOAA News Releases 2003
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Thousands of volunteers will spend Saturday, May 17th testing the quality of river and stream waters in California’s coastal watersheds, including the 11 major watersheds that drain into the NOAA Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. The effort is part of the fourth annual “Snapshot” Day, a one-day simultaneous water quality monitoring event where trained volunteers collect important information about the health of rivers and streams that flow into the ocean.

This year’s statewide event is directed by the Monterey Bay Sanctuary Foundation and supported through funding from the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and California State Water Resources Control Board. Collaborators in the event include the California Coastal Commission, Coastal Watershed Council and The Ocean Conservancy. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, manages the Monterey Bay sanctuary.

“We are proud to have launched the first Snapshot Day back in 1999 and to see it now blossom into a statewide event involving the collaboration of federal, state and local agencies, grassroots organizations, watershed groups, universities and local citizens,” said Sanctuary Superintendent William J. Douros. “Citizen monitoring is a key element of environmental stewardship and with each successive year of data collected we learn more about how our activities on land may affect the quality of our coastal and ocean waters.”

This year’s Snapshot Day will include volunteers collecting water samples from the Oregon border into Mexico. Within the watersheds of the sanctuary over 150 streams will be sampled. Parameters measured will include temperature, pH, conductivity, turbidity, and dissolved oxygen. Collected samples will also be sent for laboratory analysis of nutrients and bacteria levels.

“Today, less than five percent of California’s rivers and streams are monitored regularly,” said Bridget Hoover, Citizen Watershed Monitoring Network coordinator. “Ultimately the goal of Snapshot Day is to help people gain a better understanding of the natural systems that surround them as well as highlight the key role volunteer monitors can play. By involving people directly in monitoring activities they also gain a sense of ownership and responsibility to keep their waterways clean.”

Managed by the NOAA National Marine Sanctuary Program, a part of the National Ocean Service, the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary stretches along 276 miles of central California coast and encompasses more than 5,300 square miles of ocean area. Renowned for its scenic beauty and remarkable productivity, the sanctuary supports one of the world’s most diverse marine ecosystems, including 33 species of marine mammals, 94 species of seabirds, 345 species of fishes and thousands of marine invertebrates and plants.

The Monterey Bay Sanctuary Citizen Monitoring Network is a consortium of approximately 20 citizen-monitoring groups that monitor the health of the sanctuary. Established in 1997 the network facilitates the work of volunteer monitoring groups by providing guidance, technical training, equipment, and database development. A detailed look at previous year’s Snapshot Day results can be found on the network’s Web site:

The Monterey Bay Sanctuary Foundation is a California nonprofit public benefit corporation whose goal is to promote protection and public understanding of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Since 1995 the foundation has been instrumental in helping support research, education and enforcement initiatives for the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

The NOAA National Marine Sanctuary Program (NMSP) seeks to increase public awareness of America’s maritime heritage by conducting scientific research, monitoring, exploration and educational programsToday, 13 national marine sanctuaries encompass more than 18,000 square miles of America’s ocean and Great Lakes natural and cultural resourcesIn addition, the NMSP is now conducting a sanctuary designation process to consider incorporating the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve into the national sanctuary system.

NOAA National Ocean Service is dedicated to exploring, understanding, conserving and restoring the nation’s coasts and oceansThe NOAA National Ocean Service balances environmental protection with economic prosperity in fulfilling its mission of promoting safe navigation, supporting coastal communities, sustaining coastal habitats, and mitigating coastal hazards.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through research to better understand weather and climate-related events and to manage wisely the nation's coastal and marine resources.

On the Web:


NOAA National Ocean Service:

National Marine Sanctuary Program:

Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary:

Monterey Bay Sanctuary Citizen Monitoring Network:

Monterey Bay Sanctuary Foundation: