NOAA 2006-R499-10
Contact: Ben Sherman
NOAA News Releases 2006
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During the first rains of the season, enthusiastic citizens in seven central coast cities braved the elements to sample the “First Flush” of storm water flowing into the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. This storm water carried with it months of accumulated litter, oil, chemicals and other pollutants that were washed off city streets and flushed through storm drains, making its way directly into the sanctuary. This polluted runoff is one of the largest sources of pollution in the sanctuary.

Volunteers were trained last week and conducted a Dry Run event on September 30th to measure the concentrations of pollutants in the water prior to the rain. On October 4the, and November 2nd, 3rd and 9th, 71 people collected water samples from 25 different locations in the cities of El Granada, Half Moon Bay, Santa Cruz, Capitola, Seaside, Monterey and Pacific Grove. The water samples collected will be analyzed in a laboratory for metals, nutrients, bacteria, oil and grease and suspended sediment.

“Coastal cities and their residents have a crucial role to play in reducing the amount of pollutants in urban runoff,” said Holly Price, acting sanctuary superintendent. “We are interested in the results of the First Flush event and hope to learn more about the effects on the marine sanctuary from the water flowing off our streets.”

This is the seventh year for the “First Flush” monitoring event. Previous years of First Flush monitoring have revealed high concentrations of metals at several of the outfalls. Orthophosphate and bacteria concentrations have been high while nitrate and oil and grease have been minimal at most urban locations.

“First Flush monitoring provides results that help us to identify hotspots for follow up action,” said Bridget Hoover, sanctuary citizen watershed monitoring network coordinator. “We work with various partners such as local governments to review and act on the results.” A team from U.C. Davis’ Marine Pollution Studies lab will be conducting a plume study at one of the sites.

For copies of previous First Flush reports, please go to the link:

The First Flush monitoring program is sponsored by the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, Bay Watershed and Training Program (BWET), and the California Coastal Conservancy, in partnership with the Monterey Bay Sanctuary Citizen Watershed Monitoring Network, Coastal Watershed Council, Cities of Santa Cruz, Capitola, Seaside, Monterey and Pacific Grove, Monterey Bay Aquarium, U.C. Davis Marine Pollution Studies Lab, Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary and the Monterey Bay Sanctuary Foundation.

The Monterey Bay Sanctuary Citizen Watershed Monitoring Network, established in 1997, is a consortium of citizen monitoring groups that monitor the health of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. The Coastal Watershed Council is a Santa Cruz-based nonprofit organization committed to the preservation, protection and management of coastal watersheds.

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.

NOAA’s National Marine Sanctuary Program seeks to increase public awareness of America’s marine resources and maritime heritage by conducting scientific research, monitoring, exploration and educational programs. Today, the sanctuary program manages 13 national marine sanctuaries and the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument that together encompass more than 150,000 square miles of America’s ocean and Great Lakes natural and cultural resources.

In 2007 the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, celebrates 200 years of science and service to the nation. From the establishment of the Survey of the Coast in 1807 by Thomas Jefferson to the formation of the Weather Bureau and the Bureau of Commercial Fisheries in the 1870s, much of America's scientific heritage is rooted in NOAA.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and information service delivery for transportation, and by providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than 60 countries and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.

On the Web:


NOAA’s National Ocean Service:

NOAA’s National Marine Sanctuaries:

Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary: