It Rained. It Poured…and Water Quality Gets Scored

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This past Tuesday, San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve received nearly two inches of rain. With so much water flowing downstream in the Escondido watershed, and out to sea, it was time to pull on the rain gear and check on water quality.

Inclement weather? No problem. Water quality monitoring is a state requirement whenever it rains over half an inch.

L-R: Conservancy Habitat Management Director Bradley Nussbaum and Scientific Research Director Tim Stillinger sample pH and turbidity at La Orilla Creek for the Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan on Tuesday, January 9, 2018.

This is an example of the Conservancy’s role in overseeing habitat quality control during the Reviving Your Wetlands lagoon restoration project. For the entire project and for years after, the Conservancy will continue to engage in stormwater sampling to ensure that the project is not causing any pollution or releasing sediments during a rainfall event.

The conservancy conducts sampling by measuring in five sites. We sample in four run-on areas, which means incoming freshwater sources from: Escondido Creek, La Orilla Creek, Joint Powers Authority (JPA) Channel and Rossini Creek. The fifth site is the runoff area at the San Elijo Lagoon inlet where waters flow and mix with the ocean.

Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan water quality sampling locations at San Elijo Lagoon.

If our runoff area—the lagoon’s inlet—should ever exceed the limits set by state regulators, our run-on, or incoming freshwater samples, should show that the out-of-bounds readings are caused by areas outside of the project and not by lagoon restoration.

If there were ever high pH or turbidity readings from our project, immediate steps would be taken to identify and remedy the problem.

For more information about the Conservancy’s data in continuous water quality monitoring (prior to and during restoration) click here.

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Have a question about Reviving Your Wetlands—the San Elijo Lagoon Restoration Project? Let us know!

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