Pacific Swell | Southern California environment news and trends

Sittin' on the dock of the bay...monitoring its pollutants

Every five years, just like with the European Union commission presidency, the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission updates its State of the Bay. What is that state, you ask? Better than last time, still got problems, got some new stuff going on. There. Now you don't have to listen to a whole news spot. Community service for the impatient.

But it's worth checking out the commission's dedicated page for the report. Perhaps wisely, it didn't make the whole report available at once. Instead, it's broken up into sections – habitat conditions, water quality, natural resources, and, a reporter's favorite – looking ahead – focusing quite a bit on climate change. (Frank Stoltze says this blog talks a lot about adaptation. Here's one of many reports that proves it's relevant.)

Maybe the biggest development since the last report is improved water quality measured in the last 5 years. Bacteria, trash and other standards like metals and toxics have come into place since 2003. Low-flow diversion of runoff water sends it to treatment. New technologies are demonstrated throughout the basin for managing runoff water. Still, according to the report: "Even during dry weather, excessive outdoor water use throughout the watershed creates unnecessary runoff and increases the demand on the local water supply."

Beyond that, marine protected areas, fish contaminated by pesticides, airborne pollution deposited in the ocean, and invasive species make appearances. The State of the Bay report is s'posed to push forward public discussion, and for that matter, policy, about the bay. So's the newest publication of the commission, jointly published with Loyola Marymount: Urban Coast.

I had a conversation about Urban Coast with SMBRC's Shelly Luce, at the publication's kickoff party. We talked about the journal's goals and intended audience. I'll post that later today, if our web gurus deem it possible. More about Urban Coast - and the State of the Bay Conference - later, too.