Sanctuary Integrated Monitoring Network
Monitoring Project

Santa Cruz County Beach Non-Point Pollution

Principal Investigator(s)

  • Steve Peters
    Santa Cruz County Environmental Health Services
  • John Ricker
    Santa Cruz County Environmental Health Services
Start Date: October 01, 2003
End Date: March 30, 2005

Bacterialogic monitoring of Cowell Beach, Santa Cruz Main Beach, Seabright beach, Twin Lakes Beach, Capitoal Beach, Rio del Mar Beach, and contributing streams to measure degree of contamination; measurement of current transport of contaminants; measurement of water quality in shallow groundwater and storm drains; assessment of sewer and storm drain conditions; genetic analysis of sources of E. coli by ribotyping and PCR techniques; assessment of incidence of illness by interviewing beachgoers; identification of contaminaiton sources; and development of recommendations to reduce contamination.

Summary to Date

Work is underway. Previous work in 1997 showed generally low (1-5%) incidence of water borne illness during summer months resulting from swimming at the San Lorenzo River mouth and other coastal locations. Genetic analysis of E. coli in San Lorenzo River indicated sources of fecal contamination: birds (39%), humans (30%), various other (15%), and unknown (15%).

Study Parameters

  • Currents
  • Turbidity
  • Enterococcus
  • Nitrates
  • Other nutrients
  • Turbidity
  • Conductivity
  • Fecal coliform
  • Total coliform
  • Ribotyping, Incidence of human illness