With lead agency Agricultural and Land-based Training Association (ALBA) and through a 4-year USEPA grant, CWC is monitoring the impacts of organic farming practices and wetland restoration on water quality in Carneros Creek at ALBA’s Triple M Ranch in North Monterey County; Carneros Creek is the main freshwater tributary to Elkhorn Slough.

The project requires weekly monitoring of the seasonal flow of Carneros Creek as it runs through the Triple-M Ranch property and is related to the actions being taken to limit runoff from agricultural fields and improve wetland and riparian areas on the ranch. This monitoring provides a means to evaluate changes in sediment, orthophosphate, nitrate and ammonia levels as water enters, moves through, and exits the wetland area of Triple-M Ranch.

For the project, CWC monitors levels of pesticides, nutrients, metals and other key water quality parameters. Other partners will be assessing the effects of changes in land use on the quality of water, sediment and habitat in Elkhorn Slough.

The 2012-13 winter season marked the fourth year of the four-year grant from the USEPA; an extension will provide the opportunity for a fifth winter of monitoring. CWC is part of a collaboration with CSUMB, Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Reseach Reserve and Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association (ALBA) to evaluate the effectiveness of organic farming practices and wetland restoration in improving habitat and sediment and water quality in the slough.

While CWC continues to collect water quality data in and around ALBA’s Triple M Ranch property, ALBA stays hard at work on the upcoming Wetland Restoration Project which targets nearly 40 acres of historic floodplains and wetlands.

The 2014-2015 winter monitoring has concluded.