You’ve seen the signs – “Drains to Bay”- on the storm drains near your home.

But did you know that before that water travels to the Monterey Bay, it travels down your street, into the storm drain and likely drains into a nearby creek, stream or river that delivers it to the Monterey Bay?

Along the way, the Coastal Watershed Council steps in. Together with water quality monitoring volunteers like you, CWC visits storm drain outfalls and strategic locations along Soquel Creek and Noble Gulch Creek sites to investigate what kinds of urban runoff pollutants are entering storm drains and local waterways during the dry weather season (June – September). Urban Watch teams perform in-field analysis on flows from local storm drain outfalls looking for some of our most common urban pollutants like detergents, chlorine, copper and turbidity.

The goal of the Urban Watch Program is twofold:  First, to serve as a tool for education and outreach to the community regarding the impacts that residents have on local water quality through urban runoff; and secondly, to collect scientifically valid water quality data to support environmental management decision-making at the local and state levels. Using data collected by the Urban Watch teams, we can work together to improve storm water infrastructure and best management practices that keep our water clean.

Coastal Watershed Council volunteers using an Urban Watch Storm Drain Monitoring Kit

Get involved!

Community volunteers like you are trained to analyze water samples. Volunteers are also trained to monitor water temperature, conductivity, pH , water color and odor and to collect monthly samples for bacteria and nutrient analysis. No chemistry background or prior monitoring experience is needed to participate. Sign up to volunteer here.

Dig In!

The Coastal Watershed Council has been leading Urban Watch in the City of Capitola for many years. Click on the reports below to learn more about the data collected and recommended responses to improve water quality. To see a full list of CWC water quality reports, visit our Resources page today.