Every year the Coastal Watershed Council in partnership with the City of Capitola and volunteers like you completes Urban Watch, a 15-week study that measures the water quality and health of Soquel Creek, tributary Noble Gulch and water Soquel Creek receives from nearby storm drains and outfalls. From June through September, 19 volunteers trained by CWC as citizen scientists monitored 8 sites for a total of 215 hours. They collected samples and ran tests, looking for indicators of urban pollutants and runoff entering the waterways and eventually the Monterey Bay.

The 2016 Urban Watch report indicates successes in reducing urban runoff and pollution entering local streams:

Nitrate and orthophosphate, two nutrient compounds that are indicative of leaking septic tank systems or heavy fertilizer use were not detected at any stream sites or storm drains that were monitored. Nitrate and orthophosphate remain low in the watershed thanks in a large part to the efforts of Capitola residents to prevent pollution. Great work!

Bacteria levels in Soquel Creek watershed are on the decline. CWC took a look at nine years of Urban Watch data and found that E. coli levels at Soquel Creek has been decreasing with the greatest improvement seen at a Soquel Creek site upstream of Highway 1.

Three cheers for Capitola residents, Soquel Creek watershed residents and the City of Capitola for doing your part to keep your watershed clean and thriving. We can all continue to do our part in decreasing bacteria in the Soquel Creek and its tributaries by reducing litter, picking up after our dogs in our yards and on the street, and reducing water running into the storm drains during dry weather. Learn more about what you can do to keep your watershed healthy in CWC’s Stewardship Toolkit today.

For more information on the Urban Watch study please contact CWC River Scientist Alev Bilginsoy at abilginsoy@coastal-watershed.org.

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