Stormwater runoff in southern California has become one of the largest environmental management issues in the region. While current runoff management has been immensely successful in developing systems for flood control, it has not historically been designed to enhance water quality.
Current estimates of pollutant loads from stormwater runoff rival those of traditional point sources for many constituents, and impacts from storm drains and channels have been observed in receiving waters. Examples include bacteria that have resulted in posting of beaches for swimming, nutrients that have caused blooms of macro algae, and toxic constituents that have degraded aquatic habitats.
This combination of emissions and impacts has led to an increasing regulatory focus on stormwater runoff, but much of the science needed to make effective and efficient management decisions is still lacking. This fact was recognized by both stormwater regulators and municipal stormwater management agencies throughout southern California and has resulted in a collaborative working relationship called the Southern California Stormwater Monitoring Coalition (SMC).
The goal of the SMC is to develop the technical information necessary to better understand stormwater mechanisms and impacts, and then develop the tools that will effectively and efficiently improve stormwater decision-making. The SMC develops and funds cooperative projects to improve our knowledge of stormwater quality management. SMC projects are described on these web pages.