The Southern California Stormwater Monitoring Coalition (SMC) consists of 16 stormwater management agencies from the regulated and regulatory sectors working to improve stormwater management practices across coastal southern California. The SMC was founded in 2001 when a group of stormwater management agencies decided they could more effectively optimize their stormwater monitoring programs by pooling expertise and resources. Through a cooperative agreement known as the SMC Master Agreement, regulated and regulatory agencies began collaborating to improve monitoring designs and monitoring outcomes. By building a common technical foundation and a set of shared goals for optimizing stormwater monitoring, SMC member agencies have over time taken on an increasingly broad, encompassing research portfolio centered around investigating stormwater mechanisms, the condition of receiving waters, and solutions for improving and protecting regional stormwater quality.

SMC mission statement

To solve stormwater management challenges across southern California by building regional consensus around best-in-class tools, methods and monitoring strategies

The process of developing and implementing SMC research creates unique opportunities for SMC member agencies to collaborate and work toward consensus on solutions to pressing stormwater management issues. Notably, the SMC’s research portfolio is more ambitious, impactful and cost-leveraged than what any single SMC member could achieve on its own. SMC members collaborate effectively on a variety of fronts, including:

  • Developing standardized methods for data collection and analysis
  • Generating high-quality, comparable data sets
  • Collaboratively discussing findings in a neutral forum
  • Agreeing upfront on management decisions that will or could be taken based on SMC project findings

Management impact

Nearly every research project undertaken by the SMC has had an impact on stormwater management across southern California. SMC projects routinely inform:

  • Modifications to NPDES permits
  • Updates to 303(d) lists of impaired waterbodies and TMDL numeric targets
  • Development of regulatory guidance and criteria
  • Watershed planning decisions informed by the latest science