Stormwater Research Needs in Southern California

The first project completed by the SMC in February 2002 was an assessment of which research projects should be undertaken. The SMC developed a three step process to identify these projects. The process included:

  1. Creation of a white paper outlining the technical issues and management questions of interest (Appendix 2 of final report)
  2. Conduct a workshop to develop an agenda of research projects using experts in a variety of scientific disciplines (Appendix 3 of final report)
  3. Establish a five-year research plan to implement based upon the workshop proceedings

More than 50 project ideas were generated in the research agenda workshop. These were combined, clarified, and prioritized leading to 15 research projects. Each project was then developed in terms of a problem statement, desired outcome (products), tasks, schedule, and necessary resources (expertise, costs, and potential collaborators).

The 15 research projects fell into one of three categories.

  1. Developing a regional stormwater monitoring infrastructure

    Monitoring infrastructure includes projects that find ways to integrate, standardize or maintain comparability among programs throughout southern California. These projects include mining existing data, sampling and analysis, data management and sharing, and testing BMPs.

  2. Improving the fundamental understanding of stormwater mechanisms and process

    Research projects that improve our fundamental understanding of stormwater mechanisms and processes begin with creating a conceptual model of our existing understanding of these processes. This will help identify knowledge gaps. It is expected that there will be at least three gaps in the conceptual model. These include an evaluation of reference conditions, an evaluation of beneficial uses, and identifying relative contributions of nonpoint sources to stormwater discharges.

  3. Identifying stormwater impacts in receiving waters

    Identifying stormwater impacts in receiving waters is the research theme with the greatest number of projects, reflecting how little is known about this subject.
    Five research projects are geared specifically towards developing tools for assessing conditions in receiving waters. These tools include freshwater bioassessments, toxicity testing, faster and more specific methods for identifying microbial contamination, and identifying indicators of impacts resulting from increased peak flows.

    While the projects are written as individual projects, many of the projects are inter-related. The final chapter of this document provides an overview of these relationships showing where the results from one project may feed into another project