Development of Regional Approaches and Protocols for Trash Monitoring and Management

Regional Approaches to Trash Monitoring and Management Project
Lead Agency County of Orange
Report Year Project Started 2008-2009
Status 40% Complete
Initial Project Budget $342,000
$342,000 US Fish and Wildlife Services CIAP Grant
Technical Lead Chris Crompton, OC Public Works
Key Words: trash reduction strategies, BMP effectiveness, rapid trash assessment

Stormwater agencies throughout southern California share many similar issues regarding trash monitoring and management, but to date there has been no coordinated effort to develop a consistent method of estimating loadings, understand pathways into the environment, and identify and prioritize sources for remediation at a watershed scale. Public agencies spend considerable amounts of money each year managing waterways by removing trash and implementing practices that prevent trash from entering into the environment. However, most management efforts focus on the abatement process without the complimentary source prevention and monitoring efforts to determine if the actions are making a difference on receiving waters.

The goal of this project is to improve the SMC’s understanding and ability to manage trash in the environment at both regional and local scales. In part one of this project, the focus was directed towards informing the SMC about the extent and magnitude of trash impacts on southern California streams. Part two of this project will translate findings from the regional survey into a case study. Through a grant from the US Fish and Wildlife Services Coastal Impact Assessment Program, a case study in a model watershed will develop the monitoring and management tools on a watershed scale. The steps include:

  • Developing a resource library of current regional efforts including up-to-date knowledge of structural and institutional Best Management Practices
  • Examining the relationship between reliable structural and institutional Best Management Practice data and stream conditions
  • Evaluating various rapid assessment monitoring protocols to provide management level information feedback.
  • Developing approaches to identify and prioritize sources for remediation and a developing a system of weighting sources based on potential impacts.

4.2.1    Project Status Update

During the 2014-15 reporting period, the County and the Newport Bay watershed partners who are the focus of this effort, contributed to substantial progress on the trash management plan grant project. The CIAP grant project efforts focused on several tasks including;

  • Development of a comprehensive watershed trash BMP inventory,
  • Performing a preliminary evaluation and characterization of existing trash management data resources,
  • Conducting a review and evaluation of rapid trash assessment monitoring protocols, and
  • Developing an initial GIS-based geospatial and temporal analysis of trash generation areas.

The information provided by the project partners contributed to the preparation of a GIS-based model to identify spatial and temporal coverage of BMPs and determine the data gaps remaining to be addressed. The GIS model also contributed to identifying potential candidate drainage areas in the Santa Ana-Delhi Channel subwatershed with extensive BMP coverage as an opportunity to examine trash management efforts in greater detail.

The grant project efforts during the reporting period also helped to identify a candidate rapid assessment protocol that is being proposed as a pilot project by the watershed partners. The goal of the rapid protocol pilot project is to have the project partner perform surveys of specific land uses or high trash generating areas that can be integrated back into a refined watershed model.

4.2.2    Project Related Publications

  • Orange County Public Works. Evaluation of Current Literature: Trash Sources, Impacts, Monitoring and Management Practices. May 2014.
  • Orange County Public Works. Trash Control Measures: Inventory of Newport Bay Watershed Trash BMPs. June 2015.