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Research Area: Bight Regional Monitoring

A bight is defined as a bend in the coastline, and the Southern California Bight (SCB) is the 700 km (400 miles) of recessed coastline from Point Conception, in Santa Barbara County, California to Cabo Colnett, just south of Ensenada, Mexico. Here, subtropical waters flow north close to the shore, while subarctic waters flow south offshore. This unique ocean circulation pattern creates a biological transition zone that supports approximately 500 marine fish species and more than 5,000 invertebrate species.

Satellite image of ocean temperature offshore of the Southern California Bight.

SCCWRP Research

Though many organizations conduct environmental monitoring to assess the potential effects of human activities on southern California’s coastal ocean, only 5% of the area of the SCB is routinely monitored. Most of this monitoring focuses on tracking individual sources of waste discharge. In addition, the parameters, frequency, and methodology used for monitoring programs differ among agencies, hampering data integration. Although high-quality data are generally collected, the collection methods are not designed to describe large-scale changes or to assess cumulative impacts from multiple sources. To improve the efficacy of existing monitoring programs, and improve capacity for regional assessments, SCCWRP initiated a series of monitoring efforts throughout the SCB in 1994, 1998 , 2003, 2008, and 2013.

All of these Bight regional monitoring programs included intercalibration exercises to standardize and improve data quality across the organizations participating in sample collection or laboratory sample processing. A series of quality assurance, information management, laboratory manuals, and field operations manuals were also prepared in conjunction with each effort.

Bight Regional Monitoring project groups include:  

Bight '13 planning documents can be found

For more information on Bight Regional Monitoring, contact Ken Schiff at (714) 755-3202.
This page was last updated on: 9/11/2013