SCCWRP and its partners have completed field data collection for a three-year project seeking to establish scientifically defensible nutrient loading targets for reducing eutrophication and improving biological integrity in the Santa Margarita River watershed.
The data collection phase, which wrapped up in August, will enable researchers to develop an integrated toolkit of mechanistic computer models and empirical statistical models that water-quality managers can use to optimally protect biointegrity and human uses in the lower mainstem of the Santa Margarita River.
The Santa Margarita River watershed, which spans Riverside and northern San Diego Counties, has been grappling with algal overgrowth, low dissolved oxygen, and other eutrophication-related issues as a result of excess nutrient inputs.
The tools and concepts being developed and applied to Santa Margarita are expected to influence how nutrient management is approached in eutrophic wadeable stream systems across California.
In particular, the project is serving as a key California case study for test-driving elements of a proposed State Water Board wadeable stream biointegrity and biostimulatory policy, which could be adopted as early as 2019 to govern the health of wadeable streams statewide.
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