Watershed Protection Programs

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Watershed Protection Programs

The Watershed Protection Program is primarily focused on protection of the City's drinking source water quality. However, as drinking water quality issues are related to other natural resource issues, the program is also involved in many other conservation issues as well. Major components of the program include Education/Outreach and Environmental Review/Policy Analysis. Significant projects of the Program include the Watershed Management Internship Program, the Drinking Water Sanitary Survey, Drinking Water Source Assessment and Watershed Resources Management Plan for the City of Santa Cruz watershed lands.

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Watershed Management Internship Program
This environmental education program involves students from the secondary school in the City's primary drinking water source watershed. Students from the San Lorenzo Valley High Scenhool participate with Water Department and local non-profit organization staff members in water quality monitoring, discussions about watershed management, drinking water source protection and policy-making role-play sessions. Ultimately, students have the experience with the broad spectrum of activities involved in drinking water production and natural resource management, interface with professionals, and get extra credit for participating in the program.

Drinking Water Sanitary Survey and Source Water Assessment
Under the Safe Drinking Water Act water purveyors are required to survey their treatment process in the context of watershed, or source water, conditions. As an extension of this process, Drinking Water Source Assessments for all sources will be required by 2003. Source assessments will analyze land use in the vicinity of drinking water sources and the relative vulnerability of these sources to pollutants. This process is part of the multi-barrier approach to water treatment that seeks to not only optimize treatment of water, but also prevent pollution of drinking water at its source.

Watershed Resources Management Planning
In 1999 Santa Cruz convened a Watershed Resources Management Technical Advisory Task Force. This group is tasked with working with a consultant to develop a management plan for the City's 3,880 acres of land in the San Lorenzo and Laguna watersheds. Elements of this process include developing an existing conditions report, an opportunities and constraints analysis and ultimately, prescriptions for land management, which will support protection of drinking water quality and quantity. This process will conclude in the summer of 2002.

Habitat Conservation Planning
The Water Department staff is currently engaged in a State and Federal Endangered Species Acts permitting process for the City. This process is being assisted by the City's Habitat Conservation Planning Task Force, which is comprised of representatives from other City commissions and staff.

Environmental Review
The Watershed Protection Program continually engages in review of legislation, Timber Harvest Plans, Waste Discharge Permits, Environmental Impact Reports, Total Maximum Daily Loads and other related documents and policy as necessary.

Watershed Stakeholder Outreach
Watershed Protection Program staff also conduct outreach to property owners and other agency staff. This outreach occurs in the form of participation in technical advisory committees, sponsorship of educational events and trainings, land management consultation with residents of drinking water source watersheds, and in some cases, initiation of regulatory enforcement actions.

Related Links

  Coastal Watershed logo


www.coastal-watershed.org

The Coastal Watershed Council is a nonprofit organization committed to the preservation, protection and management of coastal watersheds through establishment of community-based watershed stewardship program, education and community outreach. Serving as watershed advocates, the Council promotes the health of these ecosystems through stewardship, advocacy and proper management practices.

California Logo
www.dfg.ca.gov/

 

This is the home page for the California Department of Fish and Game. The website provides links and information regarding licensing, fishing and hunting seasons, oil spill prevention, land and facility use, and regulations.

US Enviro logo
www.epa.gov/OWOW/

This is the home page for the US Environmental Protection Agency Office of Water. This website provides information on watershed protection, restoration, as well as introductory information on watersheds and watershed management.

California Logo
www.swrcb.ca.gov/rwqcb3/

This is the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board homepage. The website provides information on grants, regional contacts, programs, reports, and regional workshops.

 National Marine Fisheries

www.nwr.noaa.gov

This is the National Marine Fisheries home page. This website provides information on endangered species, fishery regulations and permits, marine mammals, salmon and other endangered fish tracking, and research applications.