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Graduate students of the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management performed this study to evaluate the impacts to ocean water quality subsequent to a breach event at the Goleta Slough, Goleta, California.  The study served as the Master’s Thesis requirement for the group members.  To achieve the group’s objectives, water quality samples and physical measurements were collected after a breach event at the Goleta Slough.  This sampling “event” took place subsequently to the County breaching the Slough and samples were collected the following four days.  The sampling collection and analysis procedures imitated the protocol and used the same tools employed by the City of Santa Barbara Ocean Monitoring Department and Environmental Health Lab.  The data were used to assess the spatial and temporal variability associated with the ocean sampling. The site-specific lessons learned were generalized to provide an understanding of breaching events at other sites and the processes involved.  Furthermore, the study provided recommendations for water quality monitoring best management practices and addressed the policy implications of regional coastal breaching events (permitting process).  

 

Specifically, the Project objectives were:

Utilize the current water quality monitoring procedures (i.e. IDEXX methods for quantification of MPN) to document bacterial levels in the upper surf zone relative to the distance from the Slough mouth to evaluate the impacts on recreational ocean water quality subsequent to artificial breaching of the Goleta Slough.
Document the levels of bacteria in the upper surf zone relative to temporal and spatial distances from a Slough mouth based on field sampling.  
Examine the intra/inter variability of bacteria levels associated with the sample sites.  
Document the physical properties associated with bacterial levels in the upper surf zone, including discharge of the slough water into the ocean, tidal movement and height, winds, and the longshore currents. 
Investigate whether a correlation exists among bacterial abundance, nitrate concentrations and temperature and salinity measurement subsequent to the breach
Develop a conceptual model of dispersion subsequent to the breaching event at the Slough mouth.
Extrapolate the Goleta Slough results to a larger scale: provide recommendations for best management practices for monitoring water quality after regional coastal breaching events.  

Last updated May 16, 2001