The Creeks Division conducts an extensive water quality research and monitoring program in order to gain information that the City can use to develop strategies for water quality improvement, including prioritization of capital projects and outreach/education programs, and to communicate effectively with the public about water quality.

The goals of the research and monitoring program are to:

  1. Quantify the levels (concentration, flux, or load) of microbial contamination and chemical pollution in watersheds throughout the City.
  2. Evaluate impacts of pollution on beneficial uses of creeks and beaches, including recreation and habitat for aquatic organisms.
  3. Evaluate the effectiveness of the City’s restoration and water quality treatment projects, which includes collecting baseline data for future projects.
  4. Identify and eliminate sources of contaminants and pollution in creeks and storm drains.
  5. Evaluate long-term trends in water quality.
  6. Meet monitoring requirements for grants.
  7. Meet General Permit (NPDES) monitoring requirements.

In support of the program goals, the program is organized around six key elements and associated research questions:

  1. Grant Project Requirements
  2. General Permit Requirements
  3. Watershed Assessment (including Creek Walks and Bioassessment)
  4. Storm Monitoring
  5. Restoration and Water Quality Project Assessment
  6. Source Tracking

Current and Upcoming Projects

Stock image of close up of a person's gloved hands holding an assortment of microplastic pieces, with a beach cleanup taking place in the background.
The City of Santa Barbara's Creeks Restoration and Water Quality Improvement Division (Creeks Division), in partnership with the University of Southern California (USC) Sea Grant Program, are conducting microplastic research thanks to a $1…

Completed Projects

Environmental Canine Services staff and dogs Sable and Logan investigate storm drains
In 2010 the Creeks Division received grant funding from the Water Environment Research Foundation for the Canine and Microbial Source Tracking Project. The Canine and Microbial Source Tracking Project built on efforts to identify and…