In 2008, Channelkeeper expanded our watershed monitoring efforts to include predawn monitoring of streams in the Ventura River to determine the extent of water quality impacts caused by excessive algae. We expanded the program to the Goleta and Carpinteria watersheds in 2011.
Algae blooms can be caused by excessive nutrient pollution and can lead to problems for water quality and fish, such as deficient oxygen levels and excessively alkaline water. (For more information on the impacts of low oxygen and high alkalinity please visit our “Methods and Parameters” page). Due to biochemical processes, these problems are best monitored at certain times of the day. In the case of oxygen deficiency, water must be tested before the sun comes up, when photosynthesis is at its lowest. pH (a measure of acidity or alkalinity) is also affected by photosynthesis. Therefore, Channelkeeper and some of our most dedicated volunteers rise before dawn once a month during the algae growing season (April-September) to measure dissolved oxygen and pH levels in our local creeks.
The data we’re gathering provide important insights to government agencies that must implement regulations that address excessive algae growth in our waterways. Recently, our pre-dawn data was heavily referenced in the Ventura River Algae TMDL process.
In 2013, we enhanced our monitoring capacity with the addition of several high-tech data loggers that continuously collect water quality data. These data loggers are installed at monitoring sites throughout the Ventura River watershed and will help us identify critically low oxygen levels.