Building upon the success of our Ventura River Stream Team program, Channelkeeper launched the Goleta Stream Team program in June 2002 to monitor water quality in the Goleta Slough watershed. In 2008, we expanded Goleta Stream Team to include sampling sites in the Devereux Slough, Bell Creek, and Tecolote Creek watersheds. You can view data, pictures, and site descriptions for our Goleta Stream Team sites through our “Explore and Download our Data” page.
Each month, Stream Team volunteers test water quality parameters (dissolved oxygen, turbidity, conductivity, pH, and temperature) using portable meters at up to 24 sites in these watersheds. We also collect water samples at each site which are processed later that day in Channelkeeper’s laboratory for three indicator bacteria using approved standard methodology (Colilert-18 and Enterolert-24, manufactured by Idexx Laboratories; US-EPA). Additional samples are analyzed for nutrients (ammonium, nitrite plus nitrate, orthophosphate, total dissolved nitrogen and particulate carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus) through cooperation with the Santa Barbara Channel – Long Term Ecological Research Project (SBC-LTER) at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). Visual observations of trash, aquatic life, and site conditions are also recorded monthly at each site. To ensure quality control, we check and calibrate all meters against factory standards prior to every sampling event and follow a State approved Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP).
Citizen volunteers are a critical element in the success of the Goleta Stream Team program. As of November 2013 over 400 volunteers have participated in the program, contributing almost 5,000 hours of time. Volunteers come from a wide range of backgrounds, from college and high school students to environmental scientists. While some volunteers come to earn community service hours for school, most participate to gain experience and knowledge and to make a contribution to their community.
Stream Team data is used by government agencies, consulting firms, environmental organizations, and other watershed stakeholders to help protect the watershed and the species that depend on it.
Some of Goleta Stream Team’s successes include:
- Submittal and integration of data into the State’s biennial water quality assessment leading to the addition of 11 waterway-pollutant combinations to California’s 303(d) List of Impaired Water Bodies.
- Discovery and elimination of an illegal sewer connection in Cieneguitas Creek, where a toilet in a medical facility was directly plumbed to the stream.
- Discovery and elimination of illegal daily discharges of brine waste from an industrial facility.
- Establishment of the most comprehensive baseline ambient water quality dataset for these watersheds in existence, spanning over a decade.
- Data was integrated into the State’s development of a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for the nitrate impairment on Glen Annie and Los Carneros Creeks.