Jan 03, 2020

L.A. Watershed Management Program Falls Short of EPA Goals

Marina del Rey’s watershed management program has reached one fifth of 1% (0.21%) of its EPA target for the year 2021.

watershed management program

Scientists with Heal the Bay, a water quality nonprofit, measured the progress that local watershed areas made from 2012 to 2018 toward achieving storm water retention targets established by the U.S. EPA.

Their research discovered seasonal fluctuations and difficulty with consistent water quality testing, reported the Argonaut

The watershed areas achieved 1.41 acre feet of additional storm water retention capacity since December 2012, out of a target of 671.69 acre feet, which includes flood control upgrades to Oxford Basin Lagoon.

“If the current rate of implementation continues, the final 2021 goal will be achieved in the year 4877,” said the report. The marina’s watershed is continuously impaired by pollutants such as copper, lead and zinc. 

“Heal the Bay’s stormwater report shows six years of shockingly minimal progress in cleaning up Los Angeles’ storm water. We urge officials to take immediate action by strengthening regulations that hold polluters accountable for implementing multi-benefit stormwater projects,” said Heal the Bay CEO Shelley Luce to the Argonaut.

Measure W is expected to raise $300 million per year for regional storm water capture, cleanup and conservation projects. 

The lack of progress is attributed to a lack of funding for storm water retention projects, as well as inconsistent enforcement of storm water regulations, reported the Argonaut

“That’s one of the major barriers to building and completing storm water infrastructure. We’re hoping that many of these projects will be built and completed when Measure W funds are released next year,” said Annelisa Moe, a Heal the Bay water quality scientist.

In the meantime, diverting pollution from storm water drains has been a priority for environmental advocates and public officials. Local officials will soon be asking the California Water Resources Control Board to renew sewer system and storm drain permits, according to the Argonaut

Earlier in 2019, an NRDC investigation found more than 400 storm drain water quality violations in the Santa Monica region and 139 within the Ballona Creek watershed. Polluters did not receive any citations from regional water quality control officials, reported the Argonaut.

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