La Jolla Light

Coastkeeper seeks volunteers for data-collecting water project

Founded in 1995, San Diego Coastkeeper protects and restores fishable, swimmable and drinkable water in San Diego County. To that end, it relies on the volunteers it trains to collect baseline data that will help identify polluted waters and reveal solutions to reduce pollution at the source.

“The water quality monitoring program is almost completely volunteer based, and this year we trained our 700th volunteer,” said Travis Pritchard, Coastkeeper’s water quality lab manager. “Because our volunteers produce professional-level data, they become a vital part of the Coastkeeper team and of a larger effort by many community, government and corporate stakeholders to understanding San Diego County’s water quality and how to improve it.”

Anyone can become a volunteer. Those interested need to sign up for one of the water quality monitoring volunteer training sessions, which are held every other month prior to the sample collection. Once trained, a volunteer can help with water quality-monitoring events.

To sign up, call (619) 758- 7743, ext. 131 or e-mail

■ The 2013 schedule is:

• Jan. 26 (volunteer training)

• Feb.23

• March 16 (training)

• April 20

• May 18 (training)

• June 22

• July 20 (training)

• Aug. 17

• Sept.14 (training)

• Oct. 19

• Nov. 16 (training)

• Dec. 14

Coastkeeper is working to post raw and analyzed data at, which allows the public to see the health trends of San Diego’s watersheds.

For the first time this year, Coastkeeper compiled, analyzed and presented the data in its comprehensive Watershed Report. The report revealed that elevated concentrations of ammonia, nitrates and phosphorous were present in watersheds throughout the county. It also showed that the county’s creeks have high levels of fecal bacteria.

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