Volume 5 Issue 1 – Special Issue: State of the Bay

Introduction – Guangyu Wang

SotB Main Cover Page_optimized

The 2015 State of the Bay Report is a science-based comprehensive assessment of the Bay’s environmental condition. The Santa Monica Bay National Estuary Program (SMBNEP) periodically conducts and makes a report on this assessment, with the goal of measuring progress in restoring the Bay’s natural habitats and resources, educating the public about the Bay’s valuable natural resources, and identifying and helping scientists and managers to address remaining and emerging challenges. More specifically, this report provides information that can be used both to gauge the progress in implementing the Bay Restoration Plan (BRP) and to guide updates of the BRP to meet new and existing challenges.

This report covers a broad range of issues across all major Bay habitats, closely following the three priority issues addressed by the BRP: water quality, natural resources, and benefits and values to humans. It represents the multi-year collaborative effort of the SMBNEP’s Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), with participation of outside experts and several partner agencies and organizations. The report includes an assessment of the ecological health of all major habitats in the Bay and the Bay watershed, using a refined rating system and available data on the indicators recommended by panels of experts. Professional judgments by the TAC and expert panels were also considered and applied to the assessments for indicators with no available data.

Planning for the 2015 State of the Bay Report began shortly after the publication of the last State of the Bay Report, in 2010. The 2010 report marked the first time that a new standard scale was used to rate the condition and characterize the overall status and trends of all major habitats in the Bay. The method used in 2010 has now been improved upon for the 2015 report by developing and applying a standardized assessment framework that encompasses all major types of habitats in the Bay. The new framework uses a set of comparable indicators of habitat health (quality of habitat, quantity of habitats, etc.) in the same categories across habitat types. Additionally, this approach focuses on indicators that directly relate to BRP goals. These goals often related to numeric values associated with acres of habitat restored or protected, pollutant reductions, and other management actions, like the establishment of marine protected areas.

Additionally, the report identifies and discusses issues that affect the health of the Bay’s beneficial uses in more detail, with feature articles and sidebars written by TAC members and invited experts. The topics of these articles were selected to represent the most current and pressing issues in the Bay and the Bay watershed. Many of the articles also provide good examples of how various issues have been addressed, including areas of progress, current status, information gaps, major obstacles, and causes of remaining problems. In some cases, solutions to these issues are suggested by the contributing authors. Finally, the report looks ahead at emerging issues that will need to be addressed in the coming years.

Information included in the report was gathered from a variety of sources, including many years of monitoring data collected in the Bay, research findings published in scientific journals, and technical reports developed by agencies and other organizations.

To learn more about the SMBRC, go to www.smbrc.ca.gov.

To learn more about TBF, go to www.santamonicabay.org.



List of Acronyms (194 KB)

Table of Contents (217 KB)

Executive Summary: At a Glance – Guangyu Wang and Lia Protopapadakis (857 KB)

Introduction – Guangyu Wang (335 KB)


1.1 Water Supply and Use

1.1.0 Water Resources: Water Supply and Use from a Water Quality Perspective – Hubertus Cox, Eric D. Stein, Lia Protopapadakis, and Mas Dojiri (397 KB)

1.2 Existing Water Quality Programs

1.2.0 Water Resources: Existing Water Quality Programs – Guangyu Wang (771 KB)

1.2.1 Water Resources: Reducing Bacteria along Santa Monica Bay Beaches – John H. Dorsey, Amber Kuhn, and Mas Dojiri (1,098 KB)

1.2.2 Water Resources: Toxic TMDLs – Steve Bay (1,222 KB)

1.2.3 Water Resources: Trash and Debris – Ted Von Bitner, Eric D. Stein, Lia Protopapadakis, and Kristina Thorsen (892 KB)

1.3 New Water Quality Issues

1.3.0 Water Resources: Contaminants of Emerging Concern – Steve Bay, Rainer Hoenicke, and Keith Maruya (957 KB)


2.1 Habitat Conditions

2.1.0 Habitat Conditions: Overview – Lia Protopapadakis (885 KB)

2.1.1 Habitat Conditions: Freshwater Aquatic and Riparian Habitats – Rosi Dagit, Felicia Federico, Lee Kats, and Eric D. Stein (525 KB)

2.1.2 Habitat Conditions: Coastal Wetlands – Richard F. Ambrose, John H. Dorsey, Karina Johnston, and Eric D. Stein (1,076 KB)

2.1.3 Habitat Conditions: Sandy Shores – Ken Foreman, Dave Hubbard, Karina Johnston, and Karen Martin (1,125 KB)

2.1.4 Habitat Conditions: Rocky Intertidal – Richard F. Ambrose, Carol Blanchette, Steven N. Murray, Pete Raimondi, and Jayson Smith (1,052 KB)

2.1.5 Habitat Conditions: Rocky Reefs – Daniel J. Pondella (1,839 KB)

2.1.6 Habitat Conditions: Soft-Bottom Benthos – Steve Bay, Mas Dojiri, and Joe Gully (1,227 KB)

2.1.7 Habitat Conditions: Coastal Pelagic – Maddalena Bearzi, David Checkley, David Caron, Mas Dojiri, Joe Gully, Chris Lowe, and Eric Miller (1,327 KB)

2.2 Habitat Highlights

2.2.1 Habitat Highlights: Regional Stream Monitoring in Southern California – Eric D. Stein (779 KB)

2.2.2 Habitat Highlights: Malibu Lagoon Restoration and Enhancement Project – John H. Dorsey (1,519 KB)

2.2.3 Habitat Highlights: Marine Protected Areas and Santa Monica Bay – Dana R. Murray and Lia Protopapadakis (890 KB)


3.0 Biodiversity in Santa Monica Bay and its Watershed – Lia Protopapadakis (767 KB)

3.1 Biodiversity: Red-Legged Frog Recovery – Jack Topel (1,155 KB)

3.2 Biodiversity: California Grunion – Karen L. Martin (885 KB)

3.3 Biodiversity: Sea Star Wasting Disease in Santa Monica Bay – Richard F. Ambrose (1,115 KB)

3.4 Biodiversity: Fisheries Management – Lia Protopapadakis (898 KB)


4.0 Conclusions and Looking Ahead – Guangyu Wang (377 KB)

4.1 Looking Ahead: Protection of Natural Habitats in the Santa Monica Mountains – Guangyu Wang (1,350 KB)

4.2 Looking Ahead: Sediment Management – Karen Martin and Guangyu Wang (774 KB)

4.3 Looking Ahead: New Development in Beach Water Quality Monitoring and Bacterial Source Identification – John Griffith (864 KB)

4.4 Looking Ahead: Ocean Acidification – Ashley Booth and Mas Dojiri (968 KB)

4.5 Looking Ahead: Nutrients and Hypoxia – Ashely Booth (962 KB)

4.6 Looking Ahead: Harmful Algal Blooms in Southern California Waters – David Caron (760 KB)

4.7 Looking Ahead: Preliminary Examination of Stream Cyanotoxins in Santa Monica Bay and California Watersheds – A. Elizabeth Fetscher, Eric D. Stein, and Meredith D.A. Howard (767 KB)

State of the Bay – Addendum #1 (279 MB)