Collection, Interpretation, and Dissemination of Bacteria Data: Maximizing Resources for Meaningful Outcomes from Studies at La Jolla Cove and Children’s Pool Beaches, San Diego, California

Date / Time:
Tuesday, Sep 26 2:45pm to 3:15pm
Convention Center 103 - 105
Track / Session:
Collecting, Managing, and Using Data Track / Building Bridges through Tools and Technologies to Integrate and Share Data for Decision-Making and Collaboration

Fecal indicator bacteria (FIB) data are some of the most visible water quality data available to the general public, as they often dictate when and where recreational water use can occur. In California, recreational water quality affects many stakeholders including the tourism industry, public health and regulatory compliance. Bacteria studies can be implemented to provide multiple benefits to these many stakeholders. In addition to an improved understanding of water quality, these studies can also be used to address public access and perception as well as improve public health protection. Involvement of stakeholders throughout study design and implementation is key, to ensure careful consideration of multiple study objectives, as well as appropriate dissemination of study results. In the spirit of this year’s CASQA theme, we intend to educate and inspire audience members to “build bridges with water” through increased collaboration with multiple stakeholders when implementing these types of studies.

Two recent studies in the City of San Diego (City) will be presented. The first study took place at Children’s Pool Beach, a highly controversial beach in the community of La Jolla. Children’s Pool Beach is home to a harbor seal rookery and is also perceived as a desirable place for recreation due to its calm, sheltered waters. Children’s Pool Beach has historically had poor water quality, though recent data show improvement over the past few years. The second study took place at nearby La Jolla Cove, a popular swimming and diving beach that is also a haul out location for a growing sea lion population. La Jolla Cove has historically had good water quality; however, an increase in FIB exceedances occurred over summer 2016. Both beaches are major tourist attractions and have multiple stakeholders, including the City’s Transportation & Storm Water Department, City Parks & Recreation Department, County of San Diego Department of Environmental Health (DEH), National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), and the California Coastal Commission (CCC).

This presentation will review the unique design of both studies and how the data were used to provide multiple benefits by addressing study objectives specific to each stakeholder. Additionally, specialized data analysis techniques will be presented. FIB water quality datasets frequently have high proportions of non-detect results, which can skew findings determined through traditional statistical analyses. Statistical techniques specific to censored data used to determine significant findings will be highlighted. Examples of monitoring efficiencies found through collaboration, as well as particular challenges and lessons learned from the studies at these renowned beaches, will also be presented. These beaches have high public scrutiny and publicity due to many issues of shared use with pinnipeds, health and safety and nuisance odor. Our audience will be engaged and challenged to identify these issues as part of the presentation.

Primary Speaker:
Rolf Schottle, Amec Foster Wheeler
Supporting Speaker 1:
Ming Lai, City of San Diego
Primary Speaker Biography: 

Mr. Schottle has over 30 years of multidisciplinary experience in environmental chemistry, regulatory compliance and in the design and implementation of marine monitoring projects and special studies. Mr. Schottle serves as a Senior Marine Scientist and Associate in the Aquatic Science Group at AMEC Foster Wheeler’s San Diego office. In addition, he presides as the Chief Diving Officer the company’s Scientific Diving Program. He is an avid waterman and has enjoyed swimming at La Jolla Cove for over 35 years.

Supporting Speakers Biographies: 

Ming Lai received her Bachelors of Science degree in environmental science from UC San Diego and worked in biotech and environmental laboratories before joining the City of San Diego’s Storm Water Monitoring group in 2015. She and her team are involved with dry-weather MS4 outfall monitoring, bacteria TMDL, and special studies for watershed management.