Southern California Stormwater Monitoring Coalition 5-Year Research Agenda
Collaboration is a powerful vehicle towards common understanding. The Southern California Stormwater Monitoring Coalition (SMC) exemplifies this collaborative synergy, having spent the last 10 years filling foundational gaps in knowledge about how to improve stormwater management. Creating monitoring infrastructure, deciphering stormwater mechanisms and processes, and assessing receiving water impacts have brought tremendous leaps in how dischargers and regulators address the challenging issues of urban runoff. Cumulatively, the SMC and its project partners have expended over $6M to fill these data gaps. Every project conducted by the SMC has resulted in a change in stormwater management within the region.
Despite the success of the SMC, numerous stormwater issues persist and unresolved problems stymie regulatory and regulated agencies. After a decade of steadily improving progress, the remaining challenges are much more difficult to resolve. The SMC is about to re-commit to their interagency collaboration. A master agreement, the document that binds them together as an entity, will be signed before year-end. The master agreement calls for a Five-Year Research Agenda, a forward-looking list of issues to address as implementable projects. This presentation describes the Research Agenda that serves as the road map for the SMC.
The SMC utilized a panel of experts representing a variety of disciplines to help create the agenda. After hearing from SMC member agencies, the experts spent three days winnowing to a list of 21 projects within four thematic areas: 1) ecosystem characterization and assessment; 2) method development and tool evaluation; 3) optimizing management effectiveness, and; 4) foundational scientific understanding. Each project description is comprised of a problem statement, desired outcome (products), tasks, schedule, and necessary resources (expertise, costs, and potential collaborators). The SMC is currently ranking projects for first-year funding. This provides the opportunity for additional agencies and individuals to get involved because the SMC appreciates inclusivity and respects the success only achievable through collaboration.