U.S. coastal and estuarine water quality is strongly influenced by increasing anthropogenic activities, as coastal waters receive a diversity of point and non-point source pollution from storm water, agricultural runoff, wastewater discharges, and industrial discharges. To meet regulatory targets, fecal indicator bacteria (FIB) are used to describe the microbial status of public beaches, estimate the extent of contamination of specific coastal areas, or qualify the safety of shell fish growing areas. But high FIB levels in recreational waters may not correlate with recent fecal pollution because of survival and re-growth of cells in the environment. Managers of coastal waters would benefit from more specific knowledge regarding (i) the presence, abundance and diversity of pathogens, and (ii) the sources of fecal contamination. Until recently, routine measurement of pathogens was thought to be too expensive or difficult, and tracking sources of microbial pollution with either chemical or advanced microbiological techniques was confined to research applications.
This workshop summarizes the results achieved to date in a research project funded by CICEET and the UC Water Resources Center, which focuses on quantitative analyses of fecal contamination in water bodies. This project uses San Pablo Bay in the San Francisco Bay estuary as a case study. Quantitative data on bacterial, viral, and protozoal pathogens are compared with traditional FIB data and a three-dimensional model is being adapted to include fate and transport of pathogens and microbial source tracking markers specific for human, dog, cow and seagull derived fecal matter. The expected end product of the research is a decision-making tool in the form of a 3-D model that can benefit coastal managers both in terms of pinpointing major sources of fecal pollution in the bay (specific land uses involving human activity, livestock and wildlife as well as seagulls), and by maximizing the usefulness of any monitoring activity. During this half-day workshop, the research team will present the current project status, preliminary findings, and an overview of the modeling tool. Our goal is to foster a discussion about the applicability and usability of this project to your work. We would also like to gather suggestions and feedback about the modeling tool and recommendations for future sampling sites in order to improve the project�s relevance and usefulness. (Additional research funding provided by the UC Water Resources Center and the California Department of Transportation)
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