Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board (CCRWQCB)

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Figure 1: California Regional Water Quality Boards [1]


The Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board (CCRWQCB) is one of the nine boards that jointly works with the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) to sustain clean and abundant water for the state of California [2]. The CCRWQCB governs water for the Central Coast as one of the nine regions of the state, as seen in Figure 1. Collectively, these water boards aim to protect human use of water, as well as the environment, to ensure sustainability.

State Law

Figure 2: Allocation of duties. Diagram created by Arev Markarian

In 1969 the Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act established these nine regional boards as California's principal water quality policy and its regulating bodies, as seen in Figure 2. Under this statute, there are certain responsibilities of the SWRCB that don't overlap with regional boards. The State Water Board allocates funds, guides regional projects and reviews regional decisions. The State Water Board is also in charge of allocating rights of surface water, whereas regional boards are to regulate discharges and distribute National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits [3].

Central Coast

The task of protecting and enforcing the many uses of water throughout the economic, residential, and environmental aspects of the region is an ongoing challenge for the CCRWQCB. The Central Coast region protects 378 miles of coastline and 3559 square miles of groundwater basins. The area includes Santa Cruz and the Monterey Peninsula, the Salinas and Santa Maria Valleys, and the Santa Barbara Plains. [2] The Central Coast Regional Board's mission emphasizes enforcement of water quality, and taking different hydrology and topography of the region into consideration when implementing water quality plans [4].


Widespread toxicity in surface waters, pollutant loading to groundwater, and degradation of watersheds are three key factors that the Central Coast region is facing. The CCRWQCB is essential to setting standards and making critical decisions to address these issues. [5]. The Central Coast Water Board has developed a "Vision of Healthy Watersheds" to protect and enhance the Central Coast watersheds in order to promote healthy and sustainable water that meets regional standards. [5] The vision establishes and structures work towards promoting the highest quality water standards and anticipates challenges and opportunities in water quality that would position the agency to respond quickly to unexpected issues that may arise. [5] </ref>


State Water Resources Control Board
  • Felicia Marcus (Chair) Represents: Attorney qualified in the fields of water supply and water rights.
  • Steven Moore (Vice Chair) Represents: Sanitary Engineer and qualified in water quality.
  • Tam M. Doduc Represents: Civil Engineer qualified in the fields of water supply and water rights.
  • Dorene D'Adamo Represents: Qualified in the field of water quality relating to irrigated agriculture.
  • E. Joaquin Esquivel Represents: Public Member [6].


Each Regional Board has seven part-time members appointed by the Governor, and confirmed by the Senate. Each member is appointed for a four year term. These are the current CCRWQCB members as of 2018 who meet once a month either in San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Watsonville, or Salinas.

  • Dr. Jean-Pierre Wolff (Chair)
  • Dr. Monica S. Hunter (Vice Chair)
  • Karina Cervantez
  • Bruce Delgado (Mayor of City of Marina)
  • Jane Gray
  • Michael Johnston
  • Jeffrey Young

Goals and Associated Projects

CCRWQCB has established short-term, water quality goals that are beneficial to the health of its customers. [7]. By the year 2025, these goals include:

  • 80% of the aquatic habitat is healthy, and the remaining 20% is exhibiting positive trends towards reaching a sustainable and healthy standard
  • 80% of lands located within a watershed will be properly managed to maintain essential watershed functions. The remaining 20% will show positive trends in key watershed perspectives
  • 80% of groundwater in the Central Coast region will be clean, and the remaining 20% will exhibit positive trends towards key parameters of water quality in the Central Coast region

In order to reach these goals, the CCRWQCB has implemented many projects to control water quality in the Central Coast including but not limited to:

  • The TMDL Programs for Managing Impaired Bodies
  • The Central Coast Ambient Monitoring Program
  • The Basin Plan

The TMDL Programs for Managing Impaired Bodies

Every two years, each regional water board updates the list of the impaired bodies of water including rivers, lakes, and estuaries, containing pollutants that inhibit beneficial uses under the Clean Water Act. These lists are approved by the SWRCB and the EPA before finalized as the 303(d) list of Impaired Waterbodies.

On December 9, 2016, CCRWQCB's staff approved recommendations to update The 303d list of Impaired Waterbodies in the Monterey Bay Region. [8]. The 303d list is a compilation of waterbodies that are considered polluted in the United States, and assigned Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) per pollutant, and an associated plan to be implemented to reach that load limit. [9].

The Central Coast Ambient Monitoring Program

The Central Coast Ambient Monitoring Program (CCAMP) is the CCRWQCB's water quality monitoring and assessment program. It is funded primarily by the State Water Board's Surface Water Ambient Monitoring Program (SWAMP) along with a private endowment from the Bay Foundation of Morro Bay. [10].

CCAMP strives to achieve goals and objectives that would establish healthy watersheds throughout the Central Coast. Programmatic objectives include: [10]

  • Providing data to support the establishment, review, and revision of water quality objectives
  • Determining whether water quality objectives are attained (CWA Section 305(b))
  • Identifying impaired waters (CWA Section 303(d))
  • Assessing the overall health of Central Coast watersheds for aquatic life and human uses
  • Supporting the implementation and evaluation of Water Board management programs
  • Providing water quality information to users in accessible forms to support decision-making
  • Collaborating with other monitoring programs to promote effective and efficient monitoring

Monitoring objectives for CCAMP include: [10]

  • Assessing watershed condition on a five-year rotational basis, using multiple indicators of health
  • Assessing long-term water quality trends at the lower ends of coastal creeks
  • Conducting periodic assessments of harbors, estuaries, lakes and near-shore waters using multiple indicators of health
  • Supporting investigations of other water quality problems, including emerging contaminants, sea otter health, pathogenic disease, toxic algal blooms and others

The Basin Plan

The Water Quality Control Plan for the Central Coast Region designates beneficial uses and water quality goals for the Central Coast region. It also includes programs that implement the achievement of water quality objectives. [11]



  1. / Newman, Julie. 2012. "New" Ag Waivers from two regional water quality control boards. UC Nursery and Floriculture Alliance.
  2. 2.0 2.1 / CWB (California Water Board). About The Water Board.
  3. / State of California. Federal, State, and Local Laws, Policy and Regulations. California Environmental Protection Agency. State Water Resources Control Board.
  4. / CWB (California Water Board). Central Coast Regional Board: About Us.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 / Adams. LS. CRWQCB (California Regional Water Quality Control Board). Water Board Role in the Central Coast Region. California Environmental Protection Agency.
  6. / CWB (California Water Board). About Us. Board Appointment Terms. Governor's Appointees.
  7. / CWB (California Water Board). Healthy Watersheds - A Vision for the Future.
  8. / CWB (California Water Board). Central Coast Region - Clean Water Act Section 303(d) List of Water Quality Limited Segments (the 303(d) List).
  9. / EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency). Clean Water Act Section 303(d): Impaired Waters and Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs).
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 / CEPA (California Environmental Protection Agency). About CCAMP. Central Coast Ambient Monitoring Program.
  11. / CWB (California Water Board). Water Quality Control Plan for the Central Coastal Basin (Basin Plan).