Urban stormwater management in the City of Watsonville
The City Of Watsonville's storm drain system directs runoff through a network of underground pipes that eventually discharges into the Monterey Bay. This system includes 2000 storm drain inlets, 50 miles of pipeline, and 15 storm water pumps located along Corralitos Creek and the Pajaro River which is currently listed as an impaired waterbody in the 303 d list. The system was originally designed to control flood events. The untreated storm water runoff drains directly into the ocean.
Many federal, state and local laws and policies have been implemented and enforced over the last few decades to reduce pollutants and contaminants being discharged into the Pajaro River, and the Watsonville Slough Complex.
For background on federal regulations, see Urban stormwater regulations applicable to central coast region.
For background on state regulations, see Urban stormwater regulations applicable to central coast region.
The City of Watsonville specifies in its municipal code how stormwater runoff must be addressed or mitigated, but most of the details are spelled out in other documents. An example section in the municipal code is:
- (§ 1, Ord. 1088-00 C-M, eff. April 14, 2000)
- 6-3.530 Control of storm water run-off flow rates
- "All development shall not cause higher rates of storm water runoff than those that existed prior to project." 
The specific implementation of Watsonvilles' stormwater-related codes is outlined in their Storm Water Management Plan. The Storm Water Management Plan best management practices (BMPs) that are outlined in the city's low impact development design guide which designates a "common hydromodification control standard" with the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board. 
Watsonville submits an annual review of the Storm Water Management Plan's and BMP's effectiveness in addition to suggested improvement opportunities to achieve the Maximum Extent Practicable (MEP) that are required under Phase II permit requirements.
Watsonville's Annual Reports:
- 1997 Current Industrial Activities Storm Water General Permit
- 1999 Phase II of Section 402 of the Clean Water Act requires cities under 100,000 to implement SWMPs
- 2005 City of Watsonville implements 2005 Urban Water Management Plan 
- 2009 Storm Water Management Plan approved.
- 2010 City of Watsonville revises the 2005 Urban Water Management Plan 
- 2011 Water Quality Control Plan for the Central Coastal Basin
Resources at Stake
A large percent of the population relies on the continued health and vitality of the agricultural industry for their livelihood. Left unmitigated, stormwater problems pose an ongoing threat to agriculture. Past incidences of E.coli contaminated lettuce from the region have had serious economic impacts.
The Watsonville Slough system is comprised of Harkins, Gallighan, Hanson, Struve, and Watsonville Sloughs and drains an area of approximately 50 km2 (13,000 acres). This area contains significant and diverse coastal habitats including, salt marsh, brackish and fresh water marsh making the Watsonville Slough a valuable resource for both coastal plant communities as well as fish and migratory birds.
Salsipuedes Creek Capacity Enhancement & Restoration Project: City and County staff are partnering with the US Army Corps of Engineers to receive early feedback with regard to permitting the project which will address potential flooding caused by stormwater runoff. Corps staff are in the process of securing permits for the project along the creek. The process requires preparation of 70% complete design plans for the project and a hydraulic bank stability assessment, to be completed by Northwest Hydraulic Consultants, Inc. (NHC)
- Division of Public Works
- Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board
- City of Watsonville
- The City of Watsonville Resource Conservation Program
- Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary
- Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County
- Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County
- Watsonville Wetlands Watch
- Action Pajaro Valley
- Save Our Shores
- Ecology Action
- City of Watsonville Sewer/Storm Drains
- http://www.codepublishing.com/ca/watsonville/ City of Watsonville municipal code
- Low Impact Development Best Management Practices Design Guidance for Hydromodification Management and Stormwater Quality
- Flynn, Dan. E. coli-Contaminated Lettuce Came from a California LGMA Grower. 2013 Jan 15. www.foodsafetynews.com
- Non-Point Source Program - CCA NPS Watershed Assessment for Watsonville Slough
- Northwest Hydraulic Consultants, Inc
- Urban stormwater regulations applicable to central coast region
- Urban stormwater management in Santa Cruz County
- Urban stormwater management in the City of Scotts Valley
- Urban stormwater management in the City of Santa Cruz
- Urban stormwater management in the City of Capitola
- Urban stormwater management in the Monterey Bay region
- Urban stormwater management in the City of Pacific Grove
- Central Coast Watershed Studies
- Watsonville Water Quality Reports
This page may contain student work completed as part of assigned coursework. It may not be accurate. It does not necessary reflect the opinion or policy of CSUMB, its staff, or students.