This report presents an evaluation of water- resources data-collection networks in the northern and coastal areas of Monterey County, California. This evaluation was done by the U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with the Monterey County Flood Control and Water Conservation District to evaluate precipitation, surface water, and ground water monitoring networks. This report describes existing monitoring networks in the study areas and areas where possible additional data-collection is needed. During this study, 106 precipitation-quantity gages were identified, of which 84 were active; however, no precipitation-quality gages were identified in the study areas. The precipitaion-quantity gages were concentrated in the Monterey Peninsula and the northern part of the county. If the number of gages in these areas were reduced, coverage would still be adequate to meet most objectives; however, additional gages could improve coverage in the Tularcitos Creek basin and in the coastal areas south of Carmel to the county boundary. If collection of precipitation data were expanded to include monitoring precipitation quality, this expanded monitoring also could include monitoring precipitation for acid rain and pesticides. Eleven continuous streamflow-gaging stations were identified during this study, of which seven were active. To meet the objectives of the streamflow networks outlined in this report, the seven active stations would need to be continued, four stations would need to be reactivated, and an additional six streamflow-gaging stations would need to be added. Eleven stations that routinely were sampled for chemical constituents were identified in the study areas. Surface water in the lower Big Sur River basin was sampled annually for total coli- form and fecal coliform bacteria, and the Big Sur River was sampled monthly at 16 stations for these bacteria. Routine sampling for chemical constituents also was done in the Big Sur River basin. The Monterey County Flood Control and Water Conservation District maintained three networks in the study areas to measure ground-water levels: (1) the summer network, (2) the monthly network, and (3) the annual autumn network. The California American Water Company also did some ground-water-level monitoring in these areas. Well coverage for ground-water monitoring was dense in the seawater-intrusion area north of Moss Landing (possibly because of multiple overlying aquifers), but sparse in other parts of the study areas. During the study, 44 sections were identified as not monitored for ground-water levels. In an ideal ground-water-level network, wells would be evenly spaced, except where local conditions or correlations of wells make monitoring unnecessary. A total of 384 wells that monitor ground-water levels and/or ground-water quality were identified during this study. The Monterey County Flood Control and Water Conservation District sampled ground-water quality monthly during the irrigation season to monitor seawater intrusion. Once each year (during the summer), the wells in this network were monitored for chlorides, specific conductance, and nitrates. Additional samples were collected from each well once every 5 years for complete mineral analysis. The California Department of Health Services, the California American Water Company, the U.S. Army Health Service at Ford Ord, and the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District also monitored ground-water quality in wells in the study areas. Well coverage for the ground-water- quality networks was dense in the seawater- intrusion area north of Moss Landing, but sparse in the rest of the study areas. During this study, 54 sections were identified as not monitored for water quality.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Water-resources data network evaluation for Monterey County, California; Phase 2, northern and coastal areas of Monterey County
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Dept. of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey ;
Earth Science Information Center, Books and Open-File Reports Section [distributor],