Thursday, October 4, 2007
Scientists Ask State Legislators to Help Monitor California's Southernmost Watershed
Demonstration includes high-tech monitoring, tour of threatened Tijuana River Estuary
Scripps Institution of Oceanography / University of California, San DiegoAsserting that California needs "body scans, not portraits" of its economically and environmentally critical wetlands and coasts, top scientists from San Diego's foremost research institutions will make a case for that process at one of the region's most environmentally and politically challenging venues - the Tijuana River estuary.
On Thursday, Oct. 4 at 10:30 a.m., California Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Tom Torlakson and others will get a first-hand glimpse of futuristic monitoring proposed for the Tijuana River Watershed (TRW) in a tour and demonstration at the Tijuana Estuary Visitor Center at 301 Caspian Way, Imperial Beach, California.
Researchers from San Diego State University (SDSU) and Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego will make a case for "RiverNet," a high-tech series of sensors that would report in real-time and near real-time virtually every environmental indicator associated with the Tijuana River Estuary, its upstream watershed and adjoining beaches and coastal waters. Reporting and understanding these indicators are considered fundamental to preserving wetlands, improving water quality, limiting beach closures and planning for the future.
The data flow from RiverNet would be integrated as it is received (in "real time") by high-speed computers and reported back to policymakers, regional stakeholders and a worldwide research community in terms and data sets useful to each.
Members of an October 4, 2007, Tijuana River Estuary "RiverNet" Demonstration.
SDSU lead scientist Paul Ganster views RiverNet as a "critical initiative that will provide scientific data to support the policy community and the public as these stakeholders make 'generational' decisions that will influence quality of life in the watershed for years to come." Ganster said the project could be the foundation for collaboration across the international boundary that is needed to protect the health of the watershed, the estuary and the beaches.
The scientists hope to win support for the approximate $4.5 million, three-year project, from agencies overseeing voter-approved Proposition 84 bond money.
According to John Orcutt of Scripps Institution of Oceanography, real-time data "is essential for predicting or anticipating problems after a major event such as a large storm or changes in offshore currents that distribute contaminants north or south of the Tijuana River." He said the sensors would also signal problems within the network area that could be immediately addressed or repaired.
The scientists providing the demonstration, including John Kim and Pablo Bryant of SDSU Field Stations Program, cited San Diego Port Commissioner Robert "Rocky" Spane for his "encouragement through vision" in taking the lead in establishing a new, "beyond compliance" Port Environmental Fund, which is contributing heavily to scientific research and monitoring in neighboring tidelands and the San Diego Bay. Ganster said he is hopeful that California's bays, estuaries and coasts will be seen as living, interdependent and priceless assets "at once by scientists, lawmakers and the public."
# # #San Diego State University is the oldest and largest higher education institution in the San Diego region. Since it was founded in 1897, the university has grown to offer bachelor's degrees in 81 areas, master's degrees in 73 areas and doctorates in 16 areas. SDSU's approximately 35,000 students participate in an academic curriculum distinguished by direct contact with faculty and an increasing international emphasis that prepares them for a global future. For more information, visit www.sdsu.edu.
# # #
Note to broadcast and cable producers: University of California, San Diego provides an on-campus satellite uplink facility for live or pre-recorded television interviews. Please phone or e-mail the media contact listed above to arrange an interview.
Scripps Institution of Oceanography, at University of California, San Diego, is one of the oldest, largest and most important centers for global science research and education in the world. The National Research Council has ranked Scripps first in faculty quality among oceanography programs nationwide Now in its second century of discovery, the scientific scope of the institution has grown to include biological, physical, chemical, geological, geophysical and atmospheric studies of the earth as a system. Hundreds of research programs covering a wide range of scientific areas are under way today in 65 countries. The institution has a staff of about 1,300, and annual expenditures of approximately $155 million from federal, state and private sources. Scripps operates one of the largest U.S. academic fleets with four oceanographic research ships and one research platform for worldwide exploration.
Share This Story