Vision Award

The National Water Quality Monitoring Council’s Vision Award recognizes a monitoring council or group that has demonstrated extraordinary vision and cooperation in the field of water quality monitoring on a local or regional level to enhance the management and protection of aquatic resources.


Southern California Coastal Water Research Project (SCCWRP)
2019 Vision Award Recipient

Southern California Bight Regional Monitoring Program; Coordinating Agency: Southern California Coastal Water Research Project; Program Director: Kenneth Schiff

The Southern California Coastal Water Research Project (SCCWRP) has been leading one of the nation’s longest running and most effective regional marine monitoring programs, the Southern California Bight Regional Monitoring Program (the Bight Program). This integrated, collaborative regional monitoring program has been actively informing environmental management decisions since 1994.

The Bight Program brings together over 100 organizations – federal, state and local government, industry, universities, and non-governmental agencies – to answer important questions about the health of the ocean adjacent to one of the most populated coastlines in the US. Results from the Bight Program have formed the basis for regulatory assessment tools such as sediment quality objectives, developed the backbone of public health notification networks, and transitioned new technology to routine monitoring applications.

The Bight Program is unique since little money exchanges hands – virtually all of the effort is provided in-kind from the numerous and diverse array of participating agencies. SCCWRP’s role is to provide the vision, coordination, and facilitation necessary to ensure the in-kind effort effectively and efficiently addresses the specific questions managers ask.

The Bight Program addresses pressing issues for this region of 28 million inhabitants, and the intense urbanization that comes along with it. Sediment quality, beach water quality, ocean acidification, seafood contamination, harmful algal blooms, trash and plastic are all seemingly insurmountable problems that the Bight Program addresses. With SCCWRP’s help, the Bight Program provides the insights, tools, and path forward for taking the next steps towards improving our environment.