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Lake San Marcos Biological Assessments & Litigation Support

Quick Facts:

  • Key Services: Biological Assessments, Hydrological Investigations, Stormwater Sampling, Watershed Modeling, Litigation Support, Expert Rebuttal Report
  • Client: Citizens Development Corporation (CDC)
  • Lake Area: 56 acres
  • Watershed Area: 18,450 acres

Project Summary:

For more than seven years, Great Ecology and Project Manager Nick Buhbe, have conducted biological and hydrological investigations of Lake San Marcos, a 303(d)-listed nutrient-impaired water body in Southern California, in fulfillment of Investigative Order. No. R9-2011-0033 (Order).

Great Ecology staff have worked closely with the lake owner, Regional Water Quality Control Board (RB), public agency defendants, and the lake homeowner community to characterize the site through field sampling and laboratory analyses. We have collected and submitted the data to the RB including the following:

• Regular water quality monitoring data;

• Sediment nutrient flux results;

• Fish, phytoplankton, and zooplankton monitoring;

• Dry and wet weather stormwater data;

• Bathymetric survey results;

• Lake vegetation assessment;

• Upstream biomonitoring data;

• In-lake pilot study efforts to reduce phosphorus via alum and Phoslock application; and

• Annual water level budgets

Great Ecology used this data to develop a lake management strategy to address both water and nutrient-associated issues. Additionally, Great Ecology developed the Investigation Work Plan, Sampling and Analysis Plan (SAP), Quality Assurance Program Plan (QAPP), and Health and Safety Plan (HASP) associated with the Order and subsequently approved by the RB in 2012.

More recently, Great Ecology developed extensive watershed modeling to support outside experts and identified potential habitat restoration sites within the watershed. Several Great Ecology staff have also served as expert witnesses in ongoing litigation.

News Articles:

"Monitoring the Muddy Waters of Lake San Marcos" - Alison St John, KPBS - San Diego

San Marcos, CA