Nancy Steele, Christine Lee, Linwood Pendleton

The State of Water Quality and Monitoring Protocols in Southern California

Grant Type: 

  • Network Innovation


Award Date: 

May 2012




Los Angeles, CA

Three Switzer Fellows are collaborating on the technical, policy and economic dimensions of a proposed shift in EPA protocols for water quality monitoring of beaches and waterways.  This project was formed in response to the threat of severely reduced federal funding for local water quality monitoring, and more stringent requirements from EPA on the kinds of monitoring that will provide the best data for protecting public health.  Through this collaboration, Fellows will test and compare the results of different water quality monitoring methods, and include an assessment of the economic implications of a change to stricter or looser standards.  This project focuses on the Los Angeles River and will test the benefits and limitations of new DNA-based water quality monitoring techniques.  The project will culminate in the development of a cost-benefit analysis of different monitoring techniques used by public health laboratories in Los Angeles.  Dr. Christine Lee is currently based in Washington, DC, and is a Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the American Association for the Advancement of Science; Dr. Nancy Steele is the Executive Director of the Council for Watershed Health in Los Angeles; and Dr. Linwood Pendleton is the Director of Ocean and Coastal Policy at Duke University's Nicholas Institute of Environmental Policy Solutions and Acting Chief Economist for NOAA.

Original Grant Proposal: 

Spotlight on Leadership

Studying the role of infectious disease and perceptions of ecological change
2014 Fellow Andrea Adams’s dissertation research involves the study of disappearing frogs in Southern California. “One species, the foothill yellow-legged frog (Rana boylii) disappeared from the region during a short period of time in the mid-1960s to early 1970s,” Andrea explains. “One thing that can cause such rapid declines in amphibians is the pathogenic amphibian chytrid fungus. I study this fungus’s distribution and disease dynamics in different amphibian species in Southern California to see if it could have been a major contributing factor to the disappearance of the foothill yellow-legged frog in the region. To do this, I conduct molecular work in the laboratory, as well as field and museum work.”Read more >

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