California Trash Methods and Monitoring


In 2015, the State Water Resources Control Board (Water Board) adopted an Amendment to the Ocean Waters of California (Ocean Plan) to Control Trash and Part 1 Trash Provision of the Water Quality Control Plan for Inland Surface Waters, Enclosed Bays, and Estuaries (ISWEBE Plan). Together these are referred to as the Trash Amendments. The Trash Amendments prohibit discharge of trash larger than 5 millimeters to state waters from stormwater systems. The Ocean Protection Council (OPC) sent a letter to the Water Board supporting adoption of the Trash Amendments in 2015. The letter expressed the OPC’s interest in the use of scientific measures to track and verify program effectiveness.  Currently there is no agreed-upon scientific method to monitor for trash in water and receiving stormwater channels. This makes assessing permittees’ compliance and general progress on reducing trash in state waters difficult.  This project would provide the research needed to develop scientific measures to monitor trash.

2021 Trash Monitoring Webinar Series

The goal of this webinar series is to share our current collective knowledge to support current practices and advances in trash monitoring and the development of data analysis and visualization tools aimed at assessing the effectiveness of policies and practices for limiting the amounts of trash in the environment. Webinars will be held monthly starting in January 2021.


The webinar series is being sponsored by the Trash Monitoring Workgroup and the California Water Quality Monitoring Collaboration Network. Webinar recordings and materials will be made available on the Network’s website. There is no registration. Participation will be in a first come basis. However, we do not anticipate exceeding our hosting ability.

The Trash Monitoring Webinar Series information is posted at:

If you missed any of the presentations and would like to view them you can visit the California Water Quality Monitoring Collaboration Networks Youtube Channel.

Download the Reports...

Thanks to the support of the Ocean Protection Council and the State Water Resources Control Board, the Trash Monitoring Playbook and the Field Testing Report are now released for your use. We welcome you to peruse these companion documents and share them with others.

The Playbook is intended as a reference for trash monitoring practitioners and agency staff interested in learning more about the considerations for selecting a suitable trash monitoring program, whereas the Field Testing Report is a resource for researchers and other technically minded people who wish to dive more deeply into the findings of our study.

Are you interested in trash monitoring, drones, artificial intelligence, or all of the above? Take a look at the Playbook and Field Testing Report and let us know what you think: You can also download machine learning data and the Survey 123 application information from the SFEI website.

Trash Monitoring Playbook Webinar

Webinar Schedule

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