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Environmental Monitoring Program
The Environmental Monitoring Program (EMP) is cooperatively carried out by the California Department of Water Resources (DWR), and the United States Bureau of Reclamation (USBR), with assistance from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), the United States Geological Survey (USGS), and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).
DWR Environmental Water Quality and Estuarine Studies Branch (EWQES):
The DWR Environmental Water Quality and Estuarine Studies Branch (EWQES) is responsible for the EMP’s water quality, phytoplankton, and benthos monitoring elements and the DFG Bay-Delta region is responsible for zooplankton monitoring. Scroll down for a brief overview of the EMP and some information about the EMP's main research vessel, the RV San Carlos. For further information please visit the DWR and DFG websites or contact:
DFG Bay-Delta region

Photo credit: Jodi Evans


Photo credit: Angelo Garcia
The San Carlos - Since 1976, research vessels like the DWR’s "San Carlos" (shown above) and the USBR’s "Endeavor" have played and continue to play important roles in the monitoring of important variables within the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and San Francisco Bay System. They help us collect data to determine status and trends and are the premier monitoring platforms used for this critical research.
The EMP - The Environmental Monitoring Program (EMP) for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, Suisun Bay, and San Pablo Bay is conducted under the auspices of the Interagency Ecological Program (IEP). The EMP was initiated in 1971 in compliance with California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) Water Right Decision D-1379 and continued from 1978 through 1999 under D-1485. Currently it is mandated by Water Right Decision D-1641. The program is carried out jointly by the two water right permittees operating the California water projects, the United States Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) and the California Department of Water Resources (DWR). Assistance is provided by the California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) and the United States Geological Survey (USGS). The primary purpose of the IEP EMP is to provide necessary information for compliance with flow-related water quality standards specified in the water right permits. In addition, the EMP also provides information on a wide range of chemical, physical and biological baseline variables. EMP’s discrete water quality stations are sampled monthly using a research vessel and a laboratory van. EMP also operates eight multi-parameter continuous "real-time" water quality stations. In addition, the EMP collects and analyzes benthos, phytoplankton, and zooplankton samples. Monitoring listed as "continuous recorder sites" in D-1641 is not part of the EMP, these sites are operated by the USBR, the USGS or DWR.