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San Diego Region - Southern Watershed Unit

Implementation of the Shelter Island Yacht Basin Copper TMDL

The San Diego Water Board developed the Shelter Island Yacht Basin (SIYB) TMDL for Dissolved Copper to address water quality impairment in SIYB. The TMDL received final approvals and is incorporated into the Basin Plan. The TMDL Basin Plan Amendment was first adopted by the San Diego Water Board on February 9, 2005, and was subsequently approved by the State Water Resources Control Board on September 22, 2005, and the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) on December 2, 2005. The USEPA granted final approval of the TMDL on February 8, 2006.

SIYB is a popular recreational marina located in the north end of San Diego Bay. Recreational vessels at SIYB are typically painted with copper-based antifouling paints to prevent buildup of marine organisms on a vessel's hull. The copper in antifouling paints is designed to leach into the environment to prevent marine fouling. However at relatively low levels, copper is toxic to a variety of aquatic organisms, not just fouling organisms, and is persistent in the environment. The high density of recreational vessels at SIYB combined with reduced tidal flushing has resulted in elevated levels of dissolved copper that exceed numeric water quality objectives for dissolved copper, and Basin Plan narrative water quality objectives for toxicity and pesticides. These exceedances threaten wildlife and marine habitat beneficial uses. Due to high concentrations of dissolved copper, in 1996 the San Diego Water Board placed SIYB on the Clean Water Act Section 303(d) List of Water Quality Limited Segments.

The TMDL has the following compliance schedule:

Time Period
Percent Reduction from Current Estimated Loading
Reduction to be Attained by End of Year
Estimated Interim Target Loading
(kg/year of dissolved Cu)
Stage 1
Years 1-2
0 Percent
Stage 2
Years 2-7
10 Percent
Stage 3
Years 7-12
40 Percent
Stage 4
Years 12-17
76 Percent

The start of the compliance schedule began on December 2, 2005 with OAL approval. The San Diego Water Board will work with the stakeholders on the appropriate implementation of the SIYB TMDL. The San Diego Water Board is planning multiple stakeholder meetings in 2007 and 2008 to address the implementation of the SIYB TMDL.

Implementation of the SIYB TMDL is being overseen by the Southern Watershed Unit under the lead of Lilian Busse. Please contact Lilian Busse with your questions or comments on the TMDL. She can be reached by phone at 619-521-8048, or by email at Lilian.Busse@waterboards.ca.gov. If you want to receive information on the SIYB TMDL implementation, please sign up on the mailing list under Shelter Island Yacht Basin TMDLs: http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/lyrisforms/reg9_subscribe.html



The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has a webpage on the TMDL Program under section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act at http://www.epa.gov/owow/tmdl. Information on this page includes: status of 303(d) lists, TMDL program documents, TMDL Federal Advisory Committee, TMDL lawsuit information, and other links.

Region 9 of the EPA covers Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, the Pacific Islands subject to U.S. law, and approximately 140 Tribal Nations. EPA Region 9's webpage on TMDLs can be accessed at http://www.epa.gov/owow/tmdl. Information on this page includes the status of California's 303(d) list and several finalized TMDLs.

Staff Contacts

Staff Title Phone
Eric Becker Senior WRC Engineer 619-521-3364
Christina Arias WRC Engineer 619-521-3361
Whitney Ghoram Sanitary Engineering Associate 619-521-8040
Jody Ebsen Engineering Geologist 619-521-3965
Laurie Walsh WRC Engineer 619-521-3373
Wayne Chiu WRC Engineer 619-521-3354
Alex Smith Student Assistant Engineer 619-521-8045