Measuring Progress

SCVURPPP member agencies make sure their efforts are reducing trash through various monitoring activities.

Read on to learn more about:

On-Land Visual Trash Assessments, Creek & Shoreline Monitoring, Operation & Maintenance, and Additional Resources.

On-Land Visual Trash Assessments

Staff assessing the visual impact of trash that could get into stormwater (Photo by Program Staff)

This cost-effective method provides Bay Area municipal agencies with a viable option to quantify the level of trash discharged from storm drainage systems.

The protocol consists of visually scoring the street and sidewalk on a four-level scale. Assessors observe the magnitude of trash in selected street segments and note their findings.  A probabilistic sampling design provides a representative record of trash conditions within each management area.

Thousands of On-land Visual Trash Assessments have been conducted to-date in the Santa Clara Valley. Results suggest that enhanced trash control measures such as street sweeping, on-land cleanups and product-related ordinances have decreased the level of trash on streets and sidewalks in many communities. These actions have therefore reduced the amount of trash that is available for transport to water bodies by storm drainage systems.

SCVURPPP continues to help municipal agencies through GIS mapping, on-land trash measurements and analysis of trash reductions.

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Creek & Shoreline Monitoring

Program Staff monitoring a creek in Santa Clara Valley (Photo by Program staff)

To assess trash levels in local streams and shorelines, SCVURPPP has participated in a regional project with the Bay Area Stormwater Management Agencies Association (BASMAA).  BASMAA developed a trash monitoring plan for San Francisco Bay Area agencies to assess levels of trash in receiving waters.
SCVURPPP and municipal agency staff monitor trash levels at 30 stream sites across Santa Clara County during wet & dry seasons.  Multi-year monitoring will help determine progress towards trash reduction goals.

Operation & Maintenance

Municipal staff maintaining a trash capture device in a stormdrain inlet (Photo by municipal staff)

To operate effectively, trash full capture systems require maintenance at levels necessary to consistently achieve their design standard.  Municipal agencies check for and resolve operational problems through standard and routine maintenance of full-capture devices.

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Additional Resources


Studies, Reports and Factsheets, updated regularly.

My Watershed Watch

Watershed Watch offers free educational resources and programs to help you prevent trash pollution in your neighborhood, local creeks and San Francisco Bay.

Zero Litter Initiative 

The Zero Litter Initiative brings together stakeholders including Caltrans, non-profits, and other Regional Agencies interested in eliminating litter throughout Santa Clara Valley.

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