The Effects of Storm Drain Runoff on Fish and Invertebrate Populations at Palos Verdes Peninsula


Sara Damore

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Palos Verdes Peninsula is located at the center of a series of coastal storm drains designed to enhance water flow out of the Los Angeles Basin in order to prevent flooding. These storm drains transport pollutants and debris directly to the coast of Los Angeles and are responsible for seasonal plumes of toxic storm water. The purpose of this study was to understand the effects of this runoff on the populations of fish, invertebrates, and giant kelp at four main storm drains in Palos Verdes. Two data collection sites were appointed for each storm drain; one closest to the drain and one furthest without being in the domain of another drain. CRANE surveys took place at each site between 2007-2011. Data was contrasted between the site pairs for each storm drain and amongst all sites in order to determine species richness, diversity, density, biomass, and population dynamics of invertebrates and kelp. Of the four main metrics tested, species richness was the only measurement that matched the hypothesis that there would be more fish at the further stations at all four drain sites. Populations of urchins and non-urchin invertebrates also matched the original hypothesis. Fish density and biomass matched the hypothesis at three of the four drain sites. Kelp holdfast density was higher at two of the four further sites. Shannon-Wiener diversity index data only matched the hypothesis at one of four drain sites, likely due to large populations of a few species at the further sites.


Dan Pondella




Ford Research Mentors Endowment

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