Resource Management Agency Seal

Resource Management Agency

Environmental Services

Environmental Services
Ph: (831) 755-4800
Fax: (831) 757-9516
1441 Schilling Place
2nd Floor -South
Salinas, Ca 93901

Office Hours:
Monday through Friday
8:00 am - 4:00 pm

Although every effort is made to provide complete and accurate information on this website and all its documents, users are advised to contact applicable County Resource Management Agency staff before making project decisions and fee estimates.

Since 1974, California's State Water Resources Control Board has designated thirty-four coastal and off-shore areas as Areas of Special Biological Significance (ASBS), four of which are located off the coast of Monterey County: Pacific Grove Marine Gardens, Carmel Bay, Point Lobos Ecological Reserve, Julia Pfeiffer Burns Underwater Park, and Salmon Creek Coast.    The California Ocean Plan prohibits discharges of waste into ASBS, including pollutants contained within storm water runoff, unless the State Water Board grants an exception.  On March 20, 2012, an Exception was granted that allows registered Dischargers to operate existing storm drains that discharge into ASBS, provided that discharges shall not alter natural ocean water quality.  


ASBS Dischargers that continue to operate storm drain systems under the exception are required to monitor the quality of runoff that enters the ASBS to ensure that it does not alter natural ocean water quality.  Ocean water was also monitored through two winters to characterize the natural ocean water quality which discharges are expected to maintain.  The County is a participating member of the Central Coast  Regional ASBS Dischargers Monitoring Program that performs the water quality monitoring that is required under the Exception.  

Because Monterey County operates storm drain systems that discharge into Carmel Bay ASBS and are regulated under its Phase II Municipal General Permit, the County is required to eliminate discharges of any pollutant that affect natural ocean water quality in Carmel Bay.  The County is developing an ASBS Compliance Plan that describes the actions the County will employ to maintain natural ocean water quality.  Properties that are located in areas that drain to the Carmel Bay ASBS are regulated under the ASBS program - these areas are identified on the County's ASBS Watershed Protection Area Maps.  Specifically, weekly inspections of active construction projects are required in these areas throughout the rainy season.  Additional requirements will be developed as the extent of pollutants that discharge into Carmel Bay are quantified and become more clearly understood.  If actions that the County employs are ineffective at maintaining natural ocean water quality, additional measures will be required to effectively eliminate pollutant discharges.