The State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) designates thirty-four coastal regions in the California Ocean Plan as Areas of Special Biological Significance (ASBS) in an effort to preserve these unique and sensitive marine ecosystems for future generations. The Pacific Grove Area of Special Biological Significance (ASBS) is 3.2 miles of Pacific Grove coastline west from the Monterey Bay Aquarium to Asilomar Boulevard just before Point Pinos. This ASBS lies entirely within the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, and contains the Pacific Grove State Marine Conservation Area and Hopkins State Marine Reserve. The ASBS receives runoff from approximately 1,106 acres in Pacific Grove and 103 acres in Monterey including a small portion from the federal U. S. Army Presidio of Monterey.
ASBS are a subset of state water quality protection areas in the ocean along California’s coast that require special protection per the California Marine Managed Areas Improvement Act. Their protection is promulgated by State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) through the California Ocean Plan (Ocean Plan). The Ocean Plan prohibits the discharge of waste to designated ASBS.
Accordingly, on March 20, 2012, SWRCB adopted a General Exception to the Ocean Plan waste discharge prohibition in relation to the ASBS. The General Exception, which is described in SWRCB Resolution No. 2012-0012 and amended by Resolution No. 2012-0031, governs point and non-point source waste discharges to California’s ASBS, which include municipal storm water discharges. The Pacific Grove ASBS is covered under this exemption.
The General Exception includes “Special Protections” for Beneficial Uses of ASBS and requires development of ASBS Compliance Plans to demonstrate local compliance by permitted point source dischargers, such as municipal dischargers and others to the ASBS.
September 2016 Final ASBS Compliance Plan
The ASBS Compliance Plan describes how the Cities of Pacific Grove and Monterey will comply with the Special Protections.
April 2014 Monterey-Pacific Grove ASBS Stormwater Management Project
The proposed project is the Monterey-Pacific Grove ASBS Stormwater Management Project is to improve stormwater quality prior to being discharged into the ASBS, in accordance with State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) standards. A secondary project purpose is to provide stormwater as a source of non-potable recycled water supply for local irrigation and regional groundwater replenishment.