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Thank you for visiting the data portal of Heal the Bay’s Stream Team. Since 1998, dedicated citizen volunteers have collected high quality water chemistry data in the Malibu Creek Watershed. This data portal provides online access to free, publically available water quality data where it can be queried, viewed, and downloaded.


The default map is a Google Map set in "terrain" mode. Monitoring locations are referenced via dot and Stream Team marker. To see a photo and average nutrient measurements, click the dot. To see all photos of all monitoring locations in a slideshow, click on a photo. The slideshow will open in a new tab or window depending on your browser's settings. Hovering over a Stream Team marker will reveal that monitoring location's name.

To obtain a better view of a location, zoom in on the map using your mouse scroll wheel or the zoom bar on the map.

The brown outline on the map represents the Malibu Creek Watershed, our main area of interest. Most of our sites are within this watershed, however, some of our reference sites are outside the watershed and serve as sites for comparison.

Control Panel

The control panel on the right allows the user to query, view, and download data. Data can be viewed in both table and chart form from two distinct perspectives:

  • Many Sites for One Parameter
  • Or
  • Many Parameters for One Site

If you select more than one Site, you will be locked into "Multi-Site" mode. When visualizing the data from this perspective, the chart will show all measurements taken for that single selected Parameter across those selected Sites. This mode will remain locked until only one Site is selected.

The same holds true when selecting multiple Parameters. If more than one Parameter is selected, the Control Panel will lock itself in "Multi-Parameter" mode and remain that way until one or less Parameters has been selected.

To select multiple Sites or parameters, use your mouse while holding the Shift key or the Control key to select discontinuous entries.

To be sure to get a few data points from your query, you'll want to choose a valid date range within which measurements were actually taken. Here are a few hints:

Leave the date range alone, selecting no dates at all, and the chart will automatically pick up the entire sampling history for you. Once your data appears in chart form, you can select specific date ranges by highlighting the range of interest.

If your browser is up to date (latest versions of: Firefox, Chrome, IE9 (fully-updated), Safari, Opera, etc.), you may use the calendar menu for a "point and click" experience.

Or you can also type in the specific date you want to view.


Once you've made a successful query using the Control Panel, a chart of your results should replace the Map and Control Panel on your screen. You can hover over any point and see the measurement details for that day's sampling. You can click and drag over any area of the chart to zoom in to a more specific date range. You can even click on a site or parameter on the bottom legend to activate or de-activate display on the chart. Once you've finished creating the view of your specific query data, you can print and export the chart by clicking on the print and export buttons at the top right corner of the chart.

Data Table

Your successful query results in both a chart and its corresponding data table. To visualize the table, click on the button “See Data”. The table itself is sortable such that you may click on any column header to sort results by that header, e.g. clicking on the Sites column header will sort all fields in ascending or descending order by site.

Download Data

Your successful query is also available for download. Clicking the "Download Query Data" button will automatically download the specific query data in CSV format. CSV is recognizable by any spreadsheet-like software (LibreOffice, OpenOffice, Excel, etc.) and will open in any text editor.

If you would like to download the whole database in CSV format, click the "Download All Data button".

Parameter Descriptions

Air Temperature: Air temperature is an important determinant of water temperature.

Water Temperature: Water temperature directly affects biological and chemical processes. Some fish species prefer colder waters than other species. Benthic macroinvertebrates will move in the stream in order to find their optimal temperature.

pH: pH is a measure of how acidic or alkaline the water is at the time of testing. The pH of a stream affects the ability of plants and wildlife to function and live. pH is measured on a scale from 1.0 to 14.0. Neutral pH is 7.0. Acidic pH is less than 7.0, and alkaline is greater than 7.0. A wide variety of aquatic animals prefer a range of 6.5-8.0 pH. A pH meter measures the electric potential of water in millivolts or pH units.

Dissolved Oxygen (DO): Aquatic organisms rely on the presence of oxygen in streams. In water, oxygen is in a dissolved form. Water temperature, altitude, time of day, and seasons can all affect the amount of dissolved oxygen. Maximum amounts of DO are produced with the energy of the late afternoon sun. By early morning, the same plants may have taken up the oxygen, making levels of DO lowest at this time.

Turbidity: Turbidity is a measure of water clarity. Insoluble solids or suspended particles such as clay, silt, sand, algae, plankton and other substances affect the clarity of the water. High levels of turbidity affect the ability of steelhead trout and other aquatic organisms to survive. Water temperature is increased because suspended particles absorb more heat. Also, when turbidity is high, photosynthesis is reduced due to the decrease in the amount of light traveling through the water. Sources of turbidity include soil erosion, waste discharge, urban runoff, eroding streambanks, large numbers of bottom feeders that stir up sediments, and excessive algal growth.

Conductivity: Conductivity measures the ability of water to pass an electrical current. The concentration of dissolved solids, or the conductivity, in streams is directly affected by the substrate or stream bottom material. Conductivity indirectly measures the presence of inorganically dissolved solids such as chloride, nitrate, sulfate, phosphate, sodium, magnesium, calcium, iron, and aluminum. These substances enable the water to conduct electricity at a higher level. Failing septic tanks, sewage spills, and agricultural runoff containing phosphates and nitrates are indicated by high conductivity measurements. In general conductivity is higher in areas with clay soils because these soils tend to dissolve in water. Conversely, organic substances like oil, alcohol, and grease are poor conductors of electricity and will yield low conductivity measurements.

Stream Flow: Stream flow is the volume of water that moves past a fixed point in a specific interval of time. The amount of water (volume) and how fast it is traveling (velocity) determines the flow of a stream. Stream flow is an important indicator of water quality. It affects the available oxygen level in water that fish and other aquatic wildlife depend on to live. Generally streams with higher flows have more oxygen available for aquatic wildlife. Stream flow also controls the amount of sediment that is transported in a stream. Streams with higher velocities and larger flows transport greater amounts of sediments than streams with lower flows. In addition, stream flow determines how pollution is transported downstream and influences the ability of a stream to dilute pollution. Large, swift rivers have a greater ability to dilute and degrade runoff pollutants, unlike smaller streams.

Nutrients: Nitrate, Ammonia, Phosphate: Phosphorus and nitrogen are both nutrients occurring naturally in streams and are essential for plants and animals in an aquatic ecosystem. These nutrients originate from both naturally occurring sources and from areas of human development. Naturally occurring sources include soils, eroding rocks, and terrestrial animal and plant waste washing into the streams. Problems occur when large amounts of phosphorous and nitrogen are introduced into the stream ecosystem. As a result, there can be excessive algal growth, which will deplete the available oxygen in the stream that fish and other aquatic organisms depend upon. Sources of nutrients from human development include wastewater treatment plants, runoff from fertilized agricultural lands, lawns, and golf courses, runoff from grazing animals, and commercial cleaning activities. Two field tests are used to measure the nitrogen content in streams: nitrate-nitrogen and ammonia- nitrogen. Nitrogen (N2) is the gas that composes 80% of the air we breathe most plants cannot use nitrogen in this form. N2 is converted into a form that can be used by plants to build proteins, called nitrates. It is this form of nitrogen that the Stream Team will measure. In streams with low levels of dissolved oxygen, nitrogen will be found in the form of ammonia. Ammonia is extremely toxic to aquatic life as compared to nitrates. Sources of nitrates include wastewater treatment plants, runoff from animal manure storage areas, runoff from fertilized lawns and croplands, failing or improperly maintained septic systems, and industrial discharges containing corrosion inhibitors. Phosphorous is a useful indicator of potential problems associated with excessive plant growth. High amounts of dissolved phosphorous may indicate a pollution source such as chemical fertilizers or a leaking septic system. Insoluble phosphorous can be due to excessive erosion, animal waste, or sewage.

Bacteria: Total coliform, E. coli, Enterococcus: Bacteria are microscopic single- celled organisms that function as decomposers by breaking down plant and animal remains. Human activities often transport disease-causing bacteria or pathogens into the ecosystem. The fecal waste from humans or warm-blooded animals is the largest concern for human health. Sources of fecal bacterial contamination include livestock areas, landfills, faulty septic systems, fecal waste from pets, sewage sludge, sewage discharge that has not been disinfected, leaky sewage pipes, and stormwater runoff. Wildlife also add bacteria to water bodies through feces. Direct testing for pathogens is very expensive and impractical because pathogens are hard to find in waterbodies. We monitor for Total coliform, Escherichia coli (E. coli), and Enterococcus because their presence indicates the existence of other pathogens that do pose a health risk to humans. Water contaminated with these bacteria can cause stomach flu, ear infection, upper respiratory infection, and skin rash to swimmers or surfers. In addition, tests for these bacteria can be done quickly and cheaply. Total coliform, which means coliform bacteria of all types, originates from many sources, including soil, plants, animals and humans. E. coli and Enterococcus bacteria are found in the fecal matter of mammals and birds.

Regulatory Limits

Parameter Units Regulatory Limit
Season W (wet season: Nov. 16-April 14)
D (dry season: April 15-Nov. 15)
Air Temperature ° Celsius N/A
Water Temperature ° Celsius N/A
pH pH Units (0-14) NA
Dissolved Oxygen mg/L (Milligrams of gas/Liter of water) 7 mg/L (below 7 is impaired)
Turbidity NTU (Nephelometric Turbidity Units) N/A
Conductivity µS/cm (Microsiemens/Centimeter) N/A
Stream Flow ft3/s (Cubic feet/second) N/A
Nutrients: Nitrate mg/L (Milligrams/Liter) 1.0 mg/L (April 15 - Nov. 15)
8.0 mg/L (Nov. 16 - April 14)
Nutrients: Ammonia mg/L (Milligrams/Liter) 2.0 mg/L
Nutrients: Phosphate mg/L (Milligrams/Liter) 0.1 mg/L (April 15 - Nov. 15)
Bacteria: Total Coliform MPN (most probable number/100ml) N/A
Bacteria: E. coli MPN (most probable number/100ml) 235/100ml
Bacteria: Enterococcus MPN (most probable number/100ml) 61/100ml
Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) 39 (below 39 is impaired)

Special Thanks

To accomplish this level of functionality entire teams of people's efforts had to be combined. We would like to thank:

Google and, specifically, the teams dedicated to the following products: Fusion Tables, Google Charts and Visualization Objects, Google Maps, Google Docs, Picasa Photos, and their awe-inspiring Cloud Infrastructure and Authentication/Authorization teams. Their charting software provides a high level of detail and superb ability to customize and configure. The quality of analyses that can be derived from their charts has brought much greater meaning to our data as a result.

jQuery by John Resig and community. John Resig initially began jQuery to "clean up" much of the incompatible browser issues when it came to programming applications like this one. Over the years jQuery has become so well used and loved that thousands of programming minds across the world have wrestled with and contributed to its ongoing success.

jQuery Tabify. The author Jan Jarfalk has developed a very fast, very lightweight Tab widget that keeps our control panel running quickly.

These teams have made great products and it's been a real pleasure to work with them. Thank you from the Stream Team.

Welcome to The Stream Team's Data Portal

This portal allows users to query, graph, and download water quality data from the Malibu Creek Watershed, collected by Heal the Bay’s Stream Team since 1998

Multi-Stream Mode

Multi-Parameter Mode

Default will select all available dates OR select a range from 1998 to the present (not all sites have been monitored for the entire time period)

Beginning Date:
Ending Date:

This site is best viewed in Google Chrome