About The CCWater

Our Mission

The Central Coast Water Resources Center identifies opportunities to enhance water resources along the California central coast, and provides the scientific and technical capabilities to execute projects that promote watershed health, productivity, and resource dependability.

Our Work

The Central Coast Water Resources Center (CCWater) is a non-profit organization that brings together decades of successful grant-funded research and resource management experience from the Marine Pollution Studies Laboratory, the Regional Data Center, the Central Coast Wetlands Group, and the Moss Landing Benthic Laboratory. CCWater provides a regional focal point to promote cooperative water management programs, attract and efficiently manage state and federal grants, and leverage the depth of scientific and regulatory expertise available from the Center's core partners and its well-established working relationships with colleagues across the central coast. The expertise and facilities available from this partnership are particularly well suited to solving regional water challenges, including:

  • assessing and improving water quality in urban and agricultural areas
  • restoring aquatic habitat
  • creating biological infrastructure to treat contaminated surface water
  • managing large environmental data sets to transform, process, maintain and query data from multiple sources
  • translating data into information immediately useful for water resource management
  • addressing regional issues by developing partnerships and cooperative programs involving municipalities, local and state agencies, and a range of stakeholders.

Project Directors

John Hunt

Director of the Central Coast Water Resources Center

John Hunt is Director of the Central Coast Water Resources Center. For over 25 years he has been on the research faculty of the University of California, currently as research toxicologist in the Department of Environmental Toxicology at UC Davis. His work focuses on water pollution assessment, including designing and conducting large scale monitoring programs, evaluating the effectiveness of vegetated systems to treat contaminated runoff, determining the chemical causes of toxicity, characterizing biological impacts in coastal and estuarine waters and tracing contaminant sources in tributary watersheds. He served as deputy superintendent of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary in charge of science and resource protection, and as research toxicologist with the Bay Foundation of Morro Bay assessing landscape, habitat, water quality and ecological data to address the vision goals and management information needs of the Regional Water Quality Control Board. He has served on approximately 20 scientific advisory panels and sits on a number of local boards and commissions. With his UC colleagues at Granite Canyon he has published 60 scientific journal articles and dozens of agency reports. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Geography from UC Berkeley, an M.S. degree in Marine Science from the Moss Landing Marine Laboratories and a Ph.D. in Environmental Studies from UC Santa Cruz.

Stacy Kim

Co-director of the Benthic Laboratory

Stacy Kim has been interested in marine biology since she was very young, when a tidepool octopus that she found squirted ink into her face. She did her undergraduate work in Biology at the University of California, Los Angeles, completed a M.S. in Marine Science at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories in 1989 and finished her Ph.D. at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Biological Oceanography in 1996. The theme of Stacy's research is community ecology in extreme habitats. She has been involved in diverse research projects in a wide variety of locations, from studying polychaete worms in kelp forests off California, to examining marine mammal disturbance of soft bottoms in Alaska, investigating polluted areas in Antarctica, and studying the dispersal of animals between hydrothermal vent habitats in the deep sea.

John Oliver

Co-director of the Benthic Laboratory

John Oliver is interested in disturbances and other processes that influence the organization of benthic invertebrate communities, particularly in sedimentary habitats or soft bottom ecosystems and often where human activities are major disturbances. John completed his B.A. at Whittier College in 1969, an M.S. in Marine Science at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories in 1973 and a Ph.D. in Oceanography at Scripps Institute of Oceanography in 1980. Recently John has been studying one of the most diverse soft bottom communities in the world at the shelf edge in Monterey Bay and dramatic degradation of inner shelf communities from regional warming in the last 25 years. John also works in freshwater benthic ecosystems, and coordinates many habitat restoration projects in local sand dunes and wetlands. He is particularly interested in establishing, preserving and recovering quantitative baseline benthic community datasets for measuring future changes due to anthropogenic and natural disturbance.

Rusty Fairey

Director of the Marine Pollution Studies Laboratory

Rusty Fairey leads the researchers and oversees the management and funding of research projects at the Marine Pollution Studies Laboratory at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories. Rusty graduated from Texas A&M University in 1984 with a B.S. in Marine Biology and from Moss Landing Marine Laboratories in 1992 with an M.S. in Marine Science. His research focuses on marine geochemistry and the flux of trace metals from marine sediments. Rusty serves as a member of the international SETAC Sediment Advisory Group in an advisory role on sediment and fish tissue contamination research. He provides expertise at MPSL-MLML in study design, sediment quality assessment, field sampling, and general project implementation and management.

Ross Clark

Director of the Central Coast Wetlands Group

Ross Clark is the Director of the Central Coast Wetlands Group at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories whose mission is to coordinate the advancement of wetland research and policy on the Central Coast. Ross has worked as a member of the California Wetland Monitoring Workgroup to develop wetland monitoring and assessment tools for use by state agencies charged with managing wetland resources. Recent work includes development of the California Rapid Assessment Method (CRAM) for Bar Built Estuaries and supporting the use of treatment wetlands to reduce nutrient loading in agricultural areas.