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Beach water quality report!

The National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has rated the water quality of 200 U.S. coastal beaches using a five-star guide (five stars = very good!).

Nancy Stoner (no kidding! :-) ), co-director of the NRDC and lead author of the report (“Testing the Waters: a Guide to Water Quality at Vacation Beaches”) said that “nationwide 7% of beach water samples are so contaminated with human or animal waste that they are not conducive for swimming.” There were more than 20,000 beach closings last year (the fourth year in a row) because of such wastes in the water. The NDRC Press Release is here.

Since I write about California, I will look at the beaches out here. The report does state that beaches on the Great Lakes are consistently the dirtiest and recommends booking a trip to one of the coasts.

California ranked 22nd (boooo!) in beachwater quality with 8% of samples exceeding the national standards! (The PDF just linked includes detailed summaries about California economic impacts on monitoring, standards, monitoring itself, closings and advisories, and huge tables of stats! :-) ) California has more than 400 beaches that stretch along more than 500 miles of Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay coastline in 17 counties.

More than 450 million tourists and residents visit California beaches every year.

California’s five-star beaches include: Laguna Beach-Main Beach, Bolsa Chica State Beach in Huntington Beach, and Newport Beach.

The CA beaches with the highest percent exceedance rate (exceeding the state’s daily maximum bacterial standards) in 2008 were “Avalon Beach-North of GP Pier in Los Angeles County (64%), Ventura River (mouth) in Ventura County (63%), Newport Bay-Vaughs Launch (50%) and Doheny State Beach-Surfzone at Outfall in Orange County (49%), Cabrillo Beach in Los Angeles County (49%), Doheny State Beach-250’ S of San Juan Creek (48%) and Doheny State Beach-North Beach in Orange County (44%), and Santa Monica State Beach-Santa Monica Pier (43%) and Malibu Beach-Paradise Cove in Los Angeles County (42%).”

There is some really good news for SOME of you East Coasters, but I will let you read that for yourselves.

The report says to avoid beaches with obvious sources of pollution and wait at least 24 hours after a heavy rain, which allows the pollutants to disperse. However, we do not often get heavy rains during beach season in California.

Check out the NRDC summary and the report.

-Bill at Cheshire Cat Photo™

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