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Friday, May 22, 2009

Heal the Bay Gives the Grades

Just in time for the kickoff to summer this Memorial Day weekend, Heal the Bay has released its 19th annual Beach Report Card (BRC), with information on the status of California's coastline. Heal the Bay's BRC provides water quality information to the millions of people who swim, surf, or dive in California coastal waters.

Reported from April 2008 through March 2009, Heal the Bay analysts assigned A-to-F letter grades to 502 beaches along the California coast, based on levels of weekly bacterial pollution. To much relief, 91% of beaches statewide received A or B grades during dry weather, meaning very good to excellent water quality. For the first time, Heal the Bay also handed out A+ grades to 79 beaches that never exceeded bacterial standards. Among those sites were Will Rogers State Beach on Pacific Coast Highway, Dockweiler State Beach at the Imperial Highway drain and Portuguese Bend Cove in Rancho Palos Verdes.

However, there were some beach bummers that did not make the honor roll. Some of the lowest grades were given out to Surfrider Beach in Malibu and Santa Monica Pier. While we are on the track to cleaner water and better regulations, we have a lot more work to do in terms of our daily pollution prevention practices. Poor water quality not only affects the health of beachgoers and marine life, but also threatens California's ocean-dependent economy valued at $43 billion.

Since the BRC was first published nineteen years ago, beachgoers throughout California have come to rely on the grades produced within the weekly, summer and annual documents as a vital public health protection tool. The Stormwater Program also works closely with the monitoring teams of Heal the Bay to provide accurate information to all LA residents.

For more information on Heal the Bay and the results of the BRC, visit: http://www.healthebay.org/

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