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Did Los Angeles County Beaches Make the Grade? Heal the Bay Releases Annual Beach Report Card

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The beach at Santa Monica (Photo by chickpokipsie via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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As summertime draws near, once again Heal the Bay has prepared and released their annual Beach Report Card. For the 21st year, the nonprofit's report "grades approximately 600 locations along the West Coast for summer dry weather and more than 324 locations year-round on an A-to-F scale based on the risk of adverse health effects to beachgoers." Those grades "are based on fecal bacteria pollution concentrations in the surf zone."

This year's findings continue to show that the dramatic disparity between water quality results logged in dry versus wet weather is the result of unsuccessful stormwater runoff pollution reduction.

Locally, while beaches in the Southern California region (Santa Barbara through San Diego counties) had summer dry weather grades higher than the state average, half of the beaches in the region earned fair to poor wet weather grades. Four Los Angeles County agencies participated in monitoring endeavors that provided data for the Heal the Bay report. Some, like Avalon and Cabrillo, remain plagued with problems, while some, like Santa Monica, are making strides towards improving water quality year-round.

The report includes the naming of the "Top 10 Beach Bummers," which are the beaches who earned the most significant "F" grades. Four of the 10 most polluted beaches in the state were in Los Angeles County: Avalon Harbor Beach - Catalina Island (#2), Cabrillo Beach - harborside (#3), Topanga State Beach - at creek mouth (#4), and Colorado Lagoon (#9).

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Seven beaches in L.A. County were named to the report's honor roll: El Pescador State Beach, Malibu Colony Fence, Pena Creek at Las Tunas County Beach, Venice Beach Fishing Pier (50 yards south), El Segundo's Hyperion Treatment Plant One Mile Outfall, and Palos Verdes (Bluff) Cove Abalone Cove Shoreline Park.

The full report, which includes analysis of all the regions and counties included in the report, grades, and recommendations, is available online via Heal the Bay.