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Heal The Bay Launches New 'Report Card' To Grade L.A. Rivers And Watering Holes

(Photo by Archie Tucker via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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Heal The Bay will begin releasing regular water quality reports for rivers and other recreational zones throughout the Los Angeles area.

"Today, we take the wraps off our River Report Card, a new online tool that lets users check for harmful bacteria levels at nearly a dozen freshwater recreational zones, stretching from Malibu to Frogtown, from Encino to Atwater Village," a press release from Heal The Bay noted on Thursday.

The report card covers three main watersheds—the Malibu Creek watershed, the Los Angeles River watershed, and the San Gabriel River watershed—and tests for the bacterias E. coli and Enterococcus. The two bacterias are "fecal indicator bacteria," which indicate the possible presence of more pathogenic (re: harmful) bacteria, notes Heal The Bay. The data, updated every Monday and Wednesday, will be supplied by testing from Heal The Bay, along with supplemental data from various municipal and county agencies also monitoring the watersheds.

The idea for the River Report Card came after last year's sewage spill into the Los Angeles River. According to the L.A. Times, 2.4 million gallons of sewage overflowed near 6th Street and Mission Road in Boyle Heights, closing the river and various beaches downstream.

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"Sewage spills are unusual one-time events, but a new study that I have just completed demonstrates that bacterial pollution continues to plague the river on a chronic, long-term basis," Katherine Pease of Heal The Bay wrote in the organization's July 2016 report. "The findings are a cause for both concern and opportunity — given the growing recreational uses of the river and a $1 billion revitalization plan for L.A.’s central water body."

That $1 billion plan ($1.3 billion, actually), is the one approved by the Army Corps of Engineers for an 11-mile portion of the river. The restoration has already opened sections of the river up to kayaking and even swimming.

Heal The Bay's map of current water quality levels at various Los Angeles area rivers and watering holes can be found here. We've also embedded it below: