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How Much Fecal Bacteria Pollution is at Your Favorite Beach? Heal the Bay Releases Latest Report Card

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Photo: Ross Reyes via LAist Featured Photos on Flickr


Photo: Ross Reyes via LAist Featured Photos on Flickr
There is some bittersweet news about L.A.'s local beaches. According to the latest report card from Heal the Bay, things are improving, but beaches in L.A. County continue to exhibit some of the lowest grades in the state. Based on routine monitoring of beaches where "water samples are analyzed for bacteria that indicate pollution from numerous sources, including fecal waste," the annual report card shows that 79% of the 86 beaches in the county earned A or B grades during dry weather. Last year, only 70% could take that claim and over the past six years, it's been an average of 75%.

Still, five of the worst beaches in the state were in L.A. County: Avalon Harbor Beach on Catalina Island, Cabrillo Beach harborside, Santa Monica Municipal Pier, Colorado Lagoon and Sunset Blvd. and PCH at Santa Ynez drain. Poche Beach in Orange County was also listed.

But a good number of local beaches earned perfect A+ scores:

  • Nicholas Beach at San Nicholas Canyon Creek mouth
  • El Pescador State Beach, between Lachusa and Los Aliso creeks
  • Will Rogers State Beach at Temescal Canyon drain
  • Santa Monica Beach at Strand St. (in front of the restrooms)
  • Venice City Beach at Topsail St.
  • Dockweiler State Beach at Imperial Hwy drain
  • Malaga Cove, Palos Verdes Estates
  • Long Point, Rancho Palos Verdes
  • Abalone Cove Shoreline Park
  • Wilder Annex, San Pedro
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In general, "Southern California (Santa Barbara through San Diego) dry weather grades (91% A and B grades) were actually slightly better than the state average for the first time in recent memory," the report noted.
Meanwhile, wet weather water quality continues to be a problem, demonstrating that reducing stormwater runoff pollution isn't 100% successful yet. Still, efforts to reduce it are helping, albeit slowly.

“After all these years of poor water quality in the summer, it is great to see that state and local funding for clean beach projects is resulting in better protection of public health,” said Mark Gold, president of Santa Monica-based Heal the Bay. Funding for monitoring also remains a threat. In 2008, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger swiped $1 million from statewide programs. While that money was backfilled from other sources, 2011 funding is an unknown at this point.

You can check out beaches you visit by using Heal the Bay's interactive map tool.