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Report Card Shows CA Beaches Have Brought Grades Up, But LA Co Still Lags

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Photo by Nuno_Oliveira via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr


Photo by Nuno_Oliveira via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr
A long summer of hot-hot-hot heat means lots of beach days for Southern Californians. Now that the season is wrapped up, Heal the Bay has released their annual Summer Beach Report Card [PDF]. The non-profit group graded nearly 500 beaches statewide based on bacterial pollution levels monitored from Memorial Day to Labor Day this year, according to their release, and the news is generally pretty good.

Heal the Bay assigned A-F grades for our beaches, and 92% of them earned top-tier marks (A-B grades) showing modest improvement from last year's 91%. The better grades are due largely to "ongoing low rainfall totals," because that leads to "less harmful material is being washed into the oceans via the storm drains," explained Matt King, Heal the Bay's Communication Director, in an email.

LA County, unfortunately, needs to work a little harder if we ever want to be valedictorian when it comes to clean shores.

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Per the report:

Los Angeles County once again had some of the lowest summer grades in the state, with only 80% of its 81 beaches receiving A or B marks. This year, 10 beaches in the county earned F’s during the summer, but that marks improvement from last summer, when 19% of sites received failing grades. On a positive note, Santa Monica Bay monitoring locations fared notably better than last summer, exhibiting water quality of 91% A’s and B’s compared to last year’s 86%. A few Santa Monica Bay beaches still regularly exceeded newly adopted bacteria standards from April 1 to Sept. 3. Santa Monica Municipal Pier, Dockweiler State Beach at Ballona Creek, Surfrider Beach in Malibu, Topanga State Beach and Redondo Municipal Pier were the worst offenders.

Some 40% of monitored Long Beach locations received grades of C or worse, but that marks an improvement from last year, when 48% of beaches scored fair-to-poorly. Of note, there were fewer sites monitored this summer due to budget cuts. Extensive source tracking demonstrates that the vast majority of contamination comes from numerous sources along the 40-mile long, industrialized Los Angeles River, which drains into the ocean in Long Beach.