Quality Drops at LA County Beaches

This year, 75 percent of Los Angeles County's 92 beaches received A's or B's and eight got F's in Heal the Bay's annual report

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Heal the Bay has released its annual report card, grading beaches in California, Washington and Oregon.

    The quality of Los Angeles County beaches has declined in the past year, while Orange and Ventura counties have continued to excel, according to a new report.

    On Wednesday, environmental group Heal the Bay released its 2011 Beach Report Card, grading hundreds of beaches along the west coast.

    Last year, 80 percent of Los Angeles County's 92 beaches received A or B grades. This year, that percentage dropped to 75. The statewide average is 90 percent.

    The grades are based beach water quality samples taken at least once a week. The ratings are also split into four time frames: summer dry season, year-round dry weather, winter dry weather and year-round wet weather, according to Heal the Bay.

    Eight LA County beaches received year-round F grades, with four of those ranking among the worst 10 in the state (see below).

    "Despite numerous individual beach success stories, this year demonstrated that there hasn't been progress reducing major beach pollution sources like the Los Angeles River, Malibu Creek and Topanga Creek," said Heal the Bay President Dr. Mark Gold.

    Catalina's Avalon Beach was the region's worst offender, although the report notes the city has budgeted $5.1 million for upcoming sewer improvements.

    Orange County continued to excel, with 96 percent of 84 beaches receiving an A or B during dry weather monitoring. The county had similar numbers last year.

    During wet weather monitoring, 64 percent of OC locations received A's or B's, up from 42 percent last year.

    Ventura County appears to be the crown jewel of local beaches with all 40 beaches receiving A grades for dry weather monitoring. Surfer's Point, Promenade Park, San Buenaventura Beach at San Jon Road, Surfer's Knoll and Channel Islands Harbor Beach Park received D's during wet weather reporting. No F's were handed out for either wet or dry monitoring.

    According to the report, only 33 percent of monitored beaches in Long Beach scored A's or B's.

    "Long Beach's water quality is poor overall because it sits at the terminus of the pollution-choked L.A. River. The nearly 1,000-square-mile drainage area is the predominant source of fecal bacteria to Long Beach waters," according to a statement from Heal the Bay.

    The full report is available online.

    The Top 10 Beach Bummers

    1. Cowell Beach – at the wharf (Santa Cruz County)
    2. Avalon Harbor Beach on Catalina Island (Los Angeles County)
    3. Cabrillo Beach harborside (Los Angeles County)
    4. Topanga State Beach at creek mouth (Los Angeles County)
    5. Poche Beach (Orange County)
    6. North Beach/Doheny (Orange County)
    7. Arroyo Burro Beach (Santa Barbara County)
    8. Baker Beach at Lobos Creek (San Francisco County)
    9. Colorado Lagoon (Los Angeles County)
    10. Capitola Beach -- west of the jetty (Santa Cruz County)