Beach Water Clear in Ore. and Wash.

Just in time to head to the shore for the Labor Day weekend, Heal the Bay’s end-of-summer 2012 Beach Report Card for Oregon and Washington shows mostly A’s and B’s, with just a few spots that need improving. This is the third year that Heal the Bay has released summertime bacterial pollution data for beaches in the Pacific Northwest.

The report analyzed water quality data collected between Memorial Day and Labor Day at 240 monitoring locations in Oregon and Washington, issuing an A-to-F grade assigned to each beach based on levels of bacterial pollution. The lower the grade, the greater the risk of an ocean user contracting an illness from contact with the water.

In Washington, swimmers are warned to avoid Holmes Harbor’s (Freeland County Park in Island County), Larrabee State Park (Whatcom County) and Mukilteo Lighthouse Park (Snohomish County). State agencies investigating high bacteria counts have identified problems with thick beach wrack, animal waste and polluted stormwater discharge, respectively, at these beach monitoring locations.

Meanwhile, Oregon beaches were quite clean this summer, with all 11 regularly monitored beaches in Clatsop and Tillamook counties receiving A grades for the third straight year.

Ocean lovers all along the Pacific Coast can check their local beach’s water quality themselves via Heal the Bay’s free Beach Report Card app for iPhone and Android users, which provides searchable A through F grades, weather conditions and users tips for more than 650 beaches in California, Oregon and Washington. Stay tuned for the end-of-summer Beach Report Card for California in the coming weeks.

Unfortunately, proposed cuts by the EPA threaten future beach water quality testing by zeroing out BEACH Act grant funding throughout the United States. Take action to find out more and send a letter directly to the EPA to restore such funding.