Santa Monica Beach Gets Poor Ratings

Friday, 23 May 2014, 1:28:00 PM

Mirror Staff

As residents prepare to flock to the coast for Memorial Day weekend,

the environmental group Heal the Bay announced today that water quality

improved dramatically over the past year at Los Angeles County beaches –

a side benefit from the drought plaguing the state.

But despite the improvement brought on by the lack of polluted rain

runoff, the county still leads the state in the number of beaches

suffering from overall poor water quality, according to the group’s 24th

annual Beach Report Card, which assigns letter grades to beaches across

the state.

One in 10 Los Angeles County beaches received grades of C or worse

for pollution during the 2013-14 summer period, which stretched from

April through October of last year, according to the report. Three Los

Angeles County beaches – Mothers Beach in Marina del Rey, Cabrillo Beach

in San Pedro and the beach at the Santa Monica Pier – earned spots on

Heal the Bay’s “Beach Bummer List” of the most polluted beaches in the

state.

Heal the Bay looked into the cause of the bad grades at the Santa

Monica Pier and found that netting had deteriorated, allowing birds to

roost there, according to Kirsten James, science and policy director for

water quality for Heal the Bay.

“Now that is patched up, we’re hopeful the grades will improve,” James said.

In contrast to the bummer list, eight Los Angeles County beaches

landed on the group’s Honor Roll, which recognizes beaches that scored

perfect A-plus grades for the report’s three time periods. Twelve

beaches in Orange County were listed on the Honor Roll.

“We’ve seen marked improvements in California’s beach water quality

this year due to the historically dry conditions,” James said. “However,

the rains will return, and when they do, we need to capture this

valuable resource to maximize our local water supplies and keep polluted

water out of our ocean.”

To make sure to keep Southern California on track for improved water

quality, Heal the Bay is working with municipalities to install storm

water infiltration projects.

Heal the Bay officials noted that Avalon Beach, which has

traditionally been ranked among one of the most polluted beaches in the

state, dropped off of the Beach Bummer List this year, thanks to a

series of efforts to improve water quality, including nearly $6 million

in sewer system improvements. Poche Beach in Orange County also fell off

the list.

According to Heal the Bay, 90 percent of Los Angeles County beaches

received A or B grades during the April-October 2013 summer period, up

from 6 percent over the previous year.

“This is good news for beachgoers in Los Angeles at most of our local beaches,” James said.

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