Heal the Bay’s annual report card that tracks bacteria levels in waterways showed local beaches scored on par with those in Los Angeles County, with As and Bs during summer dry weather, and many failing grades during wet weather.
Just three of Long Beach’s beaches scored As in both wet and dry weather during 2021: Alamitos Bay at 56th Place, the Granada Avenue beach (Rosie’s dog beach) and Bay Shore Avenue at Second Street, a popular swimming spot.
Two local beaches scored As in dry weather, and Bs in wet weather: 55th Place and 72nd Place, both along the Peninsula.
Five local beaches received Fs in wet weather: Fifth Place and 10th Place, both near Downtown; the westside of Belmont Pier; and Coronado and Molino avenues, both in Bluff Heights.
The Fifth Place beach is where city officials are installing a giant inflatable playground in the water, which is supposed to open on Saturday. It’s unclear if the recent rain will change that timeline.
Heal the Bay officials said polluted ocean water can present a major health risk for swimmers and surfers. According to the group, people who enter water receiving a C grade or lower in Heal the Bay’s report are at higher risk of illnesses including stomach flu, ear infections, upper respiratory infections and rashes.
Orange County beaches dominated the environmental group’s annual honor roll of coastline stretches with excellent year-round water-quality grades, which were released Wednesday ahead of the summer swim season.
A total of 51 beaches around the state landed on Heal the Bay’s Honor Roll, indicating top-rated water quality grades recorded year-round. Orange County led the way with 19 beaches making the cut, up from 10 last year. Los Angeles County had six beaches on the list—none of them in Long Beach.
Orange County beaches making the list were Dana Point Harbor Youth Dock, Dana Point Harbor Guest Dock, Poche, Doheny, Doheny State Beach at the end of the park, Doheny State Beach at the last campground, Corona Del Mar, Crystal Cove, Marine Science Institute, Dana Point Capistrano County Beach, Doheny State Beach pedestrian bridge, Dana Strands, Huntington City Beach at 17th Street, Bolsa Chica Reserve at flood gates, Surfside Beach at Sea Way, San Clemente at Avenida Calafia, Salt Creek, Laguna Lido and Treasure Island.
In Los Angeles County, beaches making the grade were Venice City Beach at Brooks Avenue, Rancho Palos Verdes Long Point, Royal Palms State Beach, Palos Verdes Estates at Malaga Cove Trail outlet, Las Tunas County Beach at Pena Creek and Nicholas Beach at San Nicholas Canyon Creek.
Los Angeles County had three beaches land on Heal the Bay’s Beach Bummer List of the 10 most polluted beaches statewide. Two of those beaches were stretches of Mother’s Beach in Marina del Rey, while the third was the Santa Monica Pier, which returned to the list after being absent last year. Mother’s Beach in the Marina is an almost annual fixture on the Beach Bummer List, thanks to its enclosed location with little water movement.
Orange County had one beach land on the Bummer List—Newport Bay at Vaughn’s Launch.
According to Heal the Bay, 94% of California beaches tested for water quality received A or B grades during summer of 2021, which the environmental group called roughly on par with the five-year average. During wet weather, however, only 66% of California beaches had good or excellent grades, which is slightly above the annual average, but “still very concerning,” according to Heal the Bay.
“It is wonderful news that most beaches in California have good water quality for swimming,” Tracy Quinn, president/CEO of Heal the Bay said in a statement.
“But there are areas with poor water quality that need improvement and infrastructure upgrades. We can’t forget that our marine ecosystems are still threatened by the climate crisis and other pollution sources, and we need solutions to address these pressing issues as well. We expect people to increasingly seek out ocean shorelines and freshwater swimming holes to cool off as temperatures rise, so safe, clean and healthy water is needed now more than ever.”
A full copy of the report, which also assesses river water quality, is available at healthebay.org/beachreportcard2022.
City News Service contributed to this report.
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