Bay Area Beaches Get Good Grades

By Jessica Greene
|  Wednesday, May 26, 2010  |  Updated 2:15 PM PDT
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An annual study shows most California beachgoers enjoyed good water quality this year, but funding cuts have put future monitoring from the nonprofit Heal the Bay in jeopardy.

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An annual study shows most California beachgoers enjoyed good water quality this year, but funding cuts have put future monitoring from the nonprofit Heal the Bay in jeopardy.

In Heal the Bay's annual report released Wednesday, 90 percent of California's beaches showed good-to-excellent water quality, with 294 of the state's 326 beaches receiving very good to excellent grades (A and B). The most polluted beach in the state is Avalon in Los Angeles.

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Bay Area beaches were given very good marks, with the exception of a few. San Mateo County's Aquatic Park and Fitzgerald Marine Reserve were both given D or F grades. Kiteboard Beach hit both ends of the grading spectrum, showing an A+ in dry weather and an F in wet weather.

The Peninsula county wasn't the only one with a huge difference in quality during wet versus dry conditions. Statewide, 45 percent of beaches showed the disparity between the seasons, demonstrating the difficulty in reducing stormwater runoff pollution. Marin's China Camp also falls into that category, scoring an F in dry conditions but a C in wet.

Mark Gold, the group's executive director, says the money for water testing will run out at the end of year. The testing requires an additional $1 to $1.5 million annually to complete.

In 2008 Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger cut $1 million in funding to monitor ocean water. The state water board provided some funding, but this year an estimated 46 beaches were not monitored compared to before the cuts.

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