State Seeks Input on Which Oregon Coast Beaches to Monitor
Published 04/16/2017 at 4:43 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff
(Oregon Coast) – What Oregon coast beaches do you think need to be monitored for health hazards? The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) wants to get public input and opinion.
OHA is taking suggestions until May 8, based on beaches the agency is proposing to be part of its monitoring system during this summer. Beaches are normally monitored from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
OHA's Monitoring Program works with the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to determine beaches that need monitoring based on several established criteria. Among the issues looked at are pollution hazards that may be present, beaches that have had previous water quality issues, type and amount of beach use, and public input.
The list of 2016 beaches included one or two sections of many beach towns and areas between – but it is not comprehensive. Out of more than 90 separate beaches along the Oregon coast, about 30 were monitored last year. The state has only one full-time beach monitoring professional.
OHA regularly re-evaluates which beaches and sampling locations are used to protect public health. This year, their criteria has led them to propose the following beaches for monitoring in 2017:
Seaside Beach, Cannon Beach and Tolovana State Park Beach in Clatsop County. In Tillamook County, they are proposing Short Sand State Park Beach, Rockaway Beach, Twins Rocks Beach, and Neskowin State Park Beach.
On the central Oregon coast, Lincoln County proposed beaches are Lincoln City's D River State Park Beach; Newport's Beverly Beach, Agate State Park Beach, and Nye Beach; and Seal Rock State Park Beach just south of Newport. The one Lane County beach proposed is Heceta Beach (in Florence).
On the southern Oregon coast, beaches include Bastendorff Beach, Sunset Bay State Park Beach, Hubbard Creek Beach, Harris Beach State Park and Crissey Field State Park. A copy of the 2017 beach evaluation report is available on the OHA website.
The proposed list very similar to last year's, and looks at beaches most frequently visited, where bacteria has been previously found, or which local partners and the public have requested monitoring due to potential pollution concerns.
The list of the 2016 monitored beaches and sampling schedule is available on the program's website.
OHA will accept public comments and suggestions on the proposed 2017 beaches through May 8. Comments can be submitted by email at email@example.com or by calling 971-673-0400.
Advisories are issued when test results show bacteria levels are at or above the standard 158 cfu/100ml marine water. They are lifted when results show levels below that, which typically takes 48 hours or so. Most often these are caused by fecal bacteria getting into the water, but it is usually not known exactly what that source is in each instance. One known source for some areas are the large flocks of seagulls that occur when people feed them, and their droppings make it into outgoing streams.
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