What are the dirtiest beaches in California?

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I’ll start with the good news: 94% of California beaches recorded clean water quality scores in 2021 between April and October, the months when we’re most likely to swim in the ocean.

Heal the Bay, a Santa Monica-based nonprofit, released its 32nd annual Beach Report Card this week, which confirmed that California’s nearly 400 beaches are safe for swimming year-round — for the most part. .

“We are blessed with beautiful, clean beaches most days of the year,” said Tracy Quinn, President of Heal the Bay, “but unfortunately there are times and conditions when the water from the beach can make us sick”.

Heal the Bay rates beaches by levels of bacterial pollution in the water each year between April and October, the main recreational season in California and the time when local authorities must conduct regular quality testing. the water. (The ratings only take into account samples taken during dry weather, as rain carries contaminants into the ocean and significantly deteriorates water quality. This is why you should not swim in the ocean for at least 72 hours after a storm.)

All beaches in California receive a water quality score between A and F. Swimming in a beach with a rating of C or lower increases the risk of developing infections and rashes.

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According to the latest summer 2021 analysis: 9% of Northern California beaches received a grade of C or less, as did 10% of Central California beaches and 5% of Southern California beaches. You can find your favorite beach’s 2021 score in the report or check the latest water quality with Heal the Bay’s weekly beach scores.

Luke Ginger, water quality specialist at Heal the Bay, told me that the annual reports are meant to warn the public about dirty water, but also to push policy makers to address issues affecting California’s coast. . Some beaches repeatedly rank among the worst in the state due to structural issues – for example, bacteria easily accumulate in coves with little water circulation or runoff is frequently contaminated.

Several disasters also polluted the state’s beaches last year, including an oil spill off Huntington Beach and a sewage treatment plant that dumped 17 million gallons of raw sewage into county waters. from Los Angeles. “All of these spills were related to infrastructure failure,” Ginger told me.

Here are the dirtiest beaches in California:

1. Erckenbrack Park (San Mateo County)

2. Marlin Park (San Mateo County)

3. Santa Monica Pier (Los Angeles County)

4. Mother’s Beach (Los Angeles County)

5. Moonstone County Park (Humboldt County)

6. Newport Bay, Vaughn Launch (Orange County)

7. Lakeshore Park (San Mateo County)

8. Tijuana Slough, north of the mouth of the Tijuana River (San Diego County)

For more:


Pistachio-lemon bars.


Today’s tip comes from Jim Welte, who recommends a popular Marin County destination:

“Located just 20 km north of the Golden Gate Bridge, Mill Valley manages to straddle its rich history and vibrant present with appeal. At the heart of it all is Depot Plaza, the former hub of the Mt. Tamalpais and Muir Woods Railway, which ferried passengers from the Depot to the surrounding natural parks. Thomas Edison himself filmed the railroad in 1898. Long home to rock stars and tech icons, Mill Valley sits at the base of Mount Tamalpais, whose network of trails offers stunning natural beauty. The city also has a cultural history in the arts, with creative hubs offering enriching arts and entertainment. It also punches way above its culinary weight!

Tell us about your favorite places to visit in California. Email your suggestions to [email protected] We will share more in future editions of the newsletter.

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Summer is here. What’s your favorite part of the season in California?

Email us at [email protected] with your stories, memories or recommendations.


The world’s largest animals have been spotted off the southern California coast in recent days.

Since Friday, whale watchers have spotted blue whales, often with their calves by their side, in the waters near Catalina Island and Laguna Beach. The massive creatures can grow up to 100 feet long, reports The Orange County Register.

“When you think the blue whale is the biggest living animal on the planet – bigger than a dinosaur or a megalodon – it’s amazing,” said Nona Reimer, naturalist for Dana Wharf Sportfishing and Whale Watching.


Thanks for reading. I will be back tomorrow. — Soumya

PS Here are today’s mini crosswords, and a hint: Singing sea creature (5 letters).

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