A new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council shows that stormwater runoff and sewage pollution continue to spoil many of America's beaches. The NRDC's 22nd annual report, "Testing the Waters: A Guide to Water Quality at Vacation Beaches," found that U.S. beaches had "the third-highest number of closing and advisory days in more than two decades" in 2011.
According to a press release, the report examined the results of government water testing at over 3,000 beaches. The results suggest that beaches "continued to suffer from serious contamination and pollutants by human and animal waste" in 2011.
Along with the report, the NRDC has also created a searchable database of water quality tests and swimming advisories at beaches across the country and a series of videos on beach testing.
NRDC senior attorney Jon Devine said in a statement, “Our beaches are plagued by a sobering legacy of water pollution." He added, "By establishing better beachwater quality standards and putting untapped 21st century solutions in place – we can make a day at the beach as carefree as it should be, and safeguard America’s vital tourism economies.”
Click here to read a 2012 list of America's best beaches, as decided by "Dr. Beach" professor Stephen P. Leatherman of Florida International University.
Several beaches on both lists could see significant changes in coming decades. A report released last week by NRDC claims that the West Coast "will see an ocean several inches higher in coming decades, with most of California expected to get sea levels a half foot higher by 2030," explained the Associated Press.
Find NDRC's 15 “repeat offenders” below. Each beach had "water samples violating public health standards more than 25 percent of the time for each year from 2007 to 2011," according to the NRDC report available here. Captions courtesy of NRDC.
Avalon Beach, Los Angeles County, CA
(Violations at 3 of 5 monitored sections): Avalon Beach - West of Green Pleasure Pier (50 feet) Avalon Beach - West of Green Pleasure Pier (100 feet) Avalon Beach - East of Green Pleasure Pier
Doheny State Beach, Orange County, CA
Warning of health dangers when swimming at Doheny State Beach, in Orange County, California. Doheny Beach was listed as a "Repeat Offender" by NRDC's Testing the Waters beach report. (Violations at 3 of 6 monitored sections): Doheny State Beach - North of San Juan Creek Doheny State Beach - Surfzone at Outfall Doheny State Beach - 1000' South Outfall
Winnetka Elder Park Beach, Cook County, IL
North Point Marina North Beach, Lake County, Illinois
<em>[North Point Marina at Winthrop Harbor pictured.]</em>
Constance Beach, Cameron Parish, LA
<em>[A nearby beach close to Cameron, LA pictured.]</em>
Gulf Breeze, Cameron Parish, LA
<em>[Nearby Holly Beach is pictured following Hurricane Rita.]</em>
Little Florida Beach, Cameron Parish, LA
Long Beach, Cameron Parish, LA
<em>[Nearby Holly Beach pictured.]</em>
Rutherford Beach, Cameron Parish, LA
Beachwood Beach West, Ocean County, NJ
<em>[Nearby Toms River, NJ pictured]</em>
Woodlawn Beach, Erie County, NY
Ontario Beach, Monroe County, NY
Driftwood and clouds looming at Ontario Beach in Monroe County, New York. Ontario Beach was listed as a "Repeat Offender" in NRDC's Testing the Waters beach report. (Photo: S Karr Flickr) <em>[An image previously shown in this slide depicted a beach on the Canadian shore of Lake Ontario.]</em>
Euclid State Park, Cuyahoga County, OH
(Cleveland skyline from elsewhere in Cleveland Lakefront State Park pictured.)
Villa Angela State Park, Cuyahoga County, OH
<em>[Cleveland Harbor's West Pierhead Lighthouse pictured.]</em>
South Shore Beach, Milwaukee County, WI