As students across the country finish up school for the year and head to the beach with their families, the Surfrider Foundation is excited to release the 2022 Clean Water Report. This comprehensive annual report highlights the successes of our Blue Water Task Force (BWTF) and Ocean Friendly Gardens (OFG) programs in 2022, and features case studies of chapters leveraging these clean water programs to help pair local pollution problems with solutions.
The Surfrider Foundation believes that everyone should have access to clean water to surf, swim and play in. Hundreds of millions of people visit and recreate at U.S. beaches every year, and it’s important that people have access to the water quality information they need to keep their families safe at the beach.
In 2022, the Blue Water Task Force, Surfrider’s volunteer water quality monitoring program, processed a record-breaking 9,095 water samples collected from nearly 500 beaches across the country. With 53 active labs, the program has fully recovered from the access and safety restrictions imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic. During 2022, six chapters launched new water testing programs to expand the reach of the national BWTF network, including our chapters in Maine, Delaware, Florida Keys, Texas Coastal Bend, and the newly-formed Three Capes Chapter on the Tillamook Coast in Oregon. With the support of Dragon Alliance, lab equipment was also purchased and set up in the Surfrider Foundation’s headquarters office in San Clemente, California, to launch a new BWTF program in North Orange County.
Chapter water testing programs are designed to fill in the gaps and extend the coverage of state and local agency beach programs. Surfrider Foundation volunteers test beaches that are not covered by agencies, and also monitor potential sources of pollution, such as stormwater outlets, rivers and creeks that discharge onto the beach. The Blue Water Task Force operates year-round, providing public health protection through the off-season, when lifeguards leave the beach and health officials stop collecting water samples.
Surfrider’s data is also revealing chronic pollution problems and helping to focus local efforts to restore clean water. The 2022 Clean Water Report features ten priority beaches from the East Coast, West Coast, Puerto Rico and Hawaiʻi where Surfrider Foundation chapters are consistently measuring high bacteria levels that exceed state health standards for recreational water. These priority beaches represent a variety of recreational waters and access points that are important to local communities, yet water quality conditions could be putting public health at risk.
At each of these beaches, the local chapter’s Blue Water Task Force program is working hard to build awareness of the pollution problems and to provide their communities with critical public health information.The ultimate goal is to find and fix the sources of pollution and to restore clean water locally.
Upstream, Surfrider chapters are digging into their Ocean Friendly Gardens programs to help solve water quality problems caused by stormwater and urban runoff. Chapters use this sustainable landscaping and educational program to connect how we care for our yards and public spaces with the resulting health of our local waterways and beaches.
Through their grassroots campaigns and programs, Surfrider is working hard to ensure that the beaches and ocean are clean and safe for all people to enjoy for generations to come. Learn more about how Surfrider’s national network of coastal advocates are fighting at local, state and federal levels to protect clean water in the 2022 Clean Water Annual Report. Case studies feature:
- East Coast - Learn how the small BWTF programs in Maine, New Hampshire and Delaware help fill in big seasonal gaps in Northern states on the East Coast.
- Maui - Find out how the Maui Chapter is growing their volunteer base and nurturing community partnerships to expand the coverage of their BWTF program across the island.
- Florida - Surfrider’s chapter network in Florida is working to implement programs and enact policies to ensure clean water and a resilient future in the sunshine state.
Anyone can join Surfrider in our fight for clean water by participating in this action alert calling on Congress to invest in fixing our nation’s wastewater infrastructure to stop the flow of sewage pollution into local waterways and into the ocean. Just click here to send your email.
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