DEQ awarded $215K grant to monitor health of Oregon’s beaches

“I’m pleased that this grant funding is making its way to our state so we can monitor the quality of our waters, promote safety, and support this special Oregon tradition.”

U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley
Seaside, OR. Photo credit by JKF

A $215,000 federal grant, announced Wednesday, June 24 by U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley’s office, will allow the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality to continue monitoring Oregon’s beaches for bacteria and other pollutants that would prompt public health advisories.

The Oregon Beach Monitoring Program is an ongoing, 20-year, partnership between DEQ and the Oregon Health Authority to protect public health along Oregon’s internationally famous beaches. DEQ monitoring staff use a mobile laboratory to collect and analyze bacteria data at 75 locations on 18 beaches along the Oregon coast between Labor Day and Memorial Day. This data provides OHA staff the information they need to evaluate bacteria concentrations. When concentrations exceed safe levels an advisory is posted warning the public about health risks associated with recreational activities involving contact with marine waters.

“Families have been making memories at Oregon’s beaches and shores for generations,” said Merkley. “I’m pleased that this grant funding is making its way to our state so we can monitor the quality of our waters, promote safety, and support this special Oregon tradition.”

The program has also helped to identify bacteria hot spots along our coast where bacteria mitigation plans have been developed or need to occur. The hard working staff of the beach monitoring program have resumed sampling for the 2020 season. This funding will continue to provide Oregon’s beach visitors with important health information they need to make informed choices about swimming and recreating along Oregon’s beaches.

“Oregon’s beaches are some of the most beautiful and rugged in the world,” said DEQ Director Richard Whitman. “This grant funding will help assure that our coasts continue to be and healthy places to visit and enjoy.”

–Harry Esteve and Aaron Borisenko

Published by Oregon Department of Environmental Quality

DEQ’s mission is to be a leader in restoring, maintaining and enhancing the quality of Oregon’s air, land and water.

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