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WATER SWIMMING BAY INDICATOR The safe for swimming and BAY water recreation indicator derives from DELTA DELTA B 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 B AY . . S TAT U S . . Good . . . .T R E N D . . . . No change .....BENCHMARK..... State standards for public health risk Good PPB polluted ocean waters was between $21 mil- lion and $51 million each year. Poor Fair- Poor Fair Good THREATS & CHALLENGES Contact 2011 2009 2006 2003 2000 2009 2006 2003 2000 1997 1994 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 summarizes safe-for-water-recreation grades (based on FIB standards) given to popular Bay beaches by Heal the Bay, a Santa Monica-based non-profit that translates monitoring data into Beach Report BAY Cards. Heal DELTA the Bay reports on over 0 400 California bathing beaches. Over- 21 all, the latest beach report card cover- 60 ing the summer of 2013 indicated that 120 conditions were excellent at 22 of 28 of Bay beaches in the summer, and at 180 a slightly lower percentage of beaches 240 (14 of 22) in wet weather. Two beaches were in poor condition in summer, while 6 of 22 beaches were in poor condition in wet weath- er. The Bay-wide average grade has been fairly constant over the past five years. Enjoyment of Estuary beaches contributes greatly to the economy and quality of life for residents and tourists. Recreation at polluted beaches, however, can be costly. A Southern Califor- Shiner nia study, for example, Surfperch concluded that the Sacramento Sucker public health cost Carp of gastrointestinal illnesses fishing by people coming into contact with suffered pcb D Poor Poor 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2009 2006 2003 2000 1997 1994 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2011 2007 2002 STATUS & TRENDS This indicator GRADE C Fair Fair Fair- Poor PPM Tests for FIB commonly measure total coliform 0.27 levels, as well as levels of fecal coliforms from 0.37 specific bacterial groups like Escherichia coli 0.47 and Enterococcus. California’s FIB standards 0.57 apply from April through October at high-use beaches that are adjacent to a storm drain that flows in the summer. BAY Good 0.17 Good A 0.07 fecal indicator bacteria (FIB) in the water. CONTEXT The Estuary’s numerous shore- 75 line parks and beaches invite residents and 50 visitors to have more direct contact with the Bay than ever before. Bay beaches logged 25 over 7.5 million visits over the course of a 0 recent year, as people went to the shore to swim, play, wade, surf, and fish. The Estuary’s bays and rivers are also popular for kayaking, wind-surfing, kite-boarding, and other water recreation. Clean Water Act protections have made the Bay much cleaner than in decades past, and at most monitored locations it is safe for swim- BAY ming and water DELTA sports throughout 10 20 the year. In some locations, however, no PPB 30 data 40 getting into the water can expose 50 people to potentially Photo: Susanne Friedrich 60 infectious bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. While the health risks are generally neither chronic nor severe, swimming-related illnesses (including diarrhea, colds, fevers, sore throats, and skin, ear, respi- ratory, eye, and wound infections) occur fre- quently enough to warrant monitoring of fecal methyl bacteria levels at Bay beaches, and associated mercury public warning protocols when standards are exceeded. Delta beaches are not routinely monitored. SAFE FOR SWIMMING 0.00 California standards concerning the level of Good 100% 15 AQUATIC LIFE with Estuary waters will continue to grow as the population grows and the popularity of water recreation increases. Concern is also rising about the potential for exposure to toxins from harmful algal blooms. Reports of swimmer’s itch, an allergic rash common among East Coast beachgoers, are on the rise in the Bay Area. The itch comes from a parasite on an invasive snail. Likewise, extreme weather and flooding associated with climate change could exacerbate fecal contamination from sewer overflows and stormwater runoff.