Since 2005, our Water Quality Program has documented conditions of local streams and sloughs to identify problem areas for future monitoring and to pinpoint pollution sources so we can work to reduce or eliminate them. Thanks to the dozens of dedicated volunteers and partners who help make our program successful!    

This winter, we continued our bacteria pollution study with the goal of identifying the sources of fecal bacteria at six sites in Jolly Giant Creek in Arcata. This Humboldt Bay tributary was flagged for further investigation due to the frequency of human genetic material in samples taken near Samoa Blvd. during the Regional Water Board's Coastal Streams Pathogens TMDL Project.

COVID-19 update: Our sampling event scheduled for April 6 has been delayed due to both safety concerns and limited lab capacity. Our extraordinairy colleagues at the Humboldt County Public Health Lab are working diligently to analyze COVID-19 samples. We will resume our Jolly Giant Creek Bacteria Source Study as soon as it is safe to do so.

Two of our local beaches are Beach Bummers again this year: Clam Beach (#4) and Luffenholtz Beach (#6). Both are impacted by storm drains, which discharge polluted runoff into streams and coastal waters. Mad River Beach North received an A+ grade, suggesting that proximity to septic systems may be a major factor in the overall health of our coastal waters. 

8/15/14

The North Coast Regional Wa­ter Quality Board on Thursday recommended that six local wa­terways be federally listed as im­paired due to high fecal bacteria concentrations, paving the way for those streams and rivers to obtain government-backed pol­lution control plans. “I’m pleased that the regional board took this action, which is a first step to addressing water quality impairments in the North Coast region,” board Executive Of­ficer Matt St. John said.

August/September 2017

Last month, Heal the Bay’s annual Beach Report Card named Clam Beach the most polluted beach in California due to bacteria levels measured at the mouth of Strawberry Creek. Clam Beach has made the Top Ten “Beach Bummers” list for four years running, but this is the first time it’s been Number One. And this year, Luffenholtz Beach in Trinidad was the eighth most polluted in the state.

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Using Humboldt Baykeeper’s 2005-2009 Citizen Water Monitoring data, the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board staff recently recommended six waterways for listing under Section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act due to bacterial pollution (E. coli).

Photo: Children play in Little River at Moonstone Beach, one of the waterways recommended for listing. March 22, 2014.

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