EPA helps states protect beachgoers in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska (AK, OR, WA)
(SEATTLE – August 11, 2011) Pacific Northwest and Alaska beaches will be safer for swimming thanks to $717,000 in beach monitoring grants to the states of Alaska, Oregon, Washington, and to the Makah Tribe on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula.
The grants, funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, will boost water quality monitoring efforts and make warnings or closure notices more timely and protect swimmers and beach users from pollution. Alaska, Oregon, Washington and the Makah Tribe will use the grant funds for collecting and reporting water quality data such as harmful bacteria and notifying the public of any water quality concerns. The grants will go to:
- State of Alaska, $154,000
- Oregon Public Health Authority, $236,000
- Washington State Department of Ecology, $277,000
- Makah Tribe, $50,000
“Our goal is to keep all beaches safe for recreation," said Mike Bussell, EPA’s Director of the Office of Water and Watersheds in Seattle. "These grants help our state partners keep a close watch on coastal water quality, giving beach-going families the protection they deserve."
Nationwide, EPA is providing almost $10 million this year in beach grants to 37 states, territories, and tribes to help protect swimmers and beachgoers at America’s beaches.
State and local monitoring and notification programs often differ across the country and provide varying levels of swimmer protection. EPA beach grants are intended to ensure that the public receives better protection when traveling to beaches across the country. The program is authorized by the Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health Act (BEACH Act) of 2000. EPA estimates that Americans make a total of 910 million trips to coastal areas each year, spending about $44 billion.