Local beaches named to environmental group’s Honor Roll


Ocean water quality at Southern California beaches is continuing to improve, thanks in part to a lack of rain runoff attributable to the continuing drought, but the beach at Shelter Island ranked as the third- worst in the state, according to a report released May 26.

The environmental group Heal the Bay’s 26th annual Beach Report Card landed Shoreline Beach Park on the ``Beach Bummers’’ list because 14 of 31 water samples exceeded state bacterial standards. The beach in front of several Shelter Island hotels hadn’t received lower than a B grade since 2003, according to the report.

Heal the Bay said that of the 72 monitoring locations on beaches in San Diego County, 62 received an A and eight were given a B.

Shoreline Beach Park was given an F and a spot on Mission Bay labeled the Comfort Station received a D.

``A day at the beach shouldn’t make anyone sick,’’ said Leslie Griffin, chief water quality scientist for Heal the Bay. ``The reassuring news is that if you swim at an open-ocean beach in the summer away from storm drains, creek mouths and piers you stand very little risk of getting ill.’’

According to Heal the Bay, swimming at a polluted beach can increase the risk of illness such as stomach flu, ear infections, upper respiratory infections and rashes.

The state’s most polluted beach was Cowell Beach, west of the wharf in Santa Cruz, according to the report.

The report noted that 14 beaches in San Diego County were listed on the group’s Honor Roll, recognizing beaches that received A+ grades during the three time periods included in the report:

•San Luis Rey River outlet, foot of Forster Street and St. Malo Beach in Oceanside;

• Encina Creek outlet and ends of Cerezo Drive, Palomar Airport Road, Ponto Drive and Poinsettia Lane in Carlsbad;

•San Elijo State Park and Seaside State Park in Encinitas;

• the foot of Solana Vista Drive and Fletcher Cove in Solana Beach; and

• the Ocean Beach Pier and Point Loma Lighthouse in San Diego.

Statewide, 95 percent of the 456 beaches monitored earned A or B grades during the summer months.