The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has announced its analysis of annual water quality testing at our nation’s beaches. Most importantly, you can no longer make fun of New Jersey for having dirty beaches (even though MTV’s the Jersey Shore made you think it) because they ranked fourth for having the least amount of beaches that exceeded pollution levels. Here is a list of states that have exceeded pollution limits in order from best to worst (sorry Ohio and Louisiana). The data found that the number of beach closing and advisory days in 2011 reached the third-highest level in the 22-year history of the report, totaling 23,481 days (a 3% decrease from 2010).
Don’t let these numbers scare you from hitting the beach, just make sure you’re aware of local advisories and don’t go swimming if it says so (and run to the closest pool). You can use safer chemical products in your home and install stormwater green infrastructure which protects beaches and can help keep your yard green. Also, not to scare you, but sharks have been swimming closer to shore these days, so keep an eye out for those too.
Mother Jones picked out the top beach winners and losers. These beaches were found to have levels of contamination above national standards:
- Avalon Beach and Doheny State Beach in California
- Winnetka Elder Park Beach and North Point Marina North Beach in Illinois
- Constance Beach, Gulf Breeze, Little Florida, Long Beach, and Rutherford Beach in Louisiana
- Beachwood Beach West in New Jersey
- Woodlawn Beach and Ontario Beach in New York
And here are the best beaches—the ones that earned five stars:
- Newport Beach, Bolsa Chica Beach, and Huntington State Beach in California
- Gulf Shores Public Beach and Gulf State Park Pavilion in Alabama
- Dewey Beach and Rehoboth Beach in Delaware
- Ocean City, Maryland
- Park Point Franklin Park, 13th Street South Beach Park Point, and Lafayette Community Club Beach in Minnesota
- Hampton Beach State Park and Wallis Sands Beach in New Hampshire
- South Padre Island in Texas
Enjoy the water and stay cool. Cheers.