By Ralph Schwartz
The Natural Resources Defense Council issued its annual report last week of pollution off America’s beaches.
The report shows a national trend of deteriorating water quality at beaches, due primarily to storm runoff. The NRDC tracked the number of beach-closure and advisory days due to pollution from animal and human waste in 2011.
Whatcom County beaches came out as clean as was expected. The only trouble spots in the county were Birch Bay Beach (12 percent of samples above health standards), Wildcat Cove at Larrabee State Park (35 percent) and Little Squalicum Park (18 percent). Only Wildcat Cove had beach closure or advisory days in Whatcom County (207 days).
Most beaches in Whatcom County go unmonitored for fecal bacteria pollution.
Eight percent of all samples nationally exceeded recommended health standards in 2011, which was unchanged from 2010. But the number of days beaches were closed or under advisories was the third highest since the NRDC began the count 22 years ago.
The NRDC analyzed data from more than 3,000 sample sites nationwide.