‘A’s all around for Birch Bay beaches

Published on Wed, Oct 5, 2011 by Jeremy Schwartz

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All the Birch Bay beaches that were tested over the summer received an “A” grade or better in a beach report card released by a California-based environmental group.

Heal the Bay has issued its end of summer 2011 beach report card, and Birch Bay’s beaches stayed at last year’s positive levels or have improved. The report took publicly available data from the Whatcom County Health Department and determined the quality of most of the county’s saltwater beaches.

The county health department collects data from three sites along Birch Bay: two just south of the intersection of Birch Bay Drive and Drayton Harbor Road and one across the street from the Birch Bay visitor’s information center. The northern sites both received “A+” grades while the southern site received an “A.” In the 2010 summer beach report card, the southern site received a “D” grade.

On the whole, 89 percent of the 226 Washington state saltwater beaches tested received “A” or “B” grades; a slight decrease from last year, in which 93 percent received “A’s” or “B’s.” The Heal the Bay report also released letter grades for numerous beaches in California and a handful in Oregon.

Heal the Bay began issuing beach report cards for sites in California 21 years ago. The group started releasing letter grades for Washington and Oregon beaches in 2010.

For more information, visit brc.healthebay.org.