Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has started bacteria monitoring at selected Alaska beaches for the summer season. Water quality samples will be collected at recreational beaches in Kodiak and Skagway. This will be the first summer of monitoring beaches in these communities.
The Beach Program is a statewide coastal program which monitors bacteria levels in marine water samples from May to September. The program evaluates potential health risks as indicated by fecal coliform and enterococci bacteria and notifies the public when levels exceed state standards. The Skagway Traditional Council and the Kodiak Area Native Association each have a grant through the Alaska Clean Water Actions grant program, managed by DEC, for conducting the water sampling and assisting with community notifications.
Visit beaches.alaska.gov for:
• up-to-date information on beach monitoring, which beaches have elevated bacteria levels, and sample collection dates,
• advisories for beaches where test results show bacteria levels exceed guidelines,
• interactive maps showing beach monitoring locations,
• a link where you can sign up to receive emailed beach updates,
• historical beach testing data and reports.
If advisories are issued for beaches where test results show bacteria levels exceed guidelines, they will be posted on DEC’s Facebook and Twitter pages.
There are many ways we can all help keep Alaska’s beaches clean and Alaskans healthy. Check out the DEC beach website for what you can do to help.
Protect yourself by washing or sanitizing your hands after contact with water and cooking your catch to an internal temperature of 145 °F.
The DEC BEACH Program is part of a nationwide effort to decrease the incidence of water-borne illnesses at public beaches under the federal Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health (BEACH) Act. This project has been funded in part by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.