It seems like all of us in Maryland have been “Downy Ocean” at least once in our lives. The salt air and the delightful smell of Thrasher’s fries means a fun summer night on the Boardwalk.
And now the rest of the country is hip to our little secret. Ocean City, Maryland is on the list of the nation’s cleanest beaches. Surprised?
The Natural Resources Defense Council has released its list of the cleanest and filthiest beaches in America, and stunningly, East Coast beaches, normally thought of as crowded and badly managed did the best.
The NRDC says they measure bacteria levels at individual beaches and also take into account each state’s record on pollution control.
The top clean beaches this year include:
Alabama: Gulf Shores Public Beach
California: San Clemente State Beach
Delaware: Dewey Beach
Maryland: Ocean City
Michigan: Bay City State Recreation Area
Minnesota: 13th Street South Beach
New Hampshire: Hampton Beach State Park
Which is really interesting because when we used to go swimming at Bay City State Park as kids, we had to wade through a four foot zone of industrial sludge before we would reach clean water. So while the loss of manufacturing jobs has crippled Michigan’s economy, it’s been a boon for its natural resources. Walleye fishing on the Saginaw River has never been better, and now this surprising announcement.
The nastiest beaches in America have shifted Westward, where LA area beaches continue to suffer from a California economy that has been sluggish for years.
The top filthy beaches, according to the NRDC:
California: Orange Doheny State Beach, and Avalon Beach
Indiana: Lake Jeorse Park Beach
New Jersey: Ocean Beachwood Beach
New York: Monroe Ontario Beach
Ohio: Ashtabula Lakeshore Park
Wisconsin: Milwaukee South Shore Beach
According to a report filed by NPR:
Steve Fleischli, the NRDC’s , helped develop this year’s study and says that these just how the bacterial levels steal sunshine every year has a lot to do with what’s going on .
Many cities still use combined waste and storm runoff treatment plants and sewer lines built decades ago. During heavy rains, they often overflow, and the contaminated water’s final destination could be a nearby beach.
Doheny Beach in Orange County, Calif. photographed in 2005. A new report on the nation’s beaches found that Doheny exceeded at least one water quality standard 42 percent of the time it was tested in 2010.
“It’s urban slobber flowing untreated into our waterways,” said Fleischli in a media briefing conference Wednesday. “There’s no ominous theme song to warn beach goers.”
San Juan Creek meets the Pacific Ocean at Doheny State Beach in Dana Point, Calif. The poor water quality off Doheny State Beach put in a list of worst beaches in the U.S.
Swimmers can’t see contaminating beach water the way they might spy the dorsal fin of a great white shark. But that doesn’t mean beachgoers aren’t risking it in the water.
“We think of rain water as having only leaves and twigs,” said Fleischli. “The reality, though, is much different.” Trash, chemicals, bacteria and viruses ride along, too.