Public comment on proposed beach locations welcome through October 13. OHA release – PORTLAND, Ore. — The Oregon Beach Monitoring Program (OBMP) invites public comment on a list of proposed beaches to monitor for health risks in 2024 and 2025. The list was created based on established criteria such as high recreational use, nearby pollution hazards, previously measured high bacteria levels and public input. OBMP is a multi-agency effort with Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to monitor the waters along Oregon’s coastline for the presence of fecal bacteria and report elevated levels to the public. Through this program, DEQ regularly samples marine water and freshwater at 20 beaches along Oregon’s 360 miles of coastline between May and September. To protect public health, OHA issues advisories at beaches where bacteria levels are high. This year, DEQ used the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) environmental justice screening tool to assess the potential for the OBMP efforts to benefit vulnerable and underserved populations. With this in mind, OBMP is also asking for the public to comment on the extent to which information generated from the proposed beach monitoring would serve vulnerable and underserved communities. OHA and DEQ routinely reevaluate beaches and sampling locations to direct available resources most effectively toward public health protection. The proposed list includes some of the most frequently visited beaches in Oregon, beaches where the program has previously found bacteria present, or beaches for which local partners and the public have requested monitoring due to potential pollution concerns. Based on OBMP’s evaluation criteria and preliminary environmental justice screening, OHA and DEQ propose sampling the following beaches for the 2024/2025 monitoring season: Coos County – BASTENDORFF BEACH – Coos Bay; SUNSET BAY SP BEACH – Coos Bay. Curry County – HUBBARD CREEK BEACH – Port Orford; HARRIS BEACH SP – Brookings; MILL BEACH – Brookings; CRISSEY FIELD RECREATION SITE * – Brookings (new for 2024/2025). Lane County – HECETA BEACH – Florence. Lincoln County – D RIVER SP BEACH * – Lincoln City; BEVERLY BEACH – Newport; AGATE SP BEACH – Newport; NYE BEACH – Newport; SEAL ROCK SP BEACH – Seal Rock; SILETZ BAY * – Lincoln City (new for 2024/2025); ONA BEACH (Brian Booth – Beaver Creek State Park) – Seal Rock (new for 2024/2025). Note: Beaches marked with ‘*’ refer to those with potential environmental justice communities that may be likely to recreate at the beach. To add beaches to the list and continue to operate within available OBMP resources, DEQ would need to reduce sampling locations at other beaches. If locations are removed from the list, it would be only locations where historical data show low risk. The three beaches proposed for addition to OBMP, which are included in the list above, are: ONA BEACH; CRISSEY FIELD RECREATION SITE; SILETZ BAY. OBMP will accept public comments and suggestions on the proposed 2024/2025 beaches through Oct. 13. Contact OBMP by email at Beach.Health@oha.oregon.gov or call 971-673-0400 to submit input. For more information about OBMP, visit the program website at http://www.healthoregon.org/beach or call 971-673-0440, or call OHA toll-free information line at 877-290-6767.
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