It is not often that a drought means good things for California.
However, this year the lack of rainfall has helped to better the beaches in Long Beach, according to a report on water quality by Heal the Bay.
The 25th annual Beach Report Card released by Heal the Bay last week gave the beaches of Long Beach and Belmont Shore perfect grades due to the recent dry weather conditions. The improved water quality is a result of less runoff, which carries pollution with it, in Long Beach’s ocean water, according to the report.
“Our water quality continues to show big improvements thanks to our investments in technology and infrastructure improvements,” Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia said in a statement. “We also need to thank our neighboring cities who have worked closely with us to keep the Los Angeles and San Gabriel Rivers clean.”
Heal the Bay tested 15 different ocean water sites across Long Beach and assigned them A-to-F letter grades for the Beach Report Card.
Over the past year, summer dry weather, the months of April to October, saw flawless A grades across 100 percent of the sites and outdoing the five-year average, which is normally 71 percent A or B grades. Winter dry weather saw 13 A’s and two B’s across the 15 sites.
The Beach Report Card also noted that 100 percent of Long Beach beaches received F grades in wet weather.
“I’ve been to Huntington, and I’ve also been to Dana Point, and Long Beach is much cleaner,” said Reagan Childers, a sophomore English major at California State University, Long Beach. “I’m surprised about [the difference in Long Beach’s grades]. The beaches are nice, but they’re not super great. The water quality could definitely be better. But it’s also surprising that we normally get more D and F grades, because I definitely don’t think Long Beach is that bad.”
Long Beach’s location between the Los Angeles River and San Gabriel River, two of the largest rivers in the Los Angeles County, is one of the biggest factors to its low wet weather grades, according to the report.
“No other geographic location presented such a stark dichotomy between dry weather and wet weather grades than in Long Beach,” the Beach Report Card said. “Not one monitored location was safe for swimming when there was a storm event.”
Childers said she still enjoyed the city’s beaches overall because of the way the city treats it.
“It’s not just a place,” Childers said. “The movies on the beach, the annual sand castle contest, the beach cleanups… I like that they do that stuff, I feel like it adds to the overall enjoyment of the beach.”
Overall, around 95 percent of California’s beaches earned A or B grades in this year’s Beach Report Card, making the odds of getting sick while swimming “quite minimal,” Heal the Bay said in a newsletter.