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Water: Beaches

Florida 2011 Swimming Season Update

August 2012


Introduction

Florida counties shown are Bay, Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, Citrus, Collier, Dixie, Duval, Escambia, Flagler, Franklin, Gulf, Hernando, Hillsborough, Indian River, lee, Levy, Manatee, Martin, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Nassau, Okaloosa, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Santa Rosa, Sarasota, St. Johns, St. Lucie, Taylor, Volusia, Wakulla and Walton

Figure 1. Florida coastal counties.

The Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health (BEACH) Act of 2000 authorizes EPA to provide grants to coastal and Great Lakes states, territories, and eligible tribes to monitor their coastal beaches for bacteria that indicate the possible presence of disease-causing pathogens and to notify the public when there is a potential risk to public health. The BEACH Act requires that recipients of those grants report their coastal beach monitoring and notification data to EPA. This fact sheet highlights the data submitted to EPA by the State of Florida for the 2011 swimming season.

Table 1. Breakdown of monitored and unmonitored coastal beaches by county for 2011.
County Total Beaches Monitored Not Monitored
Bay 16 13 3
Brevard 27 8 19
Broward 19 13 6
Charlotte 11 8 3
Citrus 1 1 0
Collier 56 10 46
Dixie 1 1 0
Duval 10 10 0
Escambia 18 9 9
Flagler 9 6 3
Franklin 7 6 1
Gulf 7 6 1
Hernando 1 1 0
Hillsborough 9 9 0
Indian River 17 6 11
Lee 22 13 9
Levy 2 1 1
Manatee 12 7 5
Martin 21 8 13
Miami-Dade 19 15 4
Monroe 39 15 24
Nassau 30 10 20
Okaloosa 26 12 14
Palm Beach 24 13 11
Pasco 7 7 0
Pinellas 48 10 38
Santa Rosa 10 5 5
Sarasota 34 16 18
St. Johns 8 6 2
St. Lucie 25 4 21
Taylor 5 3 2
Volusia 16 13 3
Wakulla 2 2 0
Walton 12 8 4
Totals 571 275 296

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2011 Summary Results

Florida monitored 275 coastal beaches in 34 counties during the 2011 swimming season (Figure 1 and Table 1). When monitoring results at swimming beaches show that levels of specific indicator bacteria in the water exceed applicable water quality standards, Florida officials issue a beach advisory, warning people of possible risks of swimming.

How many beaches had notification actions?

Bar Graph of Beach notification actions by duration

Figure 2: Percent of beaches with one or more notification actions

In 2011, of the 275 monitored coastal beaches that Florida monitored, 92 (33 percent) had at least one notification action (Figure 2). This is approximately the same as in previous years.

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How many notification actions were issued and how long did they last?

Pie Chart of Beach days with notification actions

Figure 3: Duration of beach notification actions in 2011

Florida issued 215 notification actions during the 2011 swimming season. Typically Florida lifts an action when follow-up monitoring indicates that water quality complies with applicable standards. For the majority of actions (65 percent) water quality returned to normal and beaches were deemed safe for swimming within a week or less (Figure 3).

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What percentage of days were beaches under a notification action?

EPA calculates the total available beach days and the number of beach days with notification actions to better track trends over time. Total available beach days are determined by multiplying the length of the beach season by the number of beaches in the state. For 2011 EPA calculated that 100,740 beach days were associated with the swimming seasons of the 275 monitored Florida beaches. Florida reported notification actions on 2,632 days, meaning that beaches were open and safe for swimming about 97 percent of the time. This continues the trend of consistently high percentages of open beach days at state beaches (Figure 4).

Bar Graph of Percent of Beaches

Figure 4: Percent of beach days open and safe for swimming


For More Information

General information about beaches | Specific Beach Information

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