For the first time in six years, Poche Beach in south Orange County did not make Heal the Bay's annual "Beach Bummer List."
In fact, none of Orange County's beaches were on the nonprofit environmentalist organization's list this year.
Poche Beach in the San Clemente-Dana Point area is near a flood control channel that has had high bacteria levels, according to the county.
San Clemente beaches ratings (first grade for summer, second for dry winter months, third grade for wet weather):
- Poche Beach B, A, B
- projection of Avenida Pico A, B, A+
- Lifeguard Building, north of San Clemente Pier A, A, A+
- Trafalgar Street Beach A+, A+, A+
- Avenida Calafia A+, A+, A+
- Avenida Las Palmeras A+, A, A+
Officials credited efforts to discourage bird droppings near a $3- million urban runoff treatment facility for cleaning up the beach. Construction started in 2007 and it was opened in 2009, but water from the facility would pool on the beach and draw seagulls and other birds, whose droppings increased bacteria levels in the water.
Ultrasound from outdoor speakers drove off some birds, but the problem remained, so the county hired a falconer and recently installed lifelike coyotes to function as scarecrows.
"This year's report card is welcome news," Orange County Supervisor Patricia Bates said.
"We have been very committed to discovering why certain beaches had poor water quality and took some very creative steps to fix the problems. Orange County's beaches are a beacon for residents and tourists, and we want to keep them clean and inviting."
--City News Service