The Coos Bay Chapter of Surfrider Foundation’s Blue Water Task Force Program tests recreational beaches for public safety and awareness from Winchester Bay down Crooked Creek. The lab is located at the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology in Charleston and samples are conducted monthly for Enterococcus bacteria.
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About the Program, Volunteering and More
The Blue Water Task Force (BWTF) is the Surfrider Foundation’s volunteer-run, water testing, education and advocacy program. Our goal is simple, to protect and monitor the areas where we want to play, cause hey, who wants to get sick from going in the ocean? Our chapters use this program to alert citizens and officials in their communities about water quality problems and to work toward solutions. The BWTF has demonstrated success by identifying problems with beach and coastal water pollution, raising public awareness of these incidents and working collaboratively with local stakeholders to find and implement pollution solutions.
The BWTF has also precipitated the establishment of state and local government water quality monitoring programs in many communities and continues to fill in data gaps, improving the public’s knowledge of the safety of their beach water. BWTF water testing programs measure bacteria levels at both marine and freshwater beaches and compare them to federal water quality standards established by the EPA to protect public health in recreational waters
What do volunteers do?
Field volunteers collect water quality samples and drop off samples at one of our lab locations. This can take anywhere from 30 minutes to a couple of hours, depending on how many sites you sample, how far from the beach you are and how long it takes you to travel to one of our labs. Our trained lab volunteers and youth help run the analysis of the samples in the lab, incubating them for 24 hours and posting the results the following day on our national blue water task force site.