Thanks for coverage of beach closures | Letter

I’m grateful for the Island’s Sounder coverage of Orcas Island beaches closing (“Several Orcas Island beaches closed to recreational shellfish harvesting”). Along with algae that produces biotoxins, sewage overflow is another large cause of dangerous bacteria at local beaches. Data from past years also verifies the alarming rates of bacteria at local beaches that can make our swimmers sick. In 2022, 44% of Washington beaches tested had potentially unsafe levels of fecal indicator bacteria on at least one day.

Fortunately, Representatives Derek Kilmer and Kim Schrier are co-sponsoring the BEACH Act (HR 7203), which will enable communities to continue beach testing, allowing us to know when there is bacteria in the water. Surfers, swimmers and other beachgoers should urge their representatives to support this Act. You can find more information about bacteria levels at your local beach in the Safe for Swimming. report on Environment Washington’s website.

Carly Cohen, Summer Associate

Environment Washington