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Surfrider Foundation's Blue Water Task Force South Sound

Main Project Information
Presented By Surfrider Foundation
Goal Monitor water quality at beaches and freshwater sources.
Task Collect water samples to ensure coasts are safe for recreation.
Where Surfrider Foundation's Blue Water Task Force South Sound
Tacoma, Pierce County, Washington, United States of America
Description

The Blue Water Task Force (BWTF) is the Surfrider Foundation’s citizen science program which provides valuable water quality information to beach communities, raises awareness of local water pollution problems, and works collaboratively with local stakeholders to implement solutions.

Surfrider’s network of 30+ volunteer-run BWTF labs measure bacteria levels at ocean and bay beaches and in freshwater sources, and compare them to the national water quality standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency to protect public health in recreational waters.

The South Sound Chapter tests eight recreational beaches and public waterways in Puget Sound near Tacoma, Washington. Surfrider volunteers collect the water samples and deliver them to the Tacoma Public School's Science and Math Institute (SAMi), where a high school science teacher and his students analyze them in the lab and record the results. All BWTF water quality data are posted online and available to the public at Surfrider.org. (http://www.surfrider.org/blue-water-task-force/chapter/37)

The Chapter coordinates with the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department's Swimming Beaches program and the Washington State Department of Ecology's BEACH Program to ensure that their sampling protocols align with the agency programs. During the summer recreation season, the County Health Department monitors high-use beaches. The Chapter’s sampling schedule from September to May helps to extend the County’s regular beach testing program into the colder months when recreational users such as divers and paddlers are still very active.

The chapter alerts the State and County when the BWTF program detects high bacteria levels at their sampling sites, and the County goes back out, retests, and issues swimming advisories and beach closures if the results still exceed health standards. The program provides a great collaborative opportunity for an educational institution, Surfrider volunteers, and local health agencies to work together to provide better protection for beachgoers and water recreational enthusiasts in Tacoma.

How to Join

To volunteer for Surfrider’s Blue Water Task Force during the fall, winter and spring, or to ask any questions, please contact Bruce Hoeft at brucehoeft3@gmail.com. We will provide training and materials if you would like to help us expand the number of beaches we monitor.

Website http://southsound.surfrider.org
Social Media
Special Skills We prefer those with a passion for the ocean or the environment, but that is not necessary! We will provide all training needed for those who are willing to participate.
Ideal Age Group High school (14 - 17 years), College, Graduate students, Adults, Families, Seniors
Ideal Frequency Per week
Average Time An hour or so
Spend the Time outdoors
Type of Activity In snow or rain, At the beach, In oceans, streams, rivers, lakes
Training Materials surfrider.org/blue-water-task-force
Tags bacteria, bays, beach, blue water task force, conservation, enterococcus, environmental science, marine science, ocean, ocean pollution, ocean science, pollution, ponds, surfrider, surfrider foundation, water chemistry, water quality
Project Updated 05/23/2018