County of Marin - News Releases - Marin Aces Beach Water Quality Ratings

For Immediate Release
June 17, 2015

Marin Aces Beach Water Quality Ratings

Heal the Bay gives top marks to 22 locations

San Rafael, CA – Marin County scored a perfect record in Heal The Bay’s newly published 2014 water quality ratings for beaches all over California.

A view of Chicken Ranch Beach, with sand in the foreground and kayakers in the water in the distance.

Marin’s water quality monitoring program, overseen by the Marin County Community Development Agency’s Environmental Health Services Division, gathered data last summer from 23 bayside and oceanside monitoring locations. All received A grades in Heal the Bay’s annual Beach Report Card.

The ocean locations (Dillon Beach, Bolinas Beach/Wharf Road, Stinson Beach, Muir Beach, Rodeo Beach, Baker Beach) and the bayside locations (Schoonmaker Beach, China Camp, McNears Beach) were monitored weekly from April through October, or what Heal the Bay called the summer dry season. The County issued 25 beach-related warnings for oceanside and bayside beaches during this time period. There was insufficient or no monitoring during the winter dry months and wet weather.

One reported sewage spill in Marin led to a health warning. About 1,000 gallons of sewage reached Richardson Bay on October 15, 2014. In total, 36 spills reached a body of water in Marin between April 2014 and March 2015. One was classified as “major” (more than 10,000 gallons) – and 13 were “minor” (more than 1,000 gallons but less than 10,000).

Statewide, 91 percent of 443 beach locations received A grades during the summer dry months. Southern California (93 percent) scored better than Northern California (86 percent). Locally, 41 of 42 monitored locations between Marin and the San Mateo County coast were graded A.

Heal the Bay, based in Santa Monica, has analyzed water quality data at California beaches each year since 1991. It also rated beaches in Oregon and Washington. The Beach Report Card is funded by grants from the Surf Industry Manufacturers Association and the Grousbeck Family Foundation. See the full report at

Marin County also collects weekly water samples at freshwater locations during the dry season. In 2014, the County issued 36 warnings along San Geronimo and Lagunitas creeks.

Environmental Health Services has monitored ocean, bay and freshwater sites since 2003 and posts sample results weekly. Learn more about the testing program on the webpage.


Brian Crawford
Community Development Agency

3501 Civic Center Drive
Suite 308
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-6278
Email: Brian Crawford