Beach Environmental Assessment, Communication and Health (BEACH) Program

Beach Environmental Assessment, Communication and Health (BEACH) Program
Image: Courtesy of the Washington State Departments of Ecology & Health.

The Washington State Beach Environmental Assessment, Communication and Health (BEACH) program consists of county and local agencies, tribal nations, and citizen scientists who monitor high-risk beaches for bacteria. Beaches are considered high-risk when they have a lot of recreational users and are located near potential bacteria sources. Monitoring can indicate pollution from sewage treatment plant problems, boating waste, malfunctioning septic systems, animal waste or other sources of fecal pollution.
Led jointly by the Washington State Departments of Ecology and Health, the BEACH program aims to reduce the risk of disease for people who play in saltwater. To do this, participants monitor bacteria levels at popular, high-risk beaches. They then notify beachgoers when bacteria results are high or when a known pollution event, such as a sewage spill, has occurred. The program also educates the public about the risks associated with polluted water and what people can do to reduce that risk.

Project Details

  • PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Debby Sargeant, BEACH Program Manager
  • SCIENTIST AFFILIATION: Washington State Departments of Ecology & Health
  • DATES: Ongoing
  • LOCATION: Washington -
  • PROJECT TYPE: Fieldwork
  • COST: Free
  • GRADE LEVEL: All Ages

    Contact the BEACH program office to find out how you can participate.

See more projects in WashingtonFreeFieldworkAll Ages.

What Is Citizen Science?

Research often involves teams of scientists collaborating across continents. Now, using the power of the Internet, non-specialists are participating, too. Citizen Science falls into many categories. A pioneering project was SETI@Home, which has harnessed the idle computing time of millions of participants in the search for extraterrestrial life. Citizen scientists also act as volunteer classifiers of heavenly objects, such as in Galaxy Zoo. They make observations of the natural world, as in The Great Sunflower Project. And they even solve puzzles to design proteins, such as FoldIt. We'll add projects regularly—and please tell us about others you like as well.

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