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DHS news release

Nov. 16, 2005

Contact: Bonnie Widerburg (503) 731-4180

Technical contacts: Joel Sherman, DHS (971) 673-0441
Jennifer Ketterman, DHS (971) 673-0431


Oregon beach monitoring program seeks feedback via Web survey



The Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) is seeking public comment on its beach water quality monitoring program.


Responses to a short, Web-based survey will help program staff better understand beach use patterns and public perceptions of the program, Joel Sherman, DHS research analyst said Wednesday.


"We are continually evaluating to be sure we are testing at areas that have the highest recreational use," said Sherman. "We want to hear from the public about beach use, how we're doing and how we can improve."


Survey questions ask about general program awareness, frequency of beach use, names of beaches visited, beach advisories and how informative they are. It also elicits suggestions for improvements.


The program routinely tests water quality at selected Oregon beaches. When elevated bacterial levels are detected, the public is advised by beach signage, news release and Web-site updates to avoid water contact at these beaches.


"We have limited funding, so the survey information will be important in helping us prioritize which beaches we should monitor," said Sherman. "We want to get the most bang for the buck that we can."


Survey results will be posted on the program's Web site each May and October, following completion of the winter and summer sampling seasons, respectively.


The survey is clickable from the program's Web site.


The beach monitoring program is funded by a federal Environmental Protection Agency grant. DHS administers the program, with help from Oregon Parks and Recreation and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.