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Beach Bacteria Reports

In addition to the routine summertime beach bacteria monitoring, the OBMP may also conduct investigations of beach bacteria as needs arise and resources allow in order for us to better understand the sources of beach fecal bacteria contamination. Here are some OBMP investigations and other reports. 

Big Creek and Sunset Bay Bacteria Investigation

Since 2002, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has monitored the fecal bacteria during summer months of Sunset Bay in Oregon’s Coos County. Over the nearly two decades of data collection, the fecal bacteria in Sunset Bay frequently exceeded levels safe for contact recreation. Our monitoring during the fall of 2018 indicates that the bacteria come from fresh water streams entering Sunset Bay. Sunset Bay and some tributary streams are now listed as not meeting water quality standards in DEQ’s Integrated Report as required by Section 303d of the Clean Water Act. The results of this investigation will guide future efforts to decrease fecal bacteria contamination in Sunset Bay and improve swimmer safety.

Beach Monitoring Investigative Sampling: Rockaway and Twin Rocks Beaches

During the 2016 OBMP routine monitoring season, an increase in water contact advisories versus previous years occurred at some sample locations in the Rockaway Beach area (Tillamook County). These high bacteria counts triggered interest in conducting investigative sampling in the Rockaway Beach area to better understand potential sources of bacterial contamination. Four freshwater streams (Rock, Saltair, Heitmiller, and Watseco creeks) that discharge into the Pacific Ocean through Rockaway area beaches were identified as potential sources of bacterial contamination and monitored for FIB following the routine monitoring season.

Beach Monitoring Investigative Sampling at Cannon and Tolovana Beaches

The Oregon Beach Monitoring Program monitors recreational waters along the Oregon coast to assess bacterial contamination at public beaches. The program operating plan allows for investigating outflows on to the beach that may contribute to water contact advisories at Cannon Beach. Investigational sample locations were selected along four creeks in Cannon Beach that discharge to beaches with heavy public use and where marine and fresh water sample results occasionally exceed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s recreational water quality criteria. Sampling was successfully scheduled to take place around the first substantial rain storm following the 2012 summer season. Five days of sampling were conducted during October and November of 2012 at the end of a comparatively dry summer season. Cannon Beach received several inches of rain during the sampling events.

Oregon Beach Monitoring Program - 2021 Evaluation of Monitoring Sites  

This report describes the process by which the Oregon Beach Monitoring Program compiles the list of Oregon beaches to be monitored for fecal bacteria. The review of the beach list for the sampling schedule is repeated biennially. Data collected during the subsequent sampling seasons will be included in the next evaluation.


For more information about the Oregon Beach Monitoring Program please contact:

Thomas Lossen, Water Quality Monitoring specialist, 503-693-5729 

Aaron Borisenko, Water Quality Monitoring manager, 503-693-5723