Since 2005, our Water Quality Program has documented conditions of local streams and sloughs to identify problem areas for future monitoring and to pinpoint pollution sources so we can work to reduce or eliminate them. Thanks to the dozens of dedicated volunteers and partners who help make our program successful!    

Since 2005, Humboldt Baykeeper’s Citizen Water Monitoring Program has sampled streams from Elk River to Little River. This year, we focused on Jolly Giant Creek in Arcata to try to pinpoint sources of fecal coliform. Jolly Giant Creek has shown consistently high fecal coliform levels in our past monitoring events, and is thought to be a major contributor to fecal coliform levels in Humboldt Bay.


Thanks to Todd Kraemer of Pacific Watershed Associates; Kerry McNamee, Anthony Baker and Racquel Selcer of Humboldt State University; funding from the Cereus Fund and Humboldt Area Foundation; and all of our past and present Citizen Water Monitors—too many to list here!

On February 13, Humboldt Baykeeper staff and 20 trained Citizen Scientist volunteers monitored water quality after a storm at 29 sites in the Humboldt Bay area. This monitoring event was held to compare mid-winter water quality with previous results from “First Flush” monitoring (just after the first major rainstorm of the year), when pollutants that have built up over the dry season are suddenly flushed into waterways).

Thanks to our partners who help make our Citizen Water Monitoring Program a success!

City of Arcata’s Environmental Services Department

City of Eureka’s Stormwater Division

Coast Seafoods Company

Humboldt County Department of Environmental Health's Ocean Monitoring Program

Humboldt County Department of Public Works

North Coast Laboratories

North Coast Stormwater Coalition

North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board

Pacific Watershed Associates

Salmon Forever

State Water Resources Board’s Clean Water Team

The Humboldt County Environmental Health Department monitors fecal coliform near creek mouths at local beaches. Fecal coliform are indicators of other pathogens, many of which are difficult to detect. Faulty septic systems, pet and livestock feces, and leaky sewage pipes can all contribute to the high levels of fecal coliform in local creeks. Fecal coliform, including E. coli, also originate from seabirds and marine mammals, but sampling data show much higher levels after major rainstorms, suggesting that stormwater and agricultural runoff are also  contributing to these impacts on water quality.

The County Health Department recommends that beachgoers avoid contact with ocean and creek water until at least 3 days after a heavy rainfall.

Results from weekly sampling at Moonstone Beach, Clam Beach, Trinidad State Beach, Luffenholtz Creek, and Mad River Estuary are posted on the County’s website.  


Waterkeeper Swim Guide Now Available for California Beaches!

Waterkeeper Swim Guide is an app that helps you find the best beaches to enjoy with your friends and family. We deliver the latest beach water quality information right to your smartphone.

The Swim Guide utilizes water quality monitoring data from government authorities tested at over 400 beaches in California and shows you the current status of the most popular beaches so you can determine if the water is safe for swimming.

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