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!    

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.

These maps show the locations of the sites we've monitored for water quality since 2005. Click on the images to enlarge.

Arcata/McKinleyvlle area:            Eureka area:


Fecal Coliform Results

The first major rainstorm of the 2009-2010 water year arrived on October 14. In our 5th year comparing First Flush with Dry Weather levels, fecal coliform levels were again quite high in many of the creeks sampled.


Click HERE for results from some of the 17 Arcata sites sampled by our network of volunteers participating in the Citizens Water Quality Monitoring Program.

Sites in Eureka and McKinleyville were also tested during the 2009 First Flush event. For information on other First Flush results, contact jkalt [at]

Our programs involve scientists, boaters, fishermen, birdwatchers, students, and other concerned citizens in the important work of protecting and enhancing water quality for the long-term health and enjoyment of our shared community. Our diverse supporters and volunteers provide us with a wide range of tools to use in tackling the health of our communities' waters.


Simply put, we work for clean water, which is essential for happy and healthy populations. Clean water supports healthier fisheries, which in turn support healthy bird and wildlife populations. For the human community around the bay and coast, this means more lucrative fisheries, as well as world-class birdwatching, bird hunting, and clean water for recreating, including boating, surfing, diving, and swimming. Our work requires the participation and commitment of our community.

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