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Ventura County Perspective

Ocean Water Monitoring

September 27, 1998

On behalf of the Ventura County Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, I would like to commend the Board of Supervisors for taking a momentous step toward protecting the health of the county's many beach goers and ocean users.

By unanimously approving the ocean water monitoring plan presented by the county Environmental Health Department on Sept. 15, the supervisors ensured that Ventura County can no longer be pointed to as the only California coastal county not testing its ocean waters for bacteria on a regular basis.

It is true that because of a new state law the county would have eventually been almost forced to implement testing. However, this law has so many loopholes that many of us close to this issue had grave doubts that a compressive countrywide ocean water monitoring program would ever actually begin.

The public should remember that this testing program will not immediately improve ocean water quality. It is designed to indicate problem areas and to alert the public when ocean water has become unsafe in which to swim, surf or enjoy other forms of recreation.

Over time, this monitoring program will lead to the need for upstream testing and investigation in our watersheds and then eventually to programs designed to resolve or correct the sources of ocean water pollution.

The Surfrider Foundation will now redirect its volunteer water testing program resources to upstream point sources while keeping a close eye on the county monitoring program.

We also applaud the recent importance placed on this issue by the county's new health officer, Dr. Robert Levin. At first glance, Chicago's loss appears to be a very positive gain for Ventura County.

BRUCE MacDONALD

Surfrider Foundation

Ventura County Chapter

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