Santa Cruz County Water Quality Status
Precautionary Health Advisory 72 hours after rainfall
Santa Cruz County's beach monitoring program is operating on a reduced schedule during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.
Based on the most recent sampling (April 1st), ALL monitored BEACHES have ACCEPTABLE bacterial water quality. Data for each monitoring location can be viewed on the on-line map. Please avoid swimming, wading, and other water-sports when there is a health advisory. If you have questions about water quality within the County, please contact the water quality program.
When visiting beaches, please adhere to COVID-19 Precautions including maintaining distance from other people (at least 6 ft), copious washing with freshwater and soap, and staying away from other people, especially if you are not feeling well. Many beaches are closed in accordance with local and state-wide shelter-in-place requirements.
Please be aware that water quality can deteriorate during and after rainfall. It is important to avoid contact with ocean water for 72 hours (3 days) after storm events to prevent exposure to waterborne contaminants that are mobilized by rainfall and stormwater. We recommend avoiding contact with water in storm drains, creeks, rivers, and lagoons during and after storm events due to elevated levels of waterborne contaminants.
Santa Cruz County has permanently posted seven creeks and lagoons due to impaired water quality (listed from North to South):
- Moore Creek Lagoon
- Neary Lagoon outfall at Cowell Beach
- San Lorenzo River mouth
- Schwann Lagoon at Twin Lakes Beach
- Soquel Creek mouth at Capitola Beach
- Porter Gulch Creek at New Brighton Beach
- Aptos Creek at Rio del Mar Beach
CYANOBACTERIAL BLOOM UPDATE
The County cyanobacterial toxin monitoring program is conducted on an 'as-needed' basis through May; routine monitoring is scheduled to begin in June. Please note that it is important to avoid swimming, wading, and other water-sports during a cyanobacterial bloom. When toxins are present, you could be inadvertently exposed to swallowing water, inhaling droplets, or direct skin contact. Cyanobacterial toxins can cause rashes, skin or eye irritations, stomach upsets, or other reactions. Pets are also vulnerable to toxicity and should be restrained from entering the water or drinking from the shore if a bloom is present. More information harmful algal blooms is available from