Santa Cruz County Water Quality Status
Santa Cruz County conducts regular monitoring of more than a dozen local beaches in accordance with the State of California Recreational Water Program. The County issues health advisories when there are elevated levels of bacterial or other water quality concerns.
As of the County's most recent beach sampling (2/11), acceptable bacterial water quality conditions are reported for ALL monitored BEACHES. The water quality status for each monitoring location is displayed on on our on-line map where you can zoom-in on specific sites for the most recent data for each location. Please avoid swimming, wading, and other water-sports when there is a health advisory.
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 several 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 cyanobacterial blooms have receded in local waterbodies and the County toxin monitoring program will be conducted on an 'as-needed' basis. 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