Water Quality Status
Santa Cruz County routinely monitors bacterial water quality at beaches and freshwater locations in accordance with State requirements. If you have questions about water quality within the County or if you would like to arrange for water testing, please contact the Water Quality Laboratory at 831-454-4624.
Based on the most recent water quality sampling (11/27 and11/29), Water quality was acceptable at all monitored beaches.
Health Advisories are in effect for:
- Corcoran Lagoon (due to cyanobacterial bloom)
Cyanobacterial toxins can cause rashes, skin or eye irritations, stomach upsets or other reactions. Pets are VERY vulnerable to toxicity and should be restrained from entering the water or drinking from the shore if a bloom is present. When in doubt, please stay out of the water.
Data for each monitoring location can be viewed using the online map.
View Water Quality Data
Santa Cruz County has permanently posted eight creeks and lagoons due to impaired water quality (listed from North to South):
- Antonelli Pond
- 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
The County is actively conducting surveillance for cyanobacterial toxins in Lakes, Lagoons, and stagnant areas. There are active cyanbacterial/algal blooms at several locations including Corcoran Lagoon and Pinto Lake. Please avoid swimming, wading and other watersports during a cyanobacterial bloom. When toxins are present, you could be inadvertently exposed by swallowing water, inhaling droplets or direct skin contact. Cyanobacterial toxins can cause rashes, skin or eye irritations, stomach upsets or other reactions. Pets are VERY vulnerable to toxicity and should be restrained from entering the water or drinking from the shore if a bloom is present. When in doubt, please stay out of the water. More information harmful algal blooms is available from:
The California Environmental Protection Agency issued a FISH CONSUMPTION ADVISORY for fish from Pinto Lake to prevent potential exposure to mercury from the Lake sediments. The health advisory provides guidance on several types of fish including Black Bass, Carp, Goldfish, Sunfish and Bullhead.
The annual California Department of Public Health (CDPH) quarantine of sport-harvested mussels will begin around May 1, 2024 through October 31, 2024. The quarantine policy applies to all species of mussels that are recreationally harvested along the California coast, including all bays and estuaries.
The quarantine season is intended to prevent exposure to the marine biotoxins that can be associated with mussels and clams who feed on plankton along the California coast. The consumption of shellfish may cause paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) or domoic acid poisoning.
Early symptoms of PSP include tingling of the lips and tongue, which may begin within minutes after eating toxic shellfish. These symptoms are typically followed by loss of balance, lack of muscular coordination, slurred speech and difficulty swallowing. In severe poisonings, complete muscular paralysis and death from asphyxiation can occur.
Additional information on shellfish advisories and quarantines is available here and also from CDPH’s toll-free Shellfish Information Line at (800) 553-4133.
Please report water quality concerns to the Water Quality Laboratory at 831-454-4624 or the Environmental Health Office at 831-454-2022. Please contact the Laboratory if you observe evidence of an illicit discharge. The County conducts follow-up investigations, as needed. Illnesses related to water exposure can be reported at this link.