Beach & Water Body Advisories

Water Quality Status
(Updated 6/11/2024)

Health Advisories

Beach water quality
Based on the most recent water quality testing  (6/10/2024), elevated levels of bacteria have triggered HEALTH ADVISORIES at the locations listed below:

  • Cowells Beach West of Wharf
  • Capitola Beach at Soquel Creek

Water quality was acceptable at all other monitored locations.

Cyanobacterial blooms:
Cyanobacteria and cyanobacterial toxins are being observed  in County Lakes, Lagoons, and stagnant areas. Periodic monitoring will be used to track bloom prevalence and persistence. Currently (6/11) there are active cyanbacterial/algal blooms at 

  • Corcoran Lagoon,
  • Pinto Lake, 
  • Kelly Lake
  • Drew Lake.

Please avoid swimming, wading and other watersports in waterways that are experiencing  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. 

 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.

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 conducts periodic testing for the presence of cyanobacterial toxins in Lakes, Lagoons, and stagnant areas. 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 is in effect 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.

Contact Information
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.