Ocean Monitoring Program

Humboldt County is funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Beach Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health Act (BEACH Act) to monitor for the presence of bacteria in ocean water areas. Water samples are taken near creek mouths that deliver stormwater into the ocean.

Current Beaches & Creek Testing

Environmental Health monitors the 5 beaches listed below weekly April through October. The beaches are not monitored November through March.

After a significant rainfall, stormwater runoff draining into creeks, and the ocean can contain high levels of bacteria and pollutants. Please avoid contact with ocean and creek water until at least 3 days after a heavy rainfall.
We currently test the water quality at:
  • Clam Beach near Strawberry Creek
  • Luffenholtz Beach near Luffenholtz Creek
  • Mad River Mouth North
  • Moonstone Beach near Little River
  • Trinidad State Beach near Mill Creek
When the Signs are Removed
When state standards for any of 3 types of indicator bacteria are exceeded at a beach, the area is posted with warning signs. The signs are removed when subsequent samples indicate the bacteria are no longer present.

Brief History
The ocean water monitoring program began in February of 2003 when 4 Humboldt County beaches were originally chosen for monitoring based on their relatively high visitor use and proximity to creeks with summer flow. Since mid-November 2004, a 5th sampling site, at the northern side of the Mad River mouth just above Mad River Beach (the southernmost boundary of Clam Beach), has been monitored.