Do some RECON with BEACON!
The days are longer, the weather is warmer and Memorial Day is right around the corner. Memorial Day is the unofficial kickoff for beach season for millions of Americans. Whether you are going to your family’s traditional beach or making a first time visit to a more exotic locale, it is important to understand and learn about the beach you are visiting.
The EPA has a program called BEACH. The Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health (BEACH) Program focuses on improving public health and environmental protection for beach goers and providing the public with information about the quality of their beach water.
You can visit the BEACH program by clicking here.
The EPA also has a tool called BEACON (Beach Advisory and Closing On-Line Notification). Users can use BEACON to find beaches and learn more information about the beach. You can find beach closing notices, water quality data and even a map showing where the beach is. There are also state contacts listed with names of people that have more information. Click on the state below to begin researching the beach you frequent to cool off!
How can you protect the beach while you are feeling the soft sand between your toes? Here are some eco-friendly reminders and ways to stay healthy at the beach!
- Use walkovers instead of walking across the sensitive dunes; this will help reduce erosion.
- Reduce, reuse and recycle the things you take to the beach – don’t leave them there
- Throw away your trash and pet waste — use public trash containers at the beach or take it home with you.
- Use public restrooms.
- Pick up trash.
- Cut the rings off plastic six-pack holders so that animals (like fish, turtles or seals) can’t get tangled in them — leave no solid plastic loops.
- Join local beach, river or stream clean ups.
- Dispose of boat sewage in onshore sanitary facilities instead of dumping it into the water.
- Don’t disturb wildlife and plants – you’re visiting their home.
- While you are at the beach, wash or sanitize your hands before eating.
What beaches do you enjoy visiting? What concerns you most about the beaches you visit? Share your thoughts and ideas below on our comments page!
Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.