Target: Linda Dahl. Director of the Marin City Parks Department
Goal: Remove hazardous bacteria from a public California Beach
No parent should have to worry whether about their child getting sick from swimming at a public beach. There should be an expectation of safe, clean water at any recreational swimming location. It is unfortunate that this is not always the case as is occurring in Marin County, California at Chicken Ranch Beach. Not only is the beach frequently “red-zoned” due to bacterial contamination, warnings about this condition are few and far between.
This beach is a frequent victim of water spillage that floods the area with E-coli and fecal coliforms, the bacteria present in fecal waste. The signage that has been erected to warn visitors to the beach of the potential hazards are far too small and sparse. Beach-goers enter into the water unaware of the potential danger. Frequently following a day at this beach visitors then report feeling ill, due largely to the elevated bacteria levels they were unwittingly subjected to.
This is unacceptable. A concerted effort must be made to clean and protect the beach so that it can once again become safe to swim in every day. With over $350,000 in California Coastal Conservancy funds presently available for the preservation and restoration of the state’s coastline the resources already exist to begin restoring Chicken Ranch Beach. These Measure A funds need merely to be designated for use at the beach to begin improving the area. The necessary costs have been estimated at $370,000, meaning only an extremely small additional outlay would be required to make it safe for beach-goers.
Dear Director Dahl,
When visiting a beach there is an expectation that the water will be at least reasonably safe to swim in. If the water is contaminated to the point where it is a considerable health hazard then a beach should be closed entirely until such time as it is once more safe. Unfortunately at Chicken Ranch Beach the water is not only contaminated with high levels of bacteria, but the signage forewarning of the potential dangers is also woefully inadequate.
This contamination, coming in the guise of E-coli and fecal coliform bacteria spilling out of channel B, is a dangerous threat to beach goers. Many are spotted swimming in the waters of Chicken Ranch Beach during “red-zone” periods because they had not noticed the few undersized notifications of the potential for harm due to elevated bacteria levels. These visitors often later report feeling ill after swimming for even short periods of time there.
While a simple solution would be to either close the beach fully or post far more visible warning signs, the true fix comes in the way of cleaning and restoring the beach such that it can be frequented without any bacterial threat. This could become a reality, all it would require would be for Chicken Ranch Beach to be placed on the priority list for county Measure A funds. A $350,000 California Conservancy fund is already available for the project which would cost an estimated $370,000 total. That discrepancy is a rather small one to fund; especially when it would rectify the looming health disaster that is the beach’s current state. For the good of the public and protection of the beach it must be cleaned and protected.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: marinmommies.com