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2021 SpaceCoast Water Quality Report

An established Ocean Friendly Garden helps filter runoff from nearby streets and lawns while providing sanctuary to both humans and wildlife alike

The Blue Water Task Force (BWTF) is Surfrider’s volunteer water quality monitoring program that provides critical information to protect public health at the beach. Surfrider chapters use this program to raise awareness of local pollution problems and bring together communities to implement solutions. Surfrider Foundation Space Coast and Marine Resources Council partner to perform year-round water quality testing of a variety of areas popular with recreational users including ocean beaches, public parks, piers, and lagoon sites. The Chapter’s BWTF data augments the beach monitoring program conducted by the Florida Department of Health, Indian River County, and helps inform the public of where it is safe to surf, swim, and play, as well as where there may be threats of pollution to wildlife.

In 2021 Space Coast Chapter volunteers collected and tested samples from a total of 15 sites along the Indian River Lagoon, from Wabasso Island to Cocoa Beach. Volunteers collect and provide this critical water quality data to communicate where it is safe to swim on Space Coast’s beaches. Of the 15 sample sites, the chapter identified two priority sample sites: Ballard Park and Cocoa Beach Pier, where 58% and 29% of samples exceeded health standards for bacterial counts. Space Coast Chapter is coordinating with FDEP to perform additional analyses to identify sources of bacterial pollution and potential solutions. 

The former BWTF coordinator, Ryan Dadds, trains volunteers on how to properly collect and document water samples at the beach

Space Coast Chapter’s BWTF 2021 Annual Report underscores the severity of Florida’s ongoing sewage crisis, the need for robust, well-funded water quality testing statewide, and calls for drastic improvements to Florida’s aging wastewater infrastructure. The Space Coast has seen an explosion of toxic algal blooms in recent years that have impacted their waterways and harmed Florida’s beach tourism economy valued at more than $50 billion a year. 

Space Coast Chapter’s Annual Report is an incredible achievement that will help support Surfrider’s Florida state legislative priorities in 2023 and beyond. 

View the full report here

Learn more about Surfrider’s Blue Water Task Force.